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Anna's Story

Hello all, I live in southeastern Pennsylvania. I was first bitten in 1995. A doctor treated me with 10 days of doxycycline. The next bite was less than a year later in 1996. My family Dr. treated me with 10 days of doxy. Within 4-6 weeks of the second bite, I had a severe fever and terrible body pain and delirium. I was too ill to get to my family Dr. so he called in a week of biaxin. After my fever passed I returned to him to ask if this was not Lyme.

He said two things: "only 80% of ticks had Lyme and do your joints hurt?" I felt foolish! I knew nothing much about this disease. Within a month I returned to the Dr. for severe back pain and rib pain. He said to exercise and gave me anti-inflammatories. This made it worse. Then my left arm (1st bite) began to have migrating pain. Over the next few months I saw my Dr. almost weekly. He tested me for Lupus,thyroid, and other disorders; everything came back normal, and now I had 4 different anti-inflammatories and no relief. I stopped seeing him in Dec.,1996.

In January of 1997, I had to quit my job (in a greenhouse nursery). Pain was all over my body, Lyme fog was in place. In watching PBS in May of 1997, a Lyme show convinced me I may have this. I saw a Lyme literate doctor and was treated for 2 months with biaxin. My tests were negative. 5 months later I saw a third Doctor. He wanted to retest but would not give me any meds. This left me feeling abandoned. 6 months later I began seeing a 4th doctor. I have been on meds for 1 year this month. During this time I saw a Rheumatoid Dr., who after seeing my Lyme results said, "you don't have Lyme, its fibro myalgia."

He gave me a muscle relaxer and PROZAC! I cried for hours after this assault. At present I may soon have to stop seeing my 4th Dr.. He accepts no kind of insurance (we pay $5200.00 a year for insurance coverage) and his fees are high; as well as a $20 co-pay =$500.00 + a year for meds and assorted other expenses. I appreciate the 4th doctor. I did come up positive for Lyme and Babesiosis (IGeneX), but the financial burden has weighed heavy on my blue collar family. This has caused a lot of unrest within my family.

I have asked a local Dr. to test my husband for Lyme with help from IGenex. He has agreed and hopes my 4th Dr. will work with him. I am working on just accepting this. I realize I may spend the rest of my life battling this illness, and so sorely miss my profession. Now I grow in containers on my patio (townhouse). Wednesday and Thursday of this week I found a deer tick a day in this area. I have spread chemicals on my patio (I would never have done this in past). My world is getting smaller and smaller.

The problems get larger and larger, ticks outside my door, money problems; can my husband get this illness? How do I tell the Dr. who helped me the most, that I cannot afford him any longer? Living my days one at a time. Lyme is a lonely number! All that stood between me and the life I once loved was a course of medicine in the beginning, and a doctor who cared. My life has been forever altered as have the lives of my family. To the men and women who are praticing medicine in the U.S., didn't your oath include "harm no one?"

Anna Swanson

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