Virginia Governor’s Task Force on Lyme Disease 2010-13 and
Co-leader, Parents of Children with Lyme Support Network, DC Metro Area
“…The physician cannot rely on a laboratory test or clinical finding at the time of the bite to definitely rule in or rule out Lyme Disease infection, so must use clinical judgment as to whether to use antibiotic prophylaxis. Testing the tick itself for the presence of the spirochete, even with PCR technology, is helpful but not 100% reliable.
An established infection by B. burgdorferi [the bacteria that causes Lyme] can have serious, long-standing, or permanent, and painful medical consequences, and be expensive to treat. Since the likelihood of harm arising from prophylactically applied anti-spirochetal antibiotics [taking antibiotics to kill potential infection] is low, and since treatment is inexpensive and painless, it follows that the risk benefit ratio favors tick bite prophylaxis.”
-Dr. Joseph Burrascano, the longest-treating physician for Lyme in the U.S.
As the weather warms, there is justifiable panic in the question, “I just found a TICK on me, so what do I DO?!” Continue reading →
My friend Mickey gave me this magnifying glass cleverly disguised as a necklace. Note the thin tweezers for grasping the tick close to the skin, and the sesame seed next to the largish-sized nymphal tick. LifeLoveLyme
Last week, I had just pulled out of my brother’s driveway in the gorgeous countryside on the outskirts of Middleburg, Virginia, when I felt an itch on my ankle. I looked down and saw a teensy tick clinging on by its mouthparts. Wrenching the steering wheel, I pulled over in a blind panic. Using my fingernails as tweezers, I grabbed it as close to the skin as I could and got it off.
Chanting “Be calm, be calm,” I got out of my car and scanned the parts of my body I could see. There on the back of one leg was a larger tick. I struggled with that one but got it off, too.
Making a U-turn like I was in a movie getaway scene, I tore up John’s driveway, jumped from the car and ran into his house. I shouted out what I’d found as I headed for the bathroom, stripping off my clothes as I went. Continue reading →
Carolyn with her pooch Betty and, from left to right, the friends who have banded together to help Carolyn get treatment: Mark Gordon, Jim Pettengill, Teresa Gordon, Bruce Hoppenworth, Marianne Antonelli, and Gary Antonelli. Not pictured: Maggie Gobie. Photo: Randy Martinek
Lyme affects the heart in more ways than one. Just ask Carolyn Ross, who was loving the outdoor life on a Virginia horse farm back in 2007. Then ominous change came overnight.
She can tell you the day her health crashed: December 27. After a holiday party, flu-like symptoms came on, and a few days later she noticed a rash on her arm.
As many of us know, Lyme disease identified and treated early means a quick road to health.
Left to invade the body deeply over time, Lyme and other tick-borne infections can be disabling—and even fatal. Treatment in those cases can be a long, expensive, and rocky road.
I should have been on the shortest path. I was treated based on a tick embedded in my hip, a rash, flu-like symptoms, and severe pain all over my body.
But when my test came back negative, my practitioner stopped the month of antibiotics that would have saved me from a nightmare that has been going on for three years now.
On Tuesday, members on the House side of Virginia’s General Assembly voted on a bill requiring doctors to tell patients that Lyme testing is inaccurate. So when I had the chance to join fellow Lyme advocates in Richmond the day before and help inform delegates, I grabbed my cane and pain medication and climbed carefully into a friend’s van.
Did you hear whoops of excitement from Virginia this week?
A history-making bill (SB971) that would require doctors to inform patients of the inaccuracy of Lyme testing is under consideration right now in my great state. I would have traveled to Richmond to support the bill in person, if I weren’t so ill with lyme myself.
Above is a video from YouTube of the January 29 debate in the state Senate earlier this week. If you are aren’t a hearing junkie, scan for the opposition’s argument, and fast-forward to these sections for compelling highlights:
[15:15] Senator Richard H. Black, who introduced this bill. When asked if consideration has been made as to how the bill could intrude on patient/physician relationships (many doctors oppose the bill), Senator Black replies respectfully, “I have tremendous faith in our physicians and I believe in their ability to do their jobs. I feel like in this particular area [Lyme disease] that this is a measure that would be of assistance and I think that it is something we owe to the people in the vast areas of Virginia that are afflicted by this.”
The Senator then cites incidence charts [21:15] and says that while his district is ground zero for Lyme in Virginia, other areas also have a very high incidence.