I know it sounds strange, but I keep hoping I have the flu. Every time I start to feel sick I wonder, Is this the flu? And then, Please, let this be the flu. Because if it is the flu, in just one week I’ll be feeling better. If it’s not the flu, then I’ll be feeling sick for weeks, and for the next few months, or maybe even for years.
My Lyme symptoms come in cycles. At first the cycle was somewhat predictable. Being a scientist, I kept track of and plotted my symptoms on a graph, and thus learned the cycle. After treatment with antibiotics began, the cycle began shifting, and I have not been able to pin it down.
Just now I went through nearly two months of symptom-free bliss. I felt so good for so long that I began to hope that maybe I’d hit the Lyme bacteria hard enough to put the disease into remission.
But then I began to feel sick. Again. It always begins with a sore throat. I’ve had a sore throat all week. I feel like I have a fever, but my temperature isn’t elevated. I feel like I’m coming down with a flu. One of my co-workers is home sick. I’m home sick. Is this the flu?
Please please please. Let this be the flu. If it is, next week I’ll be back at work and feeling good. If it isn’t…then I’m still battling Lyme, and I will continue to feel sick, again and again, never exactly sure when the symptoms will strike me down.
Having Lyme makes it difficult to create a work schedule, because I never know when I’ll be too sick to do my job. I work as a wildlife biologist, which means a large chunk of my job takes place outside. Sometimes that’s not a problem, and I can be as active as the job requires. But sometimes, like today, I can’t even handle the desk work. I am extraordinarily lucky to work for a company that supports me through this illness. I know that many people do not have this luxury.
To my knowledge, I have not had a flu or a cold in nearly two and a half years. The symptoms come on like the flu, but nothing like the flu ever develops. I never have a cough, or a runny nose, or a fever higher than 99.5 degrees. I have a mess of other symptoms, but it’s not the flu.
But maybe this time…it is?