My Battle With Misdiagnosis And Chronic Illness: Interview With Lyme Patient Marleen Van Der Moere | November 30, 2018
Most 17-year-old girls spend the majority of their time stressing about school, boy problems and friend drama. They don’t have to contend with major physical illnesses with symptoms like paralysis and severe headaches. For many years now, Marleen Van Der Moere has led a very different life from her peers. Instead of dealing with minor teen drama, Van Der Moere has been fighting for her life. The Holland native struggled with misdiagnoses for years before receiving a proper diagnosis and treatment at the BCA-clinic in Germany. But her struggle for good health has been a long and arduous one.
Her first complaints started occurring around nine years ago, with symptoms of fatigue, trouble concentrating, and then later, terrible stomach pain. As Van Der Moere started seeking medical attention, she quickly found that she couldn’t get the help she needed to feel better. “I have often had misdiagnoses such as Celiac disease, cluster headache, ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and multiple psychiatric diseases. This was very frustrating for me and my family. Every time we thought they had finally found what kind of illness I had, and we were going to try the treatments, but still, I did not get better – that was a heavy setback,” Van Der Moere says.
Doctors were often dismissive of Van Der Moere’s symptoms, even when they became quite serious. She often experienced trouble breathing and even went into a coma state multiple times. Still, medical professionals expressed disbelief at her condition. One misdiagnosis of a psychological condition resulted in Van Der Moere spending time in a mental illness unit. “Fighting against being ‘psychotic’ was the most difficult because I knew I wasn’t psychotic,” she says.
As Van Der Moere went through countless treatments with no positive effect, her symptoms became even more terrifying. She began experiencing paralysis in both legs and in one arm, often requiring her to use a wheelchair to get around (when she had the strength to get up and move around at all). “My lowest point was actually just before I went to the BCA-clinic,” she says. “I thought I wouldn’t make it. I spent the whole day in the dark because I could not stand the light anymore, and I had terrible headaches with comas afterwards.”
Despite these immense challenges, Van Der Moere remarkably tried to retain her positive outlook, with the support of her loved ones. “I could fight through by staying positive, no matter how difficult it was,” she says. “I tried to enjoy the smallest things. My family and friends have also helped a lot. They took me outside in the wheelchair and no matter how bad I was, they were still coming along.”
After receiving the right diagnosis of Lyme disease at the BCA-clinic, Van Der Moere has been able to start walking again after nearly a year of paralysis. She’s excited to start living the life of a more typical teenager. She’s looking forward to meeting up with friends, going to school, taking day trips and even participating in physical activities like running and snowboarding – which would have been impossible for her just a short time ago. But Van Der Moere isn’t likely to forget the intense journey she’s been on. She hopes to encourage other patients with her story. She says, “I would let other patients with these kinds of complaints know that everything is going to be okay. It can take a long time but if you continue to fight, you will get there. Never give up!”
Inspired by her own experiences with insensitive and ignorant doctors, the teen also has a message for medical professionals. “I would like to let them know that Lyme disease is not nothing. Lyme and co-infections can really destroy a body. Please take Lyme seriously,” she states.
Aside from these messages, Van Der Moere also feels she has a responsibility to raise awareness about the dangers of Lyme disease. She hopes that sharing her story will help Lyme disease be recognised and acknowledged around the world. “I try to spread Lyme awareness by posting my story on Instagram and sometimes on Facebook,” she says. “I think everyone should be open about their diseases. I wish no one would become as ill as I was. I want the world to know what it’s like to have Lyme disease and how it can really destroy your body, mind and life.”
As Van Der Moere continues on in her recovery process, she will no doubt inspire others with the story of everything she has overcome. She’s also likely to spread the word about how she was tested at BCA-lab and received a proper diagnosis and treatment regimen at the clinic. With their help, Van Der Moere can now start living like a normal, healthy teenager with a very bright future ahead of her.
Tags: Chronic Lyme, Diagnosis, Lyme, Lyme disease, Lyme symptoms, Treatment,