I don’t want to be here but here I am: back in the goddamn pit. I don’t know how I got here. A month ago I could do anything and everything I wanted to do, with energy to spare. And now….
There’s the sore throat, of course. That’s always the first symptom to arrive. There’s the fever that isn’t a fever. I’m burning up, even sweating, but my thermometer insists that my body temperature is well below normal. (I was a cool 97.6 at last check.) There’s the exhaustion. The strange underwater headache. The nausea. The sense of desperation. The tears. Each symptom so familiar, though we haven’t seen each other in months. I’d come to believe that we would not meet again.
I want to pretend like this isn’t happening. I wanted my next blog entry to tell the tale of another backpacking trip, but given the theme of this blog I feel it would be dishonest to tell only the happy tales. So here I am sharing another, darker chapter of my story.
Is this Lyme, still haunting me? Bartonella, untamed after all? Something new? What is this?
I’m confident that my recent record-breaking hikes did not trigger this backslide. I floated through those adventures, one after the next, without even a hint of a sore throat. I was so strong. I was so sure I was healed.
I have so many questions, but my poor body can’t seem to offer up any answers. How can a chronically ill person hike 20 miles in one day? Where did that strength go? How could I have been so strong when this disease, or whatever it is, was always lingering right below the surface?
What is this? And how do I get rid of it?