Lyme disease is on the rise across much of the country.
It's a mysterious, often debilitating disease that Church of Plano Senior Pastor Ramon Hodridge said nearly stole his life.
"I had come to peace with dying because the information I had gathered that was the outcome," Hodridge said.
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When Hodridge first spoke to NBC 5 in August 2019, he walked with a cane and struggled with short term memory loss, among the myriad of symptoms that can be presented as part of Lyme disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 30,000 confirmed cases were reported in 2017 and the disease's carrier, the black-legged tick, can be found across much of Texas.
Over the summer, Hodridge's congregation banded together to raise nearly $150,000 to send him to a clinic in Arizona for both traditional and experimental treatment. Hodridge said the treatment was life-changing.
"Physically I'm just feeling great," he said.
On Sunday, he was back at the pulpit at the Church of Plano for the first time in months, without the help of a cane.
"I had never been this nervous, I got emotional," he said.
Among those happiest to see him back was fellow pastor Jason Mills.
"I'd say he is really an inspiration to anyone suffering, period," Mills said. "He really does serve as inspiration to anyone to just not give up."
Hodridge believes he originally contracted Lyme disease from a black-legged tick (Lyme's main carrier) in Ohio. He's now an outspoken advocate for awareness and early, aggressive treatment that can spare those who contract its severe symptoms.
"If I had caught it earlier, the symptoms would not have been as bad," Hodridge said.