Monday, November 17, 2008
Understanding Lyme Disease Part Two
Since my first installment of 'Understanding Lyme Disease' a fantastic documentary has been released chronicling the history/mystery of Lyme Disease.
Under Our Skin has been making the rounds of film festivals and our Lyme support group was invited to a preview of the film a few months ago. The information in this documentary is staggering, and I invite everyone to go out and rent a copy. It will blow your mind. (Spoiler Alert...scientists are starting to think (and test) that Alzheimer's, ALS, and dementia are all actually late stage Lyme Disease symptoms.
It's been 6 months since I started treatment...and it's been a hellish road at best. Only recently have I begun to get some measure of energy back. And when I say energy, I mean I can get out of bed, wash my hair, check e-mail, walk my kids to the bus stop and stay awake until 9pm. That's a big improvement for me. My nausea comes and goes, but when it hits it's the worst nausea I've ever experienced. My doctors have recently put me on anti-nausea meds that are used for cancer patients, and they seem to be working.
The ringing in my ears is constant now and my eye sight is significantly weaker. Although I know these symptoms are (supposed to be) temporary, it doesn't help me in the short term. I, like many other Lyme sufferers, no longer drive at night.
For me the worst part of this disease is the constant reminder of all the things I'm unable to do anymore. I think I needed to believe I magically avoided any neurological symptoms that are common with chronic/late stage Lyme. I foolishly needed to convince myself that everything was fine, because admitting the alternative was too much for me. However, it's now obvious that my ability to concentrate has been affected and my memory too. This is scary shit. Even my ability to write effectively and for fucks sake proofread properly has been affected. It's irritating to say the least and I'm only 6 months into a treatment that will probably last me another 2-3 years.
It's going to be a long haul. I've come to terms with the possibility that remission might be the best I can do. Any future flare-ups will have to be retreated...I know this.
Last month, we had a new member come to support group. She'd only just been bitten and went straight to a local doctor here in my town. He quickly told her that Lyme disease wasn't in our area, and wouldn't even entertain testing for it. Knowing something was wrong, and not taking no for an answer she sought out a Lyme doctor and sure enough, a month later, her lyme tests came back glowingly positive in addition to 3 co-infections. This tells me that our ticks here are the sickest of the sick....super bugs, really. I can't begin to understand why doctors insist on looking the other way when it comes to Lyme disease.
Unfortunately, more people are becoming infected everyday and probably don't know it.
The best I can do now is get the word out there...