Once Upon a Lyme...

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. Once… is 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 survive.

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 next.

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 for others.

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 in hopes of getting well.

“Brave and powerful”
“Survival of the spirit”
“Two great stories in one”
Once Upon a Lyme 2nd edition


“I loved the story even though it made me very sad at times. You can accomplish whatever you want to.” ★★★★★

“I couldn’t put this book down. I am amazed at the strength of the author while battling unspeakable pain. But the book was about so much more than fighting a disease. She has a wonderful gift of expressing herself. I was so disappointed she was unable to find a magic cure for Lyme after all her searching, but inspired that she still finds joy in living.” ★★★★★

“As a fan of Cynthia Hamilton’s novels, I was motivated to get to know the writer better by dipping into her biographical memoir ‘Once Upon a Lyme’, which chronicles her nine year journey to discover the nature of her illness. What emerges is a catalogue of diagnostic failures on the part of the medical profession, counterpointed with the author’s own determination to learn what ails her, and the beginning of her writing career which serves as a mental and emotional support in her life. A fascinating slice of life, exposing the private side of this skillful author. Sufferers of undiagnosed illnesses should take heart from this book.” ★★★★★

“Cynthia gives us a window into the limitations and ignorance of both western and alternative practitioners. The existential abandonment is all very real despite the “good intentions” of those who go into the healing arts. I can so relate to how she goes against her better judgment to follows through with many of the alternative therapies. I applaud her courage to share such a personal journey and most of all I salute her position to stop seeking and find some peace in “what is.” ★★★★★