lyme disease lemons and limes and oranges

Oranges, Lemons and Lyme

Lyme disease  is a bit of a conundrum. It’s caused by the bite of a deer tick which carry a hardy bacteria.

Know you Lyme from your Lemon

Let’s go right back to the start.

History

It’s likely the ticks that cause LD have been around for many, many years. The  mention of animal ticks goes back to writings from the 17th century. Although, symptoms caused by a bite were not linked together or given a name.

Indeed it was not until as late as 1975 that the disease was christened Lyme Disease (LD). I have read a lot about what happened at this point. And here is my summary.

Plum Island, an animal disease centre, is situated near Long Island in New York state. Scientists were employed there after WW2. Infamously, some were former Nazi scientist from war torn Germany.  Various research and experiments were carried out on at this high security location. At some point deer ticks were deliberately infected with a stronger type of the bacteria. Let’s not go into the reasons why.

Apparently in the early 1970’s a few deer got loose and swam over the water to a place called Lyme. Over the next few years many local inhabitants became plagued by a particularly strong debilitating strain of the deer tick bacteria – Borrelia. And so it became known as Lyme Disease.

I am not even going to guesstimate how it came to the UK. Though it does appear there are various strains of LD.

Symptom Diagnosis and Treatment

One of the first symptoms is a circular rash, with a inflamed middle at the site of the bite. A person may or may not have this or even notice it.

 

A rash similar to this may appear at the site of the tick bite – Copyright Nature Picture Gallery

 

At this point a fever is probable.

Doctors are more likely to test and diagnose the disease if the rash is visible. Not only that if  administered with the extra strong antibiotics at this time there is small chance that the bacteria that causes the disease can be eradicated.

But a good majority of people with LD don’t notice the rash. Perhaps it is in an obscure place. Or it simply does not manifest itself.

If that is the case everything becomes harder. The test for Lyme really needs to be carried out by an infectious disease specialist. A local GP will often mis-diagnose the symptoms. Sometimes those suffering from LD are told they have Glandular fever, Lupus, ME, MS or another problematic condition that share a few of the same traits.

To list the symptoms is a difficult task as like many medical conditions they are very individual to the person suffering. But they may include –

  • Severe headaches and neck stiffness.

  • Additional rashes on other areas of the body

  • Arthritis with swelling and severe joint, tendons, muscles, and bone pain

  • Facial palsy.

  • Heart palpitations.

  • Episodes of dizziness or shortness of breath.

  • Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord

  • Nerve pain

  • Severe depression.

  • Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet – circulation problems.

  • Problems with short-term memory.

Chronic

In regards to  symptoms the severity or amount a patient may have can vary widely. Which of course is another reason why it is so hard to diagnose.

If the initial rash is missed and a diagnosis not made then it  becomes difficult to treat successfully. The antibiotics may not work as the bacteria takes a firm hold at different sites in the body. And this is precisely the reason there are such a range of symptoms.

Now the disease is chronic.

It also appears that LD has a detrimental effect on the immunity system in general. Meaning that a sufferer is more likely than the average person to pick up other illnesses and suffer from numerous allergies.

Personal input

My man has Chronic Lyme disease.

He didn’t notice a rash but we can pinpoint the fever. Not knowing what caused the sweats meant he just sat it out. For two years before diagnosis his health was problematic.  Although very fit in other ways, because his job involved vigorous exercise everyday, he noticed more pain  and also frequently became run down.

About a year later one side of his face dropped – facial palsy. Of course his first assumption was that he’d suffered a stroke. Realising this was not the case he began a search to find out what exactly was wrong.  All avenues led to the probability it was Lyme Disease

The GP carried out a blood test that came back negative. Luckily he knew somebody who was knowledgeable about infectious diseases. Another test was carried out and came back positive.

It was at this point that the depression kicked in heavily and can be spasmodic. But we do try to enjoy each day.  Laughter really the best form of medicine, and is certainly one we employ.

It was probable he’d been living with the disease for two years.

Antibiotics were administered but didn’t work.

Luckily the palsy improved. Though some of his face is still slightly numb. Many people have more extreme symptoms than him, so in a way he is lucky.

It has been over five years since his diagnosis and we find he can cope on a day to day basis by doing various things.

  1. Rest when needed.
  2. Exercise when able.
  3. Fresh air.
  4. Enjoy the small things and laugh!
  5. Tablets – see below…

Nutritional Help

  • Take chlorella and cilantro. They can help limit the continued re-population of the bacteria in the body.
  • MSM, a anti-inflammatory
  • Fish Oil
  • B vitamins to boast energy.
  • When depression creeps in 5HTP – this is a natural remedy that stimulates serotonin in the brain.
  • Eat fresh food – not processed.
  • Include lots of spices such as chilli and turmeric. Great for the immunity and circulation. Plus garlic for immunity.

    Chillies are good for circulation

He tends to vary the amount of the tablets depending on how well he feels. But states they certainly make a difference.

