Friday, March 29, 2013

Under Our Skin

Today I want to draw attention to the award winning documentary Under Our Skin which eloquently and sadly delves into the devastating effect Lyme disease can have on people's lives, and examines the controversies associated with the disease.

In the US, Under Our Skin can be viewed for free on Hulu and is also available on Netflix; and in the UK there are several sites that come up on a Google search for the film (see here) but I'm not sure what ones can be viewed from within the UK, some links work for me here but comments say they are geographically restricted.

The official website: has more information on the film and the DVD can be purchased there.

This 5 minute trailer available on YouTube highlights both the tragedy and controversy of the disease.  Please, take 5 minutes to watch it now; to share it with everyone you know; and help spread Lyme awareness.  Only by increasing awareness of ticks, Lyme, and the absolute urgent necessity of early treatment can we stop people from becoming so devastatingly ill.

Watching the film, for me, produces a highly charged emotional response.  I remember the years that I could not walk, or wash my own hair; the days I simply did not have the energy to chew food.  Looking back, that seems like it happened in a different lifetime.  In some ways it remains so vivid; and in others it seems like it just wasn't real.  These memories make me cry with empathy for those in the film and they make me realise that even although I have had a rollercoaster of a journey (and really, am still on the rollercoaster), I have been incredibly lucky to find my doctor and to get the treatment I have needed.  And even luckier that it is working.   I know there may be long-term, unknown, damage in my body and that some symptoms may never fully disappear, as there is the possibility of permanent cell damage by the infection being untreated for so long (as with any systemic infection allowed to spread throughout the entire body unchecked).  But I also know that my doctor does expect me to recover enough to live a normal life, something that seemed unimaginable several years ago.

The film's accurate representation of the difficulties faced by patients in receiving the treatment they need, and the medical community's seismic division on this matter is infuriating.  Frustrating. Unfathomable. Ignorant.  Arrogant... I could go on, but the longer I think about it, the more my blood begins to boil.  I hope that one day people will open their minds, trust other people and show some compassion.  

In the US, Lyme disease is a major health issue, often called the silent epidemic because it has been quietly spreading, doctors and patients ignored and marginalised for drawing attention to those with untreated early infections, which become disseminated, or systemic, Lyme disease.  In the UK the same pattern is beginning to unfold and sadly, at the moment, it is following the same path as the US, several years behind.  My initial goal in writing this blog - although a personal blog - was to use it to help increase Lyme awareness.  I am sure that if in 2005 when I first got ill, I knew what I know now, my life would never have been derailed in the same way.  I hope that this blog reaches someone and prevents the same thing happening to them.

Please help increase Lyme awareness

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