ABOUT LYME AND THE CITY
Lyme and The City was created by Kristal, who became ill in October of 2013.
After almost a year of being incorrectly diagnosed by doctors across the country, Kristal was diagnosed with Lyme Disease in June of 2014.
Her experience has made her passionate about educating others about Lyme Disease. She wants to help empower others to get the help and treatment they need, teaching family, friends and caregivers how to support those suffering from Lyme and advocating for legislative reform on Lyme policies.
Kristal is a 29 year old corporate attorney specializing in mergers and acquisitions, securities law, and executive compensation and employee benefits. She graduated magna cum laude from The Ohio State University and received her law degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.
Kristal currently lives in Manhattan. She is currently undergoing treatment to recover from Lyme Disease, Babesiosis and Bartonella.
My name is Kristal and This is My Story...
I am not a doctor or a scientist. I don't have any type of formal qualification to write authoritatively about Lyme disease. I do, however, have a wealth of knowledge based on my personal experience with Lyme Disease, which includes many agonizing months of illness and a diagnosis of Lyme Disease in June of 2014.
Currently, I have been fighting to recover from Lyme Disease (and two other tick-borne illnesses) for nearly three years.
If you or a loved one is battling Lyme, let me tell you how incredibly sorry I am--I know how devastating, frustrating, terrifying, isolating and utterly life-changing Lyme can be. I also understand how difficult it is for the family, friends and caregivers of those with Lyme to always understand, empathize and be supportive.
I won't tell you that Lyme or recovery from it is easy. But, if you let it, you can learn and grow from it. For anyone touched by Lyme, it is crucial to be patient, to focus on the things you have to be grateful for and to not allow yourself to become discouraged.
I hope my story gives you hope that you can get better. Or that it helps someone out there feel less alone. Feel a little less crazy. Or even just gives you one tiny bit of advice that makes your diagnosis or recovery a little bit easier. This is why I share my story.
From the time that I became ill to the time that I was diagnosed, almost a year went by. I knew something was wrong but no one seemed to believe me. In my desperate search to find an answer, I consulted nearly 20 different specialists (including many at the Mayo Clinic).
Yet, I became increasingly ill with each passing day.
Lyme Disease began to deteriorate my eyes, joints, brain and almost every other organ system in my body. I had difficulty multi-tasking, thinking, speaking and most days, even just getting out of bed.
Yet, even with all of the physical manifestations of Lyme Disease, doctors and even the most well-meaning of friends insisted I was just depressed. Anxious. Too smart for my own good, as one doctor so impolitely put it. I was told I had Lupus. Hodgkins Lymphoma. Carpal Tunnel. Possibly MS. Fibromyalgia. Chronic Fatigue.
Each answer was as unsatisfying and discouraging as the next--but, I was persistent. I kept meticulous records, I unabashedly emailed my doctors asking them to test me for other things, to repeat tests they had already run and tried my best not to become discouraged and angry along the way.
Eventually, I did test positive for Lyme Disease. I cried in the doctor's office out of sheer joy to finally have a name for what was happening to me.
By the time I was finally diagnosed in June of 2014, my life had collapsed around me. I was on short-term disability from my job as a corporate attorney in Manhattan, the relationship I was in had completely disintegrated and I watched powerlessly as I morphed into an entirely different woman. One who I no longer recognized, and often did not like.
The old me--an attorney, a salsa dancer, a black belt in karate and boxer--was gone. The person who replaced me had to wear sunglasses to watch TV because the screen was too bright and earplugs in the subway because the City was too loud.
Whose hands trembled so terribly that my calligraphy began to look more like scribbles. A woman who often stuttered when she spoke or would find candles in the microwave and her cell phone in the trash.
Yet, having a name for what was wrong gave me a renewed sense of purpose.
Little did I know, a diagnosis is just the beginning. I quickly learned that there is much controversy and ambiguity surrounding the treatment of Lyme. It was seemingly impossible to find a doctor, to know which sources to trust, to know which treatment I should be on. Many times, I learned (and continue to learn as I am still under treatment) the hard way.
Do I wish I never got Lyme Disease? NO. This has been the hardest year of my life and yet, I wouldn't turn back the clock. Why? It was the reason for so many positive changes in my life.
Lyme Disease forced me to become a better version of myself. I became more compassionate and understanding. I learned how to better support my friends and family with their troubles because I realized the things that never seemed to help me.
I closed the door on a relationship that was unsuited for me and opened my heart to the possibility of one that was. One that would not break when I needed them the most. I saw just how much some of the people in my life loved me (I had friends send me gifts and well wishes all the way from France to South Africa).
Most importantly, Lyme Disease forced me to be present. To slow down--for my sanity and my health. To be grateful for all the blessings in my life. To take advantage of every moment. To see the beauty in people and things.
When you wake up some days and are genuinely unsure if you will live to see another, it makes you want to stop wasting the precious moments that make up your life. To stop wasting time being unhappy.
For that, I am forever grateful to Lyme Disease.
I want Lyme and the City to be a space to help others see that Lyme can be an unexpected path to a happier, more fulfilled life. At minimum, it need not be so scary or overwhelming. I have tried to keep in mind those thing I wished I had known or resources I wished I would have had.
I also hope that it is a place where family members, friends and caregivers of those suffering from Lyme Disease can gain a better understanding about what their loved ones are going through. I am trying to include in one place all of those things I wish I could have quickly conveyed to those around me ( and who I knew weren't going to obsess about Lyme the way I was).
I know how even the most basic tasks seem burdensome when you are sick--this is why I often include my templates, checklists, guides and recipes. I want to help make life as easy and organized as possible for you. In the end, many of these things (although they took much effort to create) helped streamline my diagnosis and recovery process.
It is also why I include some advice for those managing Lyme in Manhattan, which presents its own set of challenges for those with Lyme.
Finally, having a support system is crucial to a person with illness. I have been infinitely blessed to have the amazing love, support, patience and understanding of both of my parents (my mother, God bless her, still schedules all of my doctors' appointments and orders supplements so that I don't have to deal with it and my father who sends me Paleo-friendly snacks in bulk from Amazon), my friends, mentors and often even from the kindness of strangers.
Please write me if you have any questions, comments, suggestions on things to add or just want to share your story! I can't promise I will always respond quickly (in part, because the demands of my career do not always allow for that and in part, because I am very often still sick or tired, or both).
To write me, you can contact me here.
That being said, nothing on this site should be construed as medical or legal advice--it is merely a compilation of information I have gathered throughout my journey and my personal opinions and tips.