Discover Magazine recently issued an in-depth edition taking a look at “Ticked The Battle Over Lyme Disease in the South.”
In the preface the magazine states:
In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised the stats on Lyme disease: Instead of the 30,000 cases reported annually to the agency, new patients with the tick-borne infection number 300,000 strong across the United States each year. The count is critical because untreated Lyme disease can result in devastating neurological and cardiac complications and long-lasting pain and fatigue. With CDC validation hundreds of thousands of patients may be diagnosed and treated earlier, when the disease is easier to cure.
The magazine goes on to say that the CDC numbers do not apply to the American South where many physicians say that Lyme disease is non-existent.
Which is, of course, hogwash.
People travel. People bring their dogs and cats when they go on vacation. People who have Lyme disease donate blood. Mosquitoes fly. Fleas jump from one warm host to the next. People have sex (yes, there is an ongoing discussion that Lyme might be transferred by sexual contact.) If we can be exposed to Listeria on our spinach that comes from a field in California, is it really that improbable that we could be exposed to a bacteria that is transmitted by way of blood (even one that started off in Connecticut)?
My point is that although Lyme disease may not be as common in the South as it is in the North, to even pretend that it doesn’t exist or that it’s not likely to exist (they claim that it’s too hot for tick nymphs to survive) in a geographic location is to still be using information and logic from before the era of global travel.
If there is blood, if there are hosts, and if there is a method of transmission – there can be Lyme disease anywhere. Anywhere.
Even in Australia where the doctors there claim that Lyme does not exist on the continent and yet people seem to be dying from the disease.
It simply defies logic (and common sense) to think that a disease that lives in human blood would not be found anywhere there are humans.
If you see a copy of the Discover magazine, pick it up – not only does it give a good background of Lyme Disease in general but it does a very good job at documenting what Doctors are trying to ignore in the South (and in some places in the North.)
Be forewarned though, the articles will raise your blood pressure in by way of outrageous indignation toward the medical community.
With regard to my Lyme journey, I seem to have gotten much better control over being nauseous from my medication. I’m still having a difficult time swallowing the capsules (it feels like they get stuck in my throat) but I don’t feel the need to keep a puke bucket by my side anymore.
And the addition of the garlic capsules with the probiotic mid-day seems to be keeping those nasty little yeast buds in check. (Big yay on that one!)
This is what I’ve noticed this week:
I’m having a phototoxic reaction to my medication (I was warned this could happen.) When I’m in the sun my skin burns, but it’s not like just having a little too much sun, my skin STINGS. It really hurts. Before I realized what was happening, I burned the heck out of my lips, nose, and hands (from being in the sun on the steering wheel.)
Now I have to cover up when I go outside (long sleeves, pants, sunglasses, and sunscreen.) I’m kind of like a vampire these days waiting for the sun to go down so I can go outside and play. This should end once I’ve completed my treatment.
With regard to my symptoms, at my worst, I wasn’t able to take my shoes off with my feet due to foot pain (you know how you slip them off of each other using your toes and side of foot?) I can now do that with very little pain (there is still a sore spot near the top of my left foot that is a little tender.)
Going up stairs is easy (before, at times I had to “crawl” up the stairs using my hands and feet.)
The only numb spot remaining on my left foot is my little toe and even that is “half” numb. I have a little bit of feeling in it.
I had a large lump on the back of both of my Achilles tendons. If I pressed on the lumps, they were exquisitely tender. They are not tender at all anymore. Now they are just lumps.
My knees don’t hurt.
My mood and energy are better. I’m sleeping better and I’m not waking up in the middle of the night (sometimes it was for hours at a time.)
And I have realized that I’m not making as many mistakes in my writing as I was. (I was having trouble recalling some words – try doing that when you’re a writer.)
Overall, I’m greatly improved.
And because of that, I’m a little frustrated. Treating Lyme is not supposed to be this easy. I’ve heard and read the stories just like you have, about people who have struggled with months and years of treatment. Heck, we’ve spent years trying to get one of my sons recovered from his debilitating case of Lyme and we’re not even close with him. He still suffers.
And then I go and seem to get better in just a few weeks.
Could it be that I didn’t have Lyme?
But if it wasn’t Lyme then what caused all of my tendonitis? All of those muscle twitches (which are mostly gone), and all of my neurological symptoms and rash?
Why was my medical test positive for Lyme if it wasn’t Lyme?
And why would I improve so greatly from an antibiotic alone (not even Motrin) if there weren’t some sort of bacterial agent? There is some discussion that antibiotics have an anti-inflammatory tendency (if you kill the offending bacteria, the body no longer needs to be inflamed) but that’s not enough to explain why all of my symptoms seem to be improving. I’ve been on anti-inflammatories before (Naproxen and Motrin) with little improvement, 3 weeks on antibiotics and my inflammation goes away?
I go back to Doc. Holiday next Friday. Even with my tremendous improvement, I’d be surprised if he took me off of the meds just yet.
As lucky as I seem to be, I also know from experience with my kids that Lyme can be a tricky foe. The real proof in the pudding will be when I go off of the meds to see if my symptoms return or not. If they return, I go back on treatment. If they don’t , then I’m done. For now anyway.
It’s a waiting game from here on in.
Oh and guess what? I know of a few people who have recognized some of their symptoms in my story and as a result are seeking Lyme testing.
Kind of makes it all worthwhile.
Disclaimer, this is an account of my Lyme symptoms and treatment, it is not intended to be used in the treatment of anyone else’s condition. Please consult and work with your physician if you think you may have Lyme.
Let me know if you have any questions about my Lyme symptoms and/or treatment, if I don’t have the answer, I’ll find someone who does.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
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