I read the June article in Runner’s World on Lyme Disease and found myself agreeing with most of it, reliving the crazy few weeks of uncertainty with knee trouble, and understanding a little bit more what the $1,500 an hour expert meant but was unable to explain.
You may recall that in 2010 I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease (after a false negative). In my opinion I first contracted it in 2009 when I had an un-diagnosed fever, that the doctors attributed to H1N1. Almost 9 months later I had a swollen knee with no physical damage, but was eventually tested and diagnosed with Lymes. Several of my veterinarian friends said that if a dog came in with a swollen knee they’d check for Lyme disease right away! Fortunately, I haven’t suffered any relapses (at least that I know of)!
This was me:
Because Lyme symptoms tend to come on gradually, many people don’t initially notice the signs. And when they do recognize something’s amiss, Dr. Green says the early indicators–sluggishness, fatigue, muscle aches, joint pain–can easily be mistaken for the flu.
Or if you’re a runner, you may think you’re simply overtraining. “I’ve had athletic patients, runners and Nordic skiers, who thought their fatigue and aches were due to periods of hard training, but they were really suffering from Lyme,” says Bill Roberts, M.D., a sports-medicine physician at the University of Minnesota.
This is why the specialist said to not talk about my past history of Lyme Disease:
Instead, the CDC-recommended blood test is indirect–meaning, it looks for the presence of Lyme-specific antibodies fighting the bacteria. And that makes it quite easy to get a false negative (early in the infection, before your body has produced antibodies) or a false positive (detecting antibodies because you have been exposed to the bacteria at some point in your life).
I’ve definitely been more cautious when I see ticks. Trail runners are the most prone to get them, but really they are becoming more and more present in suburban and urban areas. It would be nice if there was a way to kill them off, especially during the annual mosquito treatments…