Updated: Mar 31
Hi, I’m Jess, I’m 19 years old and I’m a Chinese Canadian from Vancouver Canada. I grew up with my Ouma, Mom, Dad, two older brothers and my two cats, Artemis and Athena. I was adopted at 9 months from China. I’ve beaten the odds many times, I even found my birth parents in a population of 1.41 billion people. I truly am very fortunate and am so lucky, as I know people wait years and even decades to find their birth parents, whereas I found mine in a matter of months. Around 6 months. Spring I started the search, and I was reconnected with them by fall
I was 14 when all of this started. I was a multi-sport athlete my whole life. Swimming, soccer, gymnastics, taekwondo, ultimate frisbee and track and field. I was a huge academic with a type A personality. I wanted to perform my best and give my 110% in every area of my life. I was THAT annoying kid who was like: “I did soo poorly!” when I got a 86%. Yup! I was that obnoxious Asian kid ha-ha
I have never seen a tick in my life. We know from research that Lyme and ticks are prevalent in China. We believe my Lyme was congenital and was managed by my body up until my undiagnosed whiplash sports injury that caused me to have cranio-cervical instability (CCI). None of my adoptive family experience any chronic Lyme symptoms. All we have is Raynaud’s that run in our family. But that wouldn’t be related to me as I’m adopted
We tested through our Canadian healthcare system, the borrelia burgdorferi IGG / IGM enzyme immunoassay and the western blot. It was slightly positive, but they never notified us of the positive test, as it said, “If travelled to Europe, undergo further testing.” And obviously I had never travelled to Europe, at least ever since I was a baby. That test was back in 2016, just a few months after I fell ill at 14 years old.
Fast forward to 2020 and 2021, I finally met with a Lyme literate doctor, as a consultation with a family friend who’s a practicing doctor in the USA told us that he would’ve given me a picline asap all those years ago if he saw that test. We found a local naturopath in BC, as they are the only province in Canada that can prescribe antibiotics.
I had undiagnosed Lyme for 6 years. All of my doctors diagnosed me with dysautonomia and left it at that. Told me to exercise and eat more salt. They called me a lazy teenager at 14 years old, and told me to “get off [my] butt and work” -Kim K
I was so relieved once we finally had a diagnosis to a name. For 6 years I went undiagnosed with no language to explain to family, friends, and coworkers. I was left to fend for myself, masking myself to avoid the prejudices people held, the ableism and ageism. They expected what the doctors expected of me, to get over myself and stop being lazy.
My Lyme truly didn’t get better until I had my CCI C1-C2 stabilization surgery. When I first started my Lyme journey with my Lyme literate naturopath in BC, I was on twice the dose of doxycycline to cross the blood brain barrier and a variety of combinations between herbals and antibiotics.
3 months after taking antibiotics, I found myself in a deep depression with suicidal ideation, more than normal. I decided to go full herbal protocol with cryptolepsis, Japanese knotweed, and other common herbs for Lyme.
I also did 33 sessions of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) in a row, continuing the antibiotics and herbs while doing so. I herxed throughout all of it and rebounded quicker and quicker after all of my treatment. I detoxed mold and heavy metals I had from contrast MRI that I had. I would suggest avoiding that at all costs, because our systems as Lyme patients already have trouble detoxing from herxing and mold, toxic metals are just another added thing we should avoid putting stress on our bodies
As I was 14 when this all occurred, instead of making new friends, networking and making mistakes, I was left to figure out how to survive in a body that continued to enforce how much I couldn’t rely on my body. It was so unfair to watch my peers learn to be more confident in their bodies and learn to grow into their best selves, all while I was falling deeper and deeper both in despair and disability
Resources that helped me:
Unrest By Jen Brea - documentary talking about ME/CFS showed me a reflection of my life and gave a visual presentation of how severe my chronic illness was. It was so eye opening to my family and finally gave some ground for compassion
TickBootCamp - podcast, learning about other treatment methods and hearing others journey with Lyme really helped my mental health
Generation Lyme - host meetups 5+ days a week! Wednesdays being burning questions to ask questions about Lyme to a group who truly understands
My advice? Follow as many chronically ill people as possible. They are the warriors that have trail blazed this barren land that we call the medical system. Lyme is unrecognized and disrespected on all fronts, follow the path of those who came before you, and find a group of people you can lean on for help and advice.
The information shared on this page is for informational purposes only, it is opinion and should not be taken as medical advice. Always consult your medical provider for medical advice and before starting any new treatment.