Susan Pogorzelski compares having chronic Lyme disease to a horrendous case of writer’s block.
The Lititz woman should know: After all, she’s a writer who is afflicted with the disease.
Pogorzelski, who has self-published a novella and a full-length novel, says there are days when she sits down to write and can literally manage just a few words.
And it’s not because she can’t find the words; the problem is that once she does, she loses them.
She attributes this to Lyme disease, a debilitating illness that can cause what Pogorzelski calls “brain fog.”
“It’s almost like having a really bad case of writer’s block,” she says, “because you know what you want to say, you have the words for them, but as soon as you try to put them down on paper, they’re gone.”
And that is far from the only symptom afflicting Pogorzelski. Lyme disease, a bacterial infection primarily transmitted by deer ticks, can affect the brain and nervous system, muscle and joints, heart and circulation, digestion, the reproductive system and skin.
Pogorzelski, however, has persevered. She started writing her novel, “The Last Letter,” in 2014 and published it last year.
The novel, structured as a series of letters written to Whoever You Are by a 15-year-old girl suffering from Lyme disease, is essentially Pogorzelski’s story.
“I didn’t think I could write it as a memoir,” she says. “Number one, I’m a fiction writer. Number two, I didn’t want to relive all that pain again.”
Pogorzelski, a graduate of Manheim Township High School and Lock Haven University, where she majored in English, says she had been unwell for about 15 years before she was officially diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2012. She and her parents suspected the disease before physicians confirmed it.
“I remember crying with relief,” Pogorzelski says of the day she was…