This Could Be Killing You & You Have No Idea...

30 January 2013


My dearest friends. Today I want to share something very near and dear to my heart. Lyme Disease Awareness. I know this is a long post, but if this reaches one person and saves their life, then it was worth it (:

Some of you may have heard of Lyme Disease before. A few of you may actually know someone who has Lyme Disease or has struggled with it in the past. Stars (like Candice from Vampire Diaries) and athletes are beginning to step up and use their popularity to spread awareness for the disease.

I had Lyme Disease. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to go through in my life. I was actually bitten by a tick when I was in my Sophomore year of college. At the time, no doctors knew what was going on with me. I actually didn't even know I had been bitten. Most people think you will always see a 'bullseye' looking rash where you got the bite. That's not always true. And what if the tick bites your scalp so you can't see the skin? Do you see how small these ticks are? The little one is a nymph (baby). This is why these ticks are so hard to notice.

Well I started having severe neck pain, migraines, extreme fatigue and all sorts of other problems. When the doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong, they said I was just stressed out and put me on high doses of anxiety medicine. The medicine was scary and so I eventually just stopped taking it.

I went three years without knowing what was wrong with me. By that time, I had started to get joint pain and I could barely stay awake more than 4 hours at a time. I had so many weird symptoms, but the strangest thing is that they would always come and go and jump around my body. Everyone thought I was just a hypochondriac. Eventually a friend suggested that I might have Lyme Disease. After forcing doctors to give me three different diagnostic tests, I found out that Lyme is what was making me so sick.

I won't go into all the details, but going through treatment was horrible. I was on high doses of oral antibiotics and I eventually had to have a PICC line put into my arm so I could take other antibiotics through an IV. I lost almost all of my friends. Everyone would rather go out to bars than sit inside and watch movies with a sick girl. It came to the point where I felt like I only had God and my family. It was a really low point in my life. I finally was able to end treatment after 10 months.

I am so blessed to be able to say that I am ::hopefully:: free of Lyme Disease. At this point there is no test to tell you if you've gotten rid of it, but they say if you can go 6 months symptom free without antibiotics, you should be out of the woods. It's been 2 years for me.

What I want to share more than anything else, is the symptoms that Lyme Disease has. It's estimated that hundreds of thousands of people are walking around with Lyme everyday and don't even know they have it.

What's crazier is that Lyme Disease is misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson, ADD/ADHD, Autism, Juvenile Arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Reactive Arthritis, Infectious Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Fibromyalgia, Raynaud's Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Interstitial Cystis, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, Fifth Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, scleroderma, lupus, early ALS, early Alzheimer’s, crohn's disease, ménières syndrome, sjogren's syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, prostatitis, psychiatric disorders, bipolar, depression, encephalitis, sleep disorders, thyroid disease - just to mention a few of 350 diseases that could possibly be Lyme.

The Alzheimer's is what really got to me and my family. Over 5 of my relatives have died from Alzheimer's in the last 10 years. They did a study on 10 Alzheimer's patients brains from the Harvard Brain Bank after these patients had passed away...they discovered Lyme Disease in 7 of them. If any of my family had Lyme Disease (misdiagnosed as Alzheimer's), all they would have needed was antibiotics and they could have gotten better. We will never know because we didn't even think to have them tested.

If you take one thing away from this, please just take a look at the list of symptoms below. If you ever hear anyone complain of strange random symptoms or they feel like a crazy person because no one believes they are sick, tell them to get tested. You might just save their life!

If Lyme Disease is not caught quick enough, it can kill you or leave you severely mentally and physically handicapped.

I know this list is long - but that's the point. I wish someone had shown me this when I was first bitten. It would have saved me 3 years of pain and thousand and thousands of dollars.

Thank you my dear friends for taking the time to let me share my story (:

Various Symptoms of Lyme Disease




"Change can change your life. You'll never know unless you embrace it."
Check out more from my biffle's life:

29 comments:

  1. I would've watched movies with you, friend! I'm so sorry you were sick and so glad you are better! My husband's cousin had it last summer. She thought it was fatigue from her newborn, but it was 3-4 months of Lyme. I'm so glad they caught it. For her and for you.

    XO

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  2. This is crazy! Glad you finally figured out what it was but goodness that is some scary stuff.

