When Lyme Gets in the Way
Lyme gets in the way again! It’s been a challenging year here at Inspire to Thrive. How do we continue to write,blog, work and enjoy life when life’s challenges keep coming at us? I decided to write about when Lyme gets in the way as part of my “Causes” category. I’ve come across so many people still today who do not understand what Lyme disease is. They do not know what it can do to a person. I’ve always felt fortunate that I was able to overcome it many years ago. I had several cases of Lyme along with meningitis. My life literally stopped at that time over ten years ago. And then recently I got infected again.
What Are Ticks?
Ticks are external parasites. They live by the blood of mammals, birds and reptiles. Ticks transmit diseases such as Lyme, tick-borne meningoencephalitis, rocky mountain spotted fever and several more types of diseases. They usually cause a fever or flu like symptoms.
Did you know that ticks can harbor more than one disease-causing agent? Patients can be infected with more than one pathogen at the same time. This makes it more difficult to avoid Lyme getting in the way. It makes it harder to diagnosis and treat the disease. Ticks love warm humid climates and most have a density of hosts to live on such as deer, and other mammals including humans.
No wonder Lyme gets in the way when it is so hard to diagnosis.
What Are The Symptoms of Lyme Disease?
There are many different symptoms that can effect people. Some are:
- Tiredness to the point of Exhaustion
- Flu Like Symptoms
- Joint Aches and Pains
- Stiff Neck
- Facial Paralysis
- Sore Throat, Swollen Glands
- Double Vision
- Eye Pain
- Loss of Appetite
- Ringing in the Ears
- Light Sensitivity
- Sound Sensitivity
- Muscle Pain and Weakness
- Mood Swings
- Numbness in Body
- Symptoms That Come and Go
- Rash and of course the Bull’s Eye Rash
- Extreme PMS Symptoms
- And many many more as lyme gets in the way.
Lyme Gets in the Way Again
So how did I miss it this time? I didn’t realize dizziness was a sign of Lyme. The past experiences I had with it was joint pain, stiff neck and fever. Of course the first time I had it I didn’t know. It took months before I went to the doctor to complain of joint pain. I had been jogging for months and thought it was the jogging causing it. I was then diagnosed with it in July over 10 years ago. I was only on medication for one month. I then got sick again in late fall with a stiff neck. Once again I was treated for 4 weeks. The next year I developed Meningitis. It was determined through a spinal tap. Ever see the needle they use for that?
I was hospitalized for a week with the meningitis. I had a severe headache and sensitivity to light. They put me on morphine. I never forget thinking “Everyone I knew on morphine had died, will I die?” My kids were little at the time, it was frightening. It took months to recuperate in bed and out of work . I could not go outside without pain from sunlight. I could not watch TV or use the computer – the lights from them hurt terribly. Once I started to get better I started to do research. I found a Lyme doctor in the area and swore the next time I would go directly to him. Once again months later the symptoms returned and I did visit the Lyme specialist. He kept me on medications for a year. He did many tests to determine it was gone before taking me off the meds. The following summer I spotted the classic rash with a bulls eye. I went directly to the Lyme doctor that day. Once again I was put on medications. I got lucky this time as it did go away within 4 weeks. The following summer the symptoms came back. I had not seen the rash as with my first time. Back to the Lyme doctor I went. I began to get to know this doctor who had Lyme several times himself. After months of medications my neck still bothered me. That’s when I started to go to acupuncture. It was the best thing I did for myself. I was Lyme free for many years since.
My Recent Lyme Gets in the Way Case
So last week during my vacation while driving home from New Hampshire with a girlfriend I started to develop a stiff neck. Within an hour I felt myself burning up. I got home to discover I did indeed have a fever. It was getting late and I went to the local walk-in. After doing some tests and examine they told me it was Lyme disease. How could it be I thought? I thought I knew a lot about this mysterious disease. I had been at this walk-in clinic months before complaining of dizziness but no one thought Lyme. They found no reason. It came and went and I didn’t think much of it. (Mistake!) I then got sick from it 2 weeks ago during a yoga class. I should have gone to doctors at that point. (Mistake #2!) I blamed it on other things and besides the cost of going to the doctor and having tests had gone up dramatically this year. I went jogging the day before I got the fever and felt pain in my knee. I thought, “weird,” I haven’t felt this in years and if it comes again I’ll get it checked. So it wasn’t until the stiff neck and fever came I knew it must be Lyme or Lyme related. Moral of the story? Don’t wait if you develop symptoms and live in an area where the disease is rampant! It is rampant in the Northeastern United States.
Lyme Gets in the Way – Tips to Avoid It!
- Wear clothing with permethrin. (I just ordered mine).
- Keep your grass cut short and yard free of deer attracting plants and trees.
- Wear light colored clothing.
- Don’t work in your yard at dawn or dusk. Ticks love that time of day.
- Do a tick check when you are done outside. They love to bury themselves near feet or head and ears.
- If you find a tick bring it to the doctor with you. It will help them figure out which strain (s) of Lyme you have. It can help with your treatment.
I hope this will help someone else avoid getting Lyme disease or know when to go to the doctor and seek treatment as soon as possible. Be aware the tests are not always accurate as well. There is much controversy surrounding this disease. Lyme gets in the way not only of blogging but your entire life as well if left untreated or treatment is delayed. Learn more about this disease if you do live in the highly infected areas.
If anyone knows a local group to spread awareness of this disease in the Rhode Island area, I’d love to know how I can help. Please contact me.
Do you know anyone who has had Lyme disease? Did they catch it soon or was it a long process?
Are you surprised about anything in this infographic about Lyme disease?