The Battle Is Not Over Until I’ve Won

By: Meilan Solly
LEESBURG, VA-Spring has sprung, and with it comes allergies. Runny noses, or their polar opposite, stuffed noses, thrive. However, at least allergies leave once summer begins. Some people out there are not quite so lucky. Their medical problems are much tougher because they never leave. While these people may be worse off than those with allergies, sometimes their attitudes are light years ahead of those with allergies who consistently complain.
Meet “Margaret”. She is 15 years old and a freshman in high school. Margaret plays soccer, hangs out with friends, and enjoys art. She may sound like your typical teenage girl, but there is one fact about Margaret that isn’t quite so obvious at first. This freshman suffers from Lyme Disease, a relatively unknown affliction, as proven by these quotes: “Sadly, the only thing I know about Lyme Disease is that it’s spread by ticks. I THINK. See, I’m not even sure. I definitely think we should raise awareness.” –Gabby Evidente, freshman and “Um… what’s Lyme Disease?” –Danny Luu, freshman. Here are a few basic facts about Lyme Disease. There are three stages: primary, early disseminated, and chronic persistent. 418,221 cases of Lyme Disease were reported to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in 1980-2011. However, only about 1 in 10 cases of Lyme are reported to the CDC, so the numbers may be as high as 4.18 million. Most cases of Lyme can be treated with antibiotics, but cases that are more serious are not unheard of.
Unfortunately for Margaret, she has one of the serious versions of Lyme Disease: chronic. She cannot eat sugar or gluten. Margaret describes an event when her food problems moved front and center. “When I went on vacation to the Outer Banks, I lost 11 pounds in one week because I ate foods to which I was unknowingly allergic. I ended up being terrified of eating, and my parents had to force me to eat. I soon found out that I had allergies to soy, tomatoes, peanuts, tree nuts, paprika, eggs, and other foods. I had to go on a 4-day diet rotation that consisted of meat, vegetables, and grains that I had never heard of. I could not eat the same thing within 3 days.”
Other Lyme related problems for Margaret are having arthritis, giving up her dream of playing high school soccer, suffering from constant knee pains, and dealing with a body that is weakened. However, Margaret tries to make the best of the situation. “My friends and family have helped me so much with this. My doctor has also helped me, and he is my inspiration; he is the most amazing person I have ever met. I couldn’t have gone through this without him, my friends, and my family,” she says.
There is much more to people than the surface reveals. Let’s remember that.