The following Lyme testimonial was written by Leslie Schmidt, a woman of God that both Rachel and I look up to immensely. Almost one year ago, someone suggested that we use her beautiful garden as the back drop for a LD Awareness photoshoot for a local magazine. Upon meeting Leslie and her beautiful family, we learned that ironically they, too, suffer from Lyme. It was as if God had brought us all together – including a model engaged to a Lyme patient to add to one of the largest random gathering of Lyme Warriors in which I have ever been involved. “Surely the Presence of the Lord is in this Place,” is the feeling that struck me; the shoot was particularly special as everyone on set felt a greater motivation to spread awareness through this creative outlet. Leslie’s story is close to my heart as the majority of my family is battling this disease, too. We are grateful that Leslie is sharing her brave battle against this disease, as she provides hope to those fighting Lyme or looking for general wellness.
Afflicted in countless ways, yet not destroyed. Despairing of life, yet given hope. Having little advocacy, yet not abandoned. This is the story of Leslie Schmidt who has been afflicted with Chronic Lyme Disease for over five years. Leslie has struggled both physically and mentally, but her faith in God has given her a reason to thrive.
Read Leslie’s story. Learn how lyme disease has affected her and her family. Find out which steps she has taken toward healing. Be encouraged at how this disease has not left her despairing but rather more courageous, brave, and hopeful for the future God has set before her.
“I believe everyone in life has a story to share or a song to sing, although we might be on different chapters or notes. The medley of songs I have been singing for the past five to six years have been songs of hope, faith and courage in overcoming pain, sickness and fear, as many health issues have surfaced in my and my family’s lives, including Chronic Lyme Disease.
I was diagnosed in 2014 with Chronic Lyme, alongside my daughter who had just been diagnosed about a month earlier. Eventually five out of six in my family were tested and all tested positive for Lyme, although some are not affected as much as others, as apparently our immune systems are different from one another.
After being diagnosed with Lyme, I realized I probably would have gone my entire life not knowing why I dealt with some of the Lyme health problems if my mother had not passed away in 2011. In 2011 her passing, conflict with siblings and marriage troubles lead to a tremendous amount of stress and overload for my body. Before the discovery of the Lyme, one concern for me was my allergy/immunologist doctor wanting to check my pituitary glands for any tumors, as my cortisol levels were way too high. Later, when thyroid eye disease broke out in my eyes (the kind of disease where your eyeballs bulge out like a pug dog), I was told by my Mayo Clinic doctor that although we might have the genes in us passed down for a certain disease, they can lay dormant until lots of stress comes and opens the floodgate and pathway for chronic illness while greatly compromising your immune system.
That’s exactly what happened to me. He also told me there was nothing I could do for my eye disease problem but wait it out and let it take its course. So, with much prayer and the start for me learning about foods that cause inflammation and other problems…….I waited it out. Over a two year period, my bulging eyes and double vision that came with it eventually got better and so did my knowledge in beginning to understand how foods and stress can relate to diseases.
Lyme Disease, which is caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, can often imitate or masquerade many health issues, and is why it can go undiagnosed for many people, including myself and some of my family members for so long. Like many others diagnosed with LD or CLD, I never saw a tick or a bulls-eye rash. I never had the opportunity to get on the standard 28-30 day Doxycycline antibiotic that so many doctors prescribe immediately upon discovering a tick bite.
Like research and many cases have proven true, I believe that I contracted the bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi, Lyme Disease, while in the womb when my mother was pregnant with me. I believe also that I passed it along to some if not all of my children while pregnant with them. It’s unfortunate that my mother has passed, and we will never be able to talk about this, but ironically it’s in her passing that Lyme was later discovered for me and my family. It helps me though not to dwell on the past but learn from it, and focus on staying thankful of what I know now; staying hopeful for the future and helping my family and others.
I have listed below some of the health issues I deal with or have dealt with in the past. Maybe others can relate to this list. There are more conditions that others have experienced such as MS, ALS, Parkinsons, Bi-Polar, etc., that led to a discovery that Lyme was in the picture. I hope to encourage others not to settle if they are experiencing any of these or other ongoing symptoms, but to check things out further, and especially consider Lyme Testing.
