I’ve recently posted on my blog about my recent health scare with Lyme Disease well this is the final update for now as I have got my blood test results back. The NHS performed the blood tests and as they had to be sent off to a specialist microbiology lab they have take 6 weeks to come back. I finally got the results last week and they came back POSITIVE for Lyme Disease.
I had an idea that they might be positive due to the amount of time they took to come back. They told me initially that they would take 3 weeks but they kept taking longer and longer. I know that they perform the ELISA test and if that is positive then they have to do a further test called a Western Blot which caused the delay, you can’t get a positive result unless both tests come back positive which is what happened.
When I first went to see my Dr with the bulls-eye rash I told him that i had been bitten, he asked me where I got bit (Pennington Flash) and he told me that he didn’t think that it was Lyme Disease ‘because it isn’t in this area’. He told me that he had never had a case of Lyme in the UK and had only seen it abroad in his student days, he said that he thought it was probably cellulitis. It was me who originally brought up Lyme Disease at my appointment and he agreed that it did look like a Lyme rash so to be safe he prescribed me 10 days of doxycycline which is a antibiotic. He phoned me the following week asking how I was getting on and I told him the rash initially got a lot worse but when the antibiotics kicked in it had started to subside. I told him that I had done some research online and a lot of people (mostly in America) recommend 2-4 weeks of doxy and even then that isn’t guaranteed to cure it. He agreed to prescribe me another 4 days of tablets taking me up to a 14 day course. He told me if I did have it that the antibiotics should cure it so not to worry.
I didn’t think more of it and finished my antibiotics and my rash had gone, I was going on about my daily business when I got a call from my Dr he wanted to do a blood test. He said that even though I should be cured the blood test will show if I did originally have it or not. The test could only be performed 6 weeks+ post bite so he told me to book in for my blood tests then. I am very grateful that I had a Dr who was willing to listen to my opinion and not instantly dismiss it because it could be rare or because he had never seen it in this country. He had obviously been thinking about me and then decided to do the test something which isn’t routine in the NHS.
So I have my results and they came back positive – what happens now? to be honest I don’t know the receptionist told me that they will pass my diagnosis onto the Health Secretary who I hope will mark Pennington Flash on the UK map for Lyme Disease and I am hoping that they will put warning signs up around the area. Pennington Flash is a family place and even school trips visit there, when I went it was summer and there were hundreds of children there which worries me as not everyone infected with Lyme gets the bulls-eye rash like I did, how many people out there could have it and not know?
I am quite angry to discover that there is a warning on the Park Run website for Pennington Flash asking runners to beware of Lyme Disease so my question is did Pennington Flash already know it was there? if so this isn’t right! They need to put signs up and warn families and dog walkers who visit to take precautions. Especially due to the popularity of Pokemon hunting, the place was packed when I went. If I knew Lyme was in the area would I have let my 2 year old out of her pram – no? would I have used insect repellent? – yes, would I have have stuck to the path? – yes, would I have made sure that no skin was on show? – yes, would I have checked us all for ticks when we got home? – yes. This is the importance of signs and awareness. To be honest I wouldn’t have gone at all if i would have known and I think that more people need to be aware of Lyme Disease even Doctors, it is currently a pandemic in the UK which means that it is spreading and here all over the UK.
It can be a very serious health issue if left untreated and effect peoples whole futures. I still don’t know if i am fully cured as the CDC and UK Government don’t fully understand the disease and know for definite how to treat it. Research is ongoing and probably won’t be published for another year or two or maybe even longer. Some research that I have read suggests that it can be very hard to eradicate with antibiotics and it can hide away from them, I’ve also read that the bacteria works on a 28 day cycle so you have to fight it with antibiotics at certain times of the cycle and as I only had 14 days worth of treatment so was it enough? was it at the right time of the cycle? I don’t know. A lot of people in America take doxycycline for up to 6 months so I really don’t know what is in my future. For now it is on my medical file and if I get any future health issues it will obviously be looked into. If untreated it can leave people bed bound unable to get up and leave people in excruciating pain unable to function or work. I’m only 29 and I would like more children so obviously this is scary to hear but as for now my Dr has followed the current NHS guidelines and feels that I have caught it early enough to be cured but it obviously can’t be guaranteed. To learn more about Lyme Disease please visit the NHS page here. – Jodie x