Once Upon a Lyme… A Tale of Two Journeys tells the story of a mysterious illness that stumped a parade of doctors, and the new-found discipline of writing that became the unexpected by-product of years of misdiagnoses. After seeing over two dozen physicians, writing five novels and self-publishing one, Once Upon a Lyme was a personal story that the author felt had to be shared. The book chronicles Hamilton’s search for an answer to a far-flung roster of symptoms and the creative outlet she turned to in case she became bedridden.

It took nine years from the onset of the symptoms to learn the name of her nemesis. Because the diagnosis was so long in coming, she now had late-stage Lyme, which is next to impossible to cure. Her only hope at that point was going the “alternative” route, which required leaving normal and taking a huge leap of faith, resorting to methods that are part new-age, part medieval. She would soon learn getting the correct diagnosis was only half the battle.

Throughout her struggles, three things saved her from complete despair: an overabundance of willpower, an appreciation of the absurd, and writing. Her experiences during that time make for a candid, comic and sometimes harrowing look at what she endured at the hands of medical professionals. What she got for her trouble was a craft that has allowed her to channel her overactive imagination into writing books, which is now her sole occupation—besides fighting Lyme.

Though there are moments of despair, Once Upon a Lyme is ultimately about triumph of the spirit over disease, the courage to keep fighting, and the sense of humor necessary to prevail against adversity.

Author’s Note:

Once Upon a Lyme… is a story of illness, desperation, strength, humor, stubbornness, hope and the indefatigable spirit that pushes us forward when we’d rather just quit. It’s about indifferent and sometimes incompetent physicians, a life bursting at the seams with responsibilities, and the gift of being able to laugh at oneself and the absurdities of life. Once…is about confronting demons, fighting for release, and letting go in order to have more emotional stability.

Once…is a true accounting of a life lived under the veil of a mysterious illness and learning to write as a creative outlet, a means of preserving my sanity while being attacked from within. In the second year of my quest for answers, I began writing my first novel. One year later, I finished that book and began the second. Writing and chasing the correct diagnosis would become tandem pursuits, both mainstays in my life for many years. When the title Once Upon a Lyme…popped into my head, I knew that despite my reluctance, this was a book I would have to write. The why of this self-imposed mandate wasn’t clear to me until after I had finished. There is a universal theme to combating adversity in everyday life: we all have challenges, and sharing our struggles is both cathartic and empowering.

Once… chronicles the onset of a debilitating illness, the nine years it took to Name that Ailment, the subsequent quest to find a cure for a nearly incurable disease, and the lengths I was willing to go to get well. It is my sincere hope that my story will help foster courage and strength in those battling their own demons.

To your good health and happiness!

Cynthia