Conventional doctors diagnose Lyme disease, yes. But Chronic Lyme Disease apparently is only diagnosed by a LLMD. There is a definite distinction.
LLMDs in my experience basically take into account your symptoms and try to devise a treatment plan that they have seen work on other patients. Many don't take health insurance, so you may want to find out first if you go the LLMD route.The reason is that many insurance companies have yet to recognize chronic lyme disease treatment as anything but experimental.
Sorry you're having to deal with this. Hang in there. Improvements can definitely happen with the right treatment.
It may be very lame to do so, but I'm cutting and pasting a reply I wrote to another post:
There are two main "camps" when it comes to Lyme: IDSA (the Infectious Diseases Society of America) and ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society). The former supports that all Lyme, regardless of how late it is diagnosed, can be cured by a single course of antibiotics. The IDSA also has rigid guidelines on the diagnosis of Lyme. The later supports clinical diagnosis (not relying on blood tests) and longer treatment.
Both societies have website that you can search and read more about.
Both are private organizations to my knowledge, but the CDC (Center for Disease Control), which is a component of the US Department of Health and Human Services, endorses the IDSA guidelines. In other words, the IDSA point of view is the mainstream, and what you are most likely to encounter at your doctor's office.
Basically, there is so much squabbling over the definitions, testing, and treatments for Lyme disease that many patients (self included) fall through the cracks.
One aspect that everyone seems to agree upon is that early detection and treatment is best. So if you are treated soon after your exposure, you have a better chance of recovering with a single course of doxy.
However, since the testing fails in many early stage cases, and many don't recall the bite that infected them (that's my case), early treatment is never an option for some.
Some good resources if you want to learn more are the book "Cure Unknown" by P. Weintraub and the film "Under Our Skin." Both have informative web sites.
cindy903 is right: Many LLMD's do not accept insurance. Not only because the treatment is experimental, but also because there is hotly contested debate over even the existence and definition of chronic Lyme.
If you see any doctor (LLMD or otherwise) bring copies of any previous tests you've had done. This may save you $, if you don't bring your records you may need to repeat tests. Whether or not you want to disclose your concerns over Lyme to the doctor is a personal choice.
Good luck and hang in there.
You could ask a family physician to test you for it but more times than not, the doctor will not know very much about lyme. Seeing a lyme literate doctor is yuor best chance of getting a good evaluation of your symptoms.
putting your energy/efforts into finding and seeing LLMD. is the best way to go - in my experience - main stream doctors etc; will only cause you frustration/anxiety/self doubt - all negative - or they will waste time prescribing you with drugs that may simply add more toxins to your system needlessly.
I am not medically qualified in anyway - I am talking from experience - ordinary M.D.'s are fine if you have a 'boil' or a 'sore throat' etc - but we are talking about a potentially dangerous disease here - you need a professional not an amateur.
Thnx guys. I am definately going to seek a professional. Do you know how to search for one? Should I seek an IDSA or an LLMD? IDSAs are easier to find in my area but i fear that they will not treat me appropriately. One more thing, are there any home remedies that can reduce symptoms? Are good execise and healthy lifestyle benefitial? Thnx in advance. Stay blessed
Find a "Lyme specialist" doctor by going to "turnthecorner.org" scroll down and then click Contact Us. Email them at the address provided, telling them what state you reside in. They will get back in short order.
Cat's Claw is supposedly a great natural remedy for Lyme, widely used in South America as well for many of their infectious diseases like dengue fever.
gentle excersise and healthy lifestyle is a very good idea as your immune system needs all the help it can get to fight the lyme bacteria
don't over-do the excersise - I think gentle stretching type excersise is probably the best - for now anyway
thinking in terms of 'detoxing' is a good idea - only my opinion - ie;drinking plenty of water - eating natural cleansing food - eg;raw garlic/onion , beetroot, ginger - etc;
some folks here [inc. myself ] find using Epsom salts in a bath or for a foot soak-beneficial - Epsom salts is basically magnesium.
good luck in your search for LLMD - keep us posted.
Thanks again for your sugesstions. I am definately going to follow then through. You guys are amazing. I will surely keep you posted. Thnx a million times!
Be safe and stay blessed.