As I stated in the beginning to this series of articles on Lyme Disease, I experienced at least 8 years of being critically and chronically ill. Doctors could not figure out what was causing the symptoms.
Oh yes, they would guess that it maybe Arthritis, Lymphoma, Fibromyalgia, and the last diagnosis...PLAUSIBLE Multiple Sclerosis. However, I was not going to take PLAUSIBLE as the diagnosis.
Once I went through the process as stated in my December 30, 2007 post, I finally received the real diagnosis...Lyme Disease. That was after spending family vacation at Disneyland, this past October, in a wheelchair. I am never going to spend vacation at Disneyland in a wheelchair again!
Lyme Disease creates many symptoms.
Here is one site that gives some of those symptoms.
"Many Lyme patients were firstly 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 are a doctor please re-examine these diagnoses , incorporating Lyme in the differential diagnoses.
"The one common thread with Lyme Disease is the number of systems affected (brain, central nervous system, autonomic nervous system, cardiovascular, digestive, respiratory, musco-skeletal, etc.) and sometimes the hourly/daily/weekly/monthly changing of symptoms."
"No one will have all symptoms but if many are present serious consideration must be given by any physician to Lyme as the possible culprit. Lyme is endemic in Canada period. The infection rate with Lyme in the tick population is exploding in North America and as the earth's temperature warms this trend is expected to continue ."
Check this page link for a list of 75 symptoms that will help you to know if you should be tested for Lyme Disease.
Blood tests, also known as Lyme titers, cannot diagnose Lyme disease alone, but they are used to confirm a diagnosis. The most common blood test ordered for Lyme disease is the ELISA , with the western blot used as a follow-up test . The ELISA tests for antibodies, the body's defense system against infections; it does not test for the bacteria itself. These anti-Borrelia burgdorferi antibodies may take up to 2 to 6 weeks after infection to appear in the blood. Therefore, a blood test immediately following a tick bite will not be able to determine whether or not a person has been infected since not enough time has passed for antibodies to develop."
"Other bacterial infections and diseases may cause an ELISA to be positive when, in fact, the patient does not have Lyme disease. Therefore, the Western Blot, a more accurate test that can be used 6 to 12 weeks after infection, is recommended to confirm all positive or equivocal ELISA results. However, if symptoms and history strongly suggest Lyme disease, a doctor may begin treatment without blood test confirmation. Note that frequent testing without symptoms that suggest infection, even in endemic areas, increases the chance of a test result being positive when a person is not actually infected with Lyme disease."
I hope that this part in the series is helpful. I will continue to give further information in this series with blogs that include treatment options, statistics, links, etc.
If you suspect you may have Lyme Disease, don't wait for a doctor to offer to test you. Take it upon yourself to ask the doctor to order the tests. There is nothing wrong with taking control of your health care. It is your life. Choose to live it fully!