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lyme symptoms years after being bit
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lyme symptoms years after being bit

Is it possible to be bit by a tick and not have symptoms show up until several decades later?

I was born in Louisiana, but we spend about a month in the summers in a small town in new York on the Beaverkill river, I moved to New Jersey when I was 3 and lived for a year--then moved out west.   I was bitten by a tick when I was about 8 years old---don't know if I got sick or not, nor do I know if there was a rash--it was in a place not easy to see.

I've had all kinds of health problems--a couple of serious ones while we still lived back east, then anxiety and panic attacks starting when I was about 8.  Got through jr high and high school reasonably well, had 9 children--and am now dealing with all kinds of health problems and feel lousy most of the time.

I really hesitate to be tested because we have a local chiropractor who is diagnosing (more or less) so many people with lyme disease and making a fortune off of them.  We have an exceptionally large number of lyme disease diagnosed people for our area.

Just wondering what you think.
11 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_f_tn
Well, Lyme won't go away by itself, tho a strong immune system can suppress the effects of Lyme (until you maybe get sick with something else and then the Lyme pops up because your immune system is overwhelmed).

Do you know where the chiropractor is having the tests done -- what laboratory?  If you don't have a friend who could tell you, then you could call the chiro's office and say that you are considering making an appointment, but before deciding, would they tell you what lab they use?

They may not tell you, but then again, they may.  Or if you know someone who has been treated there, ask them what the test results say about the name of the lab ... it's usually printed on the results at the top or bottom of the page.

Then let us know what you find out, and we'll give you our two cents worth of what we know about the lab.

It's possible you got Lyme when you were a kid and then got bitten again, and the more times you get infected, the harder it's going to hit your immune system, I would think.  Many of us never saw the tick(s) that bit us, so that's not a requirement.  I also never had a rash.  Some docs *require* that there be a tick and a rash, but it just doesn't happen for many (maybe half) of us.

Lyme is common these days, but not all the docs have realized it.  One of the things the 'Lyme deniers' among the docs say is that Lyme docs (like the chiro in your town) are over-diagnosing, are quacks, are money-grubbers, etc, because the Lyme-deniers have no other explanation.  

Sure there are quacks out there who overdiagnose stuff, but if you don't feel right, then keep plowing ahead till you find out why.  I went through 20 docs before I got a diagnosis, pretty much by accident because the 20th doc was so desperate she ran the Lyme test, having tried everything else.  But when it came back positive, she said I couldn't possibly have Lyme.  Go figure!  

So I took the positive test results to another doc (a Lyme specialist) and got treated, and I'm fine now.

The docs who do not understand Lyme OFTEN ridicule the docs (like the chiro in your town, and like the Lyme doc who treated me finally) who DO diagnose and treat Lyme, because the Lyme-deniers have no other explanation.  Trust yourself and your instincts and see where it leads you.

Let us know how we can help.  Best wishes --  
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Avatar_f_tn
Oh, and to answer your specific question:

"Is it possible to be bit by a tick and not have symptoms show up until several decades later?"

YES!
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Avatar_m_tn
I was bit by a tick when I was a kid. It's one of my theories that my immune system kept it at bay until a somewhat traumatic personal situation aggravated by excessive drinking. It's pretty far fetched, but I suppose it's possible.
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Avatar_f_tn
I don't ever remember being bit by a tick, but I used to be an avid hiker.  I came down with Lyme while I was being treated with methotraxate for misdiagnosed RA.  Mr dr. and I figure that the meds compromised my immune system allowing the Lyme bacteria to party.  I might also add that I was under a lot more stress than normal.
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1211030_tn?1381140942
YES when I was diagnosed (a week after the bite) I was told I had it for at least 8 years prior.  going on my 15th year now
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1763947_tn?1334058919
I was bit over 20 years ago. I was always sick, they said CFS and Fibromyalgia but it wasn't  until 2 years ago, when all my lyme symptoms came out big time to the point I had to go on disability. I was also under a lot more stress when the symptoms came out big time. My kids reminded me about my bite, I had no memory of it.
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Avatar_f_tn
Not far-fetched at all.  I think it makes perfectly good sense.
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Avatar_n_tn
the local chiropractor does NOT use a lab--he uses a back-lit microscope and looks at your blood.  The gal looking at my blood sample told me all kinds of things aboutmy blood---and I went home and looked them all up and realized that there could be other explanations for what we saw when we looked at my blood,

I also discovered that , although a back-lit microscope is a legitimate piece of medical equipment--it is not used very often----and my daughter, who had some medical classes in college said she was able to see spirocets (SP?) with a regular microscope.

