My name is Todd Young. I have been very blessed with two gorgeous daughters and a wonderful wife who is my angel on earth. She has stood by my side nonstop. Two years ago our lives were abruptly interrupted. I began suffering symptoms of what would later be diagnosed as Lyme disease. I became incapacitated with crippling arthritis, extreme fatigue, and recurring temporary paralysis of my legs.
I lost the ability to work consistently and, worse than that, I was losing the ability to be the father and husband that I am supposed to be. One of the hardest parts of this disease has been looking into the eyes of my family and seeing them in so much sadness.
I traveled all over Georgia to all of the major hospitals to see some of the best Infectious disease experts. Unfortunately, because the medical field in the South is way behind in education on this illness, many did not even believe that Lyme disease existed in our state yet. I was diagnosed with numerous sicknesses and ailments and received many different medications and treatments – all of which turned out to be wrong and ineffective.
All the time I was seeing different doctors and receiving different treatments, the disease continued to get worse. The disease started causing inflammation of my brain. This caused me to lose my memory for days at a time and severely affected my mood and fine motor skills. At times I shake and tremor as if I have Parkinson's. At times I have to use a walker to get up and down out of chairs. For months I could not even walk without a cane. I have been rushed to numerous Emergency rooms, had many Cat scans, spinal taps and much more. This all kept worsening for approximately one and a half years.
At this point my body started getting a little better. I went from curled in the fetal position shaking from pain to having more mental and nerve issues. I now know I was reaching the third and final stage of Lyme disease.
The third stage of the disease embeds itself into your brain. At this point, it is the hardest to treat and get rid of. All brain related symptoms of the disease began to get worse – more memory issues, loss of my fine motor skills, vision so blurred I couldn't read & more tremors. I even started having seizures in my sleep.
I finally met a Doctor from NY that was educated on this illness. When he saw my MRI he said it was a miracle that I was still walking and talking and immediately started treating me for Lyme disease. He began injections of antibiotics and sent me to the hospital to have a PICC line put into my arm. After the PICC line was inserted, I was able to begin a regimen of daily IV antibiotics which also made me sick. The PICC line itself has also caused some complications. At Christmas this year, I was hospitalized from blood clots in both lungs and my left arm that likely resulted from the PICC line. This type of stress causes the Lyme disease in my brain to flare up even more. There were four days that I don't have any memory of at all – not where I was, who I met, or anything.
The IV treatments from my new doctor are finally giving me relief from my symptoms and the "good days" between my flare ups are starting to get longer & longer. There is currently no known cure for the strain and stage of Lyme’s I have. All that exists is treatment to make it go dormant and eliminate the symptoms. Even after I'm able to send the disease into remission, there will always be a chance that the disease may flare up and I will require more strong antibiotics.
It embarrasses me to ask people for financial aid. After fighting for so long, I have spent my life savings. I am barely keeping my children fed, the lights on and the house payment made. I am finally on the right track for treatment but that means that new doctors and expenses are being added to treat the disease and the side effects such as the blood clots. I now also have to see a Hematologist and a Cardiologist who both prescribe additional expensive medicines. Insurance companies do not typically cover Lyme disease treatments due to a lack of knowledge & understanding of the disease. My Doctor told me to plan to be on different treatments for at least a year and then more off and on.
I need help to pay these expenses and I cannot work at this time. I can rarely even drive myself anywhere which has also disrupted my family’s life and work schedule. This money is mainly for medicines and medical bills which have piled up, at least until I am able to get to work again. You never realize how much you like to work until you can't.
I thank you very much for reading this. If you are not able to help that is fine. Please pass my story on. Other than getting well and taking care of my family, I pray that just maybe I have raised some awareness about this disease.
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