My name is Jeremiah Katches, I’m 29 years old and I suffer from Chronic Lyme Disease. Eight years ago, while serving in the Army, I was stationed at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri and had been participating in a “Simulated War” exercise. During these exercises, we were out in the field, sleeping on the ground, unable to change our clothes or shower for several days. Once our training had been completed and I was allowed to go back to my barracks and shower, I noticed I had three Ticks on me.
At the time, I didn’t know anything about Lyme Disease; I quickly pulled the ticks off, and dismissed the whole matter. About a week later, however, I noticed a Bull’s Eye rash on my arm, and immediately went to see the Physician on Base. I remembered it had been one of the areas where I had been bitten, but when I showed it to the Doctor, he simply glanced at the rash, told me it was nothing to worry about and sent me on my way.
About a week after my visit, I assumed that I had suddenly came down with the Flu. My whole body ached, I had a high fever, and was constantly throwing up. I thought I would recover, but as time went by, I wasn’t getting better, only worse. So much worse, in fact, that I could hardly get out of bed and could no longer perform my duties. Because of this, I was medically discharged and sent back home to California.
When I got there, I had several Lyme blood tests done to see if that may be the reason I was suddenly so sick, but the results kept coming back negative. I hadn’t realized then how unreliable those tests were, and so the next two years I remained both ill and frustrated that no one could figure out what was wrong with me.
Eventually, a friend of mine who suffers from Lyme informed me how useless the normal blood test for Lyme Disease actually is and said I should get tested through a different lab, one that offered a more accurate test. The test finally came back positive, and so for the last six years of my life I have been fighting Lyme.
Unfortunately, due to the cost of treatment and the unwillingness of Insurance Companies to help cover it, I haven’t always been able to do everything my Doctor has wanted me to in order to get better. But, I do what I can.
Like everyone else who suffers from this disease, I definitely have my own ups and downs with it. It just has taken so much from me, and has really limited the things I am able to do now.
The one thing it hasn’t completely taken away from me is my love of Photography. Not only does it relax me, but helps me express how I’m feeling, which I find to be very helpful. I’ve never been “good” with words, and I find that my photography speaks more clearly then I ever could. A picture does say, “A Thousand Words,” right?
I know I’m just one person infected with Chronic Lyme Disease, and that on my own, by myself, it’s hard to make a difference. But when all of us, the thousands of people suffering with this disease stick together and fight for each other, that’s when we can make our voices heard. I hope my pictures are as meaningful and inspirational to you as they are to me. I’ll never stop my fight against Lyme and my photography will always be one of my weapons I use to battle it.