Episode 26: T. Sydney Bergeron Mikus

T. Sydney Bergeron Mikus is an award-winning writer, artist, designer, model, and activist based in NYC. They live with TBD (tick borne disease), including Lyme, Bartonella, and ehrlicia, as well as POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome). They create work driven by healing advocacy, art, and narrative as tools for change, and self-care as disruption. They are the founder and director of Simple Politicks, and co-host the Invisible Illnesses Support Circle at The Wing. They are also an inaugural member of the disability council at The Wing, advising on events, new spaces, and other accessibility topics. Sydney is a queer, nonbinary femme living with chronic illnesses that cause intersystem disabilities.

Key links mentioned in this episode:

Sydney Bergeron Mikus

CDC’s guidelines on Bartonella

Yolanda Hadid – Believe Me

Porochista Khakpour – Sick

Sydney’s article for them.

Invisible Illnesses Support Circle @ The Wing

Aditi Juneja

Sydney’s writing

Simple Politicks

Sydney on Instagram

Listen in as Sydney shares…

  • how it took almost a decade for them to be diagnosed
  • that tests for tick-borne disease can be very unreliable; and even inconclusive results can mean diseases and co-infections are present
  • that sometimes symptoms are hard to pinpoint, especially if they are subtle and feel like “just part of being a person”
  • that their mom also has Lyme
  • that so many Lyme specialists do not take health insurance, which makes treatment restrictive
  • that they waited until they were really sick to finally get treatment
  • that they started treatment with holistic methods before starting intravenous treatment; they were supposed to get a PICC line, but discovered they were allergic to heparin (blood thinner), which is used to clear PICC lines in treatment
  • that they are combining holistic and intravenous treatments now, and will soon start antibiotics again to combat TBD symptoms
  • that they are now using therapies that track the frequencies of bacteria in their blood
  • that the CDC does not recognize Bartonella as a TBD, but most Lyme organizations do
  • that they have their cat, Lupin, registered as an emotional support animal – and he really helps with their mental health, as well as supporting when they have physical symptoms that crop up
  • that many TBDs have overlapping symptoms, which makes them even harder to diagnose, treat, and be aware of in general
  • that Lyme can cause POTS – not in all cases, but in some
  • that water, salt, and beta blockers have been useful for their POTS symptoms
  • that Ritalin has been helpful for brain fog
  • that they were very close to a final diagnosis of Hashimoto’s at the time of recording, and this has now been confirmed
  • that they didn’t identify as disabled for a long time – but they do now
  • that they are their own advocate in most ways, having dived into research of their conditions independently – but that their mom has also been a great support
  • that brain fog is incredibly frustrating
  • their heroes in the invisible illness community, who have inspired them to be more open about living with disability and to become more empowered in that identity
  • how they have channeled their experience into advocacy
  • stories about accessibility, accommodation, inherent privilege, and disability awareness

 

T. Sydney Bergeron Mikus Uninvisible

Transcript coming soon!

We welcome your thoughts and comments!

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