MY LYME STORY
I'm not sure when I contracted Lyme disease. What I am sure of, is when it began to take control over my body. I was bitten as a teenager while pushing through the brush in Rhode Island, but I never noticed any symptoms after pulling a wood tick out of my shoulder. It was thirty-two years later when I began to suffer the consequences of the spirochete, Borrelia Burgdorferi. I truly believe the bug can lay dormant for months or years and surface and take control once our immune system has been severely compromised.
In August of 2006, I was sleep deprived and coming down with a cold, so I did what any red blooded American might do, I tried to drink it out of me. Less than a week later, all hell broke loose. I was weak and tired, had heart palpitations, my lower back went out and I could hardly walk, my neck was stiff and sore, numbness set into my hands and I had a shock-like tingling in my left upper back area.
Now, keep in mind, I'm very active including: running, weight training, martial arts, golf, and basketball. All of this came to a dead stop. At this point I didn't know what was wrong with me, so I went on the internet and began to research my symptoms. What kept popping up, was Lyme disease. Also, my mother in law had just gotten over Lyme and she had similar symptoms. I went to the clinic (it was Sunday) and I tested negative for Lyme. I insisted that the doctor give me antibiotics, and he did, but only 10 days worth. In 3 days I began to feel better, but the shock-like tingling never went away. In February of 2007, it happened again, and this time, it came back even harder. All the symptoms I had before had returned and I could hardly get out of bed. I also had blurry vision and the left side of my face was numb. My left foot had a burning sensation and my right wrist was so soar I couldn't pick up a glass. I went to my primary care physician and he tested me for Lyme (negative) again. I told him I was pretty sure I had Lyme and he said I didn't because it wasn't showing in my blood. I told him I had done research and that its been estimated that 65% of people with Lyme test negative. He blew off my concerns and agreed to give me 14 days of light antibiotics. I asked for 30 days and he refused, stating he was reluctant to give me any. Again, I felt better until October and it hit me even harder this time. I quit using my PCP and found a doctor that had been recommended by a friend that had Lyme and was treated with antibiotics for 90 days and he got better.
A new era in my treatment began. My new PCP tested me and I came up positive for Bartonella (Cat Scratch Fever) an associated tick born bacteria. Even though I didn't test positive for Lyme, my doctor indicated that many times patients will have more than one associated disease. He started me on a cocktail of strong antibiotics. Keep in mind, at this point I was a walking mess and I felt like I was going to die. I began to get better and continued treatment by switching every 30 days to different drugs. I continued this treatment for nine months and was feeling better, but the symptoms were not completely gone (especially the shock-like tingling in my back) this is a tell tale sign for me. At this point, I decided to stop antibiotics and see what would happen, (Mistake). The symptoms began to get worse, so I decided to find a (LLMD) Lyme Literate Medical Doctor. I found one in Orange CT, and he wanted $1,200 cash to see me, (didn't accept insurance). I wasn't about to buy a greedy doctor a new large flat screen TV, so I kept looking. Randy Sykes, a Lyme patient and advocate, gave me the name of a doctor in Longmeadow Massachusetts and I made an appointment. It took me 5 months to get in to see her (this is how many people are suffering from Lyme) and I have been seeing her ever since. On my first visit, she spent over an hour with me, getting to know my history and explaining the disease and how it affects our immune system. She asked me which antibiotic (out of several I had taken) made me feel the best. I told her Doxycycline worked the best for me. She offered a FIVE tier approach with me: A long term regimen of Doxycycline, an a regimen of supplement's and Chiropractic care to build up my immune system, a low sugar, high protein diet (Lyme hates protein, loves sugar) regular exercise, and meditation or a stress relieving exercise.
It has been two years since my first visit with her and I'm feeling 90% better, and I've been off antibiotics for 3 months. I still feel the disease is somewhere inside my body, but not strong enough that my immune system can't control it, for now. I am still doing all the other methods she recommended, except the antibiotics.
This disease is the absolute worst thing that has ever happened to me and I feel for the millions of people out there that are suffering and dying every day.
This is why I decided to write, The Lyme Conspiracy.