While chatting with my friend Patrick over the phone recently about the many challenges of living with Lyme, our conversation migrated to romantic relationships and sexual health.
Patrick: how do you tell somebody you are dating that you have a potentially sexually-transmitted disease?
Briana: I know! And not send him or her running, never to be seen again. I wonder, can a man infect a woman and vice a versa?
…are there preventative options for healthy individuals?
With limited reliable information available about Lyme disease as a whole, it comes as no surprise that facts about sexual transmission are difficult to come by. Though the CDC* denies that the disease may be contacted via sexual activity, we all know that their so called “facts” are often erroneous.
After ping-ponging through questions about the physical and moral responsibilities of sexual health, I left our chat with two questions:
1. Do others with Lyme disease think about related issues?
2. What information have others received about Lyme and sex from medical professionals and or research?
I’m curious to hear from you! Please comment below, or if you would prefer, feel free to send me a message.
*CDC Lyme FAQ http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/faq/
Another city, another doctor, another day. I know the arc of my rearview mirror; the waffle of the air vent; the bubblegum circle branded into my seat the way someone else recalls the curve of a lover’s face. A flurry of concrete whooshes beside me. My silver capsule trolls along the road. Again.
I never saw a tick or tick bite or bullseye rash, so I don’t know exactly how I got infected. But I did have deer in my backyard and deer mice around. I was an avid gardener so I did tick checks and showered after being outside always and somehow still got infected.
My first two tests were negative but were not done until two years after symptoms began. My symptoms began with mono, which I actually had. I now have chronic Epstein Barr Virus, and quickly progressed within several months to stage four inflammatory breast cancer from an area of swollen lymph nodes. I survived cancer but I am still treating Lyme and coinfections ten years later. I was two years undiagnosed. Now my test is finally, finally CDC POSITIVE for LYME.
Me in the hospital, trip three, day two, all wired up for an ECG.
Me and my dog, right before having to go back to the ER to be stabilized during an awful flare. The 3-day stay was torture, when all I wanted was to be able to be at home with my dog.
Dishware dots my front yard, the chrome circumference of pots mirroring green. From my perch on the couch, my four-year-old eyes wait expectantly. Dribble descends from the sky, pinging into pots as rainfall splatters. In time, I’ll tromp the sodden grass, hand in hand with my mom to see them. Worms that have magically fallen from the sky will squirm in the bath I have created. The grandeur of it all tickles my insides like a feather.
Now, many lifetimes later, I think of those worms and how the delicious suspension of reality afforded me to believe that they came from above. That’s what it’s like, these days, trying to believe I can find home in this body; it’s like waiting for worms to fall from the sky.