May is National Lyme Disease Awareness Month. The Lyme community uses the opportunity to educate friends, relatives, teachers, co-workers, healthcare workers, and their local and state representatives.
Experts say this year could be one of the worst years on record for the ticks that carry Lyme and other diseases. Currently, Lyme disease is the number one vector-borne illness in the United States.
According to the CDC, millions of Americans seek medical care for tick bites each year in the United States. Even so, many healthcare professionals do not know how to properly diagnose or treat tick-borne illnesses.
Some common symptoms of Lyme disease include fatigue, neck stiffness or pain, jaw discomfort, joint aches, memory loss, vision problems, and fainting. However, by covering up exposed skin, using insect repellant, and periodically checking for ticks, you can enjoy all of your normal outdoor activities. Don’t let Lyme disease ruin your adventures. Simply educate yourself on the subject and act accordingly to eliminate the problem right from the start.
Some simple tricks to outwit ticks
Wear white socks so you can see the ticks
While in high grasses or heavily wooded areas, tuck your pants leg into your socks. This will prevent them from getting up your leg.
Wear a hat with a tail that goes past your collar so ticks can’t fall into your shirt.
Wear DEET, spray on you and your clothes.
Wash clothes as soon as you get home to prevent ticks from moving to another area.
Do a tick check, this requires checking every part of your body including your hair. They are very tiny, less than a grain of rice, and can hide very well.
If you see a bullseye-type rash, get to the doctor immediately.
Early detection is the answer!
My experience with Lyme Disease
I don’t know exactly when I contracted Lyme but suspect it was in the summer of 2012 while getting my gramps house ready to sell. I spent a great deal of time outside racking brush and cleaning up the garden area.
2012 started out with a diagnosis of Costricondritis, then a pain in my Clavicle for which my doctor sent me to a Neurologist. By December of 2012, I was having a severe problem with balance and had trouble walking.
The Neurologist spent almost a year running every test she could, they all came back with problems but nothing inconclusive. She finally threw up her hands and said I should see a Rheumatologist. What I did instead started to search for all the symptoms I had. I mix and match them in my search until I came up with a search that narrowed it down to eight autoimmune disorders including Lyme.
I had been tested for Lupus and knew I didn’t have the others so I found a Lyme Literate doctor. He was local and I saw him for seven months. When it became apparent he had no plans to put me on IV Therapy I started to question if he was the right doctor. As luck would have it, in one of my appointments he said I had my lead levels were high and we were going to have to do a pretty rough treatment. The next day I happen to look at the paperwork they gave me and it had someone else’s name on it. They had the wrong person! That was the end of that relationship.
I then spent more time looking for the best doctor in the States, I would travel if they could get me well. I found a prominent doctor in Washington, D.C. to take my case. By then I was very ill and could barely walk. When we started going I could walk the six blocks to his office, shortly after that I could no longer walk without a walker.
I spent nine months on IV Antibiotic Therapy seven days a week. This is a photo of the day my port was put in.
If you catch Lyme early it can usually be treated with 2-6 weeks of antibiotics. The problem is that only about 30% get the rash and the test for Lyme are very inaccurate. This is why intervention is critical. If you get Chronic Lyme you are in for a long haul and a very difficult time.
The virus seeks out major organs as hosts. Mine went to the brain and did major damage causing Dementia. Lyme doesn’t go away, and there is no cure.
Be sure to do everything you can on the front end not to get Lyme Disease you won’t regret it.
Great post! Thank you for sharing your journey and for helping to educate the public about the importance of prevention!
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Thanks Terry, it feels like it falls on deaf ears but we have to keep trying.
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