A Love Story, built on Pain, Strength, and Faith
Not Your Ordinary Love Story~ Justin & Christa
This story is not going to be your average love story. This is a story of great pain, sickness, tolerance, patience, hope, faith, and triumph. Meet Justin and Christa, a couple that has grown stronger through very trying circumstances.
Meet Justin and Christa
Justin was just your average typical guy, working on his carpentry apprenticeship. He loved boating and motor biking.
Christa was a young lady who was working towards finishing up BIble School in New Zealand. Then something went wrong and she became very sick. After three months of dealing with symptoms of headaches, body pain, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, night sweats, night terrors, and a rapid heart beat of over 200 beats per minute, she was hospitalized for two weeks. She had several MRIs, blood tests, and even a spinal tap, but the tests didn't show what was wrong and she had no answers.
Christas parents flew out to New Zealand to fly home with her back to Canada. A couple months later she was trying to get into the Mayo clinic to try to get some answers. On this day she met Justin. They spent the day talking about everything. And a romance was born.
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New Zealand and and Christa health deteriorates
Christa had experienced a couple good months where it seemed like she might be improving. Justin and Christa planned to go back to New Zealand. Christa could continue her Bible School and Justin could work on some carpentry at the school. They had some good times, visiting the beach, dirt biking, spending good quality time with eachother.
Then, the symptoms started coming back. She started experiencing debilitating pain again, and suffered an ovarian cyst rupture. She started having to miss lectures and activities.
They decided it would be better to return home. They left New Zealand knowing they had met great friends, and had made some great memories they would remember forever.
Their days bounced between our great happy times and the scary times where her symptoms got really bad and would flare our of control.
We' re Engaged!
On April 12th, 2008 Christa and Justin got engaged! They went to Calgary to ski and celebrate! That didn't go as planned when Justin fell after showing off for his new fiancé. Justin suffered a separated shoulder. But life went on and they continued to plan their big day.
They didn't know what was in store for them, as Christa continued to suffer terrible headaches and unexplained body pain. All they knew is they were in love and living life together and happy.
You are now "Man and Wife" - August 16th, 2008
On August 16th, 2008 Justin and Christa got married. It was a beautiful day. But Christa was in a lot of pain. She had to take a lot of painkillers just to make it through the day. But she is strong and she did.
Off they went to California for their honeymoon!
They went on a whale watching trip but the boat got stuck due to a storm, for hours at sea. That night Christa'a body collapsed. Several times they debated on going to the Emergency Room or not.
Eventually they went home to try to continue on with their life.
They continues their new life together. Christa's symptoms would come and go. Sometimes hour by hour. They noticed they were getting consistently worse. After many trips to the ER they still had no answers. How could she be so sick but nothing show up on tests?
Christa would lay in bed and scream from the pain at night. They would sleep in different rooms so Justin could sleep so he was able to still get up and go to work in the morning. But hearing his new bride screaming in pain was relentless. There were many times it got so bad, that Christa would pass out from the pain.
Justin would walk the halls at night trying to think of something to help his young bride. There has to be answers.
In November, 17 months after Christa first got sick, they moved into the in laws house so they could take shifts taking care of Christa.
Christa was so brave. On days she would feel good she would cook or make crafts for others. But the pain would always come back.
Still No Anwers
In Mid-November they finally had a Dr appointment that seemed like it may be hopeful. They drove to Vancouver to a specialist. But after waiting all that time, over a year, the top neurologist they waited to see, still had no answers. They saw more specialists, no one had answers. On the trip back from Vancouver, Christa's symptoms got really bad and Justin had to keep pulling over so she could throw up on the side of the road. And if that was bad enough an Elk ran out in front of them on the way home and they totalled their car.
When they got back, Justin decided he had to quit work being a carpenter. He had to stay home full time to take care of Christa, things had gotten so bad. Christa also quit her job teaching special needs kids and had to drop our of college. It had gotten so bad that Justin was having to carry her in and out of her class and she had started passing out in the hallway.
At this point they were really overwhelmed. They had to pretty much drop out of everything. Christa also suffered a miscarriage at this point.
Christa would rate her pain on a 1-10 scale. She never gave up. When her pain would go under a six, she would work on her little business she had making cards.
They came across a doctor in Calgary that treated people with symptoms like Christa's. So they gave it a shot. She was put on a bunch of meds. She got yet another MRI but results were inconclusive.
But things just kept getting worse.
She was still up screaming all night from unbearable pain. He'd stay up with her almost every night, he'd make her food at 4am or do whatever it was she needed. Many times she would throw up all night long. Despite so much unbearable suffering and pain they chose to stay in love. And every once in a while Christa would have a good moment and they could spend enjoyable time together. There would be a couple surprise times where Christa would have some good days.
Justin started taking a real estate course. He needed some distraction.
Christa did not respond well to the treatment in Calvary and even went into full body paralysis. They decided to stop treatment and move back to Vernon. This was Christa's 22nd month of sickness. Christa was passing out from pain on an average of ten times a day.
In May of 2009, Christa's dad came across a magazine article that talked about Lyme Disease. Out of 75 symptoms associated with Lyme Disease, Christa had at last 60. They both were so exhausted. They waited on the Lyme test results. Finally they came in.
