This year has been a rough one for me. I began with a flu last September which was odd since it wasn’t flu season and rarely to I get sick with colds or a flu nonetheless. That turned into a bad Crohn’s flare. Then I decided to stop my birth control pill because I wanted to start balancing my hormones after being on it for way too long. With each period, like clockwork, came a vicious flare. I understood hormones play a huge role in causing flare-ups with women but geez, I thought my healthy ways would prevent the debilitating week long pain. It didn’t. Fast forward to 2.5 months ago, I began to get a sudden onset of neurological symptoms such as vertigo, dizziness, extreme brain fog, headaches, eye floaters, fatigue and many more symptoms that you will see below. I was feeling VERY OFF. People told me it was most likely stress and to stop thinking about it so much. I knew it wasn’t stress.
So then the tests began. I went to see an ENT where vertigo and any inner ear problem was ruled out. I went to see a neuro-opthamologist because I have had a history of severe optic neuritis in the past & wanted to make sure it wasn’t my eyes. An MRI was taken and luckily no lesions or MS. Then I decided to see an Osteopath. I wanted everything checked in my blood, praying I could find answers. I told her all of my vague symptoms and all my past complications with Crohn’s and the blinding mystery optic neuritis I had in college. I was side swiped when she looked at me and said that all of my symptoms screamed Lyme to her.
Wait a minute. No way, I thought! I never found a tick on me, then again I never looked. Some are so tiny, I could of easily mistaken them for dirt or a freckle. I DO live in prominent Lyme lands and travel to Cape Cod, the other highly infested Lyme area. I DO garden with flip flops on and no gloves and shorts in the summer months in my backyard which is visited by deer and backs up to woods. I did have a mystery flu late last summer and a few rashes during the year and lots of little odd symptoms, like very painful breasts and extremely dry skin and blurry vision. I always chalked things up to my Crohns.
Then after watching a Lyme documentary ‘Under Our Skin’ and reading ‘The Unkown Cure’, lightbulbs starting going off above my head. By the way, HIGHLY recommend both, especially the book.
Then the results came in. I tested positive for both Lyme (and Candida, but we will discuss that in next post).
I have 40 clinical Lyme symptoms listed (underlined) below. If you have 20, this represents a serious potential and Lyme should be included in diagnostic workup. Unfortunately diagnostic testing is very hard. Sometimes the spirochetes and their co-infections can not be detected in blood work. That is why you must find a Lyme Literate Dr to look at your clinical symptoms along with any bands that come up positive on a Western Blot test, even if there are few. The CDC only allows treatment if you mark 5 out of 10 bands which is just crazy to me. If one band came up positive, that should be evidence enough that you were infected at some point. Spirochetes can hide in your tissues, and travel to your vital organs, They can cause so many lasting symptoms that can be dangerous if not taken care of. They can keep reproducing and cause havoc, if not controlled. Scary part is I have no idea when I got infected or how long my body has been fighting them. Dr said people run the risk of getting bit just walking from there car to their front door. Nymph ticks are SUPER SMALL (as small or smaller then poppy seeds) and can go undetected.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease
The Tick Bite (fewer than 50% recall a tick bite or get/see the rash and only about 30% even get the rash)
Rash at site of bite
Rashes on other parts of your body
Rash basically circular, oval and spreading out (more generalized)
Raised rash, disappearing and recurring
Head, Face, Neck
Unexplained hair loss
Headache, mild or severe, Seizures
Pressure in head, white matter lesions in brain (MRI)
Twitching of facial or other muscles
Facial paralysis (Bell’s Palsy, Horner’s syndrome)
Tingling of nose, (tip of) tongue, cheek or facial flushing
Stiff or painful neck
Jaw pain or stiffness
Dental problems (unexplained)
Sore throat, clearing throat a lot, phlegm, runny nose
Double or blurry vision
Increased floating spots
Pain in eyes, or swelling around eyes
Oversensitivity to light
Flashing lights/Peripheral waves/phantom images in corner of eyes
Decreased hearing in one or both ears, plugged ears
Buzzing in ears
Pain in ears, oversensitivity to sounds
Ringing in one or both ears
Digestive and Excretory Systems
Irritable bladder (trouble starting, stopping) or Interstitial cystitis
Upset stomach (nausea or pain) or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
Bone pain, joint pain or swelling, carpal tunnel syndrome
Stiffness of joints, back, neck, tennis elbow
Muscle pain or cramps, (Fibromyalgia)
Respiratory and Circulatory Systems
Shortness of breath, can’t get full/satisfying breath, cough
Chest pain or rib soreness
Night sweats or unexplained chills
Heart palpitations or extra beats
Endocarditis, Heart blockage
Tremors or unexplained shaking
Burning or stabbing sensations in the body
Fatigue, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Weakness, peripheral neuropathy or partial paralysis
Pressure in the head
Numbness in body, tingling, pinpricks
Poor balance, dizziness, difficulty walking
Increased motion sickness
Mood swings, irritability, bi-polar disorder
Disorientation (getting or feeling lost)
Feeling as if you are losing your mind
Over-emotional reactions, crying easily
Too much sleep, or insomnia
Difficulty falling or staying asleep
Narcolepsy, sleep apnea
Panic attacks, anxiety
Memory loss (short term)
Confusion, difficulty in thinking
Difficulty with concentration or reading
Going to the wrong place
Speech difficulty (slurred or slow)
Forgetting how to perform simple tasks
Reproduction and Sexuality
Loss of sex drive
Unexplained menstral pain, irregularity
Unexplained breast pain, discharge
Testicular or pelvic pain
Unexplained weight gain, loss
Swollen glands/lymph nodes
Unexplained fevers (high or low grade)
Continual infections (sinus, kidney, eye, etc.)
Symptoms seem to change, come and go
Pain migrates (moves) to different body parts
Early on, experienced a “flu-like” illness, after which you have not since felt well.
Low body temperature
flaring of symptoms every 4 weeks
Increased effect from alcohol and possible worse hangover
Many Lyme patients are first diagnosed with other illnesses such as:
Juvenile Arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Reactive Arthritis, Infectious Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Fibromyalgia, Raynaud’s Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Interstitial Cystis, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, Fifth Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, scleroderma, lupus, early ALS, early Alzheimers Disease, crohn’s disease, ménières syndrome, reynaud’s syndrome, sjogren’s syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, prostatitis, psychiatric disorders (bipolar, depression, etc.), encephalitis, sleep disorders, thyroid disease and various other illnesses.
If you have received one of these diagnoses please check above to see if you recognize a broader range of symptoms.
With Lyme Disease it is common for all systems to be affected ( respiratory, autonomic nervous system, cardiovascular, digestive, brain, central nervous system, musco-skeletal, etc.) and sometimes the hourly/daily/weekly/monthly changing of symptoms. Symptoms may come and go in varying degrees fluctuating from one symptom to another. There may be a period of what feels like remission only to be followed by another onset of symptoms.
The infection rate of Lyme in the tick population is exploding in North America and as global warming continues, this trend is expected to only get worse. Please spray yourself while being outside, check yourself, wear light clothing while hiking, gardening or playing in the grass. Find a Lyme Literate Dr and get checked if you detect anything! If you are positive it is so important to treat as early as you can. You can go the antibiotic route or just as powerful, the herbal route.
*I will post about my plan of attack on eradicating both Lyme and Candida for you guys and a brief post on Candida and what it is.