Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Lyme is Everywhere!

If you Google "Lyme Disease Symptoms" you get 35,800 results. Dr. Joseph Burrascano lists 63 separate symptoms of Lyme disease in his Advanced Topics in Lyme Disease -- Diagnostic Hints and Treatment Guidelines for Lyme and Other Tick Borne Illnesses.

The symptoms vary so wildly that they describe conditions that millions of people suffer from. So many of these symptoms are general like fatigue, headache, fevers, joint pain. When you are familiar with the symptoms associated with Lyme disease, it seems like everyone could have the disease.
A friend has a swollen knee with unexplained stiffness. A coworkers spouse has numbness and tingling in their hands and feet. Your friends mom has a multiple sclerosis diagnosis at 55 years old. Somebody on a news broadcast has Bell's Palsy. Lynette and I look at each other and say in unison, "Lyme disease!"

Our population suffers from an astounding array of chronic diseases. There are very few of these diseases for which there is a known cause. No causative agent has been identified for ailments such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Alzheimer's Disease, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, Lupus, or Multiple Sclerosis. These are all common misdiagnoses for Lyme disease sufferers.

Dr. Alan MacDonald, a respected Lyme researcher and pathologist in New York state received brain tissue from 10 deceased victims of Alzheimer's disease. He found the spirochetes that cause Lyme disease in 7 out of the 10 specimens.

The CDC admits that their reporting of Lyme disease is likely understated by 90 percent. Is it possible that all of these people with CFS, FM, RA, ALS, AD, MCS and MS are infected with borrelia burgdorferi?

I don't think so.

I do think it is possible that some of them are infected with Lyme disease. I also think it's impossible that all of them have Lyme disease. But if you consider how adept this disease is at evading the immune system and how hard it is to detect with standard testing, is it so unlikely that there are other unidentified or hard to detect pathogens that are the cause of illnesses for which no actual cause has been identified?

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted. We have just returned from enjoying a week at the beach with Lynette's family. We had a great time and Lynette held up pretty well. The heat got to her on a couple of days. She figured out early in the week that an afternoon nap was beneficial. The week was a drug holiday for her so she wasn't subjected to twice daily infusions 3 times a week. We did infuse a couple of liters of lactated ringers to keep her hydrated.

Lynette's brother Tim and his wife Jonna were a major part of our life support system when Lynette was in really bad shape. They were a big part of helping Lynette get back on her feet. A few days before the beach trip Jonna became very ill. She is doing much better now, but Tim and Jonna were unable to join us for the beach trip. It was a huge disappointment for the whole family. How strange is it that Tim and Jonna were there to help Lynette when we needed them and then they had to miss out on the trip?

I made it through my 4th PICC dressing change tonight. I messed up once and had to redo my gloves. I still find the whole process rather nerve wracking. But I want to be careful because I don't want to be responsible for giving my wife an infection.

We are headed back to see Dr. Jemsek tomorrow. Lynette has not had any IV antibiotics since the July 10th. We have heard about Dr. J's protocol from enough of his patients and the nurses at the clinic and figure that Lynette will start IV Zythromicin tomorrow. She likely will be discontinuing the IV Merren. We'll see what else they have in store for us.

Anna is doing well. Although her symptoms have been milder than Lynette's, I see improvements from the symptoms that she has had. Anna is heading back to the beach this weekend with a friend. She'll be going to Volleyball camp the next week. Soon after that she'll be spending a week at Camp Hanes. Most of the time she is a ball of energy bouncing around the house.

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