My name is Jessica Sundeen. I am 29 years old and a single mom of three wonderful children. I've been suffering from Lyme Disease and Bartonella for almost nine years.
I was finally diagnosed in September 2007 after seeing numerous doctors, neurologists, chiropractors, physical and massage therapists, and several E.R. visits. Through all of these consultations, I was prescribed numerous medications that were harmful and unnecessary, and was diagnosed with many disorders that were not valid.
I moved to Grand Rapids in August '07, and I couldn't bear the symptoms anymore. I couldn't get out of bed. I couldn't get on the floor to change my son's diaper. I knew I had to take care of my children, so I worked full-time as a Pharmacy Technician. I finally got the answer to my problems in September, though I didn't know what the future was going to be like. I thought I could just take the antibiotics and be cured. I was wrong.
The last years have been a nightmare. I'm still scared of the unknown. I've had numerous doctor visits, spinal taps, blood patches, blood work, brain images, trips to the E.R. and operating room, hospitalizations, PIC lines and Hickman ports. I've had comas, stroke, dementia, terrible fatigue, seizures, tremors, heart palpitations, Bell's Palsy, joint pain, muscle pain, tremors, migraines, elevated temperature, neck pain, back pain, tingling, numbness, stabbing pains, anxiety, buzzing in my ears, vertigo, ear pain, and fainting.
I have difficulty thinking, and issues with absorbing new information. I get lost all the time. I have word block and mood swings. It hurts to sleep. My liver, kidneys, and bladder shut down, and my lungs are depleted. I've been through the removal of my gall bladder, and I've been through malpractice. I have sensitive skin, broken capillaries, inflammation and nausea. I take two IVs a day and around 25 medications a day. In March of 2010 I was back in a wheel chair. My kidneys, liver and GI tract aren't doing well. We changed ABX IVs and other oral meds and and it's taking everything out of me. These are all the things I go through because of getting bitten by a deer tick.
I have been denied treatment by Duluth, Mayo, and other hospitals and clinics. I've had four doctors quit on me because they knew they couldn't help the stage of Lyme I have. For treatment I travel 900 miles round trip to see a Lyme Literate Doctor who can help me.
That has given me hope.
I never thought I would make it this far. What keeps me here each day is the power of prayer, keeping the Lord with me, looking at my children, being stubborn, determined and strong, and having a wonderful support system.
Unfortunately, in March of 2010, my 8-year-old daughter Jaiden was diagnosed with Lyme. I'm thankful that because of my knowledge of Lyme I argued with the doctor to get her tested through IGeneX, and that I know she has Lyme. He said, "It's most likely growing pains." Well, I proved him wrong. He is a wonderful pediatrician, but that goes to show you that the medical field has little knowledge of this disease. She will be doing ABX for an estimate of one year. She's been herxing and having a hard time. She's in lots of pain, but she's a tough girl.
In March I was put into a wheel chair due to my organs shutting down, tremors, seizures, passing out, weakness, and pain.
I'm thankful that my 10, 8, and 4-year-old understand and work as a team for our family to get through each day. We live on prayer and team work, and live each day like it's the last.
I'm now working very part time as an end of life nurse. I have deep compassion for my patients. Because I've been mistreated many times by medical personnel, I give my patients the love, listening, and understanding they need. My patients and their families tell me I'm a favorite!
Please keep my children and me in your prayers. I'm sharing my story not to get pity but to raise awareness. God bless you and your families.
Jessica Sundeen, Minnesota