I have Lyme disease

As best I can recall, it all started around 15 years ago. I was finishing up my sophomore year at college and had just taken my last final exam. The following Monday I would be heading into the hospital for some diagnostic tests related to persistent and as-yet-undiagnosed digestive issues. I woke up on Sunday feeling sicker than I’d ever felt in my entire life. My head was pounding, my body ached, I was nauseous, dizzy, and tremoring; the very definition of “flu like symptoms.” I spent the entire day in bed and prayed I’d feel better for all the tests I had to endure the next day. I didn’t.

When I got to the hospital they took one look at me and immediately hooked up an IV. I was dehydrated, bordering on delirious, and so weak that I needed help walking. Once they laid me down, I didn’t have enough strength to lift my head off of the pillow. Tests were run and everything came back negative. They sent me home and I was essentially bedridden for three months with all of these symptoms persisting.

I would eventually recover with the help of a chiropractor who surmised that I must have severe food allergies. Following a very strict diet and supplement protocol, I slowly regained my strength. It would take a year for me to fully recover, or so I thought.

Not the end

Although I was feeling much better, I would still get episodes where the symptoms would recur. They would happen every 2-3 months and I’d be sick in bed for 1-2 weeks. The episodes would come on suddenly and, try as I might, I was never able to discern a pattern. As a plucky 20-something, I pushed through as much as I could, and took to bed only when absolutely forced. After an episode was over, I’d feel back to normal. The only lingering symptom was incredibly unrestful sleep (as in, I could fall and stay asleep easily, but upon waking, I would feel like I didn’t get any rest) and persistent exhaustion.

Over the years I’d seek the opinion of dozens of doctors and alternative healthcare practitioners. Everyone was baffled. No one had experienced anything like what I was describing. I amassed quite an array of diagnoses: chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, eating disorder, malabsorption. The one that stuck was chronic fatigue syndrome, as it was the best atomic description of what my body was presenting.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is strange in that it’s the name for a set of symptoms similar to mine but there is no test for it. You are deemed to have chronic fatigue syndrome only after a doctor has ruled out every other possible cause of persistent fatigue. And at that point, you’re pretty much screwed. There are no treatments and no cure, which makes sense, because no cause has ever been identified.

The symptom brigade

As time marched on, the amount of time in between episodes decreased and the length of the episodes increased. I also starting collecting new symptoms, each one more bizarre than the last, seemingly without cause. I started losing weight without trying. I went from a fit and athletic 165 lbs. to 160, and then 155, 150, all the way to my recent lowest of 128. It happened gradually but persistently over 10 years. Doctors accused me of having an eating disorder, of being too depressed to eat, of making myself sick to get attention. I told them over and over that I was eating all the time and nothing I did worked; they didn’t believe me. And so I sat by and watched, horrified, as my body grew weaker and more emaciated.

I started getting bizarre skin rashes that doctors couldn’t identify. I started losing my hair in my early 20s despite a favorable family history regarding male pattern baldness holding out until middle age. I seemingly acquired more food allergies with every passing year, defying the belief of every doctor I saw. I developed a chronic cough that made some think I was secretly smoking.

Then the neurological trouble started. I noticed my memory slipping and my short-term memory being effectively reduced to dog-like lengths. I found myself making mistakes on things I should know. I had trouble solving problems that I knew I should make short work of. I had trouble recalling words and names of people. My ability to concentrate disappeared – every conversation, every thought was a struggle.

I woke up one morning to find both of my arms numb and tingling. After another week, the tingling had spread to my neck and face. The tingling started to subside, giving way to intense nerve pain in my arms that was initially misdiagnosed as a repetitive stress injury (it didn’t respond to any RSI treatment). Shortly thereafter, after an intense (and undiagnosed) pain in my throat, speaking became a struggle. My voice ended up hoarse all the time and even short conversations caused immense pain. It felt like my throat just wouldn’t respond to my command to speak.

More recently, I’ve had bouts of extreme confusion. I’ve been stuck trying to complete everyday tasks. My brain feels like it doesn’t have the knowledge. It’s a combination of forgetting how to do something combined with not being able to solve the problem again, and it’s one of the most helpless feelings I’ve ever experienced. Last night, I looked at a closed container of parmesan, then back to my plate, then back to the parmesan, impatiently waiting for my brain to tell me how to open the container and pour the cheese onto my food.

