The bad news is, I caught a cold. The good news is, after 9 years of not having a cold or a flu due to a broken immune system, I caught a cold!
Wait! What? I know, it's hard to see the silver lining. But really, it's great news that I caught a cold because it means my immune system is finally starting to function normally. As miserable as it feels to catch a cold while rotating through 11 medications for Lyme & Co. (Lyme & co-infections) this month, I keep smiling on the inside. You see, for 8 years, I struggled with insomnia and a plethora of other auto-immune inflammatory issues but never once did I catch a common cold or flu. My sixth sense told me this was unnatural, unlike the dozens of doctors who loved to tell me whenever I asked about why it was I never got sick despite the fact that my joints ached and I never slept, that I was just either lucky or very healthy.
I know! Right? What kind of quackery is that?
Prior to having Lyme, if I had missed more than 2 nights of decent sleep, a cold or flu would always be the consequence. But since 2005, I struggled through the next 8 years of sleeping anywhere from 5 hours per night to zero hours per night. Yes, you've read that right. Zero hours per sleep, usually one or two nights per week. A good night would be five hours of sleep. Anyone would catch a cold or flu operating on that sleep cycle. A good doctor, whether he or she believed that the symptoms were purely psychological or not, would see something was very wrong with the immune system when a person does not catch a cold or flu with so little sleep.
The truth is, Lyme and Co. destroys your immune system and though you may "catch" a cold or a flu while sick with Lyme, your immune system is so weakened it can't mount a response like a fever, cough or phlegm build up. In fact, Lyme doctors will often tell their patients that a good sign of recovery is when the patient catches a cold.
How do I know it's a cold and not Lyme & Co.? That inability to swallow due to the lump in my throat, that headache that feels so much like a head cold and NOT a Lyme or Tick infection migraine. Believe me, a Lymie knows the difference. And because Mr. Wild Dingo had the same cold last week, with the same symptoms.
Sometimes people with Lyme will describe living with Lyme like having a flu, all the time. And that's partly true. The truth is, on your good days you feel like you're battling a low-grade flu. On your bad days you feel like you're battling a low grade flu and just ran a marathon. On your worst days, you feel like you're battling a low grade flu, you just ran a marathon, and you've been run over by a truck---14 times.
Actually, Lyme and cold/flu symptoms are the same but different. Yes it's a headache. No it's not a headache brought on by sound or light. Yes, with a flu or cold you're tired and achy, but no, you're not so exhausted you can't climb a flight of stairs. Colds and flu symptoms definitely feel different from Lyme & Co. symptoms though the same words may be used to describe them. In addition, environmental stressors (loud sounds, bright lights or fast motions) don't usually play a part in activating cold or flu symptoms whereas for Lyme & Co. infections, an environmental stressor can make or break your day, triggering off endless migraines, insomnia and tremors.
The more good news is, I caught the cold at the height of one of California's most notorious storms, so I hunkered down by the fireplace, and watched Seven Years in Tibet. The bad news is, that Brad Pitt's Austrian accent was almost unbearable. The good news is, that ridiculous accent didn't trigger a Lyme migraine. At least I had that going for me, which was nice.
The bad news is, the dogs haven't been walked in 2 days other than quick potty breaks out doors and one little jaunt to the river in back of our house, just today when I was feeling a bit better to take them. The good news is, after two days of resting on the sofa, I think I'll be ready for a good walk tomorrow with them!
Here's a little video of the state of our river after the storm. It's fantastic to see it flowing again.
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