On August 28th, 2010, I returned home after 3 weeks of Army national guard in the woods of Blackstone, Virginia. That night, my wife found a tick on my right shin and removed it. We didn't think anything of it since I had been pulling ticks off of my body during the entire 3 weeks I was away. Several days later, I noticed a dark, red rash covering nearly all of my right shin (the area where the tick was). It didn't itch or cause any pain. I decided to see a doctor after a few days because the rash was still there. I visited Patient First, accute care clinic, after about 1 1/2 weeks and told the doctor I suspected Lyme Disease (LD). She said that she thought it was contact dermatitis and wrote in her notes that I had complained of itchiness (which was completely false). Despite her suspicions, she ordered lab tests for LD and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF). She did inform me that the tests would probably be inaccurate because it usually takes about 4 weeks for the LD bacteria to show up in the blood. As expected, the results came back from Labcorp and they were negative. I couldn't tell exactly, but I think they only conducted the ELISA test. She had prescribed a topical steroid cream and after a few days, the rash disappeared. About a month later, I noticed that I was experiencing chronic fatigue, feint/dizzy spells, clumsiness, forgetfulness, tightness in my chest, and constant joint/tendon cracking noises. In addition, my left knee would hurt and swell occasionally. I decided to wait before returning to the clinic just in case the symptoms passed. On October 28th, I decided to visit another clinic because my symptoms were persisting. This time, I went to Concentra and again they did lab work and sent my samples to a lab called Quest/AMD Labs in N.C. Again, the results came back non-reactive/negative. I believe they conducted a Western Blot this time. I was taken by surprise because I had no idea what was causing me to feel so differently. By now, I was also experiencing moodiness and lack of focus/concentration regularly. I read information on LD on www.aldf.com and decided to try an infectious disease (ID) specialist. I did not contact any of the LDA doctors because they were all located far away from me in northern virginia and did not accept insurance. The ID doctor performed some motor coordination tests, checked my lymph nodes for swelling (a symptom I had not experienced), and ordered labwork. After reviewing my records and performing the preliminary tests, he told me that he did not suspect LD but wanted to run the lab tests in order to rule it out completely. For the third time, the tests were returned from Labcorp and were normal/negative. And, for the second time, I was shocked. I feel completely lost and still experiencing these symptoms. I continue to have trouble remembering things (for example, I often seem to find myself attempting to heat my coffee in the refrigerator at work - there are other instances that have me wondering, "what's wrong with me?"). Everything I've read indicates I may have LD; however, it is difficult to tell since there is such a large variance in symptoms amongst individuals. The fact that the symptoms can be cyclical or sporadic certainly does not help to reduce the confusion. I am posting on this site for advice/feedback/suggestions. I'd like to know if anyone has experienced similar and can help me figure out whether I have LD, or if I'm just plain nuts. Also, I'd like to know whether or not I should continue to pursue LD (or similar condition) testing. If so, where should I go? I feel I just need answers for the change in my condition. Any advice/feedback/suggestions would be most appreciated.Reply Follow This Thread Stop Following This Thread Flag this Discussion
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