Coping mechanisms

If you’ve ever met me, you may be wondering at this point whether I was experiencing any of these symptoms while with you. The answer is yes. For a long time, my life has been a carefully crafted act and series of processes to allow me to function somewhat normally. I struggled through every talk I’ve given, every interaction I’ve had. You see, I learned early on that people are very unsympathetic when it comes to my condition. When I initially got sick, my girlfriend of four years dumped me because it’s no fun dating someone who doesn’t feel well enough to go out. My senior year in college, the drama club took away my part because I had a bad episode eight weeks before opening night and had to miss a week of rehearsal. Those experiences convinced me that this was a secret I would need to keep or else I’d be denied the life I wanted.

Chronic fatigue syndrome, though officially recognized by the CDC, is still treated primarily as a psychological disorder. If you have cancer or AIDS, you are a victim who is bravely fighting a horrible disease. Society regularly labels these people as brave, courageous, and heroic. They are incredibly strong and we cheer them along in their pursuit of health (several members of my family have had, and beaten, cancer, and they are undeniably heroes). If you have chronic fatigue syndrome, though, society views you as weak, as emotionally inferior and constitutionally lacking. People tell you to “snap out of it” or “it’s just depression,” as if you could just decide to be healthy and it would be so. Even people you think love you still harbor secret opinions, “well, he is a bit of a hypochondriac.” These are the people we ridicule on sitcoms: the kid who needs an inhaler, the teenager with food allergies, all labeled as “weak” and pitiful. Not victims of unfortunate circumstances like those fighting a “real” disease, but people who have chosen to be weak, and therefore, deserve ridicule if for no other reason than it might snap them out of it.

So I devised ways to continue functioning, how to act healthy even when I felt horrible. I had no other choice and I was damn good at it. Some of the girls I dated never knew anything was wrong. Close friends and family members were kept in the dark. I was able to arrange my life in such a way that I could keep up the appearance of health. I became adept at excuse-making when I knew I was physically not well enough to do something. I had a cold. I’ve been working too much and need to rest. I had a wild weekend last week, so this weekend I’m just going to relax.

To make up for my failing memory and inability to concentrate, I started writing things down. The writing that you may know me for now was born out of a realization that I would most likely not remember what I had done or learned. The very first article I wrote was just for myself, written in such a way that I knew I would be able to re-learn it by reading the article carefully. It was only when a friend saw the article and convinced me to publish it that I realized the way I describe things for myself would be useful for others as well.

I also crafted my personality carefully to avoid energy-sucking behavior. While in my early 20s I was gregarious and always had something to say, I tapered down unnecessary conversation as my energy levels decreased with the passing of time. Those who meet me today tend to describe me as opinionated, but also as someone who will really listen. That was a purposeful change because listening takes far less energy than talking, and so I want to save my energy to say and do the really important things (see also: spoon theory).

Over the years I’d need to cut down on extracurricular activities to preserve my energy. I used to go to the gym four times a week to lift weights. I kept cutting down until I no longer went, there just wasn’t enough energy. I used to go out on the weekends, but in the past few years, all I’ve done is go to work and then come home to rest. I’ve had to give up things like meeting friends for dinner, going to shows, and other social events. That necessarily meant no more dating – the facade became too much energy to maintain while not at work, and it’s hard to start a relationship when you never feel well enough to go out and do anything.

The hardest part has been the gradual increase of isolation. Those with chronic fatigue and similar conditions often cite this as the most difficult part of their condition. Losing touch with friends, not being able to see loved ones, and without hope of meeting new acquaintances, life becomes quite dreary. If you let it.

This is why I believe in the transformative power of the Internet. I was able to still feel a part of the world no matter how sick I felt. Email, Twitter, Facebook, are all godsends to those with limiting health issues. It’s not quite the same as having someone there with you, but it helps immensely. I can do my food shopping, order gifts, and do all my banking online. What is a convenience for most people is how I’ve been able to stay self-sufficient for so long.