This guy treats people with vitamin IVs at $130 a week--or you can buy the various vitamins to take orally---for the same price---but you can get them cheaper in our own town from another chiropractor.  A friend of mine that goes to him and believes in him says she thinks he is gouging people.

I've had chronic pain for over 13 years, surgery on my knee for arthritis before I turned 40, anxiety, depression, panic attacks---I have had osteomyelitis at 3 bilateral shingles at 4.  I had MRSA several years ago and a regular staph infection that turned to cellulitis this past summer--spent several days getting IV antibiotics--that I was allergic to--and several weeks in wound care.

I have eosinophilic esophagitis, and central hypothyroidism, which is a rare form of hypopituitarism.

I have had carpal tunnel surgery on both wrists, I am probably looking at rotator cuff surgery---been ignoring that pain in my shoulder too long.  I have arthritis in my feet and bunions, I also get arthritis in my fingers--my neck and shoulders are stiff and sore so often because of headaches and reflux I often have to sleep in the recliner.

I don't sleep well and feel like he** when I wake up--my kids rarely get breakfast anymore.  I have no desire to do anything--I don't even want to leave my house---and I get irritable and angry so easy---sometimes I feel like I don't even know myself anymore.

I can't remember what the symptoms of long-term lyme are, and I don't know what symptoms are being cause by my central hypothyroidism.

There are days that I would rather cease to exist than go on feeling like this--but I'm still here and hoping that maybe somehow i will get better.
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1763947_tn?1334058919
I am sorry for all your suffering but glad you are hanging in there. My fiancé had MRSA, they treated him very strongly on IV antibiotics but it came back several years later. Are you sure that is gone completely ?

Lyme can affect your thyroid as well as anxiety and depression.Also if your daughter saw spirochetes, that definitely could be Lyme.  

Maybe you could rule out a return of the MRSA and then try to find a Lyme literate Dr., LLMD that could see if you have Lyme and start treating it.
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Avatar_f_tn
You must be one strong person to go through all that and still be plowing ahead -- good for you; I admire your grit.

About the microscope:  I don't know if different spirochetes look different under a microscope at that power.  In any event, vitamins are not the usual treatment for Lyme or for the other infections the Lyme ticks often carry.  Vitamins help support the immune system, but do not, to my knowledge, directly attack the bacteria.  

Some of the joint pain and aching you feel could be due to Lyme, as could the thyroid/hormonal variances.  I'm not medically trained, tho, and this really needs a knowledgeable doc.  I agree with mojo:  I'd find a Lyme specialist.
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Avatar_f_tn
If diagnosing Lyme was as simple as using a back lit microscope to look at blood samples, it would be a more common tool than one that is just used by a chiropractor.  He sounds like someone who has overstepped his bounds, not like someone who is qualified to diagnose or treat infectious disease.  It is "doctors" like that who give fuel to the unfortunate "official" position that Lyme treating doctors are quacks.  

IV vitamins will not cure Lyme. Don't give that guy a minute of your time or a nickel of your money.  You need a real ILADS affiliated doctor with experience in treating tick borne disease.  

You could very well have Lyme. Your symptoms are consistent with it.  It can affect the brain, including the pituitary and thyroid.  It certainy causes damage to connective tissue and joints.  You need someone who knows how to treat a long term case to give you a full work up.  With the right treatment and some targeted supplements, you can feel better!  

If you have to pay out of pocket and travel to get to a good doc, then do it.  Regaining your life is worth it!
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