Raylene Short, Great Falls, MT
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Raylene is a wife, a mother of two 4-year-old boys, a business owner and a clothing boutique designer. In spite of these accomplishments, she spent 22 years sick with a mystery illness. Over that period, she went to countless doctors, was misdiagnosed with numerous medical conditions and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in a quest to determine what was wrong. Finally, a dear friend recognized her many debilitating symptoms as those of Lyme disease and suggested she get tested. Since none of her doctors had ever suspected Lyme disease, Raylene was stunned when her results came back CDC positive. One month later, her 22-month-old biological son Garrett also received a Lyme diagnosis; Raylene suspects she infected him during pregnancy (her adopted son has not been tested). These two Lyme disease diagnoses marked the start of what would be an overwhelming journey as Raylene and her family fought to regain their health.
Even though Raylene began intensive treatment for Lyme disease, including a new diet, her health declined significantly for over a year, greatly impairing her ability to care for her children and operate her business. She was often too sick to get out of bed (including temporary paralysis). Even more difficult was when she’d discover Garrett lying listless on the floor due to pain and extreme fatigue. She so badly wanted him to be able to play like a normal two-year-old boy! Many days she felt like giving up, but her faith in God gave her the strength to keep fighting for a future without pain.
Two years into treatment, Raylene and Garrett, although still easily fatigued, are improving and increasing their participation in normal daily activities. With the support of her husband, doctor, grandparents and nanny, Raylene currently juggles multiple roles, including parenting two active boys, maintaining their busy schedule as well as Garrett’s numerous medical appointments, running a business and building a house. Garrett attends preschool and loves riding bikes and playing in the park. One of Raylene’s long-term goals is to hike 3-5 miles into the wilderness without feeling overwhelming pain and fatigue. She remains a strong advocate of Lyme disease awareness and has helped guide several others in obtaining a Lyme diagnosis so that they, too, can begin the journey of healing.