My name is Jill Skibba and I am the face of Lyme Disease. You may think I donʼt look ill (if I had a nickel for every time someone said that…), but if you look deeper, in the eyes and behind the smile, you may be able to see a woman who is exhausted and in so much pain she is pretending to be normal. Donʼt see it? Well, perhaps thatʼs partly why Lyme Disease is called “The Great Imitator.” I personally can see a huge difference between pictures taken over the last two decades and this one recently taken on vacation. I travel now. I didn’t/couldn’t for a very long time, but after a trip to Italy for my birthday this year I realized how much traveling feeds my soul. So I go. I go with pain, exhaustion and meds. But I go.
I was diagnosed with this horrendous disease in September 2012 after looking for answers for my ever-growing list of ailments since 1994. It has been a long, hard road to get to where I am today. I still have Lyme Disease and many of its side effects. I have good days and bad weeks, but I have come far and want to share my stories. Both to entertain (believe it or not, some are pretty funny) and to hopefully help others out there who may be suffering and donʼt know why or where to turn.
A little information if your aren’t familiar with the disease. Lyme is contracted by getting bit by an infected tick. It has long been believed by the medical field and most people in general that it only exists on deer and only on the East Coast. This is not the case. Not by far. I believe that I was infected in the Brazilian jungle back in 1994.
Lyme Disease is the oldest disease in the world. Thatʼs right, THE OLDEST DISEASE in the world! It has only been recognized since 1975, but it has been around for much much longer and killed countless. It is now being linked to some cases of misdiagnosed Alzheimerʼs and there is talk about ALS (Lou Gehrigʼs disease) as being Lyme untreated. It’s also twice as prevalent as breast cancer and six times more prevalent than AIDS.
I am not a doctor nor am I a professional writer. I donʼt have all the answers. What I do have, however, is a great deal of experience with Lyme and antibiotic treatment, and hope that what I have to say will help you or maybe someone you know and love. You will have to look in the tab marked “gallery” to see pictures of ticks and the rashes that accompany a bite as I still canʼt look at those little fuckers without getting physically nauseous. Itʼs amazing how something so small can cause so much trouble.
I will be posting articles I find interesting and helpful, although information and statistics are ever-changing and can be very controversial, which is a good thing as that means people are starting to pay attention to what is now a worldwide epidemic. We still have so far to go. Don’t get me started on the lack of support from the government and health care industry. I can get very passionate (read mad). I will do my best, however, to post only verified information. But this is mainly going to be an outlet for me to vent and share.
I also had the idea to interview people who either suffer from, treat or are somehow affected by Lyme, as well as other chronic illnesses. But in the throes of the disease, it can be nearly impossible to concentrate on the written word. It’s not only hard to focus on reading but writing as well. So instead, I’ve decided to try my hand at a podcast so those suffering won’t have to do anything but listen.
Welcome to my life. I hope in some small way you will be inspired by my story, which is actually so many others’ story as well.