kimmersTWITHello! My name is Kim Sampson…

I am a forty-six year old single mom of three teens, a TV News Producer and a Lyme Disease patient…who is not very patient!

I was bit by a deer tick while on vacation in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in 1989.  Yes, twenty years ago! Wyoming is one of the states the IDSA said didn’t have Lyme Disease.  Wasn’t I lucky to get the only infected tick in all of Wyoming?  (sarcasm) I developed the infamous bulls-eye rash on my thigh. It was about 4 or 5 inches in diameter. I just thought, I would keep an eye on it.  But, I would never forget that rash!  I did see the visual problems, such as totally going black while riding a mountain bike and extreme
fatigue started to set in.  Once again, I just tried to ignore it and waited to see if it would get worse.

During the next few years, I was pregnant or breastfeeding babies.  Each time I gave birth, I got really sick, not with postpartum depression, but postpartum anxiety.   This continued for years, then I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and was put on anti-depressants to help with the challenges of extreme anxiety.  I figured maybe it was that I was not used to motherhood?

Finally in 2000, I went to the doctor…and was very persistent to get to the bottom of my issues. I had very painful arthritis, vertigo, dizzy spells, depression, my ears were ringing, I had lost alot of hair,  I had extreme fatigue.  The doctors did a wide array of tests. I saw all sorts of specialists…I was tested for MS, thyroid, syphilis, Lupus, Fibromyalgia, and Lyme.  All the tests, except the ELISA for Lyme, came back normal.  So, they did a Western Blot and it came back “normal”, but “borderline”.  The doctor told me I didn’t have Lyme Disease and diagnosed me with a strange breathing disorder.  In plain English, he said I was just hyper-ventilating.

This is when I drove to Rochester, MN to the world- famous Mayo Clinic.  I spent two days there doing all sorts of tests and consulting with several specialists.  In short, they could not figure out what was wrong with me…something autoimmune, possibly, but they couldn’t put their finger on it!  So, I just learned to live with all these weird symptoms. During this time, I struggled alot with depression and anxiety.  I was labeled mentally ill and given prescriptions to mask the root problem.  I got tired of anti-depressents and weened myself off of them over a 40 days and 40 night period in the summer of 2006. I was free from those drugs and I lost about 50 pounds.  I was in the best health of my adult life.

Fast forward to 2007.  One morning, I had to call in sick to work because I had double/blurred vision so bad.   I am a TV News Producer, and need my vision to do my job…  especially the computer work.   Well, the visual problems would come and go. Some days were good, some days were bad.   I went to my eye doctor, and she could not find anything wrong with my eyes and blamed it on eye strain.  Just about this time, I also started shaking real bad, almost like I had Parkinson’s Disease.   It was embarrassing as I did not want my co-workers to see it.  I really didn’t know what was causing it and it would be easy to think the stress of the job was getting to me.  A job I loved!

I also started having cognitive issues, like dyslexia and spelling words incorrectly.  You can’t do that when you are writing scripts for news anchors! One day, I became so overwhelmed, I just forgot how to do my job.  I had done hundreds of shows…but on this
day, I couldn’t even finish my job and I went home early.  I knew that something was wrong and I had to do something or I would lose my job.

My boss wanted me to see a doctor to sort things out and find out what was going on.  I went to a psychologist to see if I was suffering from mental illness.  The doctor felt it was not mental illness but something organic or biological in nature.  My primary doctor thought it could be migraines.  A weird type of migraine, in which you have all the symptoms, but none of the pain.   I didn’t really buy into that diagnosis completely.

On July, 4, 2008,  I was getting ready to go to work, and I caught ABC’s Good Morning America.  They did a segment on Lyme Disease.  I saw that and I KNEW this was what I have had all these years, especially since my bloodwork has been “borderline”. Although ABC could’ve done a little bit better job with the story…it was the catalyst to my getting answers for the first time in 19 years!

This is where my real battle was beginning!

Being the journalist that I am, I started researching everything I could about Lyme Disease.  I found a group in the Twin Cities area, Minnesota Lyme Action Support Group, and spoke with Jill and Jan.  They gave me alot of good advice.  I also was told about an amazing woman, Leslie Wermers…and gave her a call, and met an angel.  These people changed my life…for the better.   I found out how political Lyme Disease was and how hard it is to get into a good doctor.  They helped me find good doctors. On September 11, 2008, a wonderful
doctor diagnosed me with Neurological Lyme Disease.  I did a short run of antibiotics, but they made me very sick and I ended up in the hospital.  He and I amicably agreed I needed a doctor closer to home.  He helped me get set up with a doctor in my
hometown.  That doctor had my blood retested to see if he would accept my case.  I FINALLY, after all these years, tested positive for Lyme Disease.  After twenty years of fighting, I finally got the answers I needed.

I am currently doing IV antibiotics under his care. I am beginning to see small improvements, and I do think I have more good days than bad days now.

