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David's Story

In 1977 my plight with Lyme disease began with an optic neuritis in which I lost all vision in my right eye. That was treated by a neurologist with heavy doses of prednisone. Yucky stuff. My vision returned in about six weeks. The eye movement was slow for about one year, and I had no further symptoms for two years until I was diagnosed with a spot in my right lung, and was told it was histoplasmosis, after lung surgery. Ouch.

From then on I slowly deteriorated. My legs were getting numb and my arms and hands were beginning to become numb. I went to a neurologist who diagnosed me with MS. I asked about a test for Lyme and she said it wasn't necessary because I had a positive MRI, and I found out ten years later that the MRI for MS and Lyme Disease is identical. I had been a court reporter for 28 years, and I felt I could no longer competently perform my job and was forced to retire in 1989 at age 49.

My top speed for shorthand was 260 words per minute, and my speed on the typewriter was 120 words per minute. I can no longer write shorthand, and my typing speed is down to probably 15 words per minute, at best, with the hunt and pick method. It is difficult to sit and tap my fingers on a table. My whole thought process was being affected and my short term memory was getting very poor. I would walk into another room and forget why I went there. I had night sweats and sleep was interrupted. I like to paint and could no longer hold a small, light brush and could barely sign my name, so my spare time was affected also.

My two sons thought I had been drinking because my speech was slurred all of the time and I don't drink at all, and my face was getting progressively worse and numb. I had a Bell's palsy. I could no longer pucker enough to whistle. I could only climb steps one step at a time using my left leg first and pulling the right leg along, and of course, I could not run at all. Finally, I went to one cane and then two canes and then a walker. Currently, I am back to one or two canes. I had dizziness, vertigo, poor balance, and I was a general mess.

My emotions are affected and I will cry very easily and I never had that problem before. I asked at least six different doctors about a Lyme test and received the same reply, that it wasn't necessary because my MRI indicates MS.The reason why they call them practicing physicians is because they're still practicing, but not too well. This is only a partial list of my symptoms. My whole body was becoming affected, and I did not know why. There has never been any MS in my family. Why me? In 1998 I found a Minnesota Statute on the Internet which requires an adopting agency to search for the adoptee, and I had a daughter out of wedlock in 1959 and I did not know how to find her before that.

I instituted a search. The agency found her and we met. She is a gorgeous lady and has been an absolute Godsend to me. She has a ten-year old daughter with Lyme Disease, my grand daughter. My lovely daughter, after a couple months, asked me a lot of questions about my MS symptoms and finally thought I had Lyme disease. At last somebody agreed with me. My daughter had to take her ten-year old all the way to Dallas, Texas, from Minneapolis, Minnesota, to receive appropriate treatment, and my grand daughter is doing fairly well now.

This improper diagnosis has cost me my job, my career, my life style, my marriage, and most of my income. Thank goodness I still have my life and hopefully the ability to help other people in the same condition. After meeting my daughter, I have been on antibiotics and have received some relief and improvement, but it has been a long and difficult road and I have a long journey ahead of me, and I know I am not alone any longer and feel I can beat this insidious disease.

L. David Olson

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