I am a 24 year old male. Two years ago I worked as a grounds keeper in new jersey. I was bit by a deer tick and went to my doctor to see what to do. He gave me two antibiotic pills and said they wouldn't allow the baceteria Borrelia burgdorferi to reproduce. The only problem was I went to a concert and drank acohol the night I took the antibotic not knowing you can't drink acohol on antibiotics. Well about three weeks after I was bit I became sick with fatigue, chills, a wierd sensation of my skin feeling hot, and nauseous. I never developed the bulls-eye rash though. I went to my doctor and she said It was just allergies and there was no way I could have lyme disease since I took them antibiotics even if I drank on them. I did have blood work done and It came back negative for lyme so I forgot about it for awhile. This was two years ago and I still dont feel right. I have anxiety, panic attacks, brain fog, fatigue, light sensitivity, decreased memory and concentration, depression that comes and goes, slight twitches in my legs that also come and go, and recently I have had a swore neck along with a headache behind my eyes. These symptoms also increase whenever I drink acohol and the hangovers are horrible. I almost feel like I am going crazy. I am in college as a biology major and it is consuming my attention. Consantly concentrating on how I feel and the possibilty of it being lyme disease. It makes it hard for me to remember facts and comprehend what I am reading. I just went to my family doctor this past week and told her how I feel and she preformed the lyme disease test again and it was negative again. She offered me the option of being medicated for anxiety and stress. So is there anyway I could have lyme disease and them blood test are just not accurate? Should I have a lumbar puncture done instead? Should I see a lyme disease specalist? Could Lyme be affecting my central nervous system? Or is the possibilty of generlized anxiety probably the cause of my smyptoms?
if the test are negative then no you don't have lyme disease i would talk to your md again and maybe see about anxiety all the stressing over the lyme disease maybe causing the anxiety plus your in school too
I'm not medically trained, nor to my knowledge is anyone else posting here ... That said, here's my take:
New Jersey, outdoor employment and a deer tick bite all make you a candidate for Lyme and possible other infections ('co-infections') carried by the same ticks. The co-infections require separate tests from Lyme, and some of them require different antibiotics than Lyme. Co-infections are quite common, since the slimy little ticks are veritable cesspools of germs.
Therefore the two pills given you, unless they were matched with tests on you and/or on the tick, could possibly have been ineffective. If however the pills were appropriate for all diseases carried by the tick, I have not read anywhere of two pills being the entire course of treatment. I don't know about alcohol interfering with action of the antibiotics.
If three weeks after the bite is when your symptoms started, that is about the right incubation period for symptoms to ramp up. Everyone's symptoms are different, depending not only on which coinfection(s) you have, but also because everyone seems to react a little differently, and there are dozens of different strains of Lyme. Not everyone gets a bullseye rash, and because the stats on Lyme are so poorly kept, it's not clear how many people have Lyme without the rash. I got Lyme twice, and neither time had a rash, so don't let that sway you ... and you and I aren't the only ones to get no rash.
The blood tests for Lyme, contrary to what is stated above, are NOT very accurate. The two tests used by most MDs are the ELISA and Western blot. First one test is done, and if it's positive, then the second test is done, because the first one has too many false positives and the second has too many false negatives. Between the two sets of tests, MDs figure they have covered all the bases. However, it's still not all that accurate, and the tests are NOT the final word -- instead, the tests are supposed to be used to assist the MD in making a diagnosis based on symptoms. What happens too often is that the tests are used as the only basis for diagnosis, and symptoms are ignored...that's one of the perils of modern medicine, where diagnostic skills are too often subordinated to testing.
It is not uncommon for the initial Lyme infection symptoms to subside as your immune system beats it into submission, only to linger and then rise up again at various times when your immune system is run down. Also you are relatively young, and your immune system may be doing an excellent job of keeping the bugs at bay.
