*Note: If you haven't read "Chapter 1: The Manhattan(ville) Project", on the "My Story" Page, please do so before reading the following. It directly relates to this particular post...
In the account, I expressed how enthusiastic I was about attending Manhattanville College in 2002, and for me, what changed all that was essentially due to an unfortunate jolt after falling on my sacral-iliac joint during volleyball practice. This may seem hard to believe, but fortunately it enables me to explain a bit more about the nature of the Lyme bacteria (spirochetes), and just how smart these sneaky little suckers can be...
You see, up until this moment in 2002, my immune system was strong enough to keep the bacteria in an "inactive" state. There's actually a "TED" video that I will put up below which scientifically proves that bacteria of the same species can chemically communicate with each other in a simultaneous way once in the body, and thus decide as a "whole" whether it is an opportunistic time to "attack and spread" and when it just isn't.
They can do this by basically weighing and measuring how strong or weak your immune system and your overall health is at any given moment. If they decide that it is't in their best interest to become active, Lyme in particular will often go hide and become dormant deep with the joints until they decide otherwise... Here is the video:
From this perspective, I believe that the "jolt" I experienced when I fell actually woke up some of those sleeping little monsters that were hiding in that particular joint. But honestly, it's hard to believe that the following nightmare and progression of the infection that occurred was just too quick for it to be labeled as the "sole factor".... and this is the part where I bring in another important aspect to consider when "considering" the factors of Lyme. It's the underlying current that was flowing all around me, at me, and in every direction while I was trying desperately to figure out what was happening to me. And that "current" was, unfortunately: STRESS!
You know, I absolutely love that part in the Disney movie "Anastasia" where that little bat says to Rasputin, "Stress, it's a keeler, you know". Lol - So true!! Stress has an amazing affect on the body and seriously wreaks havoc on the immune system.
What, you may ask, was I so stressed about?? Well, besides trying to figure out what this seriously painful joint issue I was having (and getting NO answers), my roomate, Karina, was, I seriously believe, HAPPY to cause as much of it as possible.
We actually got along pretty well, that is, up until the day I accidentally caught our room on fire...Yes - FIRE! But before you judge, let me explain:
You see, after my "fall", I was still doing a bunch of different things: going to different doctors, trying to keep up with school, AND working part time on the weekends at Memorial Sloan Kettering (I was given a key so that I could go in when the office was closed and work on the Quality Assurance Reports I created on their computer).
Well, one day while at work, my joint pain started to spread to different areas of my lower back and spine. I immediately started to feel anxious, utterly exhausted (usually this is an oxymoron...not so with Lyme), and completely disorientated. ALL I could think about was getting back to school so I could take a VERY hot shower (the hotter, the better - it briefly helped that damn pain) and then rest.
I remember it being extremely hard for me to drive back to school in the state I was in, but once I got there, I lit a L'Occitane lavender scented candle that sat on the large windowsill next to my bed, and headed off to the shower.
Afterwards, all I could think about was going to sleep, and practically collapsed onto my bed (towel still on and everything). In the process of this "collapse", I unfortunately managed to push back the feather comforter I had on it (amazingly enough) DIRECTLY over that wonderful candle I had just lit.
Lol - even then, I was SO out of it, that it literally took me a few minutes to realize that I had just started a FIRE behind me. In fact, I only noticed it because I looked up and happened to see the terrified look on my roommate's face. I followed her gaze, saw that my comforter was, indeed, on fire, and immediately threw myself over it, trying desperately to put it out with my body and hands.
This, by the way, actually worked, and in seconds it was over. In fact, the only remnants left behind that proved it even happened was my now crispy comforter, and the blisters I had accumulated on my body and hands.
Luckily, the fire alarm never went off in my room, and because of that, no one would've ever found out - that is, unless of course, your roommate decides to tell the floor resident all about it, and also decides to tell them that her roommate has been acting VERY strangely lately and is convinced she's on drugs...
Well, I'm pretty sure you can imagine what happened next...later that evening all the residents in our dorm invaded my room, informed me that students were NOT allowed to have candles (who knew??), wrote me up for harboring one, and also informed me that the school's psychologist would like to have a word with me. At the time, I had no idea why the shrink wanted to talk to me, but later learned it was because "someone" had informed them about the possibility that I just might be a drug addict. This leads me to another tid-bit I'd like to share about Lyme Disease:
- It is completely understandable why someone watching the behavior of a person who has Lyme Disease would assume they were on drugs. Jeez...experiencing the illness is often like being on... "One big...ACID TRIP!!" (The excerpt said by Nicholas Cage in the movie "The Family Man" :)
This however is usually not the case, and accusing someone experiencing the symptoms of Lyme does nothing but cause more harm and stress. *Remember, we DO have short-term memory issues, so if someone TELLS me I'm on drugs, the first thought that will enter my mind is:
"My God! Maybe I AM on drugs, but honestly... I DON'T KNOW - This would all be SO much easier if I could just remember What the Fuck happened today!...WAIT - here's a thought...why don't you test me, that way, we can BOTH find out!"
Okay - back to my story...
Unfortunately, the "raid squad" didn't confiscate my candle, so I logically did what any other normal person would do... I bought one of those ceramic rings that hold essential oils and are diffused by placing it over a lightbulb (I DID love lavender, and it was "firesafe".) I also decided that it would not be in my best interest to throw the candle out - L'Occitane IS a very expensive store!, and decidedly tossed it in the bottom drawer of my dresser for future use outside of school.
What I didn't know then, was that the fire I caused, however small, had made me rather infamous at the college, and because of this, my room was invaded AGAIN two weeks later to make sure that I was no longer a "threat to society".
It doesn't really take a genius to figure out what happened next... The fire squad found my unlit, unused candle, figured I hadn't learned my lesson, and politely told me that I was no longer allowed to live on campus.
Immediately, I ran over to see a new friend of mine - the school psychologist, who, after speaking with me a week prior, decided that I was indeed NOT on drugs, and who became just as concerned as I was about my deteriorating health.
I planned on telling her everything, but the second I got there, a huge wave of nausea fell over me, and before I could get a word out, I promptly vomited all over her office floor.
Afterwards, we talked for awhile, and she was somehow able to convince the college to let me stay, but unfortunately, by that time, the stress of EVERYTHING that was happening had caused me to get so sick that I was no longer able to stay. And, as they say, "that was that" with my college career at Manhattanville.