I was like so many of us, I didn’t spot a bull’s-eye (or EM) rash which is confirmation that you have contracted Lyme disease. I came down with a fever in a foreign country where it was easy to become poorly due to food, the change in climate and the germs. In a case like this, you don’t connect the dots. You believe what the doctor has told you and that you will just have to pop a few pills, rest in bed for a day or two and you will be good to go. You never question or think twice about it. They are the professionals after all.
Awaress of Lyme disease has improved so much in the last 12 months alone due to our collective hard work and with more celebrities speaking out about the issue but there is still a huge lack of awareness. Many medical professionals and members of the public are still not fully aware of what to look out for when it comes to Lyme disease and how to connect the dots in order to reach a diagnosis. Lyme Disease is complex and it’s often comes with a cocktail of other horrible co-infections which makes it even harder to tease apart, diagnose and treat. I asked our Online Community what they felt triggered their illness if they did not become sick immediately following a tick bite. The answers prove how hard it is to pin-point the tipping point where the immune system can no longer cope. Lyme disease can manifest itself in many different ways but common symptoms often include:
- Migratory Muscle andJoint Pain
- Food Intolerances
- Stiff Neck
- Concentration Issues
The list goes on and on.
We go to the doctor with these symptoms as and when they crop up and so doctors tend to send patients to different specialists relveant to the most dominant symptom at the time. Patients may go to the doctor complaining about headaches but fail to mention muscle and joint pain, fatigue or food intolerances and the doctors may not ask whether there are any other symptoms present. The problem is, people aren’t connecting the dots and zooming out to see the overall picture. Instead, people are being treated separately for individual symptoms and this can result in band-aid treatment which fails to get to the root cause. When the band-aids fail, patients become more upset, scared and angry that nothing seems to be alleviating their suffering.
Once you begin to connect the dots, it is often too late for a quick fix. The window for early Lyme disease treatment has been missed and people have to seek private treatment which leads to hefty medical bills. It is so important to keep sharing the constellation of symptoms that Lyme disease can cause to make people aware of what a multi-systemic disease this is. Keeping a symptom diary can be a very useful way of tracking all the changes you are experiencing as one of the hallmarks of the illness is fluctuating and migratory symptoms.
Thank you to everyone who was brave enough to respond to this question in our Online Community and sharing your experiences will encourage people to look at their symptoms in more detail and to take the body’s warning signs seriously.
The LDUK team works around the clock to arm as many people in the UK and abroad with information about the disease, prevention methods and signs of the illness. Prevention is currently the best cure.
Here are some of our Community members’ triggers following a tick bite as Lyme disease does not alway manifest straight away:
‘Amalgam fillings and stress’
‘Running marathons and a stressful life event’
‘Having a swathe of vaccinations to go on holiday to South East Asia. I am not against vaccinations in principle but the illness came back with a vengeance following the immunisations’
‘Stress, vaccines and a gut infection in India seemed to finish me off’
‘Stress and a knee replacement. I’d had a tick bite 4 months earlier’
‘Vaccinations ahead of a trip to Africa completely floored me’
We are always here for support at LDUK, and our Online Community is a hub of support where people share their symptoms, experiences with doctors and people help one another. Never feel alone, never feel alienated by the symptoms you are experiencing. Don’t feel afraid to speak up or to share. Other members may be able to relate to what you are going through or offer sound advice that could be life-changing for you.
We are all here together, navigating our way through this complex challenge and you aren’t alone.