Sep 30, 2012

The Lyme Second Opinion...

So I got a second opinion on my potential Lyme Disease this past week. I visited a family practice that is also known for being Lyme Literate. Which is important when you think you could have Lyme Disease. I was cautiously optimistic going in, but still a little panicky under the surface (I think feeling unheard does that to a person).  And then the Nurse Practitioner walked in, and was way more cheerful than I usually am, which would normally make me suspicious but in this case it set me at ease, and I layed out the gist of my story of the past month or so, and she layed out the following for me. I'm not sure of her exact words, but here is my paraphrase:

"We treat aggressively for Lyme here. We believe you.  We are going to test and treat you, and then we are going to monitor you to see if you need more treatment, and we will keep watching you so we know you are better. And you are going to get better. Plus, you are smart, pretty, trustworthy, and a good mom & wife."

Fine, I threw that last sentence in myself. But that's what reassurance feels like. 

So here's the rundown...

I had a confirmed tick bite plus flu-like symptoms.  They were mild but they were persistent, they improved with the short run of antibiotics, and then they returned after I went off the meds.  So even though I had no bullseye rash, I still have good indications for the longer run of antibiotics.  The docs took my blood to test for all the major tick-borne illnesses, and put me on antibiotics for 30 days (Amoxicillin instead of Doxycycline because I'm nursing), as well as a yogurt regimen.  After that time they'll test me again and watch me for further/returning symptoms.  And so on for several months.  It's kind of a pain, but I am very, very fortunate that I had a definite date of the tick bite, and that even though I didn't know about things such as saving the tick and getting a single dose of meds within 2 days, I knew enough to watch myself for symptoms and to address them quickly. Plus, over the past several weeks I've heard from several people I already knew, who continue to deal with Lyme Disease. Their experiences gave me good questions to ask, so I could be more confident about the answers I got.  So thank you, people in my life who told me your stories.  You helped me immensely and I appreciate it.

The nurse practitioner said oftentimes they get people who have been sick for several years, and by that point it is a much longer road to healing, and they get into the more permanent, chronic, and/or disabling effects.  It's nasty, scary stuff, the Lyme Disease.

Therefore in the spirit of awareness and prevention, here are some sites for more information about Lyme Disease and tick-borne illness.  Remember, speed counts.  Don't adopt a laid-back approach of "wait & see," even if that is your normal style, like it is for me.  And if at all possible, get to a doc who has lots of experience dealing with Lyme and tick-borne illnesses.  There is conflicting and sometimes-controversial information out there. It can even get politicky at times, but the bottom line is this:  if you are aggressive early on, the chances of full recovery without lingering/chronic effects are excellent.




My doc doesn't know it yet, but I'm adopting her.  As my regular doc; not, like, into my family or anything. That would be creepy.

But maybe we could be BFFs or something...


Kris said...

I am for lyme advocacy. Put de lime in de coconut, and you drink dem both up. Glad you did what you did!

Elizabeth said...

Lyme Disease scares me to death, as do most woodland areas in the eastern U.S. (Our tiger-striped mosquitos in Arlington scared me to death, too). But I love the story of this NP; we feel the same way about the ENT Maddie and Bridget see regularly. It isn't very often you get to feel that way about medical professionals (at least in my experience) so definitely hold on to that practice!! I'm glad you are getting aggressively monitored for all of it.