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Overcoming Lyme Disease
$460 raised
8% of $6k goal
7 contributors
0 days left
Ended Jan 26, 2018
Nattacia (Carrie) is a 26 year old living in Central Alberta, Canada, who's been affected by chronic Lyme Disease for over 5 years. She's paid mostly out of pocket to access the resources and medicines she's required to keep herself alive.

Hello! Thank you for visiting this page :)

My name is Nattacia (Carrie) Pohl. I'm 25 years old, and live in Central Alberta, Canada. I've been learning to overcome the debilitations of Lyme Disease and coinfections for over 5 years. I was bit by a tick on the back of my head near Nordegg, Alberta, August 2012. However, it is likely that Lyme has been a part of my life from much earlier on, only exacerbated bya new tick bite.


Lyme Disease is a blanket term for a vector-borne multi-systemic autoimmune condition which can affect all body systems, organs, tissues, and cells. There may be a number of bacterial, protozoal, viral, and fungal components involved, which complicate diagnosis, treatment, and transmission. Lyme may be transferred by the bite of a tick or passed through mosiquitos, spiders, fleas and other vectors. It may be sexually transmittable, passed from mother to child in utero, or acquired by blood transfusions provided by blood donors unaware of an infection. The increasing number of suspected cases suggests multiple modes of transmission, and much is still not clear about the illness.


Testing for Lyme Disease is not always reliable, and often not sensitive enough to pick up on the infection. There may be many pathogens involved, and if the pathogens are hiding inside human body cells, these can be very difficult to detect. Many doctors are unfamiliar or are not trained to look for Lyme, and some who are familiar with it are not interested in treating it (some Drs in Canada have lost their licenses due to treating Lyme with long-term antibiotic therapy, which extends beyond reccomended guidelines). Even if you find a doctor who will treat you with a month's worth of antibiotics (21 days at most is the guideline reccomended), this is not sufficient for a chronic infection. Many other treatment options are available, most not being covered by health insurance.

Lyme Disease is a growing epidemic that is affecting over 300 000 new people, every year, in the United States alone. Because of unreliable testing, unfamiliarity among doctors, numerous pathogens involved, and the broad range in which it can affect the body; early detection and diagnosis are hindered. Many people who are diagnosed with MS, ALS, Parkinson's, Fibromyalgia, IBS, Chron's, Alzheimer's, Dimentia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, arthritis, Bipolar disorder, Depression, and other forms of mental illness, have tested positive for Lyme Disease. Everyone is affected differently by this "great immitator"; some experience odd symptoms which flare intermittently, while others are unable to work. Some are unable to walk, and others are dying. It does not discriminate against age.  


A naturopathic doctor suggested that it is likely I've been affected by Lyme Disease since childhoo, and that a tick bite as an adult, which exposed my body to more foreign bacteria, parasites, or other types of organisms, was enough to push my body over the edge into a full-blown autoimmune disease.

I was a sensitive child with difficulties expressing myself, challenges in learning, and mobility impairment (dizziness, losing balance, falling down). Sleep disturbances such as insomnia, nightmares, chest pain, and asthma attacks were common. I experienced chronic headaches, infections, and depression from early on. I seemed to have a weakened immune system (catching every illness that went around, allergies, constant chills and fatigue). Fainting, ringing in the ears, dizziness, and spaciness were also common. By adolescence, short-term memory loss became apparent, and I relied on scheduling, notes, and my twin sister to get by. In highschool, I could not stay awake in classes, experienced chronic pain, tremors, and blackouts, passed out ocasionally, and experienced chronic panic attacks accompanied by severe pain. I always felt sick, and yet looked "normal" on the outside. Driving was very challenging. I needed special accomodations for some assignments and exams. In college, full time course loads were too much, and I required smaller workloads, exam accomodations, and tutors to maintain my grades. 

I was diagnosed with having an unknown sleep disorder, GAD & Depression, and ADD between the ages of 15 - 17. At 20, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, on account of chronic and increasing pain. Doctors treated symptoms, but did not look into underlying causes or connections in my health history.

At 21 years of age, while camping near Nordegg Alberta, an adult tick crawled under my hair at the base of my skull, and burrowed its way into the back of my head. Upon returning home, I scratched a small arachnid off of my head, while washing my hair in the shower. I washed the bug down the drain, and didn't stress over it. I didn't realize that the head of the critter was embedded. The next day, I felt like I had the flu: body aches, chills, a lowgrade fever. That week, I noticed the small itchy spot on the back of my head that would not heal. A raised, scaly red rash appeared down my neck, which I thought was strange, as I hadn't experienced eczema since childhood. By the next weekend, I could not drive using my left wrist, which hurt significantly, although I couldn't remember having hurt it. Into the next week, I began experiencing severe discomfort and pain after eating meals. Fatigue increased to a point where I could sleep 14-17 hours at a time,and felt tired upon awakening. I began to experience arthritic pain in both wrists, elbows, knees, and hips.

I went to see a doctor at the walk-in clinic. He thought that what I was experiencing could be Chron's Disease or IBS. He prescribed some medication, and I was on my way. I experienced no relief from the medication. After another few weeks of still having this flu that hadn't gone away, terrible discomfort in the abdomen, and increasing difficulty with learning and keeping up in college classes, I knew something serious was afoot.  A nursing instructor suggested I look up Lyme Disease. After reading about it for a few hours, thinking back on the tick in the shower, and the memory of scratching out the remains of the arachnid that I'd tried to forget, I felt a strong feeling about the likelihood of Lyme. 

