Driving to Tennassee this past Friday I was listening on Satellite Radio to the Doctor Radio channel, the guest happened to be Dr. Daniel J. Cameron (First Medical Associates, 657 Main Street, Mt. Kisco, NY 10549) an expert in Lyme disease and tick borne illnesses. I listened with fascinating interest to what he had to say about Lyme disease. I was personally interested, as since a diagnosis in Jan 2011 of Fibromyalgia, I have continued to struggle daily with joint pains, migraines, headaches, constant nausea etc. etc. I had no reason to suspect anything other than firbromyalgia until I started listening to Dr. Cameron, and how often Lyme and tick diseases are mistaken for other things. Notably, for me, I have had 2 tick bites that I distinctly remember. One in Germany when I was 14, I awoke with a tick attached to my arm near my elbow and hastily removed it myself. Never considering anything more about it. The second bite happened about 5 years ago while walking in a heavily wooded area in NC. The 2nd time I was treated by my doc with 2 weeks of antibiotics; however, no followup was ever done. I do remember though that my symptoms have been with me for years, literally years, so maybe fibro is the best diagnosis. I do follow Dr. St. Armand’s protocol for fibromyalgia and this does seem to control 75% of my symptoms. At this point though I will be, just as a precaution, asking my doc for a Western blot and ELISA testing just to dot all the i’s and cross all my t’s. Fibro is no fun, but neither is Lyme so neither is exciting to think about. However, Lyme does seem to have an possible ending if treated successfully with antibiotics, sadly fibro – not so much.
Anyway, I was listening intently to this discussion and Dr. Cameron started to discuss how many of his patients can also be diagnosed first with ADD, ADHD, anxiety and depression – but all these symptoms can be a side effect of Lyme. This is where it gets tricky, Lyme can look like so many other things, and so many other things can look like Lyme. His argument was persuasive for at least exploring this diagnosis as a possibility. Anyway, as with everything in America, contraversy and doubts/arguments for and against are rife. Watching the movie “Under Our Skin” is probably the most eye-opening documentaries to show evidence of how intense these debates become, often to the detriment of the people who are just trying to get well again.
To learn more about Dr. Cameron and his Lyme Disease Project click here. I urge you to read his page, and watch the movie (it was available on Netflix when I watched it) BEFORE approaching your doctor for any testing. Ensure you are aware of the facts and arguments you might encounter before getting any testing. This will enable you to know which tests to ask for as the standard testing may not tell you all you need to know. Taken from Dr. Cameron’s website: “They may have been told initially that they suffer from something else like multiple sclerosis, lupus, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue or maybe from depression. Yet, Lyme disease is the most common serious tick borne infection in the area that strikes our youth and adults. Symptoms can lead to severe fatigue, dizziness, sleep disturbances, headaches, chest and joint pain, nausea, diarrhea, and tingling arms and legs. The symptoms can even lead to psychiatric and neurologic problems including irritability, poor memory and concentration, anxiety, and crying.”
For personal stories and tons of other great resources and references see: Quick Guide To Lyme Co-infections.