Have been bitten by a few ticks over the years, live in Norfolk VA (by Va. Bch). A year ago had a tick on me and it was red around the bite mark. (doc said, "not a bullseye" - Im sure you've heard that b/4!) Immediately got a lyme test, (the standard they do) and it was negative. (I know too early) I got another 8 months later to be sure b/c I forget things, tired a lot, etc. (I have gastroparesis, BEFORE tick bite, so I can only eat one meal a day, therefore these symptoms can be from gastroparesis...I am anemic and don't get a lot of vitamins or protein and my stomach does not digest correctly, if at all)... anyway I "demanded" a western blot. Not Igenex, unfortunately... just the hospital here.
From what I understand, there is quite a bit of Lyme disease in VA. Although a bulls-eye rash is a definite sign of Lyme disease, 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 Many doctors do not understand Lyme and treat with outdated protocols.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. It is estimated that 60% of 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.
No test is completely reliable, and results can vary by lab. It is important to be tested at a Lyme lab such as IgeneX. They use more sensitive tests and list more bands on the Western Blot. Below is the breakdown of the Western Blot bands:
9 cross-reactive for Borrellia
12 specific for Bb
20 cross-reactive for Borrellia
22 specific for Bb, probably really the 23/25 band
23-25 outer surface protein C (OspC), specific for Bb
30 unknown; probably an outer surface protein; common in European and
one California strain
31 outer surface protein A (OspA), specific for Bb
34 outer surface protein B (OspB); specific for Bb
35 specific for Bb
37 specific for Bb
38 cross-reactive for Bb
39 is a major protein of Bb flagellin; specific for Bb
41 flagellin protein of all spirochetes; this is usually the first to appear after a Bb infection and is specific for all Borrellia
45 cross-reactive for all Borellia (sometimes people with Lyme who have
this band positive also have the co-infection Ehrlichiosis)
50 cross-reactive for all Borrellia
55 cross-reactive for all Borrellia
57 cross-reactive for all Borrellia
58 unknown but may be a heat-shock Bb protein
60 cross reactive for all Borrellia
66 cross-reactive for all Borrelia, common in all bacteria
83 specific antigen for the Lyme bacterium, probably a cytoplasmic membrane
93 unknown, probably the same protein in band 83, just migrates differently in some patients
Band 41 is often the first to show. You really should be tested at IgeneX.
If you need a doctor recommendation, let us know.
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.
Such great information!! Yes yes yes, my doc saw the results and said no lyme. He is a really good pcp... but not lyme literate. The bite was about a year ago. I have seen reference to a female doc in DC area. If anyone knows of a lyme lit doc near Hampton Roads (va. bch, norfolk, newport news, hampton, portsmouth areas), that would be great! I doubt there are any that close, but I just don't know where to start. And financially.. ugh...! But one step at a time.