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
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