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This is Lyme

An honest look at the long term effect of Lyme Disease.

It’s Sunday morning and I can hardly move. My head is aching. Pain has stretched out to the ends of each limb, making me want to curl up in a ball on the couch. Even if I lie perfectly still, I feel it; the deep ache in my joints and fatigue in my muscles. Sounds of laughter find me across the house as my kids play Wii Fit. I cannot motivate myself to join them.

Hope is like a bird that senses the dawn and carefully starts to sing while it is still dark. ~ Anonymous

Tweet. Tweet.  After close to four months of treatment for Lyme, I still have down days, but I know I am getting better. I have more good days now than I have had in the six years since this nightmare began. I’m starting to make plans. I know life won’t suddenly be filled with rainbows, unicorns and brown sugar bacon, but it will be immensely better without the pain.  

It’s not like this for everyone with Lyme. For some people it's worse and continues chronically. Others are treated promptly and recover quickly. According to Denise Lang-Grant, author of Coping with Lyme, the symptoms of Lyme can impact multiple systems of the body.

Here’s a quick sample of some of the symptoms of Lyme as outlined in Coping with Lyme:

  • Rashes: at site of bite, on other parts of the body or raised, disappearing and returning;
  • Headache, twitching and tingling in the face, jaw pain;
  • Double or blurry vision, eye pain, flashing lights;
  • Decreased hearing, buzzing, ringing in ears, ear pain;
  • Joint pain, swelling or stiffness;
  • Night sweats, shortness of breath, chest pain;
  • Tremors, dizziness, weakness;
  • Mood swings, sleep problems, disorientation;
  • Memory loss, confusion, speech difficulty;
  • Extreme fatigue, migrating pain.

Oh, joy. I thought motherhood was turning my brain into mush. It was Lyme that made me think I was a few fries short of a Happy Meal. And my Brookfield based family physician seemed to agree.

“You should be better by now,” he said, refusing to treat me further. “But I still have all the symptoms,” I said. “Well then it is something else,” he insisted. “A month of antibiotics is enough.”

I didn’t fight him further. I had a bad feeling it could end with me hitting him in the side of the head with my handbag. It was stuffed with multiple DSi’s, everything I could possibly need in a day and weighed in at 20 pounds. Even in my weakened condition, I could have done some damage.

I trusted my instincts and found the treatment I needed with a Lyme Literate MD, and after six years of pain and misdiagnosis I'm finally, slowly getting better.

I feel an overwhelming urge to drive around town in my mini-van with a bull-horn yelling “The ticks are coming! The ticks are coming!”  Maybe if I stand on top of a checkout counter at screaming, “Protect your children — buy tick repellant,” it would help just one person avoid this misery. 

Yes, you see, a few fries short of a Happy Meal. That is what Lyme Disease has done to me.

Denise Lang-Grant will be speaking on Tuesday, May 3, at . The event will be held at Western Connecticut State University (Westside Campus) from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Additional information about Lyme Disease treatment, prevention or support groups, contact the Brookfield Lyme Disease Task Force at CTLyme@gmail.com.

For the first part of my personal struggle with Lyme, read .

Steven DeVaux June 23, 2011 at 01:17 AM
Once Rare, Infection by Tick Bites Spreads A potentially devastating infection caused by tick bites has gained a foothold in the Lower Hudson Valley and in coastal areas of the Northeast, government researchers have found. The condition, called babesiosis, is a malaria-like illness that results from infection with Babesia microti, a parasite that lives in red blood cells and is carried by deer ticks. Though far less common than Lyme disease, babesiosis can be fatal, particularly in people with compromised immune systems. Because there is no widely used screening test for babesiosis, its spread poses a particular threat to the blood supply, scientists said. “We are very worried about it and are doing everything in our power to address this,” said Sanjai Kumar, chief of the laboratory of emerging pathogens at the Food and Drug Administration. According to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were six cases of babesiosis in the Lower Hudson Valley in 2001 and 119 cases in 2008, a 20-fold increase. In areas where Lyme disease is endemic, like coastal Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Long Island, babesiosis also is becoming very common, said Dr. Peter Krause, senior research scientist at the Yale School of Public Health.
Kathy December 12, 2012 at 03:24 AM
My daughter has been diagnosed with new daily persistent headaches and desperately wants to have a baby. What drugs do you suggest that are safe enough for her to take?being a mom is very important to her. Right now she is teaching, but there goal is for her to be a stay at home mom.

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