4th of July is almost here and everyone is ready for the barbeques, pools and just getting a lot of outdoor action this weekend. So with that being said, I’m going to take a second away from all things pretty and let you all know about the importance of Lyme disease and how you can prevent and detect it. This is in no way to scare you, but to make sure you take care of yourselves and your loved ones.
In 2010 I was diagnosed with Lyme disease but prior to finding out, I was fraught with chronic fatigue, joint pain and memory loss along with very little will to do as much as get out of bed.
Lyme disease is something that isn’t very evident when it onsets. However, symptoms start to take effect about a month or so after you’ve been bitten, you feel pretty tired and foggy most of the time, as for me I would notice that my eyes always felt better closed than open most of the time.
At the time of me having the disease I was in between jobs and finding the right job for me in the middle of the recession was quite difficult and so I contributed my health and melancholy state to depression and nothing else.
When I realized something was extremely wrong was when I was back at working and in the swing of things but I noticed that I couldn’t seem to get my thoughts together, I was lacking concentration and my memory was failing me.
At this point in the game I had also decided that I was going to go to law school (hold your laughter until the end, please) but studying for the LSAT was like catching a rampant buzzing bee between your index and middle fingers in complete darkness (HARD).
Physically, I started to gain weight (but with my track record, could be unrelated to Lyme and just my desire for candy and chips) but another flag was that my periods were off. So I decided to go to an endocrinologist to see if I had any ailments such as diabetes, thyroid disease or something that was effecting the endocrine system (sound smart right?) I needed answers Stat!!
So the doctor took a plethora of tests and when we reviewed them she said in her non-sympathetic voice “Maybe you should incorporate exercise and you’ll feel much better, you may have something we call chronic fatigue syndrome, but you’re young and it can just be a phase your going though” Now let me explain, I didn’t mind working out (okay maybe a little) but the energy that I needed to muster up for the gym was non existent.
So I continued to feel the way I did and go through life like this for a while until I had my GYN appointment and he was getting ready to take blood and because I’ll do anything to get out of that, I told him about the blood test I had done a couple of weeks prior with the endocrinologist and he agreed to take a look.
Days later he called me to ask me, if I’ve taken anything for my Lyme Disease. Wait What?!? Lyme Disease!!??? I’m gonna kill my husband!! Seriously I briefly felt like this until I consulted Dr. Google and realized I contracted the disease from a blacklegged deer tick.
So days later, I went to my PCP to get treated which was a long dose of strong antibiotics. Once I completed my medication. I was still suffering but I was just tired of complaining and figured my symptoms would go away eventually right? WRONG!!
Let’s fast forward to 2011, now 6 months pregnant with my peanut and my new PCP took some blood work and said kindly to me “You have Lyme Disease.” Well needless to say I was hysterical and went batshit. I had so many questions and concerns; Will this do anything to my baby? Am I going to die? Am I going to have this thing forever? All the questions I had, there was no answers and even Dr. Google couldn’t help me this time. So I was given a pregnancy friendly antibiotic that eventually rid me of the disease FOREVER and of course the baby and I are fine.
So it’s been 4 years without Lyme Disease and I must say that although I don’t have the disease I still feel like I suffer from it. Sometimes I suffer from joint pain and my memory still can be a bit faulty. I try to not let it get me down because this is my reality and now one of my missions in life is to just make sure I can bring the awareness to others and to be really safe out there.
Lyme Disease: is transmitted by the blacklegged (deer) tick in the northeastern U.S. and upper midwestern U.S. and the western blacklegged tick along the Pacific coast.
These 3 types of blacklegged deer ticks: They are extremely small and have a similar size to an oatmeal grain.
These are the places where deer ticks can be found, but notice their all over the U.S. their just more prominent in some states than others.
How to Prevent & Detect Lyme Disease
Ticks usually live in moist humid environments:
- Near Lakes
- Grassy and Wooded Areas
- Walking through leaf litter or shrubs
- If hiking walk the center of the trail to avoid contacts with the ticks.
How to prevent ticks:
- Products containing premethrin kill ticks, which you spray onto your clothing.
- DEET is for the skin and repellents containing 20% or more can protect you up to several hours
Immediate Signs that you’ve contracted the disease
- Bullseye like rash
- Fever, chills, fatigue, body aches and a headache may accompany the rash
- Headaches, difficulty with concentration, stiffness in joints, fevers, sore throat, speech errors, anxiety, mood swings, irritability and depression.
Hope this helps and that you now know the dangers of Lyme, be safe and have fun this holiday weekend!