I know, I know, this is a diabetes blog. But those of you who follow me regularly are probably aware that a new chronic illness has entered our lives — Lyme disease. My husband was diagnosed shortly after we returned from Germany last summer, and it's turning out to be a much more formidable opponent than we originally thought.

Here are some things I have learned:

1. The disease is named after the village of Lyme, Connecticut, where a bunch unusual arthritis cases were reported in 1975. The cause of the disease was not known until 1982 (!), when a researcher named Willy Burgdorfer identified that it was carried by ticks and involved at least three species of bacteria.

2. So it's a pretty "young" disease in the medical world, and also a very nebulous one. To this day it appears to be chronically ignored and misdiagnosed (four doctors told my husband he didn't have it, until we found a specialist who confirmed that we had a "classic case" on our hands).

3. Even with lots and lots of antibiotics (believe me, there are many and you need to take them for months on end), the challenge is to kill off the various co-infections that are also carried by ticks and very often infect people who get Lyme. Our doctor tells us that these other bacterial and parasitic {insert gagging noise} infections "serve to protect the Lyme, making it harder to kill off the core infection."

4. Untreated, at least a first, it makes you feel like you have a horrible ongoing case of jet lag — like it's always 3am and you just can't "get your head together" for days on end. Or at least that's how my husband described it. Even weeks after starting the meds, he had trouble concentrating, and sleeping, and I've never seen him so negative. Downright depressive, I'd say. Not the man I usually live with.

5. Health social media has worked its magic on this once-obscure and acutely isolating disease, too.  Do a search on Lyme today and you will find at least a half-dozen active pages devoted to it on Facebook, and countless support forums around the web. One of the first things I did was Google the term "Lyme stories," which yielded 724,000 hits. A Google Blog search yields almost 160,000 more.  The Lyme Disease Foundation in Connecticut has even published a book of its patient story collection.

Also, a new documentary film called "Under Our Skin" is now spreading awareness, and railing at the failures of the medical establishment — in particular the Infectious Diseases Society of America, which has officially denied that chronic Lyme disease even exists. Would you believe?

I am here to tell you that this thing is for real.

And if you don't believe me, try Amy Tan, Parker Posey, or Daryl Hall, to name a few. Every condition has its celebs, you see. I'm not sure why that's such a comfort, but it is.

Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For more details click here.

Disclaimer

This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and doesn't adhere to Healthline's editorial guidelines. For more information about Healthline's partnership with Diabetes Mine, please click here.