My Lyme is your Lyme

As some of you may know, Linda has Lyme Disease, which was treated for a month with antibiotics strong enough to leave her almost immobile a good deal of the time. She seems fine now, but it could come back. It’s hell to get rid of – maybe impossible (see below).
Lyme has become a true scourge up here, and apparently in other areas of the U.S. and other parts of the world. I don’t think it’s exaggerating to call it a hidden plague. The symptoms run the gamut from itching to rashes to muscle ache to fever to, so help me, brain malfunction, which makes it hard to diagnose – you get the supposedly “typical” rash and bullseye in only about 15% of cases. That’s also left it remarkably unrecognized overall, even up here: Pennsylvania is the epicenter for Lyme, with roughly a third of the cases reported across the country. And the test for it gives a lot of both false positives and false negatives (Linda came up negative the first time, then with one of the highest positive readings our doc had ever seen two months later).
The woman who published my first book (a PA native) has dropped out of publishing to get a more lucrative job because her husband had undiagnosed Lyme for years and can’t work regularly. With Tammy, who runs the embroidery shop in town, it affected her brain to the point she thought she was going crazy or getting early dementia before it was diagnosed. I’ve now talked to 5 or 6 others in which it chugged along, unrecognized, with lasting, debilitating effects.
It gets into areas of the body with low blood flow where it “hides” from the immune system and is seldom fully cured. So far, there’s no vaccine because it’s crept under the health radar while zika got all the publicity (and funds). If you’re not pregnant, Lyme looks like a far more virulent bastard than zika.
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  1. #1 by Karen Meyers on July 21, 2017 - 3:36 pm

    The strange thing is (I think) that the local vets all seem to be much more aware of Lyme than the people docs. It seems as though I’m constantly talking to people whose dogs, cats and horses are on their second or third round of Lyme meds. Then I chat with people whose docs didn’t identify their Lyme for months. Have you noticed this?

  2. #2 by lickhaven on July 21, 2017 - 4:05 pm

    Yup. Our dog Leiao, who had to be put down for cancer a few months back, was treated for Lyme twice and the vet has been adamant that all our animals need to be on the vaccine–which is interesting too, since as far as I know there is no human Lyme vaccine. My feeling is that everyone human up here should be tested annually (though, again, the test doesn’t seem very reliable).

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