Hi. Im hoping to get some advise. It is kinda a long story but please stay with me. I am a little confused right now.
I removed a tick from myself about 3 to 4 months ago. I starting displaying what I thought could be symptoms of Lyme a few weeks later. (no rash) I mentioned the thought of Lyme Disease to my doctor last Wednesday. He took blood and said they would have the results in a few days. I called yesterday and they told me that the first test was positive for Lyme. That I needed to come in today to get started on antibiotics. They said they were sending my blood for another test (Western Blot) to confirm the Lyme but asked me to start the anitbiotics. They gave me Doxycycline two times a day for 14 days.
Here's my question. I asked the doctor if a follow up visit should be scheduled after I have finished the antibiotics. He told me no. That if I still had symptoms, I should call back. How do I know if the Lyme is truly gone? Will it ever be really gone? From the research I have done, Lyme can be a serious disease, yet I feel like my doctor doesn't think it is that big of a deal. Is that because treatment has been done early? Should I try and consult a different doctor that specializes in Lyme?
I don't want to overreact, but I also don't want to be in pain later in life.
I am sorry you have Lyme, but it is good you have been diagnosed. Although a bulls-eye rash is a definite sign of Lyme, only about 50% of people who have Lyme ever get a rash.
Below is a Lyme symptom list. You can have any combination of symptoms.
Unexplained fevers, sweats, chills, or flushing
Unexplained weight change--loss or gain
Fatigue, tiredness, poor stamina
Unexplained hair loss
Testicular pain/pelvic pain
Unexplained menstrual irregularity
Unexplained milk production: breast pain
Irritable bladder or bladder dysfunction
Sexual dysfunction or loss of libido
Change in bowel function-constipation, diarrhea
Chest pain or rib soreness
Shortness of breath, cough
Heart palpitations, pulse skips, heart block
Any history of a heart murmur or valve prolapse?
Joint pain or swelling
Stiffness of the joints, neck, or back
Muscle pain or cramps
Twitching of the face or other muscles
Neck creeks and cracks, neck stiffness, neck pain
Tingling, numbness, burning or stabbing sensations, shooting pains
Facial paralysis (Bell's Palsy)
Eyes/Vision: double, blurry, increased floaters, light sensitivity
Ears/Hearing: buzzing, ringing, ear pain, sound sensitivity
lncreased motion sickness, vertigo, poor balance
Confusion, difficulty in thinking
Difficulty with concentration, reading
Forgetfulness, poor short term memory
Disorientation: getting lost, going to wrong places
Difficulty with speech or writing
Mood swings, irritability, depression
Disturbed sleep-too much, too little, early awakening
Exaggerated symptoms or worse hangover from alcohol
It is very important to see a kowledgeable doctor. Many doctors do not understand Lyme and treat with outdated protocols. Besides Lyme, ticks can also transmit several co-infections including Babesiosis, two types of Ehrlichiosis (HME & HGE), Bartonella, and Mycoplasma. Many people who have Lyme are co-infected. It may affect treatment choice and progress. It is important to be tested for these by a Lyme reputable lab such as IgeneX in Palo Alto, CA.
200 mg of Doxy daily is not strong enough for Lyme. I believe the recommended dose is 300-600 mg daily. Two weeks of treatment is not long enough.
From what I understand, an infection caught within two weeks of the bite should be treated with a minimum of six weeks of the proper dose antibiotic. The antibiotics kill the bacteria when they are reproducing, which is estimated at four weeks. Six weeks of treatment will cover one growth cycle. If symptoms are still present, further treatment is warranted. A longer infection needs longer treatment.
A few tips about taking Doxy: do not have any dairy, magnesium or iron products two hours before or after taking it or it will not be absorbed properly. If it makes you nauseous, eat something substantial and non-dairy before taking it. Avoid the sun. You can get a severe burn in minutes even when wearing sunscreen. Do not lay down for at least an hour after taking it or you can ulcerate your esophagus. This is very painful! Drink a full glass of water when you take it for the same reason.
Whenever you take any antibiotics, make sure you take high-quality acidophilus capsules. They replace the good bacteria in the body and help to prevent yeast overgrowth. The best ones to get are refrigerated. Most healthfood stores have them. Wait at least two hours before or after taking the antibiotics to take the acidophilus.
Be aware of the Jarisch-Herxheimer Reaction (herx). Often, when people who have Lyme take antibiotics, their symptoms become worse or they get new ones. When the antibiotics kill the bacteria, toxins are released making them feel sicker. It can be very scary when it happens, but it is a good sign the antibiotics are working. Although it can vary individually, many people experience this at the beginning of treatment and every three to four weeks.
It is a good idea to document your symptoms daily. One way to do this is to list the three main symptoms you have each day and a numerical rating of their severity, from 1-10. Over time when you review this, you can see when your herxes occur and how you are responding to the meds.
It is very important to get properly treated as soon as possible. Untreated or under-treated Lyme can be very serious. I live in Nashville also, and there are no Lyme doctors in the state. The closest doctor is Dr. Charles Crist in Springfield, MO. I hesitate to recommend him though because he seems to treat every case the same. There is a support group in Nashville that meets once a month.
It is also important to learn as much as possible. I recommend reading Dr. Joseph Burrascano's 2005 Diagnostic Hints and Treatment Guidelines For Lyme and Other Tick Borne Illnesses (on-line). He is one of the top Lyme doctors in the country, and many Lyme doctors follow his protocols. I also recommend the book "Everything You Need To Know about Lyme Disease
(2nd edition)" by Karen Vanderhoof-Forschner.