Challenges in Life & Faith: The Impact of Lyme Disease

 

Challenges in Life and Faith - Impact of Lyme DiseaseThere are many ways that sin and fallenness impact life: relationally, psychologically, and, of course, physically. Today we hear about a FirstCov member’s experience in the area of physical suffering with Lyme Disease. Along with sharing how faith has given her strength, she hopes this article will be helpful to you especially as we live in an area where this, and other tick-borne diseases, are found.

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“Why can’t I get better?”

Each year some new health issue seemed to be developing. And with each new issue came more challenges with daily living. Sometimes people would say “Stinks getting old doesn’t it?” But I thought to myself, I’m not even that old!

Maybe you can relate to this or you know someone who can. After an auto accident years earlier I had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. For many years I just accepted the new symptoms as part of this condition because my doctor didn’t have any answers for me.

But there were many nagging questions that kept coming up for me. Why does my doctor not see that these symptoms do not fit within the diagnosis? Supposedly it does not progress in scope. Why doesn’t she dig deeper? Why isn’t there more research being done? Will I have to live like this the rest of my life?

This has been a long journey but I now have found answers to some of my questions. And have been led into more questions. I am relieved to report that I am finally finding answers after being given a diagnosis of chronic Lyme Disease.

Where is God?

After losing my ability to work in my career as a dental assistant for 13 years due to my deteriorating health I sensed that God was leading me to return to college to seek a new career field while also seeking him at a Christian college. I chose to complete a BS degree in management at Crown College. I struggled with these health issues all the way to completion. I questioned whether I had rightly understood God’s direction for me. I prayed that God would bring me through if this was what He wanted for me. He was faithful to bring me to its completion and blessed me with a whole new understanding of Him and His word through deep study of the Bible.

After this goal was reached I began to apply for work in my field. It was a tough job market but I believed God would lead me to the work He had for me. After all, He brought me through the program. I also had a home based business that I believed would be a good fit to use my new set of skills to develop. I landed several jobs after long, prayerful searches. I worked so hard to find them and then lost each one due to my deteriorating health.

In the beginning of this quest to find answers to my deteriorating health I must be honest with you that I questioned God’s judgment – how does my deteriorating health serve You? I thought this was what You wanted me to do? For a while I was confused and angry with God as my whole life seemed to be falling apart – loss of income, near loss of the home we had built, strained marriage, and loss of my health. I felt out of control. But it was during this time that God showed me that I was never in control. He showed me that He was in control. He showed me that He loved me and that He was going to take care of me. He showed me that I could trust Him at His word. It was all right there in the Bible – the promises He has made to me and all who commit to Him.

He has been faithful in whatever circumstance I have found myself in. If I am anxious I can go to His word and find peace that passes understanding. If I am feeling alone I go to Him with my concerns and I know that He hears and cares for me because He says so. If I am tempted by the lies Satan tries to tell about my life and that God has abandoned me I pray and ask the Holy Spirit to lead me in truth. He helps me squelch the lies and to grasp how deep and wide God’s love for me is.

A wise prayer warrior prayed these words once that I have never forgotten and believe with all of my heart. She prayed, “Lord our circumstances lie. But Your word never lies. Help us to see Your truth in this circumstance”. Failing health has been very difficult at best to live with – very unpredictable. But God has used it for good in my life to grow me and mold me into the person He desires me to be to be used for His purposes.

And I know that I will never go through anything alone. God has always been only a prayer away through all of this. He has been faithful even when I have not. I am thankful to God for Hhis grace which has been sufficient through all of my circumstances.

Signs of Lyme Disease

Maybe you are wondering about your own unanswered questions or you know someone who is struggling with unanswered questions too. In the case of Lyme Disease, here are a few signs (from the CDC) to watch for:

  • Early localized stage (3-30 days post-tick bite)
    • Red, expanding rash called erythema migrans (EM) (“bull’s-eye” rash)
    • Fatigue, chills, fever, headache, muscle and joint aches,and swollen lymph nodes
    • Early disseminated stage (days to weeks post-tick bite)
      • Additional EM lesions in other areas of the body
      • Facial or Bell's palsy (loss of muscle tone on one or both sides of the face)
      • Severe headaches and neck stiffness due to meningitis (inflammation of the spinal cord)
      • Pain and swelling in the large joints (such as knees)
      • Shooting pains that may interfere with sleep
      • Heart palpitations and dizziness due to changes in heartbeat

Find out more on signs and symptoms of Lyme Disease (include examples, symptoms that occur later on, etc.) or about Lyme Disease in general (treatment, FAQ, etc.). The Lyme Disease Association is another great resource you will find helpful.

You’re Not Alone

There are others within the church who have been where you are today who can offer you support. We live in an area that is endemic to Lyme Disese as well as other tick borne diseases. If it is detected and treated early - within six weeks - the prognosis is good. If you would be interested in hearing more about Lyme Disease and learning where you can find answers to your nagging questions contact me and let me know of your interest in this topic.

-Nancy Nygaard

2 Responses

  1. Pastor Brian
    Thanks for sharing your story Nancy. Such hard moments to live through but it is a blessing to see how God's strength came to you and how you are serving others in sharing this story. Your example is one for us all.
  2. Nancy Erickson
    What an incredible journey of faith Nancy! Thank you for your honesty, sharing your process of searching, moments of emotionally struggling and growth in your faith journey. Your story is one that gives others insights into maybe understanding parts of their own questioning and strengthening their faith. Thank you Nancy. Nancy Erickson

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