Mind games

A couple years ago, I recognized that my health had been on a steady decline. I mapped out what I thought was the most probable future: I estimated that at my rate of decline, without intervention, I would likely be functionally incapacitated within five years. I’m not talking about needing to work from home permanently, I’m talking about being unable to even work from home due to the physical stress and my deteriorating cognitive ability, effectively someone who would need to be in a nursing home. That’s not something most people even consider in their 30s, but I had to be realistic and plan appropriately. I got my affairs in order, put together a will, a power of attorney should I become incapacitated, and a living will. I figured the least I could do was to make it easy in the seemingly likely event that I’d be unable to care for myself in the not-too-distant-future.

I had promised myself a long time ago that I would never give up looking for the answer, but after over a decade of failing, I was beginning to doubt that the answer would arrive in time. So while I continued researching new studies on chronic fatigue syndrome, I decided to focus on the one thing I could control: my thoughts.

When I was little, my dad used to always talk about “mind over matter.” He’d use that phrase over and over again, and it stuck. Control your thoughts and you can exert some sort of control over the world through your reactions to it. So I started looking into ways of quieting my mind and taking back control of my thoughts. It took me several years, but through a combination of various meditation practices and hypnotherapy, I was finally able to create peace in my mind. I had tools for dealing with the horrific esoteric thoughts that could creep in when I wasn’t paying attention (“am I being punished?”, “am I bad person and so I deserve to suffer?”), I learned how to focus my mind on a task despite the firestorm in my body, and learned to accept what my body was telling me rather than trying to fight it.

I finally reached a point of peace. I wasn’t depressed, I wasn’t anxious, I just was. And in just being, I found more ways to calm my mind. The best way? Writing.

Writing became a form of meditation for me. I’d get lost as the words flowed from my mind effortlessly, with a gentle focus that made me feel peaceful and strong. Once I got into the flow of writing, whether a technical article or not, my mind relaxed into a familiar and comfortable pattern. It was pacifying to my mind and body. And so writing became my primary escape.

No matter how I felt, or how upset I might get about any type of situation, I would start writing so long as I felt well enough. It didn’t even matter what I was writing. I’d write letters to no one in particular, technical blog posts for this site, non-technical blog posts under a pseudonym on other sites, books, articles…it didn’t matter, what mattered was the writing. I can write for eight hours straight without a break when I get going. The meditative feel of the experience is such an available escape from however I’m feeling that I indulge regularly.

This experience is exactly why I tell aspiring writers to just write, about anything or nothing in particular, regardless of who might read it. Writing has been so soothing and comforting for me, that I can’t imagine what I would be like without it.

Lyme disease

How I discovered I have Lyme disease rather than the much more mysterious chronic fatigue syndrome is a story that some will have trouble believing. Suffice to say, when you’re fed up with doctors telling you you’re not sick, you will do anything and see anyone who might give you a glimmer of hope. You seek out the strange, the bizarre, because what other choice do you have?

I had been seeing a wonderful hypnotherapist who helped me process a lot of baggage and finally release it. For some, this is the most esoteric thing they’d consider, but it’s nowhere near the strangest type of healer I’ve ever seen. After one of our sessions, she told me that while she enjoyed working me, her gut was telling her the root of my problems was physical and not emotional. She then referred me to a strange old lady who practices a type of healing art related to the body’s energy field. The hypnotherapist assured me that this would be a bizarre visit, but it would be well worth it.

The old lady hobbled along with the help of a walker and used a technique called applied kinesiology to ask my body questions. What would follow was nothing if not the most entertaining evaluation I’d ever experienced. She proceeded to ask my body yes and no questions, and waiting for reactions in her partner’s muscle strength. Yes, it’s just as weird as it sounds, but I was desperate. Then she started asking my body if it had specific types of infections that I had never heard of. She used the word spirochete, which I had never heard of before. She recommended some herbs and wrote down what she had found.

Now, I’ve been to my fair share of strange health practitioners over the years, and as such, developed a very finely-tuned bullshit detector. I could tell when people were reaching or clueless, and I could tell when people were on to something. So I went home and did what anyone would do: I opened up Google and started typing in all the words I didn’t know. When I did that, all that came up were articles about Lyme disease.

I immediately did more research and ordered a book that I found from following the articles. The more I read the book, the more excited I got. The story sounded exactly like me, from bizarre beginnings to tests all showing nothing was wrong to recurring episodes of poor health. My heart started to beat faster and a growing amount of excitement surged in my body. Could this be it?

