Friday, July 10, 2015

I may have been paranoid, or I may have just saved my own life....


About a month or so ago, I was getting ready to take a shower and noticed a red mark on my back by my love handles.  (Yup, I've totally got those) It looked like I had scratched myself while getting dressed.  It was roughly the width of my fingernail and it just looked like it could have been a spot that I hit while pulling on my pants, or even putting on a shirt. The weird thing was, I had no recollection of doing that.  I thought something like that would have at least hurt somewhat and I would remember it, but I didn't.  So I shrugged it off and went about my daily business.

Well, let's fast forward back into real time, you know like you do on your cable box? (Well, but when will THEN be NOW? Points if you can identify what movie that's from...tehehe....) Anyway, back in the now.... last week I started to get sick.  I felt a cold creeping on.  The acheiness,  the sore throat, swollen glands, you know, the general icky feeling you get as you're getting sick.  I was really tired and in general just not feeling great.  I got through the weekend and on Monday thought, "Well, I feel gross.  I'm going to take as much cold stuff and liquid as I can and go to bed as soon as I get home." I did as I said I was going to do, and was in bed by 5:30pm.  I woke up the next day feeling loads better and thought, "Ha! I showed that cold who's boss!" I went into work that day, and left that day nearly crawling.  I was wiped out.  

The next day I was scheduled off from work but had a meeting to attend.  I went in for the meeting and to get a few other assorted odds and ends done. Again, I started the day out just fine, but could barely stand up by the end of the day.  I just couldn't seem to hold things together.  I went home and went to bed.  Yesterday, I woke up and thought, "Gosh, this house is filthy and I need to clean." So, I loaded up the dishwasher for a run, vacuumed around downstairs, and started to clean the bathroom.  About an hour into all of this, I got so tired I had to stop.  I came into the bedroom to lie down and immediately fell asleep for the next 3+ hours until it was time for work.  

As I was getting in the shower yesterday, I just happened to notice that that same spot from a month ago still had a mark, only this time, it didn't look like a fingernail scratch.  It was no longer red, but it was oval.  The middle was pretty much faded back to skin tone but the outside was ringed with red.  I immediately started searching for online pictures of something similar because it just looked odd to me. I tried to dismiss it as nothing, but it really started to nag at me. I did some google searching and low and behold, it looked identical to some tick bite photos.  What if I had been bitten by a tick and just hadn't realized it? The timeline fit.  I had been hiking on Roosevelt Island outside DC while I had been on staycation a little over a month ago.  I had gotten sick with flu like symptoms that definitely involved some joint pain as I was getting up in the mornings, and the fatigue I was experiencing was beyond just the regular, "I work two jobs and I'm tired" kind of fatigue.  I suddenly became much more concerned.

I went to work as planned yesterday, and when I shared my paranoia with some of my coworkers (one of which has an advanced case of Lyme disease) they immediately told me to go get it checked.  They didn't think I was being paranoid at all.  So, I hunted around this morning for an urgent care center that would take my insurance and luckily discovered that one that just opened about a quarter mile away did.  So, I went first thing this morning.  I expressed my concerns to the nurse who weighed me and took my blood pressure, and the doctor who saw me asked a series of follow-ups based on that.  After seeing the mark, he immediately said that it looked suspect and put me on a 2 week run of antibiotics and requested a tick borne illness panel.  

Now, it may come back that I have a wicked cold that has just been tearing me apart, and the tick panels come back negative. In truth, I'm hoping that this is what happens.  But, it may also come back with a positive identification for Lyme disease or another tick borne illness.  If it comes back negative, hoo-ray! I'll take a cold any day.  But if it comes back positive, then I will thank my paranoid self for speaking up.  Lyme disease is one of those things that not too many people are talking about, but it definitely can have a serious impact on people's health.  My coworker went undiagnosed for over a year.  And in that year, the disease took away her strength, her energy, and her ability to do things that normal people like you and I do every day. I'm hoping that I don't have to experience anything like what she is going through, and I am thankful that, if it does in fact turn out to be Lyme disease, I will have caught it early enough to treat it.  So, the moral of this story is, sometimes you need to listen to your own gut, even if you think you may be being paranoid.  

1 comment:

Javier Parrales said...

You're absolutely right about getting things checked out. It doesn't matter if they think you're paranoid or not. It's better to be alive and "paranoid" than dead and "normal." I really appreciate your clear chronology of how the rash emerged and progressed. I find that having a detailed description of signs and symptoms really helps at a doctor's appointment.