Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Living with LYME disease

I’m excited to introduce to you a wonderful motivated woman and mother and dear friend…Jarrah Lyn Garold. She grew up in Boise Idaho with her 5 siblings and spent most of her time participating in sports and enjoying the outdoors.  
She met and married Danor Gerald in Orlando Florida in 2001. He majored in digital media...and has followed the career path of acting, producing, and digital media. They are a beautiful family of 3 children ages 6, 10, 11
Recently she found her self feeling very ill. She initially began to have severe low back pain. After a few weeks she began to have pain that would migrate throughout her body into her muscles and joints. As time passed, more and more symptoms began to arise. She started having numbness and tingling in her legs, feet, hands and arms. She lost strength in her muscles and became fatigued quit easily. She also began to have electrical shocks shooting throughout her body. After meeting with doctors, neurologists, and having MRI's done, it was still un known what was ailing her. Finally, after insisting that her doctor perform in depth blood work they discovered the problem. On Halloween, Oct. 31, 2013 she was diagnosed with LYME disease. The disease is more common on the East Coast but as her story spreads we are finding more and more people have either experienced it or they know someone who has. (The disease was named after Lyme in Connecticut for discovering it.) So, let's get to know Jarrah Lyn and her story.

SMT: First off, thank for being willing to share your personal experience with Lyme disease. JL: I am grateful for the opportunity to raise awareness about a disease that is not well known and can be extremely debilitating both physically, mentally, and emotionally. SMT: How did you decide something was wrong? 

JL: I knew something was wrong when the initial blood tests were showing a very low white blood cell count and I began to have numbing in my feet and hands. I couldn't squeeze the water out of a wash cloth due to lack of strength in my fingers. I knew something was very wrong. As a side note, many with Lyme Disease have a very high count of white blood cells. It can differ greatly from person to person. SMT: What were the procedures required to diagnose the disease?  

JL: Lyme disease is extremely difficult to diagnose for various reasons. First off, the blood tests used to diagnose are often inaccurate. There are 2 different blood tests used. The Elisa and the Western Blot. These blood tests are looking to see the amount of antibodies in your blood stream. However, because the disease can hide in the organs of your body, your body is unable to recognize that the disease is there and so it cannot create the antibodies to fight it off. Therefore, many people with Lyme Disease go undiagnosed for years because the blood tests are not seeing the antibodies and so the tests are coming up negative. We desperately need better testing for this and I hope that in time there will be better testing. Secondly, there are Lyme Literate doctors who know the disease very well and can diagnose based on symptoms. I was lucky, in the fact that my initial blood test (ELISA) came back positive. The Western Blot was also showing in two bands, however to be CDC positive, one must show in at least 5 bands. Needless to say, although the CDC does not have their ducks in a row when it comes to testing and diagnosing this disease, I was able to get diagnosed within 3 months and started treatment right away. SMT: What are the more common treatments?  

JL: Throughout the US, most doctors treat with high doses of antibiotics via IV infusion or pill form. There are other doctors who prefer a more homeopathic approach using herbs, diet restrictions, and Epsom Salt Baths. 
My doctor uses both and I have been improving slowly but steadily. There is also a treatment called IV Hydrogen Peroxide Therapy with is less known and used, but is something I am currently looking into. SMT: What survival tips would you share with someone fighting Lyme disease?
JL: Attitude is everything! 
Lyme disease attacks every organ and system in your body. It affects your hormones, adrenals, thyroid, cardio vascular system, eyes, joints, muscles, brain function and the list goes on. 
Depression can set in pretty quickly. I recommend seeing a LLMD as soon as possible and most importantly, staying positive.  

I believe a positive attitude will do much more in the healing process than any of us realize. It helps you to not give up and to reach for a cure. SMT: What an amazing attitude you have about this circumstance. I agree with you completely that a positive attitude is the by far the very best medicine.
What would you say are some preventative measures? 

JL: Best way to prevent Lyme Disease is to be proactive about protecting your skin from ticks and mosquitos. Always use bug sprays with deet when you are in the great outdoors. Many have gotten Lyme disease from their backyard or working in there garden and others have gotten it more than once.  
Personally, I contracted it in American Fork Canyon while having an evening picnic with my family. I truly believe that I was bitten by a mosquito and not a tick. I also believe that many others are contracting this disease from mosquitos. 
Most doctors and professionals will not admit or accept that Lyme Disease is contracted from mosquitos, but it is my honest opinion that it is much more frequent than reported or believed. The reason I emphasize this so strongly is because most people assume they can prevent a tick bite or at least locate them on your body when there. However, who doesn't get mosquito bites every summer? We all do, and knowing that it is a possibility will help people to become much more careful in the outdoors. SMT: I personally hate bug bites and wear bug sprays religiously. 
What would you say has been the hardest thing about this life trial?  

