Written by Vanessa Grenier , Translated to English by Jim Lindl
The Nightmare Begins
One morning in November 2010, I woke up with a big red blush in my lower back. Ten minutes after waking up, I was red from head to toe. Quickly I drove to the hospital emergency room. The nurse did not take a chance and directly administered an intravenous antihistamine. The redness disappeared and the doctor told me that I was allergic to Ibuprofen.
Between 2010 and 2017, I have taken a huge amount of ibuprofen in all its forms and since 2010, I have suffered from paralyzing pain. I know that I am not allergic to Ibuprofen, but it was only in 2016 that I finally understood this.
Where does my chronic pain come from?
A few weeks after my 2010 emergency episode, something unexpected happened to me. It was at night while I was sleeping with my 3 year old boy, and my 7-month-old who was in his bassinet. My partner was not at home that night.
I woke up and tried to activate my cell phone to watch the time, but was unable to hold it in my left hand because it was numb. I started to move it up and down, thinking that I had slept on it and that the numbness was going to quickly disappear. Rather the opposite happened. The numbness began to rise in my arm, then descend into my chest , then to the left foot, and finally climbed to the throat! Here I was, completely paralyzed on the left side of my body, alone with two children!!
Panicked, I called 9-11 and had trouble giving them my address because the numbness was very present at the level of the throat. They paramedics finally arrived, but living in the country, the ambulance took an hour before arriving. When they were finally arived, my numbness had disappeared but I was still confused, and was not able to adequately answer the questions of the paramedics.
After an ambulance ride and a night of hell waiting in the emergency room with the worst headache I’ve seen so far, the doctor on duty diagnosed me with depression, and prescribed anti-depressants. He advised me that it would not be necessary to pass a diagnostic scan, and just go to my house to calm down. I nevertheless insisted on having a CT scan and seeing a neurologist because I knew it was not in my head and I was now afraid that numbness would recur in my car and with my children while driving. Finally the scan did not reveal anything abnormal, but the neurologist diagnosed me with migraines with aura troubles.
And that’s how my nightmare started: Severe sinusitis, fever, atrocious pain, facial paralysis, arthritis, tremors, tinnitus, vertigo, flu and many more symptoms of malady showed up.
My visits to the doctor and the emergencies succeeded one another and I accumulated the diagnosis of depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia and several others. All diseases invisible and incurable because the tests were always negative. Despite some rest periods during these 6 years, I was still sick most of the time.
No longer able to tolerate the medical wandering and frustration I faced, I did my own research on the internet. Several diseases such as multiple sclerosis and lupus were very similar to my symptoms, but I often saw Lyme Disease also during my research. I saw that in Quebec we could not be diagnosed because the treatments are inadequate and the blood tests also. So I decided to go to the United States to meet with a medical specialist who was able to give me a clinical diagnosis as well as blood tests to confirm his theory.
On July 20, 2016, I finally put a name on this evil that had afflicted me for years. At this time, I do not make the connection between the first time I went to the ER for an allergic reaction and the tick bite. It is a month ago, always doubting of me that I finally realized that it was not at all an allergy but of the erythematous left by the tick. (Red Rash commonly associated with a Lyme infected tick bite)
The doctor in the United States has prescribed a ton of medications that I will have to take for 2 years. Five antibiotics to be precise, as well as a dozen natural products, a strict paleo diet, alcohol-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, yeast-free regime.
In the next article I will tell you how I and many other Quebec patients have experienced antibiotics, consequences, defeats and successes.
January 31, 2017