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It all started last year on a lovely spring day after a nice afternoon in the woods. A place I love to visit. I like to visit Mother Nature every day, and a walk of about 10 km is no problem for me. I also like to take pictures of beautiful details of nature. I love that. As an introvert there is almost nothing nicer than relaxing in the woods, taking in the sounds of the birds and observing nature's beauty #mentalpicturetaking. And in times of Corona, it is one of the few places where you can just get out of the door.

But one evening, I was sitting on the couch with my boyfriend. You know the drill, legs up and a bit of Netflixing. But suddenly I felt a little bump in the back of my knee. So I checked it out and it turned out to be a fat, fully sucked tick. After his/her All You Can Eat menu, I decided it was time for a Tick Away. I quickly removed it and continued with our series.

A few weeks later, a large red circle appears in the back of my knee. Immediately it dawns on me: this is not good. I call my GP to ask what to do with a tick bite? She asks me if I can take photos and send them to her. I do so and am called back soon after. With the answer that it is Erythema Migrans (EM) and the request to pick up a course of antibiotics for one fat month and to start immediately. So said, so done, I arrived.

Once I started the cure, however, a week later I still notice nothing, the circle even gets bigger.

Would the medication work? I just assume so and finish the cure. A week after I completed the treatment, the ring begins to get lighter, oh how nice. So the medication has helped.

A couple of months later, my energy level is getting very low. Or simply doing an errand, is already in the way. I am not used to this. I keep an eye on it but it only gets worse. I go back to the GP and he decides to do a blood test, and it turns out. It turned out that the tick from a few months ago had carried the Borrelia Bacteria, as expected, but the antibiotics had unfortunately not taken effect with me. The doctor did have an explanation for this: in view of my fairly full medical file, I have become immune. Antibiotics were therefore of no use to me. Unfortunately, little is known about Lyme disease. A treatment or special medication is unfortunately not (yet) available.

It comes down to that I have to watch it for a while and hope that it passes. But it can also become chronic. The latter seems the most likely at the moment. I am often tired, and my knee often resists. It swells up and hurts. Sometimes I can walk with it, but sometimes it really hurts and I can't go on. We'll just have to make do and make the best of it! #cestlavie

"That tick from a few months ago was found to be carrying the Borrelia Bacteria, as thought"

What gives me a lot of energy is my own business. POCA LOU! A webshop with products from nature, produced in a sustainable way. Think of beautiful accessories for the home, cool fashion accessories and sustainable art and gifts! All this is made by me, with love.

This allows me to use my creativity and ideas. I think it is important to take care of our planet and hope to inspire others with POCA LOU.

Photography is a great passion of mine. I love to dive into nature with my camera to capture beautiful moments. Unfortunately, this also has a downside, because when you often wander into the woods looking for beautiful pictures, there is also a greater chance of bringing home a tick. In 2019, I started selling my photos. There was a demand for it and I like to share my photos with people this way. I came up with cards with my photos, posters and wall decorations for the wall. The idea soon arose to add something extra; a matching scent. This because there are already many people selling photos and so I wanted to distinguish myself from the others. In 2020, I started experimenting with soya wax batches. And there I had a perfect one. I wanted to sell this one too. I decided to create POCA LOU, because it is a POCA bit from me (maLOU), and the rest is from nature. And a nod to Pocahontas, with her famous song: Colors Of The Wind. "If you walk the footsteps of a stranger, you'll learn things you never knew!" I hope that people also start living more with this thought. And thus have more respect for the other or nature and let each other in their values.

"And every time an order comes in, I do a little dance of joy, even if it is sitting on the sofa!"

You might ask yourself; entrepreneurship and Lyme, is that a good combination?

I will tell you honestly: often not. Lyme makes your days heavy. As a creative person I come up with piles of ideas but sometimes I have the greatest difficulty to work them out. Lyme also makes concentrating difficult and I often don't have the energy to go into something in depth. Very frustrating, but I have to accept it. Things just go slower for me than for other entrepreneurs.

But sit down with the packages? That's not an option for me! I just try to do what I can every day.

After I contracted Lyme disease, I set goals for myself. My first goal - to register with the Chamber of Commerce - I have already achieved! From 31 October 2020 I am an official entrepreneur. A real milestone, which gives me a lot of motivation.

My next goal: to grow with POCA LOU and reach more and more people with my sustainable products. That's not always easy with Lyme disease either, but that doesn't mean it can't be done. With social media for example, there is a lot possible, and let that be fine from home.

Where there is a will, there is a way. You don't necessarily have to run to reach the finish line. Calm, well-considered steps will get you there. So I keep going.

And every time an order comes in I do a little dance of joy, even if it is sitting on the couch. I am so grateful for people who take the trouble to take a look at my site. And when they place an order, of course, I am over the moon.

When I receive an order, I try to finish it as soon as possible and send it. Sometimes I succeed, and sometimes it takes a day longer. But I always make sure that the customer receives a nice package within a few days.

I see what works every day. I continue to make progress and the day that I will achieve my second goal is getting ever closer!

Love, Malou van Gorp (POCA LOU)



© Copyright Malou van Gorp
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