Hi. My name is Darren. I am the Co-Founder of Voices Against Lyme Disease CT. I have been suffering with my illnesses for over 28 years. It took over a dozen doctors and 2 years before the medical community realized I had Lyme Disease. I was holding onto walls, using crutches at times, unable to remember my home address and had horrendous pains in my extremities. At times, my hands might go numb or couldn’t wear a shirt because of the pain due to small fiber neuropathy. In the last 3 months, I have had two bells palsy incidents. Testing 28 years ago was unreliable and it has not changed in all these years. Treatments for those that are diagnosed early are helpful. In my case it was too little too late.
Financially, the strain on my family, both parents and my wife and children have been enormous and continues due to high deductibles on insurance and steep co-payments. During the time I was in a form of remission, I was able to get my Master’s Degree, only to later lose my job as a mental health clinician because of memory loss and overall deterioration of my cognitive abilities. It has now been four years since my last position. This continues to cause a major strain on our family since I often can’t help around the house or in the yard. Nor is it possible to drive the kids to any after school programs or even consider vacations if there was any money to go on one. It’s impossible to even make simple family plans or attend events since I never know if I will be in bed from the pain. People will often say to a chronic lyme patient, “You look good” but in reality most of the pain is internal and suffering is a daily fight. My suggestion is, “If you feel there is a possibility you or a family member may have been bitten by a tick, you must be your own advocate until you find the doctor that listens.”
This is why education and spreading awareness about tick borne illnesses is so important, and why I founded Voices Against Lyme Disease CT. It is essential that people understand how to AVOID this disease. If diagnosed early, long term effects are preventable. Please help us spread the world by supporting our grassroots organization with a financial donation. We use all funds to develop and print materials that will help people, especially children, understand how to avoid Lyme Disease, which, as you just heard, is debilitating to so many people. Thank you for your support!