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  3. Ahh thats so scary. To be honest I've heard of lyme disease before but had no clue what it actually was before finding your blog a couple months ago. Thank goodness we don't have ticks in Utah. At least I don't think we do...they scare the crap out of me. So glad that you have been symptom free for 2 years!! :)

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  4. This is so scary! I am so glad that you are (hopefully) free of this now.

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  5. i am so sorry that you were sick and your "friends" left you! WHAT horrible people! I would have stayed by your side! THANK you for this informative post! and such a personal experience to share with us all! you rock!

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  6. I completely understand... as a woman who has frequent headaches and problems. You loose a lot of friends that way... and relationships. The doctors still don't know what is wrong with me :(. I would love it if I could find someone who would like to sit around and watch movies without feeling like I was holding people back.

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  7. My baby sister had Lyme disease when she was a child. Thankfully my dad pushed Lyme disease on the doctors. She was 9 years old. We had been camping that summer so we think that is when she was bitten. The medicine she was on was hard on her because she wasn't allowed to go outside. That is hard for a 9 year old. Thankfully hers did not get as bad as yours. Glad you are free of the disease today!

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  8. Wow. Hugs! Honestly, the thing I've dealt with is a reacquiring bladder infection. It won't go away :(

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  9. Thank you for posting about this! I had no idea the symptoms were so varied.

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  11. Oh, how awful for you!
    I'm so glad you were able to get the docs to catch it finally.
    Thank you for sharing this with all of us. I really didn't know that all of those symptoms could be Lyme disease.

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  12. Thank you for posting this. I have struggled with this disease for 22 years. People just don't understand it. Back then is the doctors were only beginning to learn about it. It is frustrating to me that even after all of this time people still have to struggle with even getting the right diagnosis.

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  13. Thank you for posting this, but this seriously stresses me out! Those symptons sound like they could be a bazillion other things too. I don't think I have Lyme Disease, but it makes me wonder. A few years ago, I went on a camping trip with some friends, I bug sprayed up like no body else. I was serious about not getting ticks or mosquito bites or anything else for that matter. When I got back home, I ended up having a tick on butt, not sure how it made it's way there, because like I said, I used a ton of bug spray. We got it off easily, but it scared me to death. I didn't get sick or anything afterwards, but should I get that checked out? I mean, it's been 3 or so years now. If a tick latches on, does that always mean that you're going to lyme disease? I've obviously experienced many of those symptoms, but they're not on going or anything, sometimes I thinks it's due to stress or I'm actually just sick from something else. They aren't continuous, but they come and go. I haven't experienced all of those symptoms. You see my problem? I'm kind of stressing over this now... and it's just so hard to decide if I have it because a lot of those symptoms are also symptoms of other things. I also had a rare disease, Kawasaki Disease, when I was 15... a lot of wierd things happened with that, and sometimes I think it's just an extension of when I had that. My mind is racing, sorry! lol I may just have to get tested for this, i can't handle the stress!
    I'm glad you were able to figure out what you had and get it treated! I think I may do a post now on Kawasaki Disease, thanks for sharing, even though I'm having a minor panic attack over here lol!

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  14. Thanks for sharing!! Soo scary!!

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  15. I had lyme disease in high school - maybe my tick was on my scalp too because I never saw a rash or bug! I just had joint pain and then my knee swelled up really bad. luckily the doctors did a blood test and diagnosed it correctly. I had to take 30 days of antibiotics which made me sensitive to the sun and at the time I was a camp counselor - outside - and my boss did not respect my need to not work on the tennis courts in the sun...but luckily it wasn't worse than that!

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  16. Wow....well, I've been having migraines for the past few years (the doctors call them "untraditional" because they aren't accompanied by visual halos), and last July I had bad joint swelling of my little toe that landed me in the hospital twice (and no one could find what caused the swelling), and I have airborne allergies that came out of nowhere about the same time and have been plaguing me, and I have sore throat often, constant forgetfulness, recent difficulty in concentration, chronic exhaustion, and pain in my jaw/ears/side of my head...all which come and go and have for about 4 years. To my knowledge, I have never been tested for Lyme Disease, despite many, many trips to the doctor. As soon as I have health insurance and can go to the doc, I am definitely demanding to be tested. Better to be safe than sorry! Thank you for sharing this information!

