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Leah's Story

I live in central Florida, four miles from Ocala National Forest (Where I did a lot of horseback riding). I was bitten by ticks in May, 1997. Later I discovered a small (nickel size) round lesion;I did not relate this to ticks, as I had not "seen" a tick in this spot. I called "Ask A Nurse" describing the round rash. She had no idea what it was, but said that if it bothered me to call my doctor.

By June I had a horrible flu and the most horrific headache ever (Had a house full of company - no one else became ill). After this I continued to slide, and began other symptons: dizziness, headaches, confusion, lethargy, terrible leg pains, neck pains, night sweats, daytime chills, heart palps, numbness, sore throat, unrelenting cough,and trouble swallowing. I began seeing my internist for this symptom, then that sympton - never tying this all together. I was sent on referrals: ENT, GI, Orthopedist, Neurologist. Everything was just maybe this or that.

In April '98, my husband read an article in the paper about Lyme and the bull'seye rash - EUREKA! He said all this sounded just like me. I called my internist to request that a Lyme test be added to my annual testing. At my annual appointment, I was told the test was "NEG" and she just laughed at me and said that there was "no Lyme any further than Tennesse." After my exam, she noted swollen glands and a heart murmur -- and I was still coughing. At my urging she consented to an Infectious Disease's referral due to some notable changes.

The Infectious Doctor thought I had CFID (labs were all neg), and wanted to give me an antidepressant. He said that the CFID would go away in 3 yrs! My husband, reminded him of the Bull'seye rash -- ticks we have removed, etc. Oh, but the doctor never saw the rash, soooo who knows??? What are we, Liars? We returned 6 wks later, with worsening symptoms, serious memory lapses, etc. The Infectious Diseases doctor says he will give a trial -- 2 wks of Rocephin! But he did finally consent to 4 weeks. I did receive some improvements in memory and numbness. But that was it!! No more med's, unless I wanted antidepressants!

Now, I was 16 months post tick bite with only one brief treatment. Someone finally told me of a doctor in Tampa (2 hours away), who was experienced with Lyme. I saw him in Nov '98 -- ordered a lot of tests. He concluded that I was co-infected with Lyme and Babesiosis (Babesia test positive, Lyme neg.)! I was treated with Quinine/Clindamycin, and now being treating with Flagyl. I am just now showing some improvements. At this point I have had Lyme for nearly two years!

I feel that my health and lifestyle have been permanently degraded due to the doctors' being so indifferent to this disease, and their lack of concern to become better educated regarding it. Originally, I thought perhaps, I am a lucky one - I had the rash!! I never thought that a doctor would actually think that my husband and I would lie about such a thing.

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