Cannabis, particularly the oil, is known to help. But of course this is illegal and impossible to get. Yet funnily enough if he had been diagnosed with MS he would be able to receive it on prescription. The cannabis seems to stop the bacteria from infecting more parts of the body.

Sex

I don’t think the Lyme lessens his sex drive. It can make him extremely tired. But when we are both in the zone we have exciting and often adventurous sex play.  If he is too tired to get down and dirty it is important to remind myself it is not because he finds me unattractive.

Can Lyme be sexually transmitted? Still not known. There are reports of whole families – parents and their children being infected with the disease but the various governments don’t feel it warrants research. Even though the statistics tell us the amount of patients with Lyme Disease gets larger every year.

#365 Laughter
# 20 Depression
Lyme Disease

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22 thoughts on “Oranges, Lemons and Lyme”

  1. Great post! Ive had lyme disease for a couple of years so far but my boyfriend just found out hes had it for years unfortunately. I wanted to let you know there are a lot of doctors specializing in medical marijuana now, in fact my lyme doctor is who prescribed it to me. Its worth looking into! Hope your boyfriend gets better !

    1. Thank you for reading – where about in the world are you? Interesting that you both have it. I really think it may be sexually transmitted…

  2. This is a really interesting and informative post. I am aware of Lyme does bit have learnt so much more about it from you. Thank you for raising the profile if something which often ends up hidden. ?

  3. I read about Lyme disease years ago and as a result I am always on the look out for the little bliters especially when I am out taking my pictures.

    I am sad you have to live with this but I love how together you have found things that help to manage the situtation. And yes laughter is the best medicine in so many ways

    Molly

  4. It seems to be super prevalent on islands. I worked a place where there was a high diagnosis rate, but it was a small island.

    Great summary of the disease. I’m sorry for you guy, but I am glad he’s found methods to keep his health up. I’m also glad they were able to diagnose it instead of him going much longer suffering.

  5. So informative May, thank you. Chronic conditions are so hard. It’s incredible how one tiny insect can change your life like that.
    Here’s to more laughter and sex to ease symptoms x x x

  6. Such a moving post . . . and makes me feel even more admiration for you and your man and the way in which you cope with such a distressing disease.
    Sending hugs and kisses to you both.
    Xxx – K

  7. WOW May. Lyme is such an issue near where I live and we are always checking for ticks. I have had to go on antibiotics twice after a bite but it has always been caught fast enough that no symptoms continued. I do remember the fever that first time though! I’m glad I read this, I didn’t realize the Lyme was a problem outside of the east coast US. It is insane to me that a disease with such serious consequences and such prevalence isn’t studied more to make a vaccine for humans. I’m sorry about your husband, it sounds like you both are managing well but I know it’s a burden. (I followed the link to your origin story, which was sweet.)

  8. I’ve heard of LD but had no idea it was so prevalent in UK.

    Finding manageable ways to counteract an attack throughout each time and supporting your partner is admirable

    Wishing you both well
    Swirly ?

    1. Many think the same regarding prevalence in the UK. In general, I think most here have a milder strain than suffers in America. And certainly much more tame than those who were bitten in Lyme in the 70’s.
      Thanks for commenting Swirly.

  9. A post filled with good information, information people should know. My best friend went to Australia a couple of years ago and she contracted Lyme there, but it took over a year for her to get the treatment she needed. She has so many health problems, all because of LD.

    Rebel xox

    1. Thanks Marie- that is a problem with Lyme. Because it really hammers your immunity sufferers pick up numerous other health problems. My man is the same there. x

  10. I’ve only tangentially come across Lyme Disease. Sadly it was a colleague who used it to go sick 2 days a week so he could work on his startup.

    Excellent research and highly informative on what it means to have and to live with. Yes, I do believe that cannabis oil is likely to be of use here. Sadly, the medical profession don’t like it. Probably because something that can essentially be grown in your back garden (or farmed in a loft) for little cost doesn’t give them kick-backs from the pharmaceutical industry.

    The state by state legalisation in the US is probably an indicator of where the UK will go regarding cannabis. I hope it arrives in time to give your man a proper quality of life.

    1. Thanks Melody – yes the pharmaceutical industry can be linked in with this post and some of the reasons for the mis diagnosis of Lyme. But perhaps that is a conversation for the pub 😉 x

  11. Really helpful and important post – since I first learned of Lyme’s Disease I never walk in the countryside with bare legs however tempting – thank you for sharing this

  12. Excellent post May, very well researched. The more informed folk are about things that are commonly mis-diagnosed the more likely they are to push or guide the health service for further tests.
    I was fascinated when we talked at Eroticon by how much you have learned in order to help him through his diet.
    Thanks for sharing and educating us.

    1. Funny thing is Posy, when you live with Lyme you find things out along the way, so that is why I have not included and links here. All this was written “off the top of my head” as the saying goes – i have known this info for years x

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