How Did I Get Here? A Brief Explanation of My Diagnosis

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I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease in late August of 2015.

I am an individual who is fairly in tune with my own body. I know it. I know when something is wrong. The trouble is that I inherited the family trait of stubbornness. I knew I had a problem, but I put it off.

I suspected that I had a kidney infection. I’ve had one before. The symptoms were close. My attempt to self medicate to get out of going to the doctor failed miserably.  I needlessly drank four 60 ounce bottles of cranberry juice. That’s a lot of cranberry juice.

My symptoms didn’t improve.  I got worse. In fact, I was in so much pain just sitting in a chair at work that my supervisor instructed me to go to an Urgent Care facility to get checked out.

This was about a month after I had started not feeling well.

After a seven hour emergency room wait ( I was referred to the hospital because I was complaining of pain in my lower right abdomen) I finally got to speak with a doctor.

I can’t complain about the wait or anything else that came with sitting in the emergency room. I don’t have a family physician for myself and I put off my illness. I did it to myself.

The only bright side to the whole experience was that they had to deliver a baby in the ER. It happened right across from my room and I got to watch it unfold. Kinda cool. It was a boy, by the way.

I had a blood draw, a urine test and a cat scan.

My urine test came back clear. My blood tests revealed that my liver enzymes were elevated and my white blood cell count was also elevated. The cat scan revealed that I had an enlarged spleen.

Uh oh.

I was sent away with a follow up appointment with a doctor of internal medicine and a lot of instructions. I was informed that I could not play contact sports, lift weights or anything else that might upset my spleen.

When I objected, I was informed that I needed to take this seriously and that if I were to do anything to upset my spleen, I could cause it to bleed and/or rupture.  The doctor looked me in the eye and said “You could die. There’s your motivation to take it easy until we figure this out,”

No horses. No lifting weights at the gym.  The two things that were my mental outlets from my high stress job.  At that point it didn’t matter anyway. Between the pain and the exhaustion, all I wanted to do was sleep.

I was referred to the doctor of internal medicine. He asked me a lot of questions while feeling around my abdomen and spleen. He ordered more blood tests and then pretty much sent me on my way.

I was tested for Hepatitis, Eppstein Barr, HIV, Lyme Disease and CMV IGG. I wasn’t worried about any of the tests other than the one for Lyme Disease. I would have been surprised actually, had it been any of the other tests listed.

I don’t have a rowdy lifestyle. I have been in a relationship with the same person for almost three years. I was vaccinated for Hep C when I worked as a Deputy Sheriff. I am guilty of having a strain of the herpes virus that is associated with the Chicken Pox and Shingles. I had both when I was small.

Why wouldn’t a Lyme Disease diagnosis surprise me? I spend as much time as I possibly can outdoors. I am an avid hiker. I spend as much time in the woods as I do at home sometimes. Year round. I have been all over the country. I hike at least twice a week locally. I spend a lot of time with horses and my two dogs.

I didn’t remove a deer tick from my body.

I only recall seeing two deer ticks in my life. Once was a couple of years ago when I was hiking a local county park and then again in mid May, of this year,  when I explored the Bailly Homestead in the Indiana Dunes National Lake-shore.  On both occasions the ticks were about the size of a pin head and it was a fluke that I ever saw them. On both occasions they only made contact with me for a brief moment.

I never had the signature bulls eye rash.

I have always been so careful about ticks and protecting myself, Lyme Disease never entered my thinking when I was not feeling well. Like I said though, I am not surprised about the diagnosis, just based on the fact that I spent a lot of time outdoors.

As of right now, I have had a positive result on the ELISA test. The Western Blot test to confirm the diagnoses has been completed but my results are not confirmed. My symptoms are as such that my doctor has started me on antibiotics before the Western Blot test results have returned.  We are both in agreement and are confident that it is indeed, Lyme Disease.

Below is a photo of a Deer Tick aka the Black Legged Tick.

Deer Tick aka Black Leg Tick
Deer Tick aka Black Leg Tick

At this time, I am currently in research mode. I have spent hours reading articles and taking notes. Some of the information is good and some of it is bad. I have to figure out what is what.

This is going to be a challenge.

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2 thoughts on “How Did I Get Here? A Brief Explanation of My Diagnosis

  1. So sorry to hear that you are having to deal with this! It is a very big fear of mine. Now that I am living on the road with two dogs in a travel trailer, hiking as much as I can and sleeping with the dogs at night, this is often on my mind. Last November I went hiking in Texas and nearly had a stroke when I found a tick in my armpit. Haven’t had any ill effects thankfully. I wish you rapid recovery and every blessing I can think of.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Honestly, I wouldn’t sweat it. I made it this far in life without incident. I’ve been all over the place and never paid any attention to what I was tromping through. lol- I am sure you’ll be just fine. Just check yourself and the dogs real well and also remember that the tick has to be attached for 48-72 hours for you to become infected.

      The sucky part ( total pun intended ) is that they are so tiny.

      I too was quite paranoid about ticks and while I wasn’t shocked at the diagnosis, I was a little shocked by the diagnosis. I only know of two encounters ever with a deer tick. The last one was at the Indiana Dunes National Lake-shore. As I was stomping around the woods, I actually had one on me and I saw it right away. After my hike, I stripped down and had someone check my scalp. Nothing found.

      However, the time line fit for the symptoms AND I have read that the cases of Lyme are up in the area of the dunes. So, it’s still possible. The little bastard that was on my leg was about the size of a poppy seed.

      Thank you for stopping by. I am living vicariously through my fellow adventurers. I am feeling a lot better the past couple of weeks. I am looking forward to getting back to my former self and making travel plans.

      Good luck to you and I can’t wait to read about it!!

      Liked by 1 person

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