I ordered several more books on Lyme disease and started researching specialists in the area, eventually settling on a doctor not five minutes from my apartment. It took a couple of months to get in to see her. Because her specialty is fatigue-related disorders, including Lyme, I wanted to present her with my symptoms only and let her tell me what she thought was going on. I didn’t mention Lyme at all, because I didn’t want to unintentionally affect the diagnosis, I just relayed all of my symptoms and waited for her to respond. After about 30 minutes of listening to me name off symptom after symptom, she stopped and said, “So here’s my theory. I think around 15 years ago you got bitten by a deer tick and you have Lyme disease.”

She ran a lot of specialized bloodwork for Lyme disease and several other types of infections that are frequently seen with Lyme disease, and when I got the results back, they confirmed the diagnosis. I have Lyme disease along with a couple of related coinfections. I started treatment five weeks ago, and the average treatment period for chronic Lyme disease is 1-2 years. The treatment has some very unpleasant side effects, so I have a long road ahead. But for the first time, I have a path to travel.

Why share now?

You may be wondering why I’m sharing my story now. I debated whether I should or not, but upon seeking some advice from friends, I feel like it’s the right thing to do. I’ve been really sick since the end of last year, I’ve been stuck in a bad episode for months and so I’ve stopped giving talks, and more recently, have been forced to work from home due to my condition. I’ve been blowing off invitations for all kinds of things, lunches, talks, conferences, meetups, and I want everyone to know that I’ve not suddenly become a shut-in who doesn’t want to interact with people. It’s that I’m very sick and I’m trying to get better.

I’ve worked very hard to craft my public persona into something I’m proud of, and I realized that writing this post means I could very well end up being labeled as “that guy JavaScript guy with Lyme disease.” In one post, I would redefine myself publicly in terms of my disease, and that frightened me to no end. The years of trying to hide how sick I felt and the scorn I felt from people judging me as weak is still very fresh in my mind. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to embrace that.

However, something amazing has happened as a result of my illness and diagnosis. I reconnected with a childhood friend who had similar symptoms for years, and it now looks like she has Lyme disease and will be able to get better with treatment. Another friend relayed my story to her friend, who had suffered with a lot of similar symptoms, and she is now investigating Lyme disease as a possibility. There is so little attention on Lyme disease that it often goes misdiagnosed, sentencing people to miserable symptoms simply because not enough people understand the disease. I realized that everything I’ve been through could help others if I shared my story, and if my experience can save even one person from one day of suffering, then it’s worth any personal discomfort I might feel.

Be your own advocate

If you take anything away from this post, I hope that it’s this: be your own advocate. Listen to your body, no one knows your body better than you. Doctors may run tests that come back negative, but just like code, you can’t find the bug if you’re looking in the wrong place. Don’t let anyone convince you that your problems are all “in your head” and don’t convince yourself that suffering is normal and acceptable. It is not.

If you have unrestful sleep, persistent flu-like symptoms, strange infections and conditions, see a doctor and get all the horrible stuff ruled out. Sometimes the answer is simple and will show up on standard tests. I’ve had friends with similar symptoms find out they had brain tumors, or sleep apnea, or food allergies, or thyroid conditions. Those can all be tested for very easily. If you’ve ruled out everything else, start researching Lyme disease.

And if you’re suffering from some unknown, undiagnosed ailment, don’t give up on life. Absolutely everything worthwhile I’ve accomplished in my life occurred after I got sick. The only real limits you have are the ones you place on yourself.

Comments

  1. Wowzer

    Wow, what a story!!! Best of health in the future!!

  2. Matthew Hadley

    Good luck Nicholas. Continue being strong and get yourself well.

  3. Francainath

    Nicholas, I've been a big fan of your writings since I first found your blog. I now own a few of your books and have learned much from them. Recently, I found a comment in one of your prefaces, that you "write things down to help you remember" odd and somewhat outta place for a rather sharp and verbose guy. This post helps bring that together for me. Thank you for sharing. And thank you for fighting through. You perseverance is exemplary. As someone who has walked life with a few people who have had long term, serious, and somewhat mysterious health conditions, I have seen some of how that can alienate a person from their life - and especially how impatient the rest of us can be towards those kinds of personal battles.

