‘I have a long way to go’
It's been nearly 10 years that Andrea Rumpza, began to battle Lyme disease. The fight goes on 10 years later.
Rumpza, 32, is an Awesome Blossom, graduating from Blooming Prairie High School in 2004. She is the daughter of Diane and Bruce Rumpza of Blooming Prairie.
Andrea is single and currently resides in Northfield.
For the greater part of the past 10 years, Rumpza was either mis-diagnosed or not diagnosed at all.
"I went through Mayo twice, and they sent me on my way," Rumpza says.
Not only is Rumpza fighting this disease with the help of her family, friends stepped in on Sunday, Jan. 27 at St. Columbanus Catholic Church in Blooming Prairie by sponsoring a benefit breakfast. The breakfast was organized by the Knights of Columbus.
Troy Anderson of the KC organization said the turnout was "fantastic" with more than 200 showing up to declare their prayerful support for Rumpza and her family.
"We've been throwing lots of money at doctors, hoping to come up with answers that will lead to successful treatment," says Rumpza.
She currently is employed by Nutritional Weights & Wellness and works out of two locations, Mendota Heights and Lakeville.
It's a small business that is co-owned by Darlene and Kory Kbist. Rumpza has worked there for nine years but for more than three years of that time, she was sick and seeking a diagnosis and treatment.
"Since I've been sick, I work as a part-time client services representative," Rumpza said. She schedules appointments and classes covering nutrition-related questions.
Rumpza started having symptoms of Lyme disease in 2009. "I really got sick, fatigued all the time," she relates. She also suffered from joint and muscle pain.
Her pain has developed into more series motor issues including swallowing. "It's pretty awful," she admits.
Rumpza said she was undiagnosed for over 10 years.
Lyme disease is commonly caused by a tick bite. "Unfortunately, I have no idea when I was bitten," Rumpza says. "The ticks are so tiny that they get into crevices of the body," she explained.
Rumpza was a student at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She was going to school there on a track and cross-country scholarship. It is speculated that she could have gotten bitten when running, either competitively or for enjoyment.
She visited many doctors in hopes of getting a diagnosis. Some of those doctors specialized in alternative medicine.
At first, she was given IV and oral antibiotics. Now, she is in the process or another treatment plan using integrative medicine. She visits a clinic in Minnetonka. This clinic does more alternative therapies, ozone therapy, IV infusions and a high does of Vitamin C therapy.
This clinic also uses biofilm busters that go directly to the Lyme, which is a protective tissue. The goal is to use IV silver to kill the Lyme.
Asked if she is gaining any relief, Rumpza said it is early because she is in the middle of treatment. "Usually, people feel worse before they can better," she said. Fatigue is still an annoying problem for her.
Rumpza's family has been "a great help," she says. "We all want to get well and get my health back," she affirms.
Lyme disease, Rumpza said, is a very annoying disease because "it's sad that the medical system is not recognizing it soon enough." She said many victims are going through unnecessary suffering.
"If you catch it early, there is a good chance of beating it," said Rumpza. "It's a tough disease to treat," she agrees.
"Without a proper diagnosis people don't deserve to live that way," says Rumpza.
Doctors are not doing the proper testing to detect Lyme disease, says Rumpza. "It is being missed on tests; more thorough testing needs to be done."
Rumpza is hopeful that she can return to her old normal. "I hope it is possible. It's hard to keep the faith and hope after trying a lot of different treatments to get well. It's been very disheartening."
Rumpza said the disease had affected her more physically than emotionally. "I try to stay positive," she says with hope.
Because of her constant fatigue, Rumpza is unable to do a lot of physical activity as she would like. She was very active and loves to run and lift weights.
"I do not have the energy to do much activity any more which is very hard. If I am able to regain my health, I would like to be active again by walking, jogging and lifting weights.
"I like to get outdoors to enjoy the fresh air and nature when I can. I enjoy my job and am thankful to have that as a part of my life as I am able, even though it's difficult due to fatigue and all of the symptoms I experience.
Rumpza said lots of people with Lyme disease, unfortunately, are not able to work because of the debilitation it causes. She says good and nutrition are passions of her, and she enjoys cooking healthy dishes.
"I enjoy spending time with family and friends when I have the energy for it," she re-emphasizes.
Rumpza urges people with Lyme disease and those thinking they have Lyme disease to get diagnosed early and seek proper treatment.