I know I’m behind on articles but after 10 years of renting in Arizona and Costa Rica, we are finally homeowners again. I’m excited but I will miss the freedom that comes with renting. Homeownership also scares me since my husband has a chronic pain condition that will most likely get worse and not better in years to come. Since I don’t work and it will take another 1 ½ before I’m accepted into nursing school, I know we will have to sell if something happens with Kevin’s hands. Life with chronic pain is sooooo hard.
Last week, I watched the movie, “Under Our Skin.” Aside from freaking me out, I couldn’t believe how many people have Lyme disease and the amount of pain caused by this disease. I’ve heard about Lyme disease but I always thought the doctor would happily prescribe a medication similar to the pills they use for strep throat and, voilà, cured! Well, after watching this movie, I couldn’t believe how wrong my thinking was.
It is easy to treat but the hard part seems to be with diagnosing. In this movie, people had to fight the doctors to get them to believe that Lyme disease was a possibility. One woman said her doctor got mad when she suggested the idea. Since the doctor didn’t want to look at the possibility, it allowed her disease to progress into the later stages. I don’t understand why a doctor would get mad for the suggestion.
I was also shocked by Marlena’s story. She loved ballet and was in the Nutcracker several times. Her Lyme infection got to the point where she couldn’t hold a knife or walk. The doctors told her parents that it was in Marlena’s head and that she needed to stop the act; there was nothing wrong with her. While her parents fought for her, the Lyme bacteria entered her brain. How heartbreaking! What if the doctors did listen the first time? Would Marlena be dancing now? One will never know but it is hard not wondering.
Lyme disease is spread by a tick bite which causes inflammation. Ticks are infected by biting deer or mice that carry the disease. The first report of Lyme disease occurred in Old Lyme, Connecticut in 1975. Under Our Skin (2009) argues that chronic Lyme disease does exist but sadly, Infectious Diseases Society of America still doesn’t recognized chronic Lyme disease.
- Bulls-eye shaped rash around the bit site
- Muscle pains
In the later stages, symptoms may include:
- Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
- Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)
- Western blot test
If left untreated, long term complications can include:
- Nerve damage
- Paralysis of face muscles
- Overall pain
- Vision problems
- Memory/concentration problems
- Sleep problems
If you believe you have Lyme disease and/or have been misdiagnosed, please find a doctor that will listen to you!! This needs to be treated before long term complications occur.