    The real gem here for me, though, is not just your personal victory in finding the source of your condition, but the fact that you've already started helping others. That is commendable.

    Better health to you, sir.
    May you find a new vitality as you walk through this.
    And please, keep writing and sharing.

  4. Enrique

    Nicholas, mate, I don't know you but I praise you for your tenacity to go on and find an answer. Keep fighting and get better.

    A fellow web developer

  5. Craig

    I've been struggling with some strange symptoms myself over the last year and have experienced much of the isolation and coping mechanisms you describe. Sadly the symptoms don't align with yours, but it's nice to know I'm not the only one who feels this way. Thank you for sharing this.

  6. Jeremy Prime

    Sorry to hear this but great news that you finally got a diagnosis. Think of it this way, with all that you achieved with a terrible debilitating disease, think how awesome you will be once you've recovered from it.

  7. Anonymous

    You are truly a hero. Thank you for sharing your story. I wish you a speedy and complete recovery. Conserve your strength, the world needs you.

  8. Nicholas C. Zakas

    @Craig - you are definitely not alone, and I'm sure you'll figure it out.

  9. Eric

    Thank you so much for sharing this. It gives hope and inspiration to anyone who is suffering with an illness or caring for a family member with an illness. I really enjoy reading your blogs, Javascript books and (non-Football) Tweets. I will honor your road to recovery by eating 2 handfuls of chocolate covered almonds, as I too love this delicious treat!

  10. Keith

    Just to say that this post is very brave and an inspiration to us all. As someone who has a son diagnosed with Chronic fatigue for over seven years I can identify with what you've been through and want to wish you all the best with your treatment. Is there a particular book or author that you would recommend to find out more about Lyme disease?

  11. Luke Smith

    Much respect for sharing. You obviously have the fortitude to deal with the trials of recovery.

    This is transformative. You've replaced a mystery killer with something curable. There is a cure. That's huge. I can't imagine how this must feel. You've upgraded your image of future-you in the most fundamental way. You've already won. I'm really happy for you, and for the world you will continue to improve.

  12. Ravi Hamsa

    Your JavaScript talks and books inspired many folks like me to get better at what we do, this post will make us better at the way we see life. I personally know what it takes to live with limitations, but the bravado of talking about it in public stuck me. You are a hero.

  13. Nicholas C. Zakas

    @Keith - I'm so sorry your son is going through this. There are three books I recommend, and I'd read them in this order:

    "Healing Lyme" (Buhner) - this is mainly about an herbal protocol for treating Lyme disease but has an excellent first section on how Lyme disease works in the body. I found this tremendously reassuring as it explains some of the more bizarre symptoms. It also covers several of the coinfections. You can skip the part about the herbal protocol if that's not your cup of tea, but it's interesting info.

    "Healing Lyme Disease Coinfections" (Buhner) - focuses on a few of the more common Lyme disease coinfections. Useful to understand how various symptoms might map to other types of infections. Similar to the first book, contains excellent, in-depth information about the disease process for these coinfections along with herbal protocols for treating them.

    "Why can't I get better?" (Horowitz) - written by a medical doctor who specializes in Lyme. He goes over all of his findings, research, and experience, and shares stories of various people with Lyme disease that he's treated successfully. I recommend this last because the details can be overwhelming. The other two present a particular slice of the Lyme disease puzzle, and this one throws all the puzzle pieces onto the ground in front of you.

    Also, things worth exploring if you haven't already: sleep apnea (get a sleep study done to rule it out), food allergies (try eliminating wheat, dairy, soy, and corn for a month and see if he feels better), mold allergies (you can get testing kits online for your home).

    Best of luck, I'm sure you and your son can figure out what's going on.

  14. Dylan George

    This is the most captivating piece of writing I have seen in years. Amazing story. Incredible drive. You are pure inspiration. This article almost brought me to tears of sadness and joy all at the same time.

  15. Fredrik Björeman

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I have several people near and dear to me who struggle with various long-term things, and I see so much of the same problems in dealing with other people, both the keeping of facades and the imagined and actual problems with how people react when faced with unexpected illness. Talking about it is the best thing we can do. It is so much harder to be judgmental and scared if you've picked up some actual facts and stories through osmosis :-) …

    Keep writing, about anything and everything. You are still the same Javascript guy now as you were before I read this! Here's to good health!

