Imagine a 12 year old boy who was healthy, fun-loving, an honor roll student that was a DUKE TIPS nominee taking the SAT with high school students, going to church, hanging out with his buddies playing video games and soccer, driving his older sister nuts, jumping around with his Star Wars lightsaber destroying evil, reading Manga and comic books, and watching super hero movies. He was basically going along life without a care in the world except the usual middle school angst and sibling rivalry until he was struck down with a mysterious illness that has debilitated him for 10 years!!
Joshua’s horrendous journey began when he got a sinus infection and within 24 hours of taking an antibiotic his body was left so weakened that I (his mother) had to physically lift him to get into bed. He developed chronic pain throughout his entire body, blinding migraines, brain fog, hand tremors, seizures, an elevated resting heart rate, dizziness, a strange striating rash, difficulty walking, sleeping, and breathing. We have taken him to his pediatrician, neurologists, cardiologists, rheumatologists, physical therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, a chiropractic doctor, the emergency room, to specialists at Duke, Wake Forest, Chapel Hill, and Brenner’s Children’s Hospital. And not one of them could get to the root cause of Joshua’s suffering. They treated his symptoms and at times treated him like a “head case”. He could no longer attend school and had to be homebound by a teacher who delivered mounds of school work twice a week with very little tutoring involved. He lost his friends. He lost all those rights of passages or coming of age experiences such as an 8th grade field trip to Disney World, dances, proms, football games, dating, high school graduation beach trip, hanging out with his peers, youth church outings, going off to college, etc. His world was consumed with pain, suffering, and by all rights depression, isolation, and deep loneliness. My heart grieved for his losses.
I was constantly researching and trying to find out what was wrong with my son. Not until March, 2017 did we finally hit upon something when my sister saw on social media an article about a young lady who had the exact same symptoms as Joshua. We said, “That’s got to be it!” The girl had Lyme Disease. I had told the doctor’s when all this first happened with Joshua that he had been bitten by a tick two weeks prior to him getting the sinus infection but they did not think it was related because he didn't have the typical bull's eye rash. They conceded to test him upon my insistance but he was negative for Lyme. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the two tests for Lyme are only twenty to forty percent accurate. Immediately I went into action and found a Lyme Literate doctor. Within weeks we had a definitive diagnosis; Joshua has two tick-borne illnesses…Bartonella Henselae and Bartonella Bacilliformis which are more difficult to get rid of than Lyme Disease. Finally, a name to all his pain and suffering but here’s the kicker in the head…insurance will only pay for a six week round of antibiotics which doesn’t kill it. The medical profession won’t acknowledge how much damage these tick borne diseases cause to the patient’s body and therefore, you can’t get insurance to pay for the necessary treatments to totally get well from these nasty parasites.
Joshua’s treatment protocols are expensive and I can’t afford everything he needs. He goes through a process of killing off the disease for a few months which involves 30-40 supplements daily, injections, and antibiotics. The “killing off” protocol produces tremendous herx reactions that feels like a severe case of the flu or it exacerbates his symptoms. Once the disease is killed off from the cellular level it enters his bloodstream creating these reactions. His doctor believes the initial antibiotic for the sinus infection created a severe herx reaction.
So then he has to go through a detox phase to remove the toxins from his bloodstream which involves a different set of supplements, injections, lymphatic drainage, intravenous antibiotics, etc. I’ve done my research and patients are getting well and getting their lives back. My prayer and my hope is you will donate to Joshua’s healing so he can have all the treatments he needs to get well. I cannot afford all of them on an EC Teacher’s Assistant pay.
Throughout this whole ordeal, Joshua has never wavered in his faith in God because he has said that’s the one thing that cannot be taken away from him. Despite his suffering, he has managed to graduate from high school and complete one year of college. Right now, he can’t go back to college or even work a part-time job. He spends his days mostly on the couch, playing video games, sleeping, and watching television. On his fairly good days which are few and far between, he's up to taking short walks, writing, or spending time with his sister. He has a great sense of humor and a love for his family. He’s a gifted writer. He tries to maintain a positive attitude. Because he has been sick for so long, his doctor says it’s going to take 18 months or more to kill these diseases and begin to function at an optimal level. Joshua is up for the challenge because he desperately wants to live a full life with meaning, purpose, love, and joy instead of merely existing and enduring pain. He didn’t want to display a picture of just himself because getting well for his family means the world to him. And of course, he means the world to us! He needs your help to live up to his God given potential and he acknowledges that all his suffering has a purpose to build his character and prepare him for whatever greater mission God has for him. We will be forever grateful for any donation you can make to aid in Joshua’s healing journey!
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