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Under Our Skin came out in 2009, and aside from small victories, things are very similar in Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment.
Lyme disease is one of the most common and fastest growing infections in the country, yet there is still no reliable test or successful treatment protocol for late-stage, persistent, or chronic Lyme. This film is a voice for all the silent sufferers.
The film follows a few specific cases of Lyme. The one that stood out to me was a young, vibrant woman, who had severe Bell's palsy and frequent seizures. She was referred to a psychiatrist and told it was all in her head. Her desperation was heartbreaking.
One featured patient travels with U2 on tour. At one point she said, "The hardest thing is everybody thinks I'm normal." On the outside she looked perfectly healthy, but she was walking around in constant pain. This is a common experience for Lyme patients.
Another patient recalls a time when a doctor said, "You don't have Lyme Disease." This type of invalidation happens frequently to Lyme patients from multiple sources, such as doctors, other medical professionals, friends, and family.
The movie left a bitter taste in my mouth. People simply want a diagnosis, not a controversy. Unfortunately that is the reality for Lyme patients around the world.
Near the end of the movie a doctor says, "We're going to learn more about chronic illness." This is one way to look at the controversy in a positive light. I think as we solve the mystery of Lyme disease and other chronic infections there will be a breakthrough in conditions previously thought of as incurable, such as certain autoimmune diseases and Alzheimer's disease.
The movie runs 144 minutes and you can buy the director's cut on Amazon.
This is a must see if you are a Lyme patient or know someone who is.
"You can damage the brain, you can damage the body, but the center of...the person you meet...she was whole." - Karen Cavanagh from OWN's Belief