Two years pass since the bite, and while you don't feel good, you're chugging along, with "anxiety, panic attacks, brain fog, fatigue, light sensitivity, decreased memory and concentration, depression that comes and goes, slight twitches in my legs that also come and go, and recently I have had a swore neck along with a headache behind my eyes." That is not inconsistent with Lyme+ [meaning Lyme w/ coinfections]. I and others have had very similar symptoms.
(I've read that Lyme bacteria use magnesium in their reproductive process, and because most Mg is intracellular, your blood levels of Mg show normal, all the while intracellular reserves are being depleted. I had twitches and heart irregularities which were promptly reversed by IV electrolytes, but none of the ER docs figured out why. Once I suspected Lyme and did some reading, I started supplementing Mg [any version ending in -ate is supposed to be bioavailable at an acceptable level, but again: I'm not medically trained. Mg malate, orotate, etc].
As a biology major, you are probably better equipped than most of us to understand what Lyme is all about. If you have not read the ILADS [dot] org website, I would strongly suggest you do so, but don't get overwhelmed by it -- there's a lot of information there.
Also at that website is a referral function where you can ask for the name and contact information for a Lyme specialist near you. You will see the term LLMD, which is slang for an MD who takes a broader view of tickborne illness, a 'Lyme Literate MD'. It's not a professional designation or qualification.
There are other websites which also have referral functions, and if you want them, post back and we'll send them to you. You can also just search 'LLMD Chicago' or whatever your geographic area is and see what you get.
Poor memory and thought process is also not uncommon. I have had that for quite a while, but there are days when my brain is yet again a veritable Ferrari compared to the junky Studebaker it is on other days. Your MD "offered me the option of being medicated for anxiety and stress." That is not an unusual reaction for an MD to have. Unfortunately it does not take Lyme into account, and the brain irritation and inflammation that Lyme+ can cause commonly produce anxiety and stress, as does being worried that your MDs are asleep at the switch. It's hard to tell which cause is stronger a possible cause, but there are too many MDs ready to tell patients they are simply anxious instead of ruling out an infection. You know yourself, and if you were not anxious pre-tickbite, then don't talk yourself into believing that you've suddenly become significantly anxious. (Mg has helped my anxiety too.)
Lyme also messes with body temp and the whole endocrine system, which gives an interesting galaxy of symptoms that nonLLMDs are often ready to diagnose as psych/emotional ailments.
Lumbar punctures are sometimes done, looking for Lyme bacteria, but it's not especially useful information since not finding the bacteria in spinal fluid does not rule out having Lyme. Blood tests, to the best of my knowledge, are more useful. LLMDs commonly run blood tests through a lab called IGeneX rather than the standard LabCorp or Quest tests; nonLLMDs think IGeneX is a scam. Again, the sibling rivalry between MD camps. One difference between IGeneX results and those from other labs is that IGeneX doesn't just give a yes/no on infection: it gives a more detailed read out that allows for interpretation.
My best suggestion is to find an LLMD and get a work up. It can take a while to get a first appointment, so you might want to call several LLMDs to see who can see you first, and ask to be called if there is a cancellation. Be aggressive. Also keep personal copies of ALL test results, because once they get buried in a file somewhere, you won't know what's there to ask for, and for some reason MDs offices are remarkably lazy about providing copies of 'everything.'
Finding an LLMD you can work with is the most important step to take, in my opinion. If you later find out it's not working, you can switch, but you gotta start somewhere, and the sooner the better. Go for it -- and let us know if we can help. Stay in touch.
I also disagree with the post that suggests certainty in Lyme testing. Many doctors (and patients) do not put such faith in the testing. JackieCalifornia gave the details, so I'll just be an echo here to say that no, a negative test does not mean that you don't have Lyme!
Futhermore, the earlier Lyme is treated, the faster and less complicated recovery will be. Weigh the risks of taking extra steps now to treat early against the risks of letting it go chronic and it should be an easy choice to pursue the matter further now while you can.
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