Lyme Disease: The Ripple Effect

By Tamara York

This article aims to illustrate the ripple effect of Lyme disease, emphasising that while it has negative impacts on one’s physical health, there remains significant potential for a positive transformation in one’s life.

When someone you love has Lyme disease, their whole world is infected in some way.

For the patient, they are trapped inside a body that has failed them, and continues to fail them, day after day. No matter how bright, active, or full of life their mind may be, the body refuses to cooperate. The mind and body are part of the same being, just playing on two different teams – an opposition; the body repelling itself. No one mentions the grief each patient has to endure, reconciling to the fact that their life has changed and their former life ceases to exist.

The carers carry the emotional and psychological burden of the illness, forgoing their own needs to provide comfort to the patient in every way imaginable. They take on the responsibility of driving the patient to appointments, voice recording every doctor’s appointment, playing it back to understand the medical jargon Lyme patients are inundated with, and investigating new doctors and treatment options.

The carers bear the struggle to find doctors who are brave enough to treat this illness, often only finding the right doctor through family, friends and neighbours. All of this occurs in a world where patients are often told “it’s all in your head” and “Lyme doesn’t exist in Australia.”

For the siblings, they watch, helplessly as their loved one, their hero, deteriorates slowly, succumbing to an invisible illness. Their attempts to help and support seem fruitless, as understanding what it feels like to suffer from Lyme disease is almost impossible.

The friends, mostly continue with their lives as normal, confused why the patient doesn’t go out drinking or play sports on the weekend, thinking they’ll surely get better soon and come out. The patient can feel forgotten and abandoned.

However, what is rarely mentioned are the small moments of joy, mental and personal growth, and shifts in worldviews, which can only come about through experiencing such a devastating life event. Watching your loved one improve – walking down to the driveway and back; looking you in the eye when you ask how they are feeling; finally hugging you again because their bones don’t hurt so much. These small moments of grace and joy provide relief and comfort to everyone in the patient’s world, giving hope that they will soon get better.

As an onlooker, I have observed the value that can be born of such pain: the transformation of a Lyme patient’s mind and their idea of what their future will look like when they have healed. Knowing that from great suffering produces perseverance, and perseverance produces character, and character produces hope (Romans 5:3-5). These sufferings and trials are tough, but can be seen as part of a personal journey that requires strength of mind and resilience, altering the course of one’s life. So, we walk down to the bottom of the driveway, taking each day at a time, remembering, this too shall pass.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1:2-4.

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” – Romans 5:3-5.

In honour of her Lymie loved one, Tam York is spreading awareness of Lyme disease in Australia by gathering a Run4Lyme fundraising team to walk/run at the City 2 Surf in Sydney on August 11 2024, for the second year ‘running.’ They’ll be wearing green LDAA t-shirts!

Get Involved
Register for City 2 Surf. While registering, once you have filled out your personal details, select “Join a Team” and search “Run4Lyme.” You will receive communications from the Run4Lyme team with further details, prior to the event. We will meet up as a group before the event, so even if you come solo you are guaranteed to make friends!

Please register as soon as possible so you don’t miss out! We would love to see you there to help make a difference in the world of Lyme disease!

Show Your Support
For those who can’t be involved, monetary donations are greatly appreciated to support our walkers and runners and the work of Lyme Disease Association Australia.