LYME LIVES HERE IN KENTUCKY

 JENNIFER WERSTEIN

 

       Spring time and summer time weather means it's time to go outdoors whether it's camping, playing baseball, soccer, golf or wherever your favorite outdoor activity leads you. Unfortunately, ticks are also more abundant during these times.

     Jennifer Werstein is no different in enjoying the great outdoors. She experienced a lifetime of chronic illness and fatigue. It wasn't until 30 years later and after seeing over 20 doctors that she finally received the diagnosis of Lyme disease. She could link it all back to a tick bite but which one? She remembers getting bit hundreds of times.

     Jennifer was raised on her family farm so of course she spent a lot of time enjoying the outdoors. She's not sure which tick bite infected her but she does remember when she was 15, she had a high fever for about a week. She had the flu-like symptoms that we warn patients about with all the aches and pains so her physician did what many physicians do, he told her it was the flu. The flu? In July?

       As many Lyme patients experience, she never felt the same after that. She didn't have energy like she used to. When other teenagers were making plans to go out, she was making plans to just get some sleep.

       Jennifer was able to graduate from Caldwell County High School in 1986 but the chronic fatigue continued on through college and graduate school. Jennifer tells newspaper, "But it wasn't the type of fatigue where you just feel tired. This is a fatigue that makes you feel like someone has poured lead into your veins." she said. "And there was a mental fog that kept slowing me down."

      Jennifer still continued to push through just as so many Lyme patients do. She became successful in the buiness and finance world. She had been in the mortgage business and she was working long hours. Her body just couldn't handle it any more. Jennifer ended up with a bacterial infection in her intestines. She was very ill and given strong antibiotics with a month-long liquid diet. She gained 53 pounds while on the medication and special diet. She felt like dying. She couldn't move or function but she was single and had to in order to support herself.

      Jennifer started having more symptoms. She started having problems with her thyroid, her heart, and she just felt like her whole body was shutting down. She made an appointment with a top endcrinologist and had to wait for months. She finally thought she would get answers only to be told that she needs to see a psychologist. This is not uncommon for Lyme patients to be told this.