David and I have been together for about 25 years, married for over 20. In all of those years, David has been sick. Flus, viruses, bacterial infections, constant fevers, joint pains, coughing, headaches, and so on.
But it didn’t begin with me! He has always had these issues. In fact at the tender age of 6, he was sent to the Ohio State University Medical Center for testing because he was always sick. While they could find no reason for it, he continued to have ongoing issues. By age 16, he was diagnosed with Epstein Barr Virus. He nearly missed high school graduation because he was absent for 69 days of school that year!
It never got better. By last fall, he had reached the point that getting out of bed was nearly impossible due to severe headaches and flu-like symptoms. Our general practitioner ran more tests, blood work, MRIs, etc. (David was already recovering from back-to-back concussions and a recent diagnosis of Celiac Disease.)
At that point, the doctor concluded there were several issues at play: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, hypoglycemia, depression, Restless Legs Syndrome and low Vitamin D levels. He put him on a round of medication and supplements and a new diet and, initially, he felt better.
However, about a month later the headaches returned with a vengeance. We are talking debilitating migraines that impaired his vision, caused motion sickness and lightheadedness and sensitivity to light and sound. In addition, he was experiencing difficulty focusing, trouble with concentration and memory loss. Finally, he started experiencing minor seizures. At that point, the diagnosis was a delayed reaction to the concussions called Post-Concussive Syndrome.
After another round of tests with a neuropsychologist, she concurred that he could have that, but she was perplexed as to the length of time between the injury and the onset of symptoms. She recommended a visit to an neurologist. Our appointment was set for three months later!
We were at our wits end. None of the symptoms seemed to make sense. What was causing the issues he had suffered from his whole life to get so much worse? Were the concussions really to blame for these new neurological symptoms? Where was the doctor that would look at his entire medical history, list of symptoms and overall picture to help us put together this health mystery puzzle?
Thanks to a recommendation from a close friend, we found that doctor at the Manna Institute in Columbus. After years of treating a symptom at a time and another round of new tests, we had a diagnosis that made sense. David has Lyme Disease and Babesiosis.
Lyme Disease in Ohio? It is more common than you think. In fact, it is one of the fastest-growing infectious diseases in the United States.
Both of these diseases are carried and transmitted by the bite of a tiny organism – the tick. The specialist David is now seeing believes that he was probably bitten around age 6! That explains the 37 years of symptoms and misdiagnosis!!
He is now on a new regimen of antibiotics, supplements and detoxing agents. (Babesiosis is a parasite of the red blood cells. It keeps the red blood cells and immune and lymphatic systems from processing toxins. So he has a very high build up of eight different toxins and metals in his body. All of which make it harder for him to resist infection and heal after injury.)
He is facing a long battle; up to a year of treatment maybe more and a possible blood transfusion. But knowing that he is finally on the path to healing is comforting. The doctor believes that by the end of treatment, he will feel better than he has his whole life. That’s incredible!
Why share all of this? These are serious diseases that are easily misdiagnosed by general practitioners. Be your own health advocate. Push for answers. Research and investigate your symptoms. Ask questions. Push for second opinions.
And because there is a much higher than average tick population this year due to ideal growing conditions. Even Five River MetroParks is warning folks to use repellant and stay on designated trails in certain parks. Prevent tick bites whenever you go out with long pants tucked into socks or boots and use repellant whenever possible. Check yourself and your kids and animals when you come inside. Be vigilant and safe this summer.