Campaign extended! Our deadline has passed but you can still help.
Help Nattacia Raise Awareness for Lyme Disease
$460 raised
8% of $6k goal
7 contributors
2 Years running
Contribute
Nattacia Pohll is a 25 year old living in Central Alberta, Canada, who's been affected by chronic Lyme Disease for over 4 years. She remains an activist for awareness to promote change and understanding of Lyme in the health care system. More ...

Hello! Thank you for visiting this page :)

My name is Nattacia Pohll. 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 4 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 by the tick bite.

WHAT IS LYME DISEASE?

Lyme Disease is a blanket syndrome for a multi-systemic autoimmune disease which can infect all body systems, organs, tissues, and cells. There may be a number of bacterial, protozoal, viral, and fungal pathogens involved, which complicate the diagnosis, treatment, and transmission of this illness. It may be transferred by the bite of a tick or passed through mosiquitos, spiders, 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.

WHY ARE DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT CHALLENGING?

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, but most are not covered by Health Care.

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 (AKA Neuroborelliosos, Lyme Encephalopathy). Everyone is affected differently by this "great immitator"; some experience odd symptoms which appear once in a while, many are unable to work, some are unable to walk, and others are dying. It does not discriminate against age, and many agree that this is a life-long condition. 

HOW HAS IT AFFECTED ME?

A naturopathic doctor suggested that it is likely I've been affected by Lyme Disease since childhood. 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 puch 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 my 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 still emmbedded in my head. 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. I asked my fiance to look at it: "It's probably just a zit!" he said. I agreed and the thought left my mind. I developped a raised red rash 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.

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 the 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 long-term 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-Summer 2015, I completely altered my nutrition and lifestyle, and learned to implement natural and alternative medicines and therapies to manage the condition, build up my body's natural immune system, and experience a more optimal state of health. By February 2016, I was feeling well enough to return to very part-time employment. 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. Unfortunately, speical nutrition, supplements, and many treatments and therapies are not covered by insurance. While nursing myself, I am sometimes able to work very part time from home (freelance wedding florist, facepainter/body artist, holistic health practitioner). However, maintaining health is a delicate balance. I have done everything in my power to help support myself, and am not able to do so. Nor is my husband able to continue financing my health. I am looking into income support, so that I may stay alive and well, without needing to live in a hospital.

I have come a long way, and have learned so much about health & wellness throughout this journey. I am slowly compliling my experiences and all I have learned about nutrition, natural treatment and therapies, and healing. This information could be invaluable for many others challenged by autoimmune disease, allergies, chronic infections, Lyme disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, mental illness & depression, and others. I'd like to raise awareness to promote change in our healthcare system, as many people are not getting the help they need and are ignored by the system because they are misunderstood. My voice can give a voice to the countless people I have encountered who are feeling helpless in the face of debilitating and life-threatening illnesses. 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. By writing a self-help handbook & cookbook for health, this time could be multiplied infinitely. Supporting me allows me to be well enough to continue this project, and to promote change.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

  • 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.
  • If you'd like to support me through business, that could be very helpful! I am listed on Facebook & LinkedIn if you'd like to know more about what I offer.
  • 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 by sexually transmittable or 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 light-colored tucked-in clothing which is tight to the skin, is recommended when taking nature walks.

The first signs & symptoms of Lyme can be a rash, flu-like symptoms, arthritis, unusual gastro-intestinal issues, inexplicable 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: 

http://www.underourskin.com/film/

http://www.lymesavers.ca/

http://canlyme.com/

http://albertalyme.org/

http://www.lymeneteurope.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=46 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1383882471627611/

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2015/04/16/lyme-disease-the-cdcs-greatest-coverup-what-they-dont-want-you-to-know/

Activity highlights See all 7
Follow this campaign to receive updates by email.

People just like you

People just like you have raised $92+ million for causes they and their friends care about.

Start your own campaign
Recent contributions