I ended up having to leave my job in broadcasting…it was one of the hardest things I ever had to do.  But, I knew my health was affecting my work and it was the right thing to do, for me, and for the station.  I hope to return to broadcasting, and plan to do so, as soon as I get all the Lyme spirochetes out of my body!  In the meantime, I am still actively writing, by writing on this blog.  I am also currently writing a book, “HERX is a Four Letter Word”.  I hope to have that published in the spring of 2010.

This disease is a thief and has robbed me of many, many things I love in life.  But, it will not steal away my faith that God will walk through this with me and find healing.  (II Kings 20:5)

To all these doctors who say Chronic Lyme Disease does not exist, I posed the question. If I was bit 20 years ago, why do I still have Lyme bacteria in my body, so strong that I have tested positive?   I do not have all the answers, I am not a doctor, but unfortunately, most of the doctors I have met do not have the answers either. So, who does?

I am not a hypochondriac, although I am treated as one…I am simply a person who was bit by a tick and is losing her life to this disease because doctors are unwilling to help me…and deny I have this disease.   I do not want attention, I just want to be treated for this disease with respect and without judgment.  In the meantime, I will fight.  I will get information out to the masses to prevent others from going through, what I have been going through.

And so my story continues…as we say in the news business…stayed tuned!


8 Responses to “About Kim”

  1. kadee Says:

    So sorry for your experience with lyme.
    Mine is the same: Infected 20 years ago in CA.
    Except, 2 years later I knew what was going on. Too late.
    Yes, the story continues.

    Thank you for showing your story to the public. One needs to know!

    Good wishes for you.


  2. Kim Sampson Says:

    thank you for your support. sorry to hear you have been fighting this for so long. it is a constant struggle, isn’t it? good days, bad days, and have you experienced the loss? i think that has been the toughest part, most than any physical symptom is the loss of job, income, independence and friends.
    i hope you will be able to keep watching as i post interesting stories about the “lyme climb” on this blog.

  3. Cindy R. Says:

    Hi Kim, I just wanted to say hello and thank you for doing this blog. I haven’t been dealing with lyme as long as you, but my symptoms, as well as my losses are very similar. I’ve been sick for just about a year now. Thankfully I did find a doctor to treat me about 5 or 6 months ago and I’m slowly feeling like things are improving. But it is horrible to suddenly — for me it was literally practically overnight — go from being an active, healthy and involved person to losing your job, your income, your sense of self and any semblance of a normal life. Hang in there and feel free to get in touch any time. We all need each other and need to stick together…

    1. Kim Sampson Says:

      Hello Cindy!

      Thank you for your kind words. I am too SLOWLY getting better. I have my days…some are good, some are bad, but I am hopeful that I am getting more good than bad. Thank you for your support with the blog. I feel it is the very least I can do to information out. Too many are going untreated…please share the blog with other chronically ill folks.

      I am also writing a book, with humor about the Lyme Fight. I hope to have it done in the Spring. It is called, “HERX is a Four Letter Word”. I hope it educated and entertains…we all need that laugh when we are in bed.

  4. Diane Says:

    Hi Kim,
    Thanks for your blog and for posting your story. My story is so similar to yours. I am in Northern WI and I have been fighting Lyme without the aid of a LLMD since 1989. A year and a half ago I found my LLDM. Finally! I am NOT NUTS! I will tell you my story another time. This is a bad day and I dont have the time to fix all of my dyslexic typos! But now that I have found you I will be back. Hang in there. Today all I can do is pray because I havent the energy for anything else but thats ok 🙂 Tomorrow will hopefully be better.

  5. Kim P Says:

    So sorry to hear about your long struggle with Lyme disease. Thank you for sharing and everything you are doing to raise awareness. That is the MOST important thing!!!

  6. Susan Says:

    Hi Kim, This is just sad and sick. In most cases this test comes back neg.(the first time) but you are to be retested in so many week. In 1999 I was told I had lymes my very first test came back poss. But I had went to be checked for R/A because my joints were all swell in different places every day, the doc. said your to young for R/A i’LL DO THE TEST but I want the lyme test too, well needless to say they both came back poss. he started treatment right away for the lymes and sent me to an R/A doc. right away,and having the2 togather is hard to deside which one is active my life has been a living HELL from 1999 and still an on going thing. Just be carefull for once bitten you are a case for it to happen over and over again theleave something in your system that attracks the back I’ve been bitten 4 more times and treated 4 more time. So good Luck to you and may God Bless you today and every day

    1. Kim Sampson Says:

      Thank you for your comments. Yes, Lyme is tough, and it is different for each and every person. I believe there is so much UNKNOWN about this disease. My hope is that ten years from now, it will be recognized with respect, treated with dignity and a cure will be found. Right now, I think the best we can do is to get it into a remission state. There definitely need more research, and that is not only for Lyme, there are so many diseases that need a cure. You would think medical technology would be further along in 2009, but it isn’t quiet there…yet. =)

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