I was bitten here in my garden on Salt Spring Island, BC Canada on May 9 or 10, 2003.
The tick and the bulls-eye rash were discovered on May 12 whereupon my husband removed the bloated tick.
I saw my doctor on May 15, and was seen by a student doctor who diagnosed it as Lyme Disease and recommended a month’s antibiotics (doxycycline). Despite this recommendation, my doctor gave me a prescription for only 2 weeks treatment. I offered to show her the bloated tick and asked if it should be tested. She declined both offers.
On my return two weeks later I was told I couldn’t have had Lyme as we don’t have it here on Salt Spring. There was no more treatment even though I complained that I was sicker than my previous visit, had lost my voice and had chills, fever and fatigue.
I returned two weeks later at which point I was very sick, had severe laryngitis, fatigue, rapid heart rate, etc. On these visits I was told I probably had “the flu” or had picked up a virus somewhere. (The doctors records indicate a drawing of the bulls-eye rash and mention Lyme. Later visits it is listed as the differential diagnosis.) It was a year and a half later that I was finally so sick that I was hospitalized in Victoria where I stayed a month and checked for every disease known to man – all negative. Finally at my insistance, an infectious disease specialist was brought in who diagnosed me as having Late Stage Lyme. By this time my lungs, heart, and brain were affected, not to mention numbness of my hands and feet, burning lungs, and unrrelenting fatigue as part of the parcel. This Infectious Disease doctor put me on IV antibiotics for 6 weeks followed by 8 weeks of oral antibiotics.
I improved sufficiently to be able to function, albeit at a much lower level than previously.
In November 2006, 3 1/2 years after the initial tick bite and two years after starting treatment the Infectious Disease doc tells me that I will not improve any more and may get worse and there is nothing more he can do for me. My life is a tiny shadow of what it was. I require morphine and gabapentin to deal with the pain and other cocktails to deal with the other symptoms such as fatigue and sleeplessness.
I had to sell my professional hand-weaving business of 25 years, stop traveling on teaching tours of North America, resign from Boards where I was a director. I must live quietly with as little stress as possible. My husband has become my caretaker. Our plans for our retirement smashed by this disease – and by that first doctor’s blindness to the disease.