Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Got Lyme!

To take my health and my high pain threshold for granted was a big mistake. For the past nine months, my body has fallen apart in many ways. It all began in April 2013.
I was on a short business trip to Europe, and life was good. Since my friends were taking Zumba, I decided to give it a try. It was so much fun, that I took the class again. But after the third class, I woke up at my friends' really tired and with a very high fever and strong headache.
After spending the day inside and resting all day, that night became hallucination-land!
I couldn't sleep, and the fever made me see all sorts of characters in the room with me.
In the morning I went to the doctor, and after a long examination, he said I had everything like the flu, without the flu... (Only doctors can come up with something like that).
After 3 days in bed with fever and headache, advil and aspirin 3 times a day, I got better and returned to NYC!
Attending the premiere of "The Sneaky Boa Brothers" was great and flying the next day to Mexico City to teach a 5 days dance workshop in "Ryver Dance Studios" with around 150 students.
That week was excellent, I danced 7 hours a day, and felt great. Tired yes, but great. The Saturday before departure, I woke up in the hotel room with a light fever, and the same knee pain I had the week before in Europe. More to it, it felt like my knees were encased in plaster and it was challenging to bend them.
All I thought was that after 5 days of teaching, I was a little tired, nothing serious. I returned home and all went well.
For the longest time, I've had a yeast on my skin and it looks like little red or brown islands on my torso. When 3 weeks earlier I had noticed a 3 inches spot under my belly button, I only thought that the yeast had found a better place to develop, and I treated the area the same way I treat my torso.
July was a busy month, as I was finishing the editing and the last version of SNOW, my first feature film. Apart from being tired and a little depressed, I woke up in the middle of the night, with a strong pain to my right elbow and my neck and middle back. Again, I only thought it was me getting old and something I had done in my weekly dance classes.
In any case, I did see a wonderful chiropractor, who fixed me every week til September.
The pain would go away for a day or two, but returned, slightly stronger each time.

By September, people around me speculated that it was the fact that I teach dance twice a week, or that I ride my motorcycle to work (300 miles a week on average).
Well, it was time for a vacation, and off I went to France and Italy for almost 3 weeks, and where I didn't dance nor ride a motorcycle. In fact all I did was eat and visit museums.
The pain continued as if I was working out every day.

I returned home and after a one week cruise for my birthday at the end of October, I began to be extremely depressed. Sad, dissatisfied, crying most days and night, not wanting to live, not seeing any light around me. And for November and December, it was coupled with new pains in the hands, the feet and by then, I couldn't bend my knees and had to change some of the exercises in my class, to be able to demonstrate them to my loyal students.
Of course, more speculations were shared by people around me: "you're getting old," "It's arthritis," "you need a break, you work too much."
It's true I tend to overwork myself, and I always cease the day as if it was the last, but I know my limits and I have my days (Rarely) where I do nothing and watch movies all day.

2014 started with a lot of snow, and bound me to stay home. On the 5th, I went on another cruise (My roommate is awesome and always invites with him ;0) and that's when things went nuts.
On Explorer with the cruise director and staff - Awesome people!
The first 3 days were okay, I was still in pain, but was able to move around and even dance (Through the pain...Only dancers can do that). On the 4th day, I woke up with so much pain, I could barely walk and forget about dancing. The bottom of my feet, my knees, my middle back, my shoulders, my right elbow, my hands and my neck felt as if they were connected to an electroshock and randomly sent me charges. It was not fun, I couldn't sleep, sit, walk...
A woman I had met at the Zumba class saw me sitting at one of the cafe, eating a granola bar, and asked me what was going on? I explained to her that my body wasn't right and that I would go to the hospital as soon as we were on land. After describing my symptoms, she said to make sure to get tested for Lyme desease, as it is common to have only one joint affected.
Reading and researching info on Lyme.
Last tuesday, I drove myself to the emergency room, and explained why I was there. Before I could say anything, the man said it sounded like Lyme.
A few minutes later, a nurse cam and asked me what was wrong. I explained. She said it sounded like Lyme desease. Finally the doctor comes, and after looking at me (In my underwear), and listening to my problems, she said it sounded like Lyme.
Now, you should know that I don't have Health Insurance, so I asked what my options where:
1 - The hospital no longer does the Lyme desease test, as it is followed up by a doctor. The option is to go to an infectious desease specialist and get treated there. (NOT happening, too expensive...)
2 - Go to a rheumatologist  as it might not be Lyme, but if it is, he could treat it. (NOT happening, even more expensive)
3 - Get a prescription as if we knew I have Lyme and treat like that. (HAPPENING).

So I left with a prescription of 4 weeks of antibiotics and anti inflammatory medication without being tested. How wonderful to be a human in 2014.
Luckily the internet is full of resources and many of my friends had Lyme, so after spending hours on the phone and reading hundreds of blogs and such, I am treating myself.

I managed to get an appointment at the free clinic, on the 27th, and I will make sure they do blood work and xrays of my neck and back.
This is what I've done this week (WEEK 1)
- Antibiotics (3 a day Amoxicillin 500mg)
- Anti inflammatory (1 to 2 a day Naproxen) Sometimes I don't even take them.
- Vitamin supplement (One a day - Generic brand)
- Glucosamine (1 s day - Also generic)
- NO sugar (I miss my muffin and nutella in the morning)
- NO honey, maple syrup, agave (It's still sugar...)
- NO coffee (Tough too)
- NO bread, pizza, wheat.
- Lentils, beans, carrots.
- Garlic (1 head a day - I always eat garlic, so it's easy for me)
- Flax seed (1/4 cup a day - in my salad, soup...)
- Hot tea (Green, detox, anything to cleanse)
- Hot tub bath {103 degree helps breaking the biofilm protecting the bacterias} (Lucky to have a roommate with a hot tub, I know)
I miss Nutella!
That's all so far, but after 1 week of this, I actually feel a bit better. I'm trying to find homeopathy remedies from my European friends, and more supplements to take, but trying to keep it a very low budget. (Yeah I ain't got no money).
At this point, I still don't know if I have Lyme or not, but til I'm certain, I'll continue the treatment.
I miss teaching dance and talking to my wonderful students, I miss the city, I miss my acting classes, and I miss Nutella. But I feel better and hope to get ready to go soon.
Thank you for reading and remember that you are beautiful.


  1. much love to you saba <3 get well soon!

  2. thanks very much Saba for sharing this experience. It might be of great help to many people. But doctors!! grrr!! I hate them! And the health system sucks! I'm sure you'll get better soon, you're strong and by the way you look great in the pics! much love and hope to see you soon in the city

  3. Sebastien, this is awful! How are you doing in these days? Did it get any better? I do hope so. I thought I was having a bad time, but it's no comparison, I guess... Thinking of you!
    Erico =^x^=