The “What ifs..” of chronic illness

Today’s Wego health prompt: “I Still Remember…” Free write a post that starts with this line and describes an unforgettable moment in your health journey.

I still remember seeing this strange rash 3 years ago. It was on my chest and I thought it was really strange because it didn’t itch. After I had it for a week I decided to brave looking it up on the internet. I remember reading about how my rash looked like a Lyme disease rash. I dismissed the possibility after I read that you can’t get Lyme disease in Texas. I debated about seeing a dermatologist but I had just had a baby and was feeling terrible so I just wasn’t up to an additional doctors appointment.  The rash lasted a couple more weeks and then it just went away, and I didn’t think about it again for two years.

Two years later after going from doctor to doctor trying to find out what was wrong with me I suddenly had cause to remember that rash. I was talking to a fibromyalgia doctor. She believed I had fibromyalgia but she wanted to test for Lyme just in case because the symptoms can be very similar and sometimes people have both. She asked if I had ever seen a strange rash that didn’t itch. It took me a few moments, but I remembered that strange rash I had seen and asked her if it could have been a Lyme rash. Two week later my Lyme test came back positive. 

I’ve had plenty of time to ask “what if?” What if I had gone to a dermatologist right away and they were able to diagnose me? How would I be feeling now if I had gotten proper treatment in the very beginning? Could I have been cured by 30 days of antibiotics and been able to go on with my normal life? So many what ifs, but I try to not think about them. The truth is a dermatologist in Texas probably would not have recognized a Lyme rash for what it was. The truth is the doctor who diagnosed me with Lyme is one of the few doctors in my entire area who could have done so and I had only just found out about her from my sister in law. The truth is there are a lot of “what ifs” in this life, but there is really nothing we can do about them besides not repeat the same mistakes. What happened happened and intellectually I know there is no use dwelling on it, but sometimes the “what ifs” still wake me up in the middle of the night. 

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