Miguel’s Story

I am a 36 year old male living in Victoria BC. Prior to Lyme Disease, I have no health history to speak of. I pulled a little, black tick off my foot in June of 2008. I am quite sure I had just stepped on it minutes earlier, as I was in bare feet in my back yard, felt a pinching sensation, and thought I had stepped on a sliver. A minute later, I sat down to pull it out and realized it was a tiny tick about the size of a poppy seed. I rubbed it to break off the head and left the nose part in my foot. I was not too concerned about it really.

A few days later, I was reaching over the back of my couch and my step-mom (visiting from New Hampshire) yelled “Oh my god, what is on your foot!?” I turned my foot up and I had a huge circular red welt, about 3 or 4 inches in diameter. We discussed that my body didn’t seem to like the tick bite and she said “Lucky we’re not in New Hampsire where ticks can have Lyme Disease.” I commented that I had heard of it but I think my chances of getting it in Victoria would be like getting hit by lightening. A few days later, the circular rash had cleared to be dark red on the outside and the centre was a light pink.

Two weeks later I thought I had a flu for a couple days and was really short of energy. It was so bad that I was eshausted just walking up the stairs into my house or standing for more than a few minutes. I was watching something on the news about the Russian who was poisoned with plutonium in an English restaurant and kind of joking with my wife that maybe one of the neighbours had poisoned me. I was lying in bed on about day 4 of my flu when suddenly I noticed my face had little sensation around my left eye and cheek. I said to my wife “My face is numb like I just came from the dentist or had a stroke or something…I am going to the clinic to get checked for some kind of poisoning.”

On my way to the doctor I was thinking about all the spider and/or mosquito bites my oldest son had on him and I suddenly remembered the tick a few weeks earlier. I told the doctor the whole story of how I felt over thepast few days and my face getting numb and the tick bite. I was absolutely sapped of energy in her office and slumped in her chair. She had a worried look on her face and said “Well something is wrong with you…you don’t look well but it is probably Tetanus from the tick bite…have you had your booster?” I told her I had just a couple years earlier. She said I better start on antibiotics just in case it was Lyme Disease but it was most likely Tetanus. She gave me a prescription for a couple weeks of antibiotics and an order for a blood test to check for Lyme. I got the blood test and started the antibiotics. The next day, I immediately started to feel some improvement. My head was getting lighter and for some reason I kept thinking I had spider webs on my face or bugs crawling under the skin of my forehead and eye area. I went back to the clinic and the a diffferent doctor was working. He commented “Well your blood test came back indeterminate…that means nothing special…I wonder what it was?” I said “WAS!…I am still screwed up but I feel like I am improving…it was obviously bacteria from the tick…there’s no medical mystery here.” I got a blank stare and an awkward silence and then left the office.

I went to my family doctor, who I had known for many years and told him the story and showed him all this research on Lyme Disease about needing mor antibiotics than my low dose for two weeks. He actually said to me “I don’t know anything about Lyme Disease but I know it is bad shit and can ruin your life. You don’t want that, so let’s give you three months of Doxycycline and Flagyl like it says here and hope you’re all cured. When I started the Flagyl, I had a classic Herxhiemer reaction. It was brutal. My back and neck locked up completely and my right wrist felt like someone had broken it into fragments with a hammer…a few of my fingers were staring to curl up like I had Rheumatiod Arthritis too but it would come and go.

After the three months, most days I was feeling better but still feeling horrible on and off. I went back to my Doctor and he told me he had looked into Lyme Disease and apparently it wasn’t that bad and all of the people that say it lasts forever are nuts. He told me that it’s a whole big scam in the United States, where some doctors had set up their own lab to test everyone positive and it was just a whole “coocky mess” down there. He said a lot of the information is bull and all the Lyme people are considered “coocky”. I asked what he thought of me going to a Lyme Literate Doc in Seattle, because I didn’t want to argue with him or pressure him to treat me if it would be uncomfortable but something was still wrong with me. He agreed it was not a bad idea and asked if I could bring him a record of what this guy had to say. So I did….have been on antibiotics ever since.

My family doctor wrote me a standing order for 2 years of liver enzyme checks and has written me one more prescription when I ran out a while ago but i try to keep him out of it. I see him with my kids and he always says “You can’t stay on pills forever.” He asked me last time if I thought I could be not relapsing when I go off antibiotics but having a physical withdrawal from being on them for too long. I said “No” and then we changed the subject.

To save money, I have twice been to Mexico and bought loads of injectable Benzathine Penicillin, along with some other meds. It’s cheaper to fly there or to San Diego and buy a bunch of drugs than it is to visit an LLMD in Seattle. I really don’t like giving myself injections but it saves me money on probiotics and seems to be effective treatment.

The last time I went off my medication for a few days, thinking I may finally be cured, I only lasted about 3 days. My heart went crazy. I thought I was having arrythmias but my brief 12 lead at the hospital was normal. I was also informed by the ER doctor that we don’t get Lyme around here but my illness may be “some reaction to the tick”. I was actually fearing for my life and my family losing me so I started taking gross amounts of oral penicillin. It seemed to help my heart from being so jumpy and allowed me to sleep after a few days but still hasn’t stopped the irregularity altogether. I had an ultrasound of my heart a couple weeks ago and I am waiting for the results, but the tech did mention to me that a “threw a few ectopics” duirng her exam. It hold her it was froma bacterial infection and she said “Well it wasn’t too bad…for some people that is just normal.”

Current status: Deciding if I should just keep going to Mexico and use high dose antibiotics with Flagy for a while longer or allow myself to fall horribly ill here in Victoria and try and force local doctors to deal with me.

My problem is that I am a father of two little kids and a paramedic who needs to be relatively alert at work. I cannot afford to be so mentally slow and tired all the time. I have been just barely holding everything together for a long time now and my mind is currently leaning towards being a martyr…allowing myself to fall ill while being documented by a local filmmaker and seeing if local doctors wake up to my current infection. Lawsuit is another option but I need to get my information well in order and take some steps…as I am sure this has been tried before.

Stay tuned, Miguel

1 Comment

  • cathrine says:

    Have had Lyme for decades but no diagnosis till recently. Naturopath and igenex test showed burgdorfia. ..went to Lyme specialist dr Eric Chan in Vancouver for iv treatment. ..ran out of money. ..oral antibios for last six months .????