What is Lyme?
How do I start this? OK, well let’s just roll with it.
First off, thanks for visiting our blog! Our goal is to spread awareness for Lyme and all things related to as many people as possible and help those who are struggling or have questions. Hopefully, our stories of trying to live life as normal Christian teenagers/young adults can bring some light into what living with Lyme is actually like and help other people going through it as well.
Before we get into what Lyme is and what to expect out of this blog, I’ll tell you a little bit about ourselves. My name is Lauren and me and my sister Katie are from Northern New Jersey and were both diagnosed and treated for Lyme in high school. We will both be writing posts so look out for who’s writing what. I’m currently a graduate student at Stevens Institute of Technology in Biomedical Engineering and Katie is a sophomore at Liberty University studying Nursing, and I’m currently undergoing treatment for a flare-up of Lyme. I’m doing IV antibiotics through a PICC line and taking other oral supplements while also trying some homeopathic and herbal remedies for specific symptoms. I’ll get into that later.
Now for the real question: What is Lyme? If you’re reading this, you’ve probably heard of it before. Technically, Lyme is spirochaete bacteria (same type of bacteria as syphilis) that is transmitted through tick bites. Ticks are small bugs that will bite pretty much anything they can latch on to (mice, deer, people, dogs, cats, etc). Ticks don’t always carry Lyme, but Lyme is pretty common in the northeast and on the east coast. Ticks can also carry other bacteria similar to Lyme bacteria. Since Lyme is a bacteria, it can theoretically be killed with antibiotic treatment. HOWEVER, and this is a big one, the regular pill antibiotics don’t always work. Depending on how long you’ve had it (for me, it was 5 or 6 years without being diagnosed) or what strain you might get, a normal course of Doxycycline won’t do it. Especially since there has been a big surge of Lyme in the northeast with typical antibiotic treatment, many experts think that the bacteria have grown resistant to the typical antibiotic therapies. This was the case with both myself and Katie, and we went through almost two years each of multiple antibiotic treatments, consisting of IV, shots, and oral dosages.
There is also some speculation about if Lyme bacteria create what is called “biofilm”, which is a relatively new discovery. Biofilm is kind of like armor for bacteria: they produce this fibrous-like substance to coat their cultures to protect themselves from your basic immune system and other invaders. Biofilm is a big problem in the medical device industry regarding infection. The bacteria that cause the infection will stick onto any sort of implant and once they have a firm grip they can start producing biofilm. And the worst part is that antibiotics can’t get through the biofilm. The same thing happens with Lyme bacteria in the normal body (or so I believe, but it is still being researched). Once they settle into your joints and other parts of the body, they start making biofilm. There are supplements you can take to get rid of biofilm (serrapeptidase is the big one), but since it is fairly recent there aren’t many options.
And, most importantly of all, most healthcare providers and insurance companies don’t acknowledge Lyme disease to be a chronic condition and will only approve the standard course of treatment, which is a few weeks of oral antibiotics. This has been a huge problem for me in the past, especially when trying to find the right doctor. But once you do that, they can usually help you with that part.
Lyme disease causes a whole variety of symptoms that are different for each person. This includes the typical symptoms related to Lyme (muscle weakness, muscle and joint pain, general tiredness) and pretty much everything else you can think off (mental health disorders including anxiety, OCD and depression, hypersensitivity, vitamin and mineral deficiencies which can cause a whole lot of other problems, heart arrhythmia, leaky gut and destruction of stomach lining, insomnia, brain fog and memory problems, etc. All of these have either happened to me or Katie). This doesn’t include the side effects you can have to medications, which are pretty strong if you are getting IV antibiotics or taking pain meds. This is why you should always ask for a Lyme test if you have been feeling even a little “off” because the typical symptoms might not happen to you, but you could still have it. If you catch it early it is generally easy to get rid of.
In the blog we are planning to talk about each symptom and topic separately and go into more detail to be as helpful as possible to others who are looking for answers.
Thanks again and please follow for more updates and comment below if you have any questions! Also visit our “Contact Us” page if you want to speak to us directly.