Commentary: The ANNOY that cried wolf

Back in the early seventies and eighties, long before the fear of Lyme Disease (LD) had become part of our psyche, a few of my neighbors and colleagues had contracted bad cases of the disease.  One of these people was believed to have contracted it in Lyme, CT and was one of the earliest reported adult cases.  Both her and her family’s lives were turned upside down.

In this early information-age era, sharing personal health information was mostly taboo.  So, understanding the full nightmare these people were facing was difficult.  Additionally, the facts about LD were mostly unknown and inaccurate.  Also, LD was believed to be a low risk.  Yet, the CDC was receiving some 20,000 cases per year with a possible 200,000 more LD cases estimated to have been misdiagnosed or unreported.

During this time, I was very cognizant of the disease.  I was also young, cocky, and arrogant.  I had been spending 2-4 hours per day playing competitive sports and training for marathons.  I thought I was invincible.  Boy was I an ass.

I may have been in great condition, but I was gradually losing my eyesight, my hair, my sense of touch.  Several other LD symptoms were emerging as well.[1]  Both I and my physicians were clueless about my situation.

Two years after my last marathon, the disease had ravaged my nervous system and I could no longer walk properly.  Today, I am a quadriplegic.

Had I not been so naïve or arrogant, or had all those sick LD people been a bit more open about their illness, maybe I could have caught the disease early enough to treat it properly.  Instead, I painfully sit and peck out these warnings on the keyboard like a boy crying wolf insinuating every symptom may be LD related.  Realistically, I know it’s ludicrous. But, if indeed it is LD and it’s not treated early, the repercussions may be devastating.

Today, the CDC now claims there may be as many as 300,000 cases of LD per year.  Contracting LD is neither a low risk nor a low likelihood.  Instead, being vigilant, aggressive and taking prophylactic measures to fight LD may be the best strategy to stay safe and healthy.

For me, I’ll continue being annoying and continue crying “the wolf has ticks”.  Hhopefully a few more people will heed my ludicrous warnings.

All the best,

Rob


[1] For a list of possible LD symptoms, please visit: http://www.canlyme.com/patsymptoms.html

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~ by Rob on October 20, 2011.

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