Eric Harvey’s remarkable recovery

Dr. Dubocq, though, said he believes it is a fallacy that a tick needs to be attached for that amount of time to spread the disease. In addition, he recommends a minimum of six weeks of treatment. Anything less than that, he said, is a roll of the dice.

Excerpted from  the Republican Journal  ( Posted: 05/13/2011 ) 

Bedridden in July 2009, Eric Harvey occasionally opened his eyes late at night while darkness enveloped him.
Otherwise, he went months with his eyes shut. The vertigo he was experiencing made it impossible to look at the faces of his loved ones, read or watch TV.
Earlier that month, Harvey had collapsed in his backyard and his wife, Maura had rushed him to the emergency room.
In June, vertigo had forced the adult probation and parole officer for the state of Maine to stop working. Formerly a picture of health, Harvey was barely able to stand. The body-builder and state high school wrestling champion barely tipped the scale at 160 pounds, 50 fewer than what he normally carried on his muscular 210-pound frame. He shuffled as though he had Parkinson’s disease.
“People didn’t recognize me,” he said. “I could walk by people in the hospital that I had known my whole life and they had no idea who I was.”
Harvey’s knuckles were raw as, eyes shut, he used the back side of his hands to maintain contact with walls to maneuver around the home he shares with Maura and their two daughters. The joint pain and muscle pain were so excruciating that Harvey did not want to be touched. He couldn’t raise his arms or dial a phone and Maura mashed his food so he could receive nourishment.
“If it wasn’t for my family and my faith … they kept me going. I wanted to die,” Harvey said.
And some medical professionals indicated that he just might. “More than one doctor told me that I was dying and they didn’t know why,” he said.
In June 2008, Harvey developed vertigo and began seeing doctors and specialists to determine the cause. From years of weight lifting, wrestling, coaching wrestling and being a Belfast police officer, Harvey was well aware that he had pre-existing injuries. He also knew that in 2004, he had Bell’s palsy and that in spring 2008 he was bitten by a tick.
Bell’s palsy, a disorder of the nerve that controls movement of facial muscles, is believed to be due to swelling of the nerve where it travels through bones of the skull. Treatment, according to medical websites, is typically not needed and symptoms frequently improve quickly and go away completely within a few weeks to months. Lyme disease is cited as one possible cause.
During tests, an MRI revealed a spot on his brain. As Harvey’s condition worsened, 18 specialists from Belfast to Boston examined him. Several, he said, indicated Lyme disease might be the culprit.
A bacterial mass, which grew to the size of a golf ball on the side of his neck, was removed. Again, the possibility of Lyme disease was mentioned.
While he became more and more disabled, Harvey said, “I imagined myself back at the gym working out and playing with my kids.”
During those hours lying flat on his back, he said he also pictured himself back at work.
“You truly learn what’s important when you are dealing with illness. I told Maura that I didn’t think that many people liked me,” he said with a laugh, while talking about the overwhelming support he received from family, friends, co-workers — and even people he had arrested.
In summer 2009, Dr. Richard J. Dubocq of Lincolnville diagnosed Harvey with Lyme disease and in August 2009 Harvey began receiving intravenous antibiotic treatment.
And Harvey began to get his life back.

For the complete article:

~ by Rob on May 15, 2011.

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