  16. Chris Smith

    I found this very touching and was quite close to tears for certain parts. I've always enjoyed your writing so am very glad to read it brings you so much joy and peace of mind too. Your incredible persistence for finding a diagnosis is inspiring. Keep writing :)

  17. mark trostler

    Nick glad you finally figured it out my wife followed a very similar path to your own. She has tried and is currently trying any and all treatments. If you ever need to get ideas or bounce thoughts off of anyone about your treatments she can help.
    Please reach out to me, I'm sure you'll find her a valuable resource.
    Good Luck and all the best.

  18. Ken

    Nicholas-Like others, I wish you the best of health. It sounds like you've really been through the wringer. That said, for your health, I'd caution you here that the world of Lyme disease has its share of quacks, or more charitably, "those who ignore or are unaware of what evidence/science-based medicine has discovered about Lyme."

    I have no real special qualifications here, but do work at a health clinic in a Lyme endemic area for an organization with a natural resources focus. We see our share of Lyme. If you are seeing a "Lyme Literate" doc, I consider that a red flag, not a plus, at least post diagnosis. If symptoms persist after treatment, DON'T accept it as necessarily a result of earlier or continuing Lyme. Keep digging.

    Best of luck to you. YUI has helped me many-a-time.

  19. Peter W A Wood

    I hope that your treatment is as unpleasant as possible and that you start feeling fit and healthy soon. You so deserve to get better quickly for not giving up.

    I also hope that won't give up writing once your back in the gym four times a week, it will still be healthy meditation.

  20. Peter W A Wood

    OOPS - I"m meant that :

    I hope your treatment is a little unpleasant as possible!!

    I'm sorry for the slip!!!

  21. Raif Harik

    Wonderful article

  22. Jen Neves

    Beautifully written Nicholas! You're going to help a lot of people with this.

  23. Ouyang Yadong

    Good luck Nicholas.

  24. Jaseem

    Get well soon :)

  25. Adam

    Hi Nicholas,

    I read every word, as I do most of your JS articles :). Thank you for sharing about your illness - it is a good thing you did in my opinion.

    I don't normally do this but I feel compelled to chime in. For one reason or another which I won't share here, I have become very involved in investigating health issues. I want to point you in the direction of distilled waters as what may sound very cooky is actually very simple and very real treatment.

    I won't say more here but you have my email if you want to talk more I would be happy to.

    Wish you a quick recovery.

    Adam

  26. Bobby

    Thanks for sharing your emotional and inspiring story. As usual, it is a well-constructed piece of writing. I hope you will recover soon and find back the energy in life.

  27. ramsay harik

    Thanks for a compelling and brave testimonial. I believe this entry, painful as it must have been to write, will do others much good and will help you find a path that includes your condition, rather than denying it, May you heal rapidly and fully.

  28. Philip

    Thank you for sharing, good luck

  29. Nicholas C. Zakas

    @Ken - I'm keenly aware of the politics of Lyme (as well as the conspiracy theories related to it). There are definitely a lot of quacks out there, but I don't think lumping all "Lyme literate" doctors together is fair any more than grouping all non-LL doctors together is fair. Part of the treatment is the relationship with the doctor. I searched for a doctor who would help me with the specific treatment I wanted and act as a partner rather than a dictator. So far I'm happy with the results.

  30. Shelby

    You already know I think you're amazing. I did a happy wiggly snoopy dance when I saw the title of this post--not for the disease, but for the diagnosis! Gentle hugs to you until your bear hugability is back in full force. I know this doesn't mean you're all bettah, but it makes a heart happy to know you can finally start kicking something's behind straight behind you. I'm here for this journey!

  31. Eric Brooks

    Thanks for this story. I was very interested. Misdiagnosing almost resulted in my death a few years back. I appreciate how important it is for people to be advocates for themselves and trust what they are experiencing.

    All the best in your recovery.

  32. David Tong

    Thanks for sharing the story. To me, this article is somewhat life-changing. I spent 20 minutes in deep thoughts after reading it. Not only are you now a hero in my mind, but I've come to realize that health is the biggest gift.

