This is my brief story. I was around 5 years old when bitten and struggled with undiagnosed Lyme disease for almost 35 years. Before that time, as the story goes, I was a happy, carefree, nature-loving child, fairly intelligent, social and healthy. After that time, my life changed.
Most of my generation, and that of our parents, were never truly educated about Lyme disease and what it could mean for our health. I can only remember being exposed to the disease while sitting bored in the school nurses' office reading the laminated poster of information regarding rocky mountain spotted fever and Lyme as my temperature was being taken. All my grade school mind could comprehend from the images displayed was that, "I should watch out for ticks," which by that time was far too late.
Throughout my life I have been diagnosed and prescribed pharmaceutical medication for a surfeit of different physical, psychological, and emotional conditions, although many hours of doctors appointments, therapy sessions, and plenty of pokes and prods left me still wanting for a real solution to my problems. I had suffered from bouts of IBS, anxiety, depression, cognitive impairment, addiction, joint pain, back pain, headaches, insomnia, and social phobias which all led to complications with most of my relationships at home, school, and work.
When these complications arose, delving into books was one escape. I have always been an ardent reader and especially enjoyed learning about how things work. Being a short child in a fairly sports-minded family, gravitation to martial arts was inevitable. There was an immense fascination each different cultural martial code followed. As my personal studies increased there seemed a great deal of focus on regulating the breath and calming the mind, which are both crucial in combat. Learning and practicing each meditation, I found that these centered and created a feeling of control over my actions and reactions. The western therapies were lacking at the time, and these began to waken some consciousness of alternative possibilities. These basic breathing meditations and exercises were not enough alone but laid the ground work for years to follow.
In my early 30s, I explored Chinese philosophy, specifically Daoism, refocusing my daily food and lifestyle choices and initiated daily qigong and daoyin exercises. In truth, at this point in my life, I had never really tried herbal medicine, had never received an acupuncture treatment, or in fact had any Chinese therapeutic method but I had read stories of its success throughout history. It was during this fateful time I received an official diagnosis of Lyme disease. My life's impetus shifted and I began a protocol of concentrated Chinese herbs partnered with continued dietary, lifestyle, and exercise regimens.
My life completely changed once the herbs and later acupuncture were introduced. I have told friends and family that is was akin to hiking to the summit of a mountain from the base. The journey seemed arduous and sometimes unsurmountable. It was exhausting and often painful but the beautiful view, open space, and amazing possibilities were breathtaking to experience once the pinnacle was reached.
Lyme disease is one of the main illnesses New Hope OM is dedicated to treating in its mission to serve our community. It has been something that has affected me and others I have known personally and professionally, severing relationships and destroying minds, bodies and lives. The main reason for writing this blog is to give acute and chronic Lyme patients hope that there are other possibilities to grow and heal themselves, cultivate their health and regain their lives.
Steven received his Master of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine degree from Daoist Traditions College of Chinese Medical Arts in Asheville, North Carolina. There he was taught the Five Channel systems, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and Five Elements schools of acupuncture. His training also included instruction in Chinese herbs, formulas, patents, preparation, and the use of essential oils.