How Is Chronic Persistent Lyme Disease Diagnosed?

Excerpted from  ( Posted: 05/27/2011 ) 

When I was a child, my family and I were visiting my grandma. After a day of climbing trees and being in the woods we all went to sleep. The next morning my back was itching intensely and my mom discovered a tick had  burrowed into my back. My dad removed it as he had removed many from himself and friends during his childhood. They kept an eye on me because the nearest hospital was about 75 to 100 miles away. I was perfectly fine. No rash or any symptoms at all so we thought nothing of it. However, about 15 years later I started experiencing odd symptoms that just did not make any sense. I never in a million years would have thought that a tick bite from 15 years before would have been the cause. I had chronic persistent Lyme disease, but how did my doctor diagnose it?

What Symptoms Did I Have?

This was something my doctor really focused on. I already had a confirmed MS diagnosis so making the diagnosis of chronic persistent Lyme disease was incredibly difficult. Thinking back I am also amazed that my doctor didn’t just write my symptoms off as an MS relapse because most were quite similar. The primary difference was the fact that my knees and elbows were very stiff and swollen. My MS never caused this. The fatigue, headaches, memory loss, light sensitivity, numbness and tingling and sleep issues were all something my MS caused so without the joint involvement, I probably would have never even said anything to my doctor and my doctor probably would have never thought that something more was going on.

Then, my doctor asked the million dollar question, “have you ever been bitten by a tick?” It took me a few minutes because it had been more than a decade and then a light bulb went off and I almost screamed, “yes!”

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~ by Rob on May 30, 2011.

2 Responses to “How Is Chronic Persistent Lyme Disease Diagnosed?”

  1. Are you saying you do have MS or that all that time it was misdiagnosed and actually Lyme? I am grateful I never received the (mis)diagnosis of MS. My Lyme manifested with all of the symptoms (of MS) that you described. I didn’t even have the knee/joint issues. But I don’t have MS; I have Neurological Lyme Disease.

    • Allie,
      I think one needs to be clear what MS is. MS is caused by brain damage/ plaque developing on the brain and/or the destruction of the myelin sheaths which protect the nerves by a compromised immune system. In both cases, LD most certainly appears to be the culprit of my immune system going awry.

      The other reason for doubt that my situation is not traditional MS is that 90% of MS cases are remitting relapsing MS. RR MS has periods whereby the nerve damage disappears for a while and then returns and progresses. This has never happened to me.

      So aside from my positive Lyme tests and my improvement from antibiotics, one can only conclude that I have MS symptoms caused from LD.


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