Monday, September 20, 2010

What I learned from a tick.

Last week, after a nasty bout of what I thought was the flu, I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. I started a 3-week course of doxycycline on Thursday night. Today, ten days after my first symptoms emerged, I have rejoined the human race. In the meantime, here’s what I’ve learned:

That something this big " . " can completely kick your ass. People, make no mistake. Lyme makes you sick. Long spells of convulsive chills followed by high fever. Sleepless nights. Headaches (see below). Muscle aches. Sensitive skin. Extreme fatigue. They even list depression as a symptom. Ya think?

The difference between an ice pick headache and a migraine. With migraines, I thought I had the market cornered on painful headaches. Enter, the “ice pick” headache, which lasted 3 days, was unresponsive to most pain medication and felt just like the description, as if something sharp had been driven into my temple. And every now and then, dear Yukon Cornelius would tap it in a little further.

You don’t always get a rash. I think I’d remember seeing a large bullseye on my body. Wait, maybe that’s why people were kicking me that day on the beach.

What "herxing" is.  Short for the Herxheimer reaction, which occurs when large quantities of toxins are released into the body at once. So with Lyme, it’s when you start treatment and the little spyrocetes start dying in large numbers and flooding your system with neurotoxins.  In short, it gets worse before it gets better.

All medical professionals are not created equal. I might have been diagnosed three days earlier had my regular NP recognized that my symptoms meshed with Lyme. Three days later, I went to a walk-in clinic and the symptom-based diagnosis was almost immediate. So the best advice is to learn the symptoms for yourself. Note what I experienced above, add the telltale rash and joint pain. Or Google away.

A lot of people have had this and live to tell the tale. Once I mention Lyme, it seems everyone has a story. (And a few bad tequila jokes.) It seems many have had it or known someone who’s had it. Some have even had it multiple times. Sure, there are horror stories. (Bell's palsy.) For most, the antibiotics were the end of it. Sure hope that’s the case for me.

What menopause is going to feel like. Night sweats. Not fun. Fortunately, I have many, many years before I have to worry about such things. (Delusions, another symptom.)

Doxycycline is a great diet plan.  Most people would mind if their meds made them really nauseous. I’m looking forward to fitting into my skinny jeans.

That I’m going to need a better preventive measure than tucking my pants into my socks. Because that’s not going to happen. Just saying.

Sorry, Kiele. I’ll walk you again in November.

PS. Sorry I went A.W.O.L. for a while. I took a little break after my summer book tour and then had a tight editing deadline on my Young Adult book coming out in June. More to come on that, and living on Cape Cod in the off season.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

Whenever you are sick, you should call me first, lol. Since I am psychologically unable to go to the doctor unless I am literally dying, I have spent the better part of 20 years learning how to diagnose EVERYTHING. I cannot tell you the number of people who have gone to the doctors, gotten nowhere, asked me what the problem is, and then gone back and found out that I was right. If I could stand germs, I'd make a kick-ass doctor.

Sorry to hear that the Doxy is making your tummy hurt - that's not fun. Drugs are funny - I have been on the nauseous diet for almost a month now because of the Celexa, but Doxy never bothered me. Well, yay to skinny jeans (though I own no such animal)!

Feel better soon.