Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Chronic Lyme's | The Hidden Epidemic

When I was 5 years old, my family went camping in Eastern Oregon.  We hiked trails, explored the area, and went swimming.  No big deal.

After the fun weekend, we drove back home and resumed our normal day-to-day lives.  But I can still remember how when we would drive somewhere, I'd lean against the back of my seat and could feel something growing on the back of my head.  Still, for another week I didn't say anything.  I guess I was too little to give it a second thought, until the area around the growth started to ache.

I went to my mom and asked her to look at it.  She called one of her friends over to come look at it and she gasped, "Oh my! Those are ticks!"

My parents took me to the ER, and the attending Doctor pulled them out (yes, it hurt...a lot!) - they were 2 of them, the size of lima beans.  He dumped them in a red waste can, we were discharged, and I got a grape soda - because I didn't cry or scream too loud.

A day or two later I had to go get my blood drawn for a Western Blot Test for Lyme's Disease.  That was the first and only time I heard or talked about Lyme's Disease growing up.  The results came back negative. We used an antibiotic cream and that was the end of it.

. . .

Fast forward 13 years. I met the man of my dreams.

During one conversation he asked me, "Have you ever heard of Lyme's Disease?"

"Of course," I told him, and then explained my tick experience.

"Well, have ever heard of Chronic Lyme's?" he continued.

"No, what is it?" Enter one confused girl.

He then explained an epidemic of and untreated tick-born disease that people suffered without help.  Doctors are scared to touch it, there is no known cure, and people who suffer from it are often told it's in their head.  If you are diagnosed for Lyme's (or misdiagnosed), you are told it is Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Arthritis, Chronic Fatique, or even MS.  And sadly, my honey has a tick-borne disease but has never been accurately diagnosed.

I was shocked.  Why had I never heard of such a thing?  How could something so small carry such a dreadful and sometimes deadly disease?!  Yet, sadly, it's true.

Facts About Chronic Lyme's Disease:

  • Lyme's Disease was first recognized in Lyme, Connecticut in 1975.  It has only been identified recently, and there is a lot of confusion and deception behind the disease.
  • Although “bull’s-eye” rash is 100% diagnostic less than 50% develop any rash at all. A rash can appear and may disappear before you see it, it may be located on a part of your body that you cannot see, like your scalp, and the rash is also very difficult to see on those who have darker skin. Absence of the rash does not mean you do not have a tick-borne disease.
  • Lyme disease has been frequently misdiagnosed, especially in absence of the rash, as MS, ALS, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and others. Lyme disease is often referred to as “The Great Imitator”, as it can virtually imitate any symptom of any disease.
  • Lab tests for Lyme disease are not reliable. A person may test negative for Lyme disease and still have the disease. Patients report having problems getting diagnosed and are often diagnosed late. In 1988 the NY Health Dept. warned physicians that the 'two-tiered' (ELISA/Western Blot) criterion was missing up to 45% of positive Lyme cases. In 2005, a study by John's Hopkins Universityconcluded that the IDSA-endorsed two-tier criteria was missing 75% of positive Lyme cases.
  • There are over 100 strains of Borrelia burgdorferi in the United States, 300 strains worldwide and 5 subspecies of Borrelia burgdorferi. This diversity is thought to contribute to the antigenic variability of the spirochete and its ability to evade the immune system and antibiotic therapy, leading to chronic infection.
  • Children are at the highest risk of acquiring Lyme disease due to their active lifestyles which usually involve a lot of outdoor playtime and outdoor sporting events. Studies have shown significant IQ drops in students with Lyme, serious psychiatric symptoms, as well as cognitive and sleep disturbances-- all of which may easily go misdiagnosed. 
  • Lyme disease can affect any part of the body's systems and/or organs. Lyme and associated tick-borne diseases can lead to neurologic, cardiac, psychiatric and arthritic symptoms.. It is estimated anywhere from 15-30% of those infected with Lyme may develop chronic disease.
  • The term "Chronic Lyme's Disease" is not recognized medically.

Tomorrow I will share about herbs for Lyme treatment.  In the meantime, perhaps you would be interested in watching "Under Our Skin" a video about Chronic Lyme's.

Until tomorrow,
The Herb Girl



  1. I remember I first heard about this disease from your husband's blog and watched the video on there. (Actually I don't think I could make it through the entire thing!) Definitely needs to be more widely known.

    Looking forward to more Herb Girl posts! :)

    1. Thank you for the comment, Carissa. :) Yes, it's sad how it is brushed under the rug. Many MD's say that Lyme's is a hoax. It's sad how they aren't aware!