Today, I’m concluding my interview with author Brandilyn Collins. You can find Part 1 here. Today, we focus on healing and what medical professionals can do to improve the care for those affected by chronic illness.
Jordyn: You’ve been open about God healing you during your first Lyme infection. Did your feelings/attitude toward God change when you were reinfected? Are some of these attitudes reflected in Janessa’s attitude toward God as displayed in the novel?
Brandilyn: When I was reinfected with Lyme in 2009, I couldn’t believe it! I gave God a hard talking-to. What are you doing? We’ve been here, done this. And aren’t you worried about your reputation—so many people know you cured me once? What if they doubt you now?
Well first, God informed me that He’d been dealing with the reputation thing since He brought the Israelites out of Egypt, so thank you very much, but He had that under control. Second, I can see now in hindsight that if I hadn’t experienced round number two of Lyme, I wouldn’t have written Over the Edge. As it turned out, six months of antibiotics cured me of that round.
Regarding Janessa, her spiritual journey is similar to mine. When I had Lyme the first time, I learned how to pray the psalms, both as petition and in praise—whether I felt like praising God or not. Most of the time I didn’t. It was a wonderful lesson that has changed me to this day.
Jordyn: Any words of wisdom for doctors/nurses in dealing with patients who have chronic pain/illness?
Brandilyn: Please, please don’t tell them it’s “all in their head” or some form thereof. Just because you can’t diagnose an illness—that doesn’t mean the patient simply wants attention or is a hypochondriac. It’s bad enough facing chronic illness. Worse still to be invalidated by the medical community. And please—educate yourself about Lyme. Admittedly, this is hard to do, because typical education would be in the form of reading published articles in esteemed medical journals. Unfortunately, these articles are based on the old, wrong assumptions about Lyme (or the authors simply ignore other research altogether). Google “lyme wars” to start online research. And—I have to get in that plug—read Over the Edge. It will alert you to the symptoms and issues involved in the Lyme wars—and how those wars came about.
Secondly, I want to talk to you doctors/nurses who do know about Lyme but are afraid to diagnose it. I understand your dilemma. I understand you don’t want to get into a battle between treating a patient long-term as he or she needs and your medical board. The political climate for you regarding Lyme is very bad. But please don’t send that patient away, saying, “I don’t know what’s wrong with you.” At least admit to the patient that he may have Lyme and refer him to an organization that can help find a Lyme doctor. (Googling “find a Lyme literate doctor” is easy.)
Leaving a possible Lyme patient completely in the dark opens him up to extended, further debilitating disease—if he does indeed have Lyme. I’ve seen this happen. I’ve seen Lyme patients lose all quality of life and become bedridden because their doctors didn’t want to admit Lyme, even when those doctors recognized the signs. I’ve even seen doctors refuse to test for Lyme when the patient requested it.
Jordyn: Any final thoughts?
Brandilyn: Good health and blessings to all. ~ Brandilyn
Thank you so much, Brandilyn, for your time. Blessings to you in your writing and to the continued success of Over the Edge.
Even in writing fiction, it’s a must to be factual for the story to ring true. Brandilyn also started a web-site for Lyme patients to discuss their experiences as well as some additional education regarding Lyme disease. These are great resources for research.
Blog Note: This interview with Brandilyn was originally published in May, 2011. Still, there appears to be confusion on how to deal with these patients as evidenced by just one recently published news piece called Defining Lyme: Medical community struggles with treatment.
Do you know anyone who suffers from chronic Lyme disease? Have you ever incorporated a disease into a story line?
Help spread the word about Brandilyn’s interview and Lyme Disease!