Leslie’s Lyme Symptoms:
|Brain Fog||Processing||Left Temple Pain||Thyroid Eye Disease|
|Diplopia||Sore throat||Hearing Loss: Right Ear||Tinnitus (Continuous Ringing: Right Ear)|
|Joint Pain||Chest pain||Urinary/Bladder Issues||Weakness + Sudden, Random Loss of Muscle Use|
|Bartonella||Sleep Apnea||Epstein Barr Virus||Positive Antibodies to Gluten Intolerance|
|Babesia||Heavy Metals||Chronic Lyme Disease||Chronic Mycoplasma Pneumonia|
|Candida||Snoring||Adrenal Imbalances||Hands that have the appearance of Osteoarthritis|
|Fatigue||Bulging Disks||Food Sensitivities||Degenerative Disc Disease|
|Mild Asthma||Mood Swings||Hormone Imbalances||MTHFR genetic mutations A1298C/A1298C|
It is unfortunate that many of us dealing with Lyme are judged, questioned and misunderstood, but it happens. Perhaps it is because many times it is a condition or sickness that cannot be seen from the outside; an invisible illness if you will. A healthy and peaceful place that I try to stay in along my personal journey is to not be concerned with negative or judgmental comments or what people might think or not believe. Also, I try to remember that many people simply are unaware or ignorant of Lyme Disease and just need to be educated.
Reflecting back to my childhood, I remember my mother having many of the same symptoms that I have experienced myself as well as some of my family members have that could be Lyme related. Her fatigue, autoimmune, digestive and respiratory issues were just a few to mention.
I cannot stress enough for anyone who continues to have symptoms that linger or worsen, although they may seem “normal” to seek out the possibility of Lyme and become educated regarding treatment options. I was baffled when my mother died of what seemed suddenly of Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease. To my knowledge, she had been treated mainly for “asthma” in the past few years before her death.
Some people, including the doctors, just accepted that mom’s dying from COPD or Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease was mostly attributable to her smoking, which she had not done in over 40 years. I believe my mother had some of the co-infections that come with Lyme called Babesia and Mycoplasma, like I have been diagnosed with. Sadly, she never knew it if she was infected with these co-infections.
Although my pulmonary tests almost always say COPD, or Obstructive Lung Disease, my mainstream doctors are helpful, but do not look further into some things. That is where my integrative doctors come in, as they seek the root causes. Besides treatment for Lyme, Babesia and Mycoplasma, I also have received treatment for Bartonella and Ehrlichiosis.
Each day, besides my liquid herbals, I take somewhere between 25-30 vitamins and supplements. Like many other times throughout the past years, I am currently also on three different antibiotics. There is really no time frame for a cure.
Some are never cured of lyme, but just go into a remission stage. There are those, like one of my sons, that are healed by the power of God more quickly. For myself, I know and believe I am healed towards wellness – as Isaiah 53:5 says, “By His stripes we are healed” – yet healing is many times a process for some and we are healed of many things along the way.
Through my Lyme journey, which many times I refer to as “my journey to health and wholeness,” many good things have come about, like learning about my food sensitivities, which I have found to be extremely important, if not critical in healing your gut and your immune system. Food sensitivity testing for my family has given us the power to make better choices that will strengthen not weaken our immune systems. We don’t always make the good choice, but always have the knowledge to fall back on.
I can only imagine if my mother had known and learned about her food sensitivities and how simple things like dairy, gluten and other foods more than likely weakened her immune system. I also have learned so much about the importance of not allowing ones self to become overly stressed, although sometimes life is just too busy, messy and stressful.
I look at many things differently now and have learned there are many things I should have valued more. Some things that were once not so important to me are now valuable and precious to me, and I can pass this on to my family and others.
Leslie’s Wellness Steps:
Essential Oils, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil
Non-toxic cleaning supplies
Non-toxic makeup (your skin is the body’s largest organ – so anything put on your skin goes into your body)
Removal of amalgam fillings
Interview dentists and doctors until you find a good fit
Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Grain Free Diet; “Food is Medicine”
Relaxing your mind and body
The ability to say “no” by putting your health and wellbeing first
Do not over-schedule or overcommit
Filtered water systems
Filtered shower heads
Epsom Salt Baths
Coconuts and Avocados
Wool Dryer Balls
Even before my journey with Lyme, it has always been important for me to stay in prayer, try to remain positive, stay hopeful and encourage others. I will never know all the answers to the questions I have, but I have learned not to dwell on the “why’s” and keep pressing forward in hopeful expectation.
Having Lyme can be just as much a mental battle as a physical battle, so a good state of mind is helpful and a part of healing in the whole body! The many sacrifices and the hundreds of thousands of dollars my husband has spent for our family’s Lyme treatments, his and other family member’s unconditional support, and the love that has been shown to our family has meant more to me than anything else in the world.
I choose to trust and know that God has all the answers and I remind myself of Romans 8:28…
All things work together for the good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.
Leslie Schmidt was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. She married her junior high school sweetheart in l977. together they moved to Florida in 1981 and began a family. They currently reside in Destin, Florida surrounded by their now grown three sons, their wives and children, as well as their college-age daughter.
Leslie encourages you to learn more about Lyme Disease on the following sites: