A Letter from Michelle....
"My name is Michelle Ryan (Hofmann) and I was born and raised in Sierra Vista. I'm married to Jodie Ryan and we have two beautiful children and home, Gavin (7 years old) and Maddie (4 years old), we are blessed with two other amazing older boys who are grown and living outside of the home.
Throughout my life, I have experienced a rollercoaster of unexplained symptoms. From the time I was a small child I suffered from chronic pain, nutritional deficiencies and gastrointestinal issues. I have always been very active and played sports most of my life, including college softball. As an adult, I fulfilled my dream of becoming a firefighter/Paramedic for the city of Sierra Vista where I met the love of my life Jodie, who also works for the Sierra Vista Fire Department, we were married and shortly after became pregnant with our first child. After delivering our first baby, my symptoms were magnified; including widespread chronic pain, neurological symptoms and chronic fatigue.
We saw dozens of medical professionals and specialists over several years, with very little success or improvement. We finally decided to enlist the help of a Naturopathic Medical Doctor in Tucson. After many unsuccessful attempts to treat me for various illnesses/symptoms, she decided to test me for Lyme Disease.
While waiting for the test results in January of this year, I developed severe acute symptoms, including brain swelling, heart abnormalities and at times the inability to walk. A few days after these symptoms began, we received the news that the test results confirmed the presence of Lyme Disease.
Jodie anxiously started researching, trying to find a place that specialized in both Chronic Late Stage Lyme Disease and gene mutations (another complicating factor identified by my doctor). We prayed fervently for God to show us where to go. This all led us to Envita Medical Center in Scottsdale. We packed up our family and some belongings into an RV which was loaned to us by another family from our church (what a huge blessing that was!) and temporarily moved to Scottsdale. Jodie took leave from work to help care for me and our two children while I went through daily, grueling treatments.
Treatments consisted of 8 weeks of 8-9 hour days which consisted of killing off the bacteria and co-infections that had taken over my body while still trying to preserve and improve what little immunity I had left.. I had a central port placed in my chest on Valentine's Day to support continuous treatment.
I finished my first round of treatment 4 months ago and started the road to long-term recovery. In several ways this has been more difficult than treatment itself. I continue to have excruciating pain, insomnia, anxiety, depression and neurological issues and on some days am unable to care for myself and family. I continue to push forward, I receive treatments in Tucson consisting of detoxing, physical therapy, and supplement/medication injections. While it's not possible to rid myself of Lyme disease, we continue to pray for recovery from its symptoms. We have been informed by the physicians that recovery could take 6-12 months and further treatments have been recommended.
Although this time of suffering has been extremely painful and difficult on our whole family, we wouldn't change any of it. Why? Because God has brought so much beauty out of such a difficult trial in each and every one of us. We have been loved and supported by our Church, our friends, our family, our Fire Department family and our community including caring for and homeschooling our children while we were away, cleaning our house and bringing us meals. Christ has shown his love to us and through us this entire time. We have seen miracles being made throughout this process and do not take those for granted.
I have been fortunate enough to share my story with people in a unique way including Chronic Late Stage Lyme and Cancer patients, promoting early diagnoses of relatively newly founded and researched disease. Mostly, God has drawn us closer to Him. We depended and are depending on His strength, His power, His patience, His comfort, and His purpose for all of this.
Thank you for taking the time to learn about what we still know very little about and for supporting me, my story and my family. We thank God for your prayers, love and support, God bless you and your families."
Further treatment has been recommended for the ongoing and worsening symptoms Michelle experiences on a daily basis. The treatments, tests and medical support all adds up to a HUGE financial strain on their family. ANYTHING you can provide would be a HUGE blessing to this sweet family.