today i spent more time in doctors’ offices, pharmacies, and my car than one who has a full-time job. from 7:00-3:30, i drove from a medical lab to the dentist office to a pedatrician office to two different pharmacies, and finally landed at home at 3:35 pm.
the medical lab was for me, where i “donated” four vials of blood for more of the same-old testing that i’ll probably undergo for a few more months. the dentist office was a “date” for my husband and i to get some routine dental cleanings while my mom stayed with the boys.
the pediatrician was for sawyer. after we noticed this on him last night (photo). it was tiny, but we noticed because we’ve been there before. that is a bulls-eye rash, and you can see that it’s about an inch in diameter. an INCH. that’s not very large. and Lyme bulls-eye rashes aren’t raised or itchy, so if you get one on your inner thigh, or your back, you may never notice you have one. we live in western pennsylvania, one of the most densely-populated Lyme-disease areas in America. so we know to look for these. after the second day of sawyer complaining about a stiff neck and a headache, we started looking for the rash.
he is the third in our family of five to contract Lyme disease since we moved here (from Pittsburgh) 8 years ago. and all three of those of us who have Lyme (Kenny, Adam, and now Sawyer) have had different symptoms. Kenny and Adam had high fevers for three-four days (along with typical flu-like body aches). Kenny and Sawyer had bulls-eye rashes. Sawyer did not have flu-like symptoms. Adam had a red rash at the tick bite, as did Kenny. Sawyer only shows bulls-eye rashes. Adam and Kenny did not have head aches. Sawyer is on day 3 of a head ache (and he’s not a headache-type kid).
Lyme is one of those diseases that presents itself differently in all of its patients. It also presents itself as a lot of other diseases: MS and Fibro among the most similar in symptoms, if the Lyme is left untreated. Fortunately we know what to look for. We also know to check for ticks. I admit there are days we don’t check. And every Lyme case in our house has been when we never knew there was a tick bite. We have pulled ticks off us a lot: but symptoms have never followed when we pulled a tick off. We only get symptoms when we haven’t found a tick in weeks. This makes sense: when a tick removes itself from its host, it regurgitates a substance that contains the Lyme bacteria into the bloodstream of its host. When the host (human) removes the tick, it (usually) doesn’t regurgitate the bacteria-substance. So pulling a tick off of you is much better than never finding one in the first place.
So…always, always check. Every night. Several times a day. whatever it takes. And be happy when you find if you do have Lyme in the early stages. Antibiotics are the only thing I trust to kick the bacteria out of your system, and fight the symptoms Lyme can bring. We can live in fear, or live in knowledge to fight the disease. I choose the latter. We live outside during the summer. I love the outdoors when its warm (I wish ticks loved snow! you’d never find us outside nearly as much during our winters!), and I’m not going to keep us inside for fear of Lyme. We fight it as much as we can. And if it wins by getting into us, we fight it with medicine.
Since I’ve been getting routine bloodwork done, I have them test me for Lyme. So far, I’ve not contracted it. But it only seems a matter of time, based on where we live. Still, I’m thankful for the age in which we live. We can fight these things instead of live in fear.