After 25 months of not having answers they thought they finally had one! They soon found out there was no help in Canada for Lyme Disease however. They traveled to Seattle to see a top specialist for Lyme. As Justin was driving Christa was next to him having seizures and passing out.
July 2009 Christa started antibiotics to start the fight against the spirochetes that were in her body that cause Lyme Disease. Things did not go easy. Christa was still up all night in severe pain. Justin sat with her night after night.
They were determined to stay in love through all of this and would find little ways to let each other know how much they loved each other. They would do little things like fill the refrigerator with love notes.
They made it to their one year anniversary!
February 2010 Christa starts to have some good days. She experiences about three weeks of low level pain. She enjoys cooking for her husband again and working on her crafts again. It has been over a year since she has had a break in pain levels. She continues her Lyme treatment.
Pain Free for Three Weeks - Then The Pain Returns
Justin tries different distractions for Christa. He buys her a kitten. Christa would continue to distract herself on days she was well enough by making cards for people. She would also reach out to others online to encourage them.
Through all of this, Christa and Justins parents stand by their children. Can you even imagine the heartbreak of watching your kids go through this? Their parents did all they could. Chipping in for vacations so the kids could get away, letting them stay with them so Christa had someone to sit up with her.
After a long hospital stay the hospital put in a permanent IV line, so that Christa could inject her own meds at home.
Justin says his faith has been redefined and rebuilt through this experience. He says, "The Bible is his blueprint. It never promises us we won't have suffering."
Justin continues taking Christa to many dr appointments. They are determined to beat this disease. Many many waiting rooms, and doctors, and a Naturopath.
Doctors Stop Lyme Treatment
July 2010, Christa's ID doctor decides to stop treatment because Christa is not responding to it after three weeks. This throws them out of the system and leaves them on their own to find care. Christa feels abandoned by her own doctors. Unfortunately with Lyme, this is an all too familiar story. Christa continues through her journey of pain, throwing up nightly, with Justin by her side.
Justin and Christa celebrate their two year anniversary. For about two hours she was able to celebrate.
Christa is mainly trapped in bed due to her pain. For days on end she doesn't even leave her bedroom. She just throws up, has seizures, and passes out from tremendous pain. All Justin can do is sit there and try to comfort her.
Then in the Fall of 2010 they found a new doctor right in Vernon. This brings hope.
After twelve months on oral antibiotics, six months or iv antibiotics, Christa was still not improving so they decided to dig even deeper to try to find a solution. In early December they came across a Lab named Fry Labs. They decided to order a full blood panel to see what would show up.
The Lyme test came back negative, so they had the picc line removed. But there was a positive on a protozoa called FL1953. It is a malarial like parasite that needs a different kind of treatment then Lyme. Treatment for this protozoa involves a no-fat diet to starve the "film' and and anti-malarial medicine to kill the parasite.
After starting the treatment however, Christa began to develop severe abdominal pain. This pain led to her 15th trip to the ER in the last couple years. It was not to be her last trip. Apparently the last year and a half on antibiotics lead to her having C Diff. So she had to stop the treatment for the Protozoa and go on different antibiotics to fight the C Diff.
After a couple rough battles with C Diff, Christa was finally able to start the antibiotics to fight the Protozoa FL 1953 again. The no fat diet took it's toll on Christa however, giving her symptoms of dementia, which lasted about seven weeks.
The 18th ER Trip~ Losing Hope - Then getting it back.
Month #50 into Christa's illness they still were not seeing any improvement so her doctor wanted to add in one more medicine. They added in a powder that helps bind toxins together and help you pass them out your body.
1 in 5 people cannot get rid of toxins on their own. Toxins come from infections and exposure to chemicals or molds.
About three weeks after Christa started the powder, she began getting better. By about six weeks, she was 50% better. She even planned a surprise birthday party for Justin!
She continues to get better.
Many people don't know about
Biotoxin Illness. It can mimic the infection you are trying to kill when the toxins are trapped in your body.
Justin and Christa are on their way to finally being able to enjoy their marriage. Justin has even started working at a normal job for the first time in three years.
They also celebrated their third Wedding Anniversary. They are renting a condo, and they are starting a new life. Through this all neither one ever gave up their faith. The path is not over, Christa has a long way to go, but it is a new beginning on the way to healing.
Christa says her LLMDND has always been amazing and has never given up on her even though he said, despite having treated hundreds of people around the world, Christa truly was his most complex, most horrifying case, he just kept searching, and seeking any info from other docs around the globe etc and attending seminars. He never gave up!
Any money made off of this lens will be donated to CanLyme.com under Christa's name. Thank you!
Great Lyme Disease Sites
- Canadian Lyme Foundation
A great website full of information about Lyme DIsease and co-infections, with a forum that people with Lyme can post questions in.
A website with a forum where you are able to post your Lyme questions.
- What Is Lyme?
A website that is full of Lyme and related conditions information. Please educate yourself about tick-borne infections.
- Igenex Labs
A lab that specializes in testing for tick-borne infections.
- Fry Labs
Fry Laboratories is a clinical diagnostic and research laboratory located in Scottsdale, Arizona. We are committed to understanding chronic diseases.