Runners and Lyme Disease
Excerpted from the Runner’s World: (06/19/2014)
The pain, like a screwdriver twisting hotly through her knee, was excruciating. And the swelling, well, you could see it ballooning through her pants.
Angela Coulombe, 42, had just run the 2007 Beach to Beacon–a 10-K along the picturesque coast of her hometown, Portland, Maine. She thought she had simply reignited an old injury (she had knee surgery back in high school). So she did what any athlete would do: rested, iced, and popped ibuprofen for a week. When that didn’t help, she headed to the physical therapist. An MRI revealed nothing beyond unspecified knee inflammation. She began physical therapy, but a month in, the pain and swelling only worsened.
Then came the nausea, migraines, and fatigue. Coulombe’s feet, elbows, shoulders, and back ached so much she couldn’t sleep. She felt horrible and needed her mother’s help to get her two young sons off to school in the morning, while her boss let her do some of her Web design work from home.
Three months after the 10-K, Coulombe noticed a red rash on her upper arm. Her mother looked at the bull’s-eye shape and said the two words that would change Coulombe’s life: Lyme disease. “As soon as she said that, I was like, Oh, my gosh, now all these symptoms make sense,” Coulombe says, even though she couldn’t recall having been bitten by a tick. “I thought, Oh, thank God. Lyme disease–there’s a cure for this. This is awesome.”
But it didn’t take long for her to realize that it wasn’t awesome at all.