Letter to the Editor: Lyme disease

Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2012 in Opinion

Letter to the Editor: Lyme disease

A couple of years ago, I went to the doctor because I wasn’t feeling well. That was the beginning of what would be a long process for me.

My mother took me to the doctor because I was having stomach problems – they were ongoing every day. My symptoms were stomach pain, feeling full before finishing my meal, and I didn’t feel like myself. The doctor tested me for common stomach issues. All came back negative. I felt stressed-out and frustrated. Then it was suggested that my issues were stress-related. I tried to explain that the stress was because I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I was put on a lactose-free diet. That also didn’t solve the problem.

After many visits and ideas that turned out negative, I went to a stomach specialist. He said I had irritable bowel syndrome and put me on a fiber diet. My symptoms didn’t improve. My parents asked if it could be Lyme disease and they said it wasn't. We even offered to pay for the test and they said “no” because I had no rash and I didn’t find a tick.

I continued suffering. Soon after summer vacation started, I became violently ill. It lasted eight days. I had a temperature of 103 F., vomited, couldn’t keep down a teaspoon of water, had stomach problems still, joint pain, the shakes and lost weight. Twice in one day, I went to the emergency room. I had to be given 4 liters of fluid twice. I was so sick, I said goodbye to my parents because I didn’t think I’d make it.

I finally got tested for Lyme disease because the emergency-room doctor listened to us. It came back blazing positive. My doctors put me on Doxcycline, which made me sick. Since they said it was the only antibiotic, I was forced to suffer and had to spend the summer watching everything I did. I had the antibiotic for three weeks and had to wait a month to get re-tested. Then I went back on it for four weeks. Most of my symptoms went away, but it’s now a year and a half later and I still have problems and complications. I changed doctors.

The reason I’m writing is because Lyme disease is a lot more common than you think and causes a lot more symptoms than you would expect. There’s a lot that isn’t known and there’s a lot that isn’t told about it. It doesn’t matter whether you are a kid, teenager, or an adult; everyone has a gut feeling and they deserve to be listened to no matter how old they are.

If you have similar symptoms and aren’t getting better, please insist on being tested for Lyme. It could save you years of suffering and complications.

 

– Elizabeth Nelson, West Bath

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