Posted by: Shanna Germain | 07/20/2009

Pg. 111: Lyme Round-Up

39065007tick_20010828_00849.jpg

Obviously, not my hand holding ticks. No f-ing way. Pass. I found the photo on the internet. -shudders- Just be glad I didn’t use one of those close-up photos where you can see the tick’s mouth and everything.

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I know, I know, you probably want to hear more about Cologne and the weather and my sexy, mud-filled shoes, but I wanted to take a moment to give a round-up of the Lyme Disease experience. Partly because so many people have (kindly) asked about how I’m doing (thank you!), and partly because so many people find their way to this blog via searches for things like “tick bites” and “lymes symptons” and I thought it would be helpful to give them an easy way to access information about my experience (although to be honest, I also get search pings for “little slugs from the ocean on my butt” which I really don’t think I can help with).

Also… yes, we can all cheer now (especially me!)… today is my last day of being on Doxycyclin. Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m cured (I’m hesitant to even say that I’m well, lest I jinx myself like I did last time), but I do feel that after nearly two months on antibiotics, popping the final pill today means that it’s hella time to celebrate!

So, to recap the Lyme experience:

  • May 29: Discovered a tick on my right upper arm while applying sunscreen. Pulled it out (apparently completely). Note: This didn’t mean the tick had just arrived on my body, or that it was the one that gave me Lyme. Just the one that was visible. I may have had others, possibly in my wild mass of long hair.
  • June 1: Noticed a faint bulls-eye mark around the bite.
  • June 2: Woke up feeling exhausted, achy (especially on the right side of my body — neck, back, shoulder) and lethargic. In addition, my joints hurt (especially knees and elbows) and I had a massive headache, as well as that stuffy, unable to think feeling.
  • June 2: Went to the health clinic, was diagnosed with “likely Lyme” and given a week’s worth of Doxycyclin (100 mg. a day)
  • Spent a week feeling miserable, exhausted, sick and mentally unwell.
  • Spent a day or two feeling better.
  • Felt way worse again. Back to the clinic and saw a new doctor. This time, was given 28 days worth of Doxy, still at 100 mg a day. Which, according to the doctor, was closer to the recommended prescription for Lyme.
  • I spent a few weeks taking my Doxy like a good girl, feeling better then worse then better. I was still achy, and some days my joints (especially in my knees) sounded like they were full of glass when I bent them. Before I got sick, I was walking up to 10 miles a day. During this period of illness, if I walked more than two miles, I felt lethargic and achy and dull. My brain only worked for about half an hour at a time. I took a lot of naps, popped a lot of vitamins and priobiotics and garlic pills, and ate salmon, berries and yogurt.
  • June 22: Had a bit of a relapse, mostly exhausted and achy. I took it slow for about a week. As it turns out, this little bout of lethargy and achiness also turned into night sweats, horrible pain in my joints, terrible pain in my head and many, many naps. Apparently, this all had something to do with hormones, as there’s a great deal of research that is discovering that Lyme Disease tends to get worse during women’s menstrual cycles. And, as soon as my cycle was over, I felt about a hundred times better.
  • June 30: Actually wrote the words, “I am almost feeling well again.
  • July 1: I returned to the clinic, where the doctor gave me two more weeks of Doxy to add to the current bit I had (mainly because I was heading off to Germany and neither of us wanted me to have a relapse in a city where I didn’t have any idea how to get Doxy if I needed it).
  • July 1-July 20: After nearly two months of antibiotics, I feel mostly well. It will be a long while before I’m walking ten miles again, but the aches and joint pain have diminished (I still have some symptoms — namely in my upper back and in my right knee). Right now, my neck aches, as does my right knee, but I think at least part of that is, again, hormonal, since I’m about to hit that part of my cycle. Still, for the most part, I feel much like my old self. I have energy and my brain works, I can walk around town and not feel like I’ve been hit by a huge truck. These are all very, very good things.

At this point, now we just wait and see. We’ll know soon enough whether I’m cured fully (the antibiotics will be out of my system in about a week, I think). Lyme Disease tends to hang on in women longer than in men (sometimes their entire lives), so my hope is that the quick, hard hit of antibiotics has killed it off and any remaining symptoms will be minimal and temporary.

Tomorrow is my last day in Cologne. Tonight it’s off to dinner with my friend Danielle. And then tomorrow, it will be all packing and cleaning the apartment since my flight to Edinburg is first thing on Wednesday morning.

Far and fast, s.

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PS — For additional resourches on Lyme Disease, I recommend:

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Responses

  1. Blah. Just blah. That’s the word that sums up how I feel for you when reading this.

    I am glad, ecstactic actually, that you are on the mend and pray to whatever higher power is listening at the moment will watch over you so that the rest of your adventure is tick/disease free.

    /huggles and gropes

    • I see your ‘blah’ Annie, and raise it. To be honest, I wasn’t going to post this entry, just because it sounds so … down.

      -makes the SNL wah-wah sound from the Debbie Downer skit-

      But then I figured it’s also a reason to cautiously celebrate.

      And with /gropes none the less! YAH!!!


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