The week of October 7th was my first opportunity to truly rest and research my condition since my husband and I determined to figure things out. Thanks to the support and giving nature of my colleagues at work, I was able to take a complete break from going onto campus, including not having to teach any lectures (I am a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University) or worry about upcoming homeworks. This week was desperately needed and was a true gift.
I read up on a lot of different conditions over the course of the week, including chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, mono, lupus and many others. Each time I read about a disease, I found suggestions for other disease with similar symptoms, and followed the links to find out more about them. None was a good fit. I was frustrated and making little headway.
Strangely, I didn’t spend much time researching lyme. I thought I knew all about it — my dad had had it years ago, couldn’t use his arms to drive a car. It hit quickly, he took antibiotics, and it was gone. My mom had had it, I diagnosed it in fact: she was bit by a tick and developed a bulls-eye rash. She immediately went on antibiotics and it was gone. My dog had had it: rapid paralysis and treatment cured her. No fatigue for any of them. Also, I didn’t have paralysis (except three short isolated incidents, none of which involved muscle weakness, which is what I imagined paralysis to be). I hadn’t been bit by a tick. And I certainly hadn’t had a bulls-eye rash. Had I read more about lyme, I might have discovered just what a good match my symptoms were. Back pain, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, and many more were all indicators that matched disseminated lyme, as I would discover when I finally read up on it after getting a positive Western Blot in late October.