Open Letter to Conventional Medicine From a Lyme Patient

Dear Conventional Medicine...

Dear Conventional Medicine,

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. You’ve increased our life spans and eradicated certain viruses from the planet. You can replace a failing organ and fix a shattered bone. You’ve made so many advances and discoveries it makes me want to kiss you. You work tireless hours and even when you aren’t at work you carry that godforsaken pager. Respect.

I was 100% devoted to you, Conventional Medicine. I took your pills and spewed your research to anyone who would listen. Everything you are is based on science and peer reviewed, so how could I doubt you? I thought Alternative Medicine was for nutcases and loonies.

And then I got sick. And you abandoned me.

For 10+ years I stuck by you, even when you were mistreating me (literally). Test after test, diagnosis after diagnosis and all you could tell me is, “We don’t know.”

At the end of our relationship, you started ignoring me completely. It seems you couldn’t admit you had nothing to offer me.

So I reached out and gave Alternative Medicine a try, because I thought it might be a better fit for me. They call it Integrative Medicine now, because the focus is on finding the root cause of disease instead of treating symptoms. Within a year, they found the right tests and I was diagnosed with Lyme disease.

Had I stayed with you, Conventional Medicine, I may have never gotten better and probably would’ve gotten much worse. During our relationship, I asked you for a Lyme disease test and you told me, “You don’t have that.” Well, guess what? It turns out that I do, even based on your rigid standards. You told me you don’t believe in me. You told me even if I did have it, I don’t have it anymore. You told me it is easily cured and doesn’t become chronic. And you’re telling my 300,000+ friends the same thing. It seems you don’t understand us at all.

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Well, we are growing in numbers and our voice is getting louder. Pretty soon, you won’t be able to to ignore us anymore.

Conventional Medicine, you are lagging behind this current health movement. It’s time to get out from behind the microscope and find your way into reality. Alternative Medicine is making some amazing discoveries about diet, detoxification, and exercise. There are so many clinical trials waiting to happen that have no funding, because they are not backed by some pharmaceutical company.

Please stop “managing my symptoms” by writing scripts for things that cause just as much harm as good. I want to flourish, wildly, vibrantly for the rest of the long life you have helped me have. Come over to the other side. We can have the best of both worlds.

Well, Conventional Medicine, if you want to recognize chronic Lyme, fund clinical trials, and develop new treatments, I’m your girl. But I guess for now, I’m leaving you for Integrative Medicine. They have these awesome people called Lyme Literate Medical Doctors and after seeing one for 5 months I feel so much better than when I was with you. I’ll see you around, probably at my physical once a year.


Kerry J. Heckman

Kerry J. Heckman

Kerry authors the health, wellness, & lifestyle blog Body Mind Lyme. Diagnosed with chronic Lyme Disease in 2016, her journey with invisible illness began over 10 years ago. Her motto is a quote from David Byrne: “We are like the birds. We adapt. We sing.”
Kerry J. Heckman

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