Monday, October 31, 2016

Feature News Story:

I have always struggled with trying to explain and talk about Lyme. I have written it multiple times. I have too much I want to say, and too much that I don't need to say. So when I was paired up in one of my college classes and was told that we were to write a news feature story on each other, I wasn't worried about what I would write. I was worried for the poor soul that would have to write about me.

In the interview with Hayden Hunter, the guy I was paired up with, I was determined to not talk about my disease. I was determined that he would not find out I was sick, and he could write about something different. Of all the things I learned about Hayden in that interview, the biggest thing I learned is that in talking about myself, it is impossible to avoid talking about Lyme. "I am not Lyme, and Lyme is not me, but I am who I am today because of Lyme." It is true. And I couldn't avoid it.

After interviewing Hayden for 45 mins, and asking him questions he started asking me questions, I don't know how he got into it, but he did. And I found myself, for the next, about hour and 45 mins talking about Lyme. I felt bad, and I was worried, I have learned in the past to not open up too much about Lyme at first. It is a lot to take in, especially when you are interviewing the cutest guy in your class. So Hayden got the whole enchilada. And I left frustrated and embarrassed. I had thrown up way too much information, I worried and fretted about it so much, that I almost forgot I still had to write his story from my interview on him....

Then I read his story. I almost started tearing up as I read it. He had summarized my story in less than 800 words (as requited for the assignment). He had done something that I had never been able to do.

I am now considering making this into a brochure for future reference when people ask me about Lyme. I am only half joking, but with Hayden's permission I am at least posting it here for now. Because it is the perfect summary, written in news article form, about my dealings with Lyme.

REXBURG, Idaho – Each year 300,000 lives are affected by the fastest-spreading, vector-borne chronic illness, Lyme Disease. In 2014 Sadie Williams found herself counted as one of those 300,000. For most, living with this incurable disease would have them depressed and hopeless. Sadie however has been an inspiration to many as she says “I am not Lyme Disease, Lyme disease is not me, but I am who I am today because of Lyme disease.”

Sadie decided to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2013 and received a call to serve in the South Carolina, Columbia mission. Six months after arriving in South Carolina she was bitten by a tick. She began to get very sick and would have mood swings. After a year of service Sadie was sent home to Mapleton, Utah to try figure out what was wrong. Lyme disease can mimic up to 300 different diseases and is easily misdiagnosed. One doctor diagnosed her with “bipolar disorder” but Sadie knew that was not the case. She said “I know who I am… I am not bipolar.” The Williams family had been struggling with Sadie’s different behavior since her return home. They knew their daughter as a sweet girl, but Sadie explained how she became different and rude when she got home.

Sadie said “It takes up to two years to diagnose Lyme, for me it took nine months, I was blessed.” After some time visiting various doctors, on September 4, 2014 Sadie was diagnosed with Lyme Disease.  After the Williams family found out, Sadie’s mom April said “I felt relief.” Sadie and her family were glad to discover what Sadie had been struggling with for the past nine months, but they were then thrown into a bigger world of doctor appointments, endless medicine, and self internet research in order to treat the disease. A year after Sadie was diagnosed with Lyme she had four shoe boxes full of empty prescription and supplement bottles, and a year after that she had doubled her medicine shoe boxes to eight. Sadie would take up to 50 different pills a day. She is currently doing a cleanse from all pills and is doing her best to eat healthy and exercise. While most people feel good after working out and have a “runner’s high,” Sadie says she just hurts after she works out. But the pain of working out is better than the pain she feels if she just sits. She explained that, “you’re not going to get rid of the pain--it will always be there.” Sadie related Lyme Disease to a toddler by saying, “Lyme is just like a crying three year old, you have to give it the attention it needs.”

 Pain is just part of Sadie’s life now and when she accepted that things began to change for her. She decided to do something about her situation as she didn’t want Lyme disease to define her. She chose to create an awareness of the disease she and thousands of others share. Sadie Williams is the self-proclaimed “Lyme Warrior” and has created a blog talking about Lyme disease and how to deal with it. Sadie has written an article for the Deseret News about the struggles early returned missionaries face and how to overcome them. She is focusing on others and says her life is fulfilled by blogging. Sadie is serving in way she never thought she would, and proclaimed that, “you don’t need a black name tag or a skirt to help others.” She says it is weird when people thank her for her articles or her blog, but she is grateful for the opportunity to help others.

Both Sadie and her Mom would advise people diagnosed with Lyme Disease to not try to do it all on their own, but to find help. Sadie said there is not a lot you can do to comfort someone who has Lyme Disease, but she says to just listen. Sadie’s mom said, “I would sit down and cry with them.” Sadie wants to be one of those helpful resources, as she says, “God let me help people in His way.”

Sadie has a strong desire to keep Lyme to herself, but knows that she can help others by sharing her experience. Two years after being diagnosed and fighting Lyme Disease she was able to express her sentiments. “I would not wish this upon anyone,” but, she added, “I would not change it.”

For more information or to read Sadie’s blog, visit

-The Lyme Warrior