The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


November 5, 2012

Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: Lyme disease a real lemon


Unsuspected happening

It may have been one of those days ten years ago that I contracted Lyme disease (LD). I don’t recall being bitten by a tick and I didn’t develop a bull’s eye rash. I may have had flu like symptoms but that was so long ago, who knows now. But what I do know is the devastation a poppy seed-sized insect has on the body.

Initial symptoms

Two years ago after being under a lot of stress, I began to exhibit serious symptoms that frightened me. After developing seasonal bronchial asthma, it progressed to chronic bronchitis. No sooner than the bronchitis was cleared up, it came back again. An emergency room visit for intense chest pain turned out to be Pleurisy. A friend with LD kept telling me that it’s not normal to be sick like that all the time and she thought I had Lyme. I told her, “Just because you have Lyme you think everyone has Lyme.”

More warning signs

Soon other symptoms developed, quickly. Short-term memory loss was one that my family noticed before I did. Balance became an issue and I began to run into walls and fall on occasion. Working out at the gym was embarrassing; as I couldn’t lift the weight I had before. Joint pain, a baker’s cyst behind my knee and heart palpations were obstacles I worked through until it became unbearable.

Don’t wait

I had lived in the cycle of pain and exhaustion for so long that it became the norm.  “Managing the symptoms” did serious damage to my central nervous system. I had pushed my body too far and created the perfect tempest for the Lyme bacteria to grow. After that, exhaustion came quickly; mostly because I had reactive mono and had developed Hoshimoto’s hypothyroidism disease and didn’t know it. When weird-buzzing sensations began in my head I had had enough. Maybe my friend was right maybe I did have Lyme. I made an appointment with a Lyme literate doctor in Pennsylvania and was given a clinical diagnosis of L disease.

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