How Do I Know If I Have Lyme?
(Or: What if it is not arthritis, MS, interstitial cystitis?)
Most likely it is Lyme. If you are thinking about a possible Lyme diagnosis it probably is. And if you have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, MS, or interstitial cystitis there’s a chance that the Lyme bacteria is causing it. Lots of serious, chronic diseases start because of a virus or bacteria. If your illness is caused by a Borrelia burgdorferi strain, then your treatments will only be Band-Aids for symptoms. If you get tested and narrow the cause down to Lyme, then treating Lyme will get to the root of the problem and begin the healing process.
Many people in my town are being diagnosed with Lyme disease after years of feeling unwell and “mysterious” migrating symptoms. It is an epidemic and therefore makes sense that many people have Lyme, whether they know it or not.
In children, Lyme looks a little different. Sadly Lyme is congenital, and mothers can pass it on to babies if they do not have treatment during pregnancy. It starts out slowly and if untested and untreated, the child will just grow increasingly ill with more symptoms. It usually begins with headaches, bone pain (mistaken sometimes for growing pains), constant sore throat and ear infections, asthma, digestive issues, and/or ADD and anxiety. Some children are developmentally delayed, while others have more physical pain and low immunity.
Here’s how it started for me:
First onset symptoms: A “weird” flu or unexplained “virus” a few months, asthma, chemical sensitivities, fatigue, feeling ‘rundown’, sore throats, annual pneumonia
Chronic Lyme disease symptoms: Extreme fatigue, insomnia, pain, poor circulation, brain fog, tinnitus, heart palpitations, heart block, heart murmur, low BP, difficulty breathing/shortness of breath, chronic cough, stiff joints, heightened anxiety, difficulty remembering common words.
Diagnosis before Lyme disease:
Working too hard; anxiety; IBS
Treatment does not always mean hundreds of thousands of dollars at a special clinic. There are means to managing the disease at home and with the help of various practitioners. It does require patience and research. Some excellent books to start with are:
Dr. Horowitz’s Why Can’t I Get Better? His symptom checklist is thorough.
Stephen Buhner’s books on Lyme and Coinfections
Dr. William Rawls Suffered Long Enough and Unlocking Lyme