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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Creeping Lyme

She had been reluctant to return to the office after what had been a good year. She thought Lyme was behind her. Anyway, how is a 52 year old woman supposed to feel? She is getting older. She certainly doesn't feel the way she did when she was treated for Lyme disease years ago. Then she was incapacitated – incredibly tired and confused – to the point that she could not read simple stories to her kids. Now she came into my office, not sure if she was wasting her time. She had been having sweats recently, not just at night but during the day as well. She thought it was likely menopause. She started having memory loss, just a little. She found herself wandering into a room having forgotten why she went there. Pulling up words was becoming difficult. She was not quite herself. She wondered if it was age related. Well, she did have aches and pains. Some days it felt like her bones hurt. Some joint pain was normal at her age she thought.  The numbness and tingling in her feet had never gone away, but she had learned to live with it. Things were just creeping back. 

And here we have the debate refocused in Psychology Today :

Solving the mystery of lyme and chronic disease
by Richard Horowitz, MD

Are Your Fibromyalgia Symptoms Due to Lyme Disease?

Tick-borne disorders often mimic chronic pain syndromes
Published on December 15, 2013 by Richard Horowitz, MD in Why Can’t I Get Better?

An article published in the same magazine recently described the opposite point of view: that held by the IDSA

Why people experience chronic pain, and the power they have to de-intensify it
by Mark Borigini

Don’t Get Ticked Off Over Chronic Lyme Disease

Lyme disease as a cause of chronic pain and fatigue?
Published on September 2, 2013 by Dr. Mark Borigini, M.D. in Overcoming Pain

The Lyme spirochete was first seen in 1981. Within a few years the AIDS epidemic came on the scene. Interestingly two other epidemics appeared on the scene at the same time. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. This was in the mid to late 1980s. Now many experts are melding the two mysterious maladies together. These patients are suffering and incapacitated with many symptoms well known to Lyme patients.

This was the onset of a shadow plague: an insidious one.

It is interesting how diseases change their faces at times. AIDS first seen as a devastating acute illness later became known as a chronic disease caused by a retrovirus with a long latent, asymptomatic phase.

I think the same is true for Lyme disease. First it was seen as arthritis in children and then as a “yuppie-flu” in young adults. Now it is much more. The great imitator as Dr. Horowitz notes.

It can be a disease that creeps up on people, fooling them into believing that what they are experiencing is stress, normal aging or something else to put out of their heads.

Sometimes when you think Lyme is behind you, it creeps up once again.

1 comment:

G said...

creepy indeed.