One reluctant-to-test doctor, a biopsy of the tissue at the site of the bite, a car accident, a negative Albertan blood test, and a tissue sample showing no more evidence of any foreign tissues, left me pondering what to do next. My health was drastically declining every day, and doctors were unwilling to look any further into my case. One even told me "It's all in your head." I was devastated by this, but listened to my gut instincts and continued to seek help.

I sought treatment from an American doctor who was familiar with Lyme, and practicing in Alberta. Blood samples were sent to special labs in the States to be tested for infections, and herbal protocols were started. (This was all paid for out-of-pocket.) The tests came back indicating an infection. Herbal treatment was having an effect, and I continued this for a couple months. My health continued to decline, drastically. Short term memory declined, and I could no longer learn in school. There was a growing pressure in my head, and for the first time in my life, I experienced pain inside my spinal column. I felt like I was dying, and considered needing more aggressive treatment. I dropped out of college, and was sent to an American naturopath in the States who could prescribe antibiotics.

Naturopathic treatments and antibiotic treatment were tried for 10 months. I was unable to go to school, work, or drive, and was bed-ridden for a few months during that time. My health improved slowly but seemed to plateau. We then had little money left to continue with treatment. My body felt depleted, and my liver and kidneys were in rough shape. After stopping antibiotic therapy, my condition quickly declined and I began experiencing severe pain in the spinal column, head and heart, accompanied by worsening cognitive function. I sought pain relief from a medical doctor and was declined and told again that what I was experiencing was "not real". I sought marijuana, to help with pain. This was helpful for the chronic nausea, appetite, mood, and sleep; yet it was still not strong enough for the pain I experienced. Life became so uncomfortable and unbearable. The pain in my joints severely affected my mobility. I could no longer communicate appropriately, control all body movements, and repeated myself in speech. Knowing where this was headed, I began looking into assisted death and means of suicide. I admit myself to a hospital before making any drastic decisions.

Unfortunately, doctors were unwilling or unable to help me with physical health concerns (apart from prescribing analgesics, stimulants, & antidepressants to help me be more active & comfortable) while in a psychiatric institution. Thankfully, therapists were helpful in pointing me in a new direction: eastern philosophy & alternative medicine. Once out of hospital, I decided to give life one more shot.  With an education in science and nursing, and a new direction in learning about Chinese Medicine, Herbalism, and other Eastern philosophy medicines, I decided to learn how to heal and nurse myself to health. From December 2013-August 2015, I completely altered my nutrition and lifestyle, learned to implement natural and alternative medicines and therapies to manage the condition, built up my body's natural immune system, and began to experience a more optimal state of health. By February 2016, I was feeling well enough to return to very part-time employment as a caregiver. Overdoing it and allowing for too many outside stresses impacted my health negatively, and I became ill again by August 2016.

For the first three years post-infection, my husband and I paid more than $18 000 out of pocket for testing, treatment, and medicine from the USA & Canada. Speical nutrition, supplements, and many treatments and therapies are not covered by insurance. I've sought help from the healthcare ystem numerous times with little success. While nursing myself, I am sometimes able to work very part time. However, maintaining health is a delicate balance. I have done everything in my power to help support myself. Government financial assistance is not available to me if I want to stay married and living with my spouse.

I have come a long way, and am so grateful for all I have learned about health & wellness throughout this journey. I've written letters to members of parliament and have been active in promoting awareness and change so that others down the road may be better able to receive the help and care they require. By supporting me, you are also supporting my ability to help others. I am an active member in a local Lyme support group and support others as much as I am able through my time, knowledge, and experience.


  • Positive thoughts, words, and prayers are always appreciated. :) It could also help if you share my story and spread awareness about Lyme disease. There remain many doctors and health care professionals who have no idea of this issue and who even refuse to believe it is in Canada, making it challenging for those affected to get help and to get the proper diagnosis. Spreading awareness also helps those with invisible illnesses to feel more understood and treated with compassion.
  • Donations are much appreciated. Even $5 can go a long way; especially when multiple people help through small acts of kindness. :)

Above all, please be conscious and aware for your own health. Lyme may be spread through ticks, mosquitoes, spiders, and other vectors. (Ticks have a special "antifreeze" protein which allows them to live throughout the colder months; feeding on deer, mice, and other animals between travelling on birds, long grass and trees. Be conscious of this no matter what season it is: (When you're out in nature, walking through a corn maze, chopping down a Christmas tree, hunting, hiking, skiing, walking in a dog park, etc.) Please take tick checks seriously. Check yourselves, others, your pets and your belongings. Having family pets which go outside do increase risks, as ticks can travel from pets to people. Ticks may be as small as a poppy seed. Wearing long, light-colored, tucked-in clothing which is tight to the skin, and a hat, are recommended when taking nature walks.

The first signs & symptoms of Lyme can be a rash, flu-like symptoms, fatigue, arthritis, unusual gastro-intestinal issues, inexplicable or migrating pain, or confusion. If you think you could be affected, seek medical attention. (You're also welcome to ask for any advice. If you or someone you know has Lyme, I would be happy to help in any way that I can.) 

Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me during this challenging time. Thank you to those who have given their time, shared my story, kept me in their prayers, helped me out, and encouraged me through this journey. I would not be where I am without your continued support.  :)

For more information on Lyme disease:

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