From a young age, Adam Setser was a daredevil through and through. No matter how dangerous or hard the task, he was immediately drawn to it and had to try it at least once. To say he was an active person growing up would be an understatement. When Setser started high school, he got into cycling, which he devoted all his time and energy to. Life was good for Setser, training 10-20 hours a week, winning third place at the state championship time trial, and having the opportunity to go to a USA Cycling camp in South Carolina.
Upon graduating high school, Setser moved to Los Angeles to continue his education. Then the rug got pulled out from under him. In January 2011, he was rushed to the ER with extreme thirst and fatigue. That is when the Type 1 diabetes diagnosis came. At the time, 18-year-old Setser had accepted it because being someone who was asthmatic and consequently had a weakened immune system, something like this had the possibility of happening. After this diagnosis, Setser did a good job of controlling his blood sugars, but there was still something off. That was when he decided to cut gluten from his diet, and things seemed to get better. Though it was not an easy transition for him, he took the challenge head on and saw great improvements.
But after some time, he realized that things were not as they seemed with his Type 1 diabetes diagnosis. Setser decided to see the top endocrinologists in Los Angeles.
In 2015, after being home from college for three years, Setser finally found out that he had Lyme disease; it had been lying dormant in his system for at least a decade.
“During those three years, I had been virtually bed-ridden, mentally and emotionally destroyed from the battle of just trying to find a diagnosis,” he said. “I saw 25 doctors at several facilities with no luck.
“My last hoorah in the world of MDs was at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. They referred me to the psychiatry department. After that, we went off the grid. Geneticists, naturopathic doctors, and a doctor named John Thomas in Atlanta, Georgia, are the reason I am here today, telling this redemptive story.
The symptoms of Lyme disease vary from person to person, so his experiences might not have been the same as someone else. The major symptoms that Setser experienced were digestive problems from the pancreas, energy problems from the way the disease attacked the MTHFR genetic energy mutation, and neurological symptoms from the way it affected his nervous system. Setser had always been the kind of person to tackle obstacles head-on and break through them with ease, until this. He went through a tough period of unemployment, and he gave up on what he understood to be his calling to vocational ministry. After a period of time, Setser was finally in a place in his health where he felt like he could pursue an internship in a financial planning firm. Though still not at optimum health, his employers were understanding and did what they could to make it work.
Fast forward to today, and his life is much better now.
“My illness taught me what was valuable and what wasn’t,” he said. “It matured me to focus my mind and talents on things that are truly meaningful.
He is back on his bike and in the gym now, but he trains a fraction of the time.
With the help of his loving wife and the love of God, Setser has made great strides to a better and healthier life.
Written by: Kaylee Kopke
Photography by: Eric Vinson