In 1999, Lorraine Bossé-Smith began to have strange symptoms. She started having horrible joint pain and swelling. After about nine months, she could barely hold a glass of water in her hand. “I had fatigue, muscle weakness and started getting a chronic cough,” says Lorraine, a book author, motivational speaker, life coach and AFAA certified personal trainer/fitness instructor. “Little did I know that it would be a frustrating and long journey to not only find out what I had but also curing it.” In March 2006, Lorraine was finally diagnosed with Lyme Disease.
Lyme Disease has been gaining more attention in recent years. It is a bacterium called Borrelia Burgdorferi that lives in mice, squirrels and other small animals gets transmitted through ticks to humans when they bite. This bacterium then lives in the human body, often hiding in a person’s cells. Lyme Disease is very difficult to detect because it affects a number of systems such as brain, central nervous, autonomic nervous system, cardiovascular, digestive, respiratory, muscular-skeletal, etc. President George W. Bush contracted the disease but was quickly diagnosed and treated. That is the key…treating it immediately. But, that was not the case for Lorraine as it is for many others.
Many people complaining of joint pain and swelling will be treated for Rheumatoid Arthritis, MS or a slew of other false diagnoses that will lead to more pain and suffering because they are not being treated correctly … thus why Lyme Disease is called the “great imitator.” And in Lorraine’s case, it looked somewhat like Rheumatoid Arthritis. Yet, when she eventually ended up at The Sansum Clinic in Santa Barbara, California specializing in Rheumatoid Arthritis after seeing countless specialists, she learned she only had two of the seven critical criteria. The verdict: she didn’t have it, and they couldn’t tell her what she did have.
“Every year since my first episode,” says Lorraine, “I would have a horrible outbreak of pain and swelling. It would jump from joint to joint. And each year, the pain got more intense, and the episodes would last longer.” She was told time and time again by a myriad of medical professionals that she was healthy, and she had nothing medically wrong.
“I finally took matters into my own hands and began researching on the Internet. Lyme’s was the disease that matched my symptoms most closely, and I had been on a hike seven years ago up on the Central Coast in California where we lived for four years that was infested with ticks.” Lorraine took an on-line quiz with the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation and matched many of the symptoms (www.canlyme.com). She proceeded to take this to her local doctor and a Lyme Disease specialist in Northern California and had the appropriate tests.
After six years of horrendous pain, Lorraine was told she had the Borrelia burgdorferi in her system; she had Lyme Disease. “I had an array of emotions: anger, relief, frustration, disappointment and fear. And the big question was ‘now what?’ Treating Lyme’s is just as difficult as diagnosing it. Old school thoughts are that it can’t be cured, but the medical community continues to learn more about how to treat and beat the disease. Lorraine chose to combine a natural treatment plan with traditional medical protocol to ensure the eradication of the bacteria.
“In my case, I spent three years eliminating the bacteria from my system, and I got worse before I got better, hardly able to move at times.” When Borrelia die off, they release toxins into the body, poisoning it as it fights the battle to rid the bacteria. Lorraine continued to exercise, teach fitness classes and work. Many people with Lyme Disease end up in wheel chairs from the pain, and Lorraine believes her healthy eating habits and fit lifestyle helped her fight the good fight.
In May 2011, Lorraine had been pain free a year-and-a-half. All tests indicate that she no longer has Lyme Disease. In celebration of her victory, Lorraine ran the Colorado Marathon in May 2010. “To even consider running long distances after battling such pain is amazing in of itself. I am so grateful to be feeling better, and it has truly given me a new appreciation of being healthy and well.”