Best Self Magazine

Triumph Over Lyme Disease

Triumph Over Lyme Disease

By Teri Roche Drobnick

My oldest daughter’s headaches started when she was eight. They were so severe I was convinced she had a brain tumor. Our pediatrician was more casual about the situation. “How’s everything on the home front?” Implying her headaches may have been stress-induced. I assured him everything was fine at home (other than the stress of her headaches). He merely stated the headaches would go away on their own. They didn’t. Thus began the slow process of going from one doctor to the next. I quit my job to focus on the ongoing medical appointments and Meanwhile, I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and my health was declining. My acupuncturist referred me to a doctor who, after months of tests and biweekly appointments, gave me a diagnosis of Lyme. As my health deteriorated, I realized my younger daughter was sick more frequently than the norm. My older daughter’s headaches persisted. She was constantly sick and was tested for Mono numerous times. I questioned my doctor about the possibility that my girls might have Lyme. He informed me that I could have passed the Lyme to them during pregnancy. I sobbed the entire drive home. The next stage of the journey was having both girls tested, diagnosed and treated for Lyme. We spent the following eight years on antibiotics, all three of us on IV antibiotics for one to three years with a PICC line (a surgically placed catheter). At times, we were connected to an IV for five hours a day. We had joint pain, brain fog, memory loss, word finding difficulty, as well as GI side effects from the antibiotics. Some days I got out of bed, only to make it as far as the couch. Even getting dressed was sometimes more of a chore than I could handle. During the worst of those years I required 15 hours of sleep a day just to function (a doctor recently said that I looked like a chemo patient during that time). The girls missed a lot of school, their test scores declined and getting homework finished was slow. When my younger daughter started IV antibiotics, instead of playing soccer, we were binge-watching the Gilmore Girls (and she went to prom sporting a PICC line). After my oldest daughter graduated from college, she crashed. She had pushed her way through school and was now too sick to support herself. She moved home. In the IV room, seven and a half years after initiating treatment (and thinking that this is what the rest of my life would look like) I glanced over at another patient and we exchanged a knowing look. “I am SO over this,” she said. “I’m going to Germany.” She told me about Dr. Ingo Woitzel and how he had amazing results treating Lyme patients with a photon machine. I came home full of hope and enthusiasm! My husband said simply, “Do the research and if it looks good, go for it.” (Yes, he’s a saint.) My older daughter was also still on IV antibiotics and was really struggling. We would have done anything for her (in fact we even bought her a puppy!). After talking to patients who had been treated by Dr. Woitzel, I booked our flights. By this time our younger daughter was in college and doing well, so she opted not to go. Within a couple of months, we were off to Germany in search of a cure (or more realistically – remission). Dr. Woitzel was very thorough with his testing and we initiated a three-week long treatment of Photon Therapy. Clinic days could be grueling, up to eleven hours by the time we got back to the apartment. Whoever was feeling the least train-wrecked would drive back to our apartment where we would concoct a simple dinner. There were times when we felt so sick after the treatments that we could barely move, let alone talk. (At one point, my daughter said it even hurt to blink!) But, we were grateful to have each other, especially since we were in a foreign country without speaking the language. We ended up being at the clinic four days per week instead of the anticipated two (with the added bonus of numerous parking tickets, since we couldn’t read the signs). Our final clinic day arrived and we anxiously awaited our test results. We were thrilled when Dr. Woitzel announced that we were Lyme free! It was wonderful news, but we didn’t feel any different. When we returned to the apartment and the other patients wanted to celebrate, we were a bit reluctant. We returned to the U.S. hopeful, yet skeptical. But after a few months, our health and energy slowly returned. Not every American treated by Dr. Woitzel has had the amazing results we did, but I do know the people I referred have also had their lives restored. And if I had it to do over again, I would have gone to Germany eight years earlier. It has been four years since our first treatment by Dr. Woitzel. My daughter now lives in Berlin and has started a boutique textile business. My younger daughter is in her second year of graduate school. As for me, instead of taking instructions from my doctor, I am now taking orders from my competitive rowing coach!

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