    Get better! I need to give you a big hug when I see you!

  33. Denis

    Nicholas, I wish you the best of luck in a healing process you are going through. This world needs people like you!

  34. Francis Au-Yeung

    Enjoy your blog as usual... But this unusual blog makes me respect you even more - your courage, your honesty - in addition to your intelligence.

    Best of luck to your speedy recovery!

  35. Burak Yigit Kaya

    Thank you very much for sharing this and best of luck with the treatment. Hope you get well and come back with your presentations!

  36. STuFF

    I've learnt so much things from your books, thanks for sharing...
    I wish you the best for the future, hoping your health will get better...

  37. Wilson Cheung

    Health is a developer's most important asset. Understanding and managing personal health is unfortunately one topic that most of us ignore everyday.

    I'm glad you brought this up to raise awareness. Best of luck on managing your health, wishing you a speedy recovery!

  38. Doster

    Thanks for sharing. Hope you get well soon. And it's not that I lack of words, but my English isn't quite at the level I wanted to express some of my thoughts.

    I wish you the best.

  39. Tim

    Nicholas, I'm very happy for you, that after all these years you were finally able to figure out what was going on. I wish you the very best in your recovery. Look forward to hanging out - it's been awhile.

  40. bob

    Nicholas, you're still the Javascript guy to me. I'm just more impressed now that you could be so knowledgeable and helpful to the web dev community while struggling so much. I hope that you are now on the path to recovery.

  41. Jlarry

    Almost impossible to find a good lyme doc. Three words for you: Buhner. Cat's Claw. Spiro. They saved my life. Chin up fella

  42. Nancy Lebovitz

    Might you be willing to name the hypnotherapist and/or the kinesiologist?

  43. John Peloquin

    Nicholas, I am sorry to learn that you struggled with this for so long but am glad that you finally got it diagnosed. It can be very challenging to get accurate diagnoses for certain types of medical conditions.

    I only wish you had known a hypochondriac friend like Larry David in college:
    http://www.youtube.com/watc...

  44. zenany

    This is a great story, your struggle with strange disease is so inspiring. I'm so glad that you finally find out the exactly disease what it is.You are brave and optimistic, I hope you will be well soon.
    By the way, my be you can try chinese medicine as adjuvant therapy, it is useful for some chronic disease.

  45. Steven Hunt

    Nicholas, thank you for sharing your story with the community. You are an inspiration to all of us, reminding everyone that you can accomplish anything that you put your mind to regardless of the obstacles that get in your way. We'll be here supporting you, and wishing you to get well soon!

  46. Tony Landers

    While I don't portend to have expert-level knowledge on chronic pain, I do know that, it can and will affect our sense of well-being to the point where mood stabilizers offer some benefit. Case in point, I suffered from chronic pain for five years due to hereditary, degenerative disc disease. Essentially my neck was collapsing. Vertebrae were pinching nerves beginning just below my brain. My entire musculoskeletal system suffered. Along with constant shooting pains down my arms, the muscles in my legs began to atrophy. I had surgery and feel eons better. Although, I find that I'm rushing to make up five years of time lost. If you aren't already, I cautiously recommend medication that prevents your outlook on life from dipping below normal.

  47. Nicholas C. Zakas

    @zenany - thanks. I have actually been doing TCM on and off over the years and found it very helpful.

  48. Nicholas C. Zakas

    @Tony - sorry you went through that. I appreciate the advice, though I've had antidepressants in the past, I have no need for them now. Meditation helps keep my mind and emotions well balanced.

  49. Davide

    Nicholas!
    You are a source of inspiration for every web developer with a passion for software architecture. Still your most inspiring posts are those related to being humans, like the one about the power of thank you and this one. Can't thank you enough for these.
    Wish you all the best, I'm sure you'll get back more than you have been taken away until now!

  50. Tank

    A JavaScript guy with Lyme disease is still first a JavaScript guy. If anything, it will make you more famous as a JavaScript guy. If people thought of you as 'the guy with Lyme disease', that might affect the reception of your work. But people will not think you as 'the guy with Lyme disease'. Just a guy with Lyme disease is not interesting. There has to be something else to the story. Like JavaScript.

    Keep writing. Recover. When you are able, go back on tour.

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