Six years after tick bite, its mark–and the illness–still show
By Alyssa Whitlock
You see that little spot on my calf? You wouldn’t think that a small bite like this would change someone’s life, turn it upside down, crush their goals and dreams, shake them to their core, causing immense pain and profound fatigue along with a multitude of other symptoms and issues.
That bite also caused a secondary neurological disorder which affects my heart and all body systems (dysautonomia), as well as a brain lesion. That bite is from a tick. Yes… that’s a tick bite from six years ago! Out of the hundreds of people with Lyme disease that I have met, only one other had a re-appearing bite years after she was bitten. This is not very common, but it does show how resilient and chronic this bacteria can be.
I remember the day as if it were yesterday. We were at a local creek, and the tick was only attached for a few hours. My husband saw the tick, as well as my parents, and my father removed the tick for me.
A few weeks later I developed flu-like symptoms and a rash (but not the typical bull’s-eye). Because my case was not a “textbook” diagnosis, I was sent away without even being prescribed precautionary antibiotics.
Also, I was told that we did not have Lyme disease in Georgia so the doctor refused to order a Lyme disease test. Pretty tragic that the urgent care doctor’s decision and lack of knowledge has affected my entire life six years later.
The misconception that Lyme does not exist in the South or that it cannot be chronic has prolonged my diagnosis and ultimately my healing process. This is such a common controversy regarding Lyme that it’s sickening and heartbreaking — all of the people suffering, ones that gave up, ones that didn’t have a chance to fight and ones that have been fighting for years without much progress. See, treatment for Lyme disease varies from person to person and is a long, brutal process that is anything but linear.
If anything, please read and understand this: Lyme disease is a devastating disease and especially when it is not diagnosed and treated right away. Unfortunately, for me and many others, it can take years to get properly diagnosed and start treatment. It took me 46 doctors and four years. Every time I saw new doctors, they would judge me solely on my age and how I looked. Lyme disease is invisible in almost everyone who has it.
During my search for answers and relief, I only got worse as my illness progressed. See, the Lyme bacteria are spirochetes which are shaped like corkscrews… corkscrews that drill their way into every single tissue — brain, heart, any organ, muscle, and bone. These spirochetes are masterminds and are very stealthy. They will hide in these tissues and can go unrecognized for years and even a lifetime, all while wreaking havoc on the host’s body and immune system.
The tests that the CDC recommends for Lyme disease miss 56 percent of cases! This is a huge problem because now this illness is being labeled as an epidemic by scientists and doctors… yet no one is talking about it. There are no commercials for Lyme disease medications or treatments… it’s not on talk shows or radio stations. It is only the sick who talk about Lyme disease. You don’t get it until you get it.
Friends and family members of the sick may grow tired of hearing about it and may not even believe them. If they cannot fathom the pain and effects of this illness, they may deem that person as “dramatic” or “attention-seeking.” When all we want is to get better. To have a chance to get our lives back. To make sure others don’t suffer from this horrendous and preventable illness.
We need recognition, we need accurate testing, we need Lyme-literate (knowledgeable) doctors, we need understanding, we need awareness, we need a cure!
Alyssa Whitlock writes about her experiences with Lyme disease and dysautonomia in her blog “Finding Happiness Through Hurt.”
- May 23, 2017 at 6:05 am
Please find a diagnostic test to reveal Lyme Disease. I used to pray for that in 1990…now I pray within our lifetime.
- June 3, 2017 at 12:12 am
Armin labs in germany are amazing. After years of searching they found it immediately. Do as many of the tests as possible. Amongst lyme, i also had many rikketsia bacteria and other co infections. the OSP MIX Test cleary found mine.
- June 3, 2017 at 3:49 am
I have had the rash, which points to lyme disease, along with myoclonus, fatigue joint and muscle pain and it looks like a classic case but all the docs I have seen say they know it’s not lyme disease but are not sure what it is.
- June 3, 2017 at 12:19 pm
My husband is having multiple symptoms and we live in the Pacific NW. When I asked a doctor to order a Lyme disease blood test, he said we don’t have Lyme disease here. So my husband went to the blood draw clinic and asked for a Lyme disease blood test and they refused to do it because my husband didn’t have orders from his doctor. My husband said I will pay for it personally. They refused to do it. Very frustrating.
- June 7, 2017 at 10:49 am
I feel lucky in that I finally (after “only” 8 months) found a doctor willing to give me the Lyme test because I threw a fit. I know he only agreed to it to get me to stop asking for it. Imagine his surprise when the test came back positive. I’m now on round 2 of antibiotics to try to get rid of it. To anyone out there who can’t get the test (I was also told that it “wasn’t in our area”) please keep pushing to get it. The doctors just are not educated about this disease. Thanks for a great article and best of luck to you.
- June 10, 2017 at 10:48 pm
After three years of not knowing what was wrong with me, a Nurse Practitioner ordered a lime test. My doctor had sent me to rheumatologists, surgeons and all sorts of expensive I was in and out of the ER for severe joint pain. I mentioned to my NPC (because my doctor stopped wanting to see me) that my feet and hands would go numb and seem to vibrate constantly. She ordered 11 tests and Lyme was one. The Phlebotomist says to me “do you know she ordered a Lyme test?” I said no. The next I think week I was called back to her office! I am grateful to her.
- September 1, 2017 at 2:34 am
I had a tick on my back for 2 days I live alone so did not see it I felt it, it was about 8 years ago. I have all the pain and the symptoms but most of all I get a crawling feeling under my skin in the same spot where the tick was, this happens when my back gets warm ie : when I am in the sun or in the shower sometimes when I am asleep. The pain in my whole body is always worse at night. I live in France I have had one dose of antibotics I felt well for about a week after it came back the lack of sleep the pain headaches. I am told we don’t have limes in France.
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