I Had Lyme Disease
With tick season rearing its ugly head, there seems to be a lot of talk about Lyme disease all of a sudden. It rings a familiar bell to me, as I had the disease in 2010.
I was living out in the country in Tennessee at the time, constantly romping my way through fields and woods where my eight-legged attacker found me. Living in this hot zone for ticks, I ironically didn’t think about the possibility of contracting the disease as much as I do now living in Southern California, where I am much less likely to get it.
Like many others, I am guilty of having the it-can't-happen-to-me complex, when it obviously can, and will.
After getting out of the shower one morning, I noticed the perpetrator sticking out of my thigh, ass in the air, head buried deep in my skin. I fought to pull him out, and wondered how long he had been there.
I didn’t notice the bullseye pattern right away, but by the time I did, it was prominent enough to warrant a google search. I didn’t know much about this Lyme disease that the internet was trying to convince me that I had, but I figured I should probably make a doctor’s appointment just in case.
Lyme disease is often (but not always) presented with the dreaded bullseye pattern on your skin. The classic pattern isn’t the only one to indicate Lyme’s though, the CDC shows several different rashes that were derived from the disease.
The doctor didn’t seem overly worried, so I didn’t think it was anything worth stressing over.
It probably wasn’t Lyme disease anyway, because that sounded serious and I was obviously fine.
She took some blood, because apparently the tick hadn’t stolen enough from me, and explained that they wouldn’t know the results for about a week. I was to take antibiotics “just in case” that would knock out the infection. By the time I knew if I actually had had the disease, it would hopefully be gone.
I went on about my life, never feeling any other symptoms except for maybe a tad bit of worrying.
As promised, the doctor called in a week to let me know the results. Positive. But the “antibiotics should have done their job.” One follow up appointment later proved that they had, and I was one of the lucky ones.
I tread lightly because I don’t want to discredit anyone who has had to deal with this disease on a much more severe level than I have.
For once in my life, I felt pretty damn lucky. I didn’t have extensive medical bills or a chronic condition, I felt totally normal, and it never really affected my life.
I felt like it wasn’t fair that I was able to rid the disease so easily after being so careless, and others had to suffer with it for the rest of their lives.
Early prevention is key.
I caught the diagnosis very early, and that was a huge part of why the disease didn’t turn ugly. Truth be told though, I never would have if it wasn’t for that alarming rash on my thigh.
It’s important to reiterate that not everyone gets that rash, so being in tune with your body can be ultra important. I didn’t have any other symptoms, so my best bet would have been to actually check myself for ticks.
I would have been much less likely to have a positive diagnosis if I had caught that sucker before he had made a home in my leg. The CDC reports that in most cases, the infected tick must be attached for 36–48 hours before the bacteria is transmitted to us.
Being able to identify the types of ticks that spread the disease can also be helpful. If you know that you just pulled a deer tick off of you, then you can take extra precaution to monitor the area on your body, and yourself.
The invincible syndrome.
I clearly had the attitude of being undefeatable, thinking that although I found ticks on me constantly, I would never get Lymes.
That’s something that happens to other people.
Since then, I’ve had a lot of things happen to me that are “supposed to happen to other people,” and I realize that this attitude is no way to look at life.
No one is invincible, and if something can happen to you, it often will. Be prepared; sometimes our enemy is just a tiny little tick.