Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Lyme life

Know what I knew about Lyme disease before last week?

That you get it from ticks.
I didn't know how easy it was to contract, how tough it is to get rid of it, how much of your life it can affect, or how bad you feel once you have it. I also didn't know that the treatment is almost worse than the disease. I realized that part tonight as I became exhausted from chewing my dinner.


It was a fluke that I asked to be tested for lyme disease. A friend's mother has had it for thirty years and she recognized that I had many similar symptoms as her mom: insomnia, fatigue, anxiety, joint pain, headaches, dizziness, short-term memory loss, brain fog, numbness in the hands and feet, sore neck and shoulder muscles. I brushed it off when she suggested I get tested because I hardly ever go outside except to get in the car, I don't go for walks in the woods, I don't camp or bike. I'm not a gardener or an outdoorsy person. Then, as I was reading another friend's Twitter post about her Lyme test coming back positive, I brushed something off my shoulder that had been tickling me. I looked down and discovered a tick. In my house. On my couch. I've always hated ticks and I thought I was pretty good about checking for them, but apparently I'd missed one. Clearly, I missed two because this tick hadn't had time to bite me. Most likely, our dog brought it in on him. Regardless of how it got inside my house, I had to deal with the possible aftermath.

I immediately called my doctor to request a lyme test. In the meantime, I looked up symptoms of lyme disease and discovered that in some cases, Bell's Palsy, which I'd had three bouts of in 2008. Needless to say, if there was an explanation for all the symptoms I'd had, it would be a God-send, no matter what the diagnosis. When the tests came back, a few days after my doctor appointment, they confirmed what I already suspected: I have lyme disease. Immediate tests said I had an acute case, but the results are back from further testing and they've confirmed that I have had it for a while.

Bottom line, if I can get Lyme disease, anybody can.

Please, friends, be diligent about protecting yourself, your family and your pets. Insect repellent for you and the kids, collars and repellents for your animals (check with your vet) and preventive landscaping and pesticide treatments for your yard. Always check everybody for ticks when they come in from the outdoors. Check bodies, clothes, backpacks, camping gear, shoes, and especially hair. I can't do anything about my diagnosis, but if I can prevent someone else from getting it, I'll be a happy woman. I wouldn't wish this misery on anyone.

To learn more about lyme disease, how to handle ticks and tick bites, and what to do to limit the possibility of exposure, visit the ILADS website.

(FYI, for those wondering, I'm taking doxycycline, and ganoderma lucidum capsules. The doxy is an antibiotic that will help kill off the borrelia bacteria and the ganoderma is an herbal supplement that will help boost my immune system so my body can fight it off naturally.)

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