JL: Hardest thing for me has been losing complete control of my body and it's normal functions. Not being able to take care of my family the way I have always been able to has been an extreme challenge. Being wiling to accept my new reality and face it head on with no fear has been a giant hurdle. This bacteria is a monster and I feel that is putting it lightly. I have had to completely change my diet which includes no gluten, no dairy, no sugar and very very little fruit. I have to take very high does of antibiotics and an extreme amount of supplements throughout the day. I also do an Epsom Salt bath every single night.
SMT: You truly have touched my heart with your trials and I admire your devotion to beating this. How has it changed your life?  

JL: It has helped me to love more fully and deeply. It has shown me that you should never judge another person because you have no idea what someone else is going through. Life is hard and challenging for everyone in different ways and to be encouraging and have compassion for everyone.  
I have had to learn to trust completely in God and know that I am in His hands each and every day. With Him I can overcome anything and I still have faith that I can overcome this through Him.
SMT: What are you grateful for with experiencing this disease?
JL: I am grateful that I am learning to be patient with myself and patient with others. I have been completely taken out of my comfort zone with this disease, but now I think I am more willing to go out of my comfort zone and do what I need to do to accomplish my goals. Most of all, I have learned that fear can break your wings, hope can heal them, and faith can make your soar.

SMT: Is LYME disease treatable? Or everlasting?  

JL: Yes, it is treatable in very ideal circumstances.  
The sooner you are diagnosed and treated increases the chances of becoming cured. For most it becomes chronic, however some are able to put it into remission for short or long periods of time.  

No one really knows at what point Lyme Disease becomes chronic. For many doctors it is a guessing game. Most people diagnosed with Lyme Disease are also diagnosed with 1-4 other co-infections, which makes it so much more difficult and complicated to fight. Those who are fighting Lyme Disease are usually fighting other infections that were carried by the bug or mosquito. SMT: Have you found helpful sights in dealing with Lyme disease? 

JL: is one of my favorites. 
If you live in Utah is a great source as well. A video from Daryl Hall who has Lyme Disease:

SMT: If you could give your younger self advise for being a mom fighting this disease, what would that be?  

JL: It would be to never give up. To enjoy the very simple things like the sunshine outside, your child smiling, or a beautiful flower. To be thankful for each day and every breath you take. Embrace your circumstance and don't' fight against them. When you have a battle inside your soul it prevents healing to occur. Once you accept and embrace your trial you can grow and eventually become the person you are intended to be, the better, stronger new you. SMT: Jarrah Lyn, I have had the privilege of getting to know you and see how loving and attentive you are with your children. You are doing wonderful things in raising your children to the best you know how. Who has been the most helpful resource in raising your family ? 
JL: Christ has been my greatest resource. I have tried to study His life because He knows all the answers. He knows how to be a great parent, spouse, friend, and he knows what it is to suffer in every way. He is my inspiration and my example. He has carried me through every moment of my life and every thing good in my life has come from Him.

I also need to include my mother here as a helpful resource to me. She is a strong woman and has been an incredible example of patience, love and long suffering. She has always 
been there for me and never left my side. I love her with all my heart.

Thank you Jarrah Lyn for giving us a glimpse into your life and for empowering us to have a positive attitude no matter what our life trial is.

Ok SuperMoms, do you or someone you know fight LYME disease? If you have, share this post with your social networks. Lets help each other out.


  1. What a wonderful post! I have personally suffered from the debilitating effects of Lyme disease, along with my husband and two of my children. It is easy to say that a mass majority of doctors do not understand Lyme, let alone chronic Lyme, and have no idea how to treat it, not to mention the blood tests are very poor, just as Jarrah Lyn has stated. after 13 years, we finally found healing and relief through both a doctor and a naturopath that worked together to treat and cure us. A combination of dietary restrictions, herbal remedies, foot baths and IV ozone and hydrogen peroxide therapy proved to be an excellent combination for us (the last being the most helpful of all, by far!). We are finally getting back to a normal life! Although my organs are still recovering from the years of the onslaught from Lyme, I am optimistic that I will return to full health, as I am already feeling much better. There is hope for those that struggle with this disease! Living in Utah, I have met numerous people that have contracted Lyme through mosquito bites. My husband contracted it from fleas in South America while serving a service mission for his church (we have a picture of the bite). My doctor, with the experience of what he has seen in treating Lyme for years, is strongly skeptical that I contracted it sexually from my husband (this disease acts a lot like syphilis, although with poor diagnostic testing, this will remain speculation for many years to come - he has treated many couples affected from Lyme, and Lyme literate doctors have strong speculation that sexual transmission is very probably). Lastly, if you have MS, please, please, please get tested! I have met 8 people that had MS for 15 years or longer, that finally were tested for Lyme, and are getting treatment and doing light years better! I say this because there is no hope for a cure for MS. But there is if it Lyme disease. Great article! Spread awareness! And keep being awesome, Jarrah Lyn, I understand how you feel, and you definitely are a supermom! Sending love and prayers your way as you continue your journey to recovery! ~Candi