Kennebunk town manager, wife fight to educate public on dangers of Lyme disease

 

Laura Dolce reports this morning in the SeaCoastOnline.com on the worrying increase in the number of Lyme disease cases in Maine.  Maine like most states across the country, have seen their Lyme cases rise dramatically over the past decade and are recognizing that educating people of the disease may be the best strategy.

KENNEBUNK — The number of Lyme disease cases in Maine tells a story of its own: the reported cases in York County jumped 62 percent between 2007 and 2008, with the increase statewide climbing an astounding 645 percent between 2000 and 2007.

If you suspect that you have Lyme, you must be vigilant and continue seeking out a Lyme Literate Doctor (LLD) who can properly assess your condition.

Tibbetts could barely make it to the end of the driveway without collapsing. For nine months, her husband said, she wasn’t strong enough to walk to the end of their street. And the problems weren’t only physical.

“I had a lot of difficulty with word retrieval,” she said. “Cognitive problems.”

Her doctor told her she was pre-menopausal, she said, that these things were natural as a woman got older. But Tibbetts knew better. A 2006 Lyme test showed some evidence of the tick-borne disease, but was still considered negative by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards. Still, it was enough to give Tibbetts some idea of what she was battling.

The Tibbetts searched for a Lyme specialist and eventually found one who was a clinical assistant research professor at Yale and a board certified neurologist. It cost them $900 for a two-hour visit and testing. But at the end of the visit, Tibbetts’ tests were sent to Stony Brook University in New York and the results gave her the answer she was looking for: Lyme disease.

One other interesting item in the article is how people being treated for Lyme with long-term antibiotics are finding that alternative remedies for rebuilding their immune system are having success.  This seems to be key since long-term antibiotics do have detrimental effects on the body that are still not clearly understood.

Pearson was, and after a positive test, went on antibiotics for a month. But once she stopped the medicine, her symptoms came back. She would repeat this pattern of treatment followed by a re-emergence of symptoms over the next several years, through a move to Maine and raising her sons. The pain — in her neck, in her legs — was bad, but she said the “brain fog” she experienced was even worse. And worse yet, she saw the same symptoms in her kids.

Today, Pearson said the family is working with an osteopath and taking Chinese herbal remedies and focusing heavily on their nutrition.

“We’re doing a lot of immune-building things,” she said, adding that while antibiotics fight the bacteria, it often goes dormant, only to strike again a few months later. Building the immune system, she said, gives you one more layer of protection of the disease.

Joanne Tibbetts said she, too, has discovered the same thing. She said everything from probiotics, thyroid medication and hormone therapy can be used to treat Lyme — if it’s properly diagnosed.

Full article at: http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20100211-NEWS-2110365

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~ by Rob on February 11, 2010.

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