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Round 11: Help Wanted

Posted Aug 07 2011 12:07am
Photo Courtesy of Nan Knight Creative (website coming soon)
Since my diagnosis of Advanced Lyme Disease in May of this year, many people have asked how they can help. If you know me, you know...I don't accept help very well. I don't want to inconvenience my friends and family who already have ridiculously busy lives and their own commitments to worry about. That said, we have realized that we will not make it through this fight alone.

So, it is with great difficulty that I offer a few ways to help...

> Encouragement:
Our journey with Lyme will be a long, hard road. Some days are harder than others and some days we may be too tired to fight. Your words of encouragement help motivate, inspire and remind us why we are fighting. A simple email, card or text can turn our day around.

As caregiver, my husband has the hardest job of all. He works all day and comes home to help with dinner, kids and housework. Please ask him how he is doing too, as he needs support as much as any of us.

> Give: Fighting Lyme is very expensive. Our journey has just begun, but we already have more medical expenses than we can afford. In addition, there are many things that would help make our treatment more effective that we are currently unable to afford: special supplements, organic food, mold testing (and possibly remediation), IV nutrition, additional testing, Propolis Diffusers, travel and treatment by specialty LLMD’s (mold specialists, ophthalmologists, etc.), just to name a few. We will put over $1,200 on our credit card this month alone. As hard as it is for me to admit that, I want to really express the fear and urgency we are feeling right now. I have only just begun treatment and my children have not even started yet! If my husband tests positive, that will make four of us undergoing treatment. Insurance will only cover 30 days of treatment in most cases, so we will be on our own for most if not all of our treatment, which we've been told will take years. YEARS. If you are able and interested in helping, you can donate by clicking on the 'Donate' button to the right of this post. Thank you for even considering this and please know each and every penny will go towards our fight.


> Get Loud: I have contacted my Congressman and will continue to, but in this case there is strength in numbers. Find your local and state representative here . Let them know that Lyme Disease is an epidemic and that something must be done to improve testing, treatment and quality of life for Lyme patients.

Take information on Chronic Lyme to your doctors. Many doctors are not educated on the correct treatment for Lyme and most have not been trained on how to treat long-term, chronic Lyme and all that comes with it (mold sensitivity, metal toxicity, chemical sensitivity and so much more.) If you would like ideas on what articles would be best, let me know. I have a standard packet I hand out to my non-Lyme-Literate-MD's.

Lastly, tell friends, family and anyone who will listen about the dangers of Lyme. Most people don’t realize that a tick bite is not the only way to contract Lyme. Let them know that they are also at risk of contracting it from mosquitoes , spiders, flies, fleas and it is quite possibly sexually-contracted, as it is related to Syphilis . The tide is turning, but there is still so much ground to cover before Lyme Disease is handled as it should and Lyme patients have a better chance of survival. Together, we can make a difference.

> Do: One of my worst symptoms is fatigue. It is debilitating. Some days it is hard to summon the energy to speak. Add to that the daunting task of 9-10 hours of caring for a 1-year old and a 4-year old and there is little left to give at the end of the day. Laundry, cooking, cleaning and paperwork are nearly impossible. Believe it or not, this request is harder to make than the others. I know you have your own dishes to wash and your own laundry to fold, but if you can spare a half an hour to help, we will be forever in your debt. Plus, my husband may get to sit down for more then 10 minutes at a time and for that I know he will be grateful. Just know, if you ask, I will probably say no. So, you may need to put your foot down. I may be asking, but I'm still stubborn as Hell.

> Understand: I know we don't always 'look sick.' I know it is hard to understand why I don't want to get out much anymore or why I cancel or why it takes me a long time to return phone calls. I realize it is hard to understand how we feel or what to say and even harder to know what we need. Hopefully this post will help with that.

When you see me, simply asking how I'm feeling and letting me vent is a tremendous gift in itself. Lyme Disease is all consuming and chances are it will be all I want to talk about. Most days, I think of nothing else. Thank you in advance for your patience as we get through this nightmare. I promise one day, I will want to go out and have fun and talk about  interesting things that have nothing to do with symptoms, doctors or treatment.

> Research: Researching Lyme Disease can be one of the greatest gifts you can give my family. Not only because you will better understand what we are going through, but because you will learn how you and your loved ones can avoid this terrible disease. Education is key. If you see the wrong doctor (even if you have every symptom in the book AND a CDC-positive test), you will be offered anti-depressants or pain meds and sent on your way (trust me, I speak from experience.) Most importantly, if you research Lyme Disease, you learn how you can prevent it . And that would be the best gift you may ever give yourself!______________________________________________________________
This has been the most difficult, pride-swallowing thing I've ever written, let alone post for all to see. Thank you for listening and for everything you have done thus far. Thank you for even considering helping us. Mostly, thank you for loving us...bug-filled, sicker-than-sick, too-pooped-to-party...us. We are so grateful for you....our friends and family. We love you more than words can say.

With our greatest thanks...
The Antal Family

P.S. My friend Kathy wrote an amazing post on offering support entitled How to Support Me Now That I'm Sick: An Open Letter to Strangers, Family, and Friends.
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