I had the bull’s eye rash about 18 months ago, and then I took two weeks worth of antibiotics – doxycycline. Let me just say now, after doing some research, that two weeks is not enough. If I could go back, I would take at least 4 weeks worth. Minimum. I have a feeling that that round of antibiotics knocked out a lot of the Lyme’s bacteria – the mysterious spirochete, but obviously some stayed around. It went dormant for at least 6 months. I did not have any (significantly noticeable) symptoms during that time. However, I might have felt off. I did not have the “usual” bouts of flu-like symptoms or headaches as far as I can remember. But at least a year ago, I definitely knew something wasn’t quite right.
First my knees would ache if I bent them for half an hour and then straightened them out. They were definitely growing more stiff. Then a couple months later, I started noticing joint pain in my knees and elbows and wrists. Then I tried to go for a bike ride – I may have only made it 4 or 5 miles when I started to get tired and irritable. I turned around promptly, knowing something was off.
Keep in mind I was extremely busy with nursing school, so I did not have a lot of time to check into my still functioning but stretched body. I had had a lot of tests done – no I did not have HIV, no I did not have TB (not that I had any of those symptoms). My blood tests were mostly positive and showed no signs of issues. The one thing that was low was my platelet count. After doing some research, I’m thinking I also need to be tested for the co-infection of anaplasmosis – a parasite that can come with Lyme’s disease, also transmitted by ticks. Anaplasmosis can cause low platelet counts.
Then last November, December, as I was stressing out with nursing school assignments and labs and clinicals and tests… I began to notice inflammation creeping up my arms – specifically my ulnar nerves. And at the height of the problem, it was starting to affect my pinky and ring fingers on both hands. (The ulnar nerve innervates the pinky and half of the ring fingers.) This definitely got my attention.
What if this problem got worse? Would it possibly affect my nursing career? This got my attention to be certain. And as I began to worry about this problem, I was working too much and anxiety started to creep in. Long story short, I decided to withdraw from most of my nursing classes this semester.
I rested more, thinking that it was a stress issue. Of course, I should have gotten some blood tests done sooner. I should have ruled out the really bad inflammatory diseases – Lupus, Crohns, Epstein Barr, etc.
Now that I know it is Lyme, the complex bacterial infection, I have to change my entire mindset. It is time for serious rest, recovery and rebuilding.