A Touching Fan Letter To Gary Bettman From A Girl With Lyme Disease Who Needs Her Hockey

DC Sports Nexus ---- Sunday, September 30, 2012

The following is a letter that was sent to me by a fan...

Dear Mr. Bettman,

My name is Brooke and I am a 20 year old avid hockey fan with Lyme disease. I am writing to tell you how this lockout is affecting my health.

Now, you may be thinking, "How does hockey have anything to do with Lyme disease?" Well, my particular case of Lyme is unique. Most of my symptoms are psychological because the Lyme bacteria have made their way into my brain. This happened presumably because I was infected with Lyme as a small child and not knowing any better, I thought that the symptoms I was experiencing were "normal" for everyone. 


Brooke Expressing How She Feels About The Lockout

As you may or may not know, Lyme can manifest itself in a multitude of ways and is often called "the great imitator" because the symptoms almost always mimic other common ailments such as the flu. As a child, I probably got "sick" and was treated for whatever the doctor assumed was ailing me. They didn't, at the time, realize that it was a tick bite that had been causing my symptoms.

Fast forward 10 years to my early teens. Lyme disease had been incubating in my body for a very long time, growing stronger and beginning to completely run my body. As a 14 year old, I was still afraid of the dark and was convinced that there were strange ghosts living in my house. Usually, kids grow out of these fears around age 8. However, my fears and delusions just became stronger and stronger until I fell into a deep depression. 


I began to harm myself...


My parents attributed this to the fact that I was a moody teenager and put me into therapy. At the same time, I was taking an antibiotic for another health issue I was having. Lyme disease, coincidentally, is treated by antibiotics. 

The Lyme was suppressed for about two years after taking the antibiotic. I got out of therapy and was okay until my senior year of high school. It came to the point where I nearly ended my life because my delusions were completely overtaking my mind. The Lyme had come back full force and was completely driving me mad. 


The only escape I had at this point was hockey...


My dad had been coaching hockey since before I was born, so I grew up in a hockey family. Although I never played, I was around NHL games on television since I was little. During my senior year of high school, just as things started going downhill, the NHL became my escape. 



I went to several games and followed the league more closely than I ever had. I may have been depressed and suicidal at times but when I was watching hockey, all of those feelings were put on the back burner. In short, hockey made me happy. 



The NHL was my antidepressant...


After a while I ended up back in therapy and by some act of God, my therapist suggested I get tested for Lyme disease.  She had a hunch that my symptoms may have been caused by a non-psychological factor. Sure enough, I had Lyme disease.

Thus began my 3+ year treatment.  I take about 20 pills a day and many of those are to offset effects by some of the other medications. I still have bouts of depression sometimes but am much more well adjusted than before.

Hockey was helping though...

At the end of last season, I was at a particularly low point. The day before Easter, I was at my grandmother's house and just could not seem to get out of the funk I was in. I remember sitting on her front porch, crying for what had to be about 3 hours, for no particular reason. I sat and wondered why I was feeling that way, but could find no actual explanation. I guess my meds were affecting me in a particular way that caused me to feel incredibly terrible. 

That night happened to be the last Caps game of the regular season, a matchup against the Rangers.  My dad came outside where I had been crying to tell me the pregame coverage had started and I should come in and watch. The instant I sat down and immersed myself in the game, I felt a million times better. I stopped crying. I stopped feeling down.  The rest of the world didn't matter to me.



My disease couldn't touch me...


That brings me to the current lockout...

Hockey was the only thing that seemed to help me rise above how I was feeling.  It sounds crazy that a sport can have such a profound effect on someone, but I ensure you it did.  

But now, with the lockout in full effect and no solution in sight, I have nothing to look forward to. Without hockey, I can't escape to another place. Without hockey, I can't get back to that mindset where the only thing that matters is what happens on the ice. Without hockey, I can't get past my disease.  


Without hockey, I'm not me...



So please Mr. Bettman.  Work with the players to get this dispute resolved.  I'm just one person with a story. There are thousands of others out there too that are just like me.  We don't want our hockey...We need our hockey.

Sincerely,

Brooke

================================

Other Fan Posts:



You can follow Brooke on Twitter @CapsBN92 and If you have your own story send an email to editor@DCSportsNexus.com

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Any condition that mimics the symptoms of others is an absolute nightmare. Even getting the right online medical advice can be extremely difficult.

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