Category Archives: Arthritis

Hold your breath!

There’s an uneasy feeling about going to see an infectious disease doctor. You look around and wonder “what does he or she have and can I catch it?” Then, you realize they’re all looking at you asking the same thing! Everyone’s breathing is noticeably shallow and no one sits near another. You’re careful not to touch your eyes or mouth with your hands and you don’t dare cough or it may clear the room ūüôā

As I was checking in, the receptionist commented about the number of patients with Lyme Disease. The doctor also mentioned that he’s treated over 2000 cases! It’s a real problem in this area, which is why I’m sharing.

The doc¬†did a full exam, asked a lot of questions¬†and didn’t discover any issues other than what I already knew/felt.¬†He affirmed it was¬†LD and suggested¬†we see how the doxycycline does¬†over the next¬†two weeks. He felt strongly the stabbing pain¬†is nerve related resulting from LD as is all the other pain. If the meds work, it should relieve the pain. If nothing changes in two weeks, it’s IV time.

Here’s a little Q&A I had with the doc. I don’t remember all the questions I asked – memory loss from the LD (see below):

Q. Is it curable or treatable.
A. He danced around and I gathered it’s treatable and you may be stuck with the damage

Q. How do you know if it’s getting better or worse?
A. If it gets better, the pain should gradually go away. If it gets worse, you could see neurological problems like facial paralysis (should have skipped that one)

Q. Are you 100% certain I have LD?
A. The blood test and symptoms make me certain (buzz kill)

I gave them a little more blood to see if the little bugs carried any other payloads and I was on my way.

Oh, he also said he didn’t think I needed my lymphnodes removed, so he was going to call the surgeon and cancel my procedure. Apparently, the surgeon is a little short on extra lymphnodes (or cash), so he convinced the ID doc that I should still come see him.

On my ride home, it occurred to me that there may be some benefit to this condition. I can blame things on LD now!

For example, I had to start wearing reading glasses recently – it’s because of LD. My lack of hair – LD. I’m a little grumpy in the a.m. – LD. My poor writing – LD. I backed into my wife’s car Saturday a.m. – yup, LD.

In all seriousness, diagnosing and treating this is critically important. If you suspect it, make them test you! The longer you wait after the bite, the worse the symptoms get. Five months ago, I was running 4-8 miles a few times a week. Recently, I practically needed a cane to walk!

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I’m Ticked Off!

“Often, we are too slow to recognize how much and in what ways we can assist each other through sharing such expertise and knowledge”¬† – Owen Arthur

First, let me make it clear that this isn’t a blog to seek pity or anything to that effect. I have a blessed life, so¬†there’s nothing to feel bad about. The reason for this blog is to share what I’ve learned and experienced dealing with LD. Hopefully, this info will spare others from the long list of health issues that this ectoparasite carrying Borrelia burgdorferi will cause.¬†I often preach about sharing personal stories to get people to listen to an important message. This is an important issue and message, especially for families in New England.

Let me also make it clear that I’m not an expert nor¬†do I have a lot of knowledge about Lyme Disease, but I’m learning – and as I learn, I’ll share. I hope any or all of you will as well.

The good news is that I found out what’s been causing my aches, pain and misery over the past few months. The better news is it wasn’t something really bad like I thought. The bad news is that it could/should have been diagnosed early and it wasn’t.

In April, 2011, I had a round, red rash on my right thigh. It grew pretty large and felt warm (infected). There were no cuts and no obvious bites, so I wasn’t quite sure what it was. I went to see my primary, and asked the Nurse Practictioner (NP)¬†if it could be Lyme. She quickly discounted that theory and said it was cellulitis, wrote me a prescription for antibiotics and sent me on my way.

The rash went away, so I assumed the antibiotics did the trick. Unfortunately, the Lyme rash (called erythema migrans) goes away on its own, so the antibiotic appeared to have treated the problem, but it was the wrong problem.

As the months passed, I began having increasing muscle and joint pain¬†(among other problems). It started with a stabbing pain in my back that radiated into my ribs, and then pain in my shoulder, knee and hip. Since it was all on my right side, I attributed it to previous injuries; however, I¬†couldn’t understand why everything seemed to be flaring up at the same time and so extreme. Growing old(er) wasn’t supposed to be this bad! I was starting to think I was destined to have knee, shoulder, back ¬†and hip surgery all in one whack.

I changed doctors (for many reasons) and after noticing some swollen lymphnodes, requested that she test for Lyme. She did and the tests came back positive.¬†I’m now over five months since I had the rash and started Doxycycline. No noticeable change yet, but I guess it can take a few weeks.

While I’m really ticked off that¬†the NP didn’t order the Lyme test when the symptoms clearly pointed toward Lyme, I’m also ticked off that I didn’t insist that the test be performed. Doctors and NP’s are human. They get busy and sometimes, like all of us, can’t see the forest through the trees (i.e. they can miss the obvious). We need to be our own advocates – for ourselves and our children.

Tomorrow, I go visit the infectious disease doc. Maybe he’ll tell me it isn’t lyme and that I’m just getting old (heard that a few too many times).

Bottom line – if you see deer (in your area) beware. If you get bitten by a tick, beware. If you have a round, red rash, get tested! Moreover, if your kids start exhibiting symptoms, get them tested! Oh, and don’t forget your pets (both of my dogs were tested and it was negative, but we got them after we moved).

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