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  17. Sounds so scary! It is crazy how there are similar symptoms for many problems and they are constantly misdiagnosed. I hate that you had to go through this, I guess you learn who your real friends are. Thanks for sharing, I am sure someone is out there reading these symptoms, re-evaluating what could be wrong with them. Doctors make you feel like you are crazy sometimes and don't want to take the time to figure out what is really wrong!

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  18. Wow. I had Lyme Disease summer of 2009. I had pulled a tick off of my neck and neglected to go to the doctor. That was on Father's Day and the day before the 4th of July I was at a Red Sox's game and I started coming down with symptoms. Then the bull's eye appeared. It was one of the worst things I have ever experienced. Thankfully I went through weeks of medication and have been okay. I did notice I would get twice as sick whenever I caught something in the office. And most recently I came down with tonsillitis and had Lyme disease like symptoms in the beginning!

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  19. Such a long, scary list of symptoms! I found a tick behind my ear in high school, but luckily I never developed any symptoms of Lyme Disease. This post freaks me out because when we foster dogs, I usually end up removing their ticks and bathing them.

    I'm glad your treatment worked!

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  20. I had no idea that Lyme disease was so serious! Thank you so much for sharing this and opening up. I'm glad I have this knowledge now.

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  21. Wow. I had no idea! Those little buggers are SNEAKY! I had to pick a little nymph out of Daisy's ear with a tweezer. Luckily she's all white so it was easy to see...but I also have Chip who is chocolate brown. So sorry you had to deal with this! I'm glad you're feeling better!

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  22. Definitely a scary disease! I had an aunt who was hospitalized with Lyme Disease. I'm definitely glad they figured out what it was! It's a good thing you made the doctors test you and were able to figure out what you had.

    Chloe
    http://rainbowsandhoneysuckle.blogspot.com/

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  23. Lyme disease was discovered in my state! But- yes, it can be scary, and if you have deer in your neck of the woods, you could potentially get Lyme disease. My uncle has had it twice and it's because he works in the garden a lot.

    Where were you living when you got it? I know up here they test for Lyme often because of its prevalence (unfortunately). It still is a frustrating disease, and deer ticks are so damn tiny you may never know where you were bitten.

    If I know I'm going to be in wooded areas, I wear light color clothing, long pants/sleeves if possible, and wear bug repellent. Dogs tend to carry ticks too, so checking your animals can also spot a tick.

    I'm glad you are doing better and have been free from it now!

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  24. Firstly, I am glad that you are healthy and doing better.

    Secondly, thanks for taking the time to open up and share this with us all.

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  25. My Aunt had Lyme disease--and like you, it was a years long process of not being able to figure out what was wrong and misdiagnoses before she was able to get better. I remember my uncle saying during that time, "I was wondering if she was even going to make it and if I'd be raising our kids on my own." It's the most scary when you can't figure out what is wrong!

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  26. Great post girl! I got bit by a tick once but was lucky to not get lyme disease. People need to be proactive in their health. And hey I am down to watch movies in with you anytime! :-)

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  27. Wow, scary but very informative. I am pinning and will be more cautious in the future! I am so glad you got everything worked out!

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  28. This is so scary! My guy who camps all the time was having some weird symptoms and asked the doctor to give his a test for Lyme Disease and the doctor acted like he didn't want to and my guy was crazy for suggesting it. I was pretty shocked considering the symptoms and the damage it can do if not caught. But I guess I'm no doctor...

    Anyway... This was the most viewed link of the Weekend Wonders link party this week! Thanks so much for sharing it with us.. You can come grab a button if you'd like. You can find it here: http://thethriftinessmiss.blogspot.com/2013/02/weekend-wonders-26-w-features.html#.URRob6WYtPI

    Have a wonderful Weekend!

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  29. I'm just now finding this post but I wanted to thank you for posting it. Most people don't realize the seriousness of this disease. It's now becoming more and more prevalent and is being transmitted by ways other than just ticks-- even the mosquitoes are starting to transmit this disease in some areas. The test for Lyme Disease is very unreliable, as well. The false negative (meaning the doctor will clear you but you actually DO have the disease) rate is very high, something like 65%. Many doctors do not initially test for Lyme Disease and it is often the patient that has to push for the test. The best way to help others is to raise awareness of this disease!

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