Traveling Dog Lady: massachusetts legislators take a bite out of lyme

Monday, July 23, 2007

massachusetts legislators take a bite out of lyme

Today, Massachusetts legislators announced a proposal by Rep. Jennifer Callahan of Worcester that would result in a special facility, possibly located right here in Worcester (!!) devoted to educating health professionals about chronic Lyme disease which is often undiagnosed and untreated. Here is a news article on the topic, which was announced just one hour ago.

In addition, here is an article written about three weeks ago regarding the controversy over chronic Lyme diagnosis, and the difficulties patients like me often encounter in trying to geta diagnosis.

This, along with the recognition of Fibromyalgia by the FDA just last month, is fantastic news for people like me who have been living with these bizarre and annoying symptoms for many years with no diagnosis.As you know, I've long suspected that I may have chronic Lyme disease. I was tested for Lyme by a reluctant physician in 2004 when I first developed chronic fatigue, pain and other symptoms consistent with Lyme (as well as MS, fibromyalgia, Lupus, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and several other syndromes). That test came back negative. This is a common problem with chronic Lyme because only one testing lab in the U.S. is equipped to properly test blood samples for the presence of the Borelia bacteria in the blood. If your test doesn't get sent to that lab (and most don't), and you don't have the telltale "bull's-eye" rash, then your test comes back negative and you're told you don't have Lyme. This is more than a common occurrence, and part of the focus of Ms. Callahan's proposal.I have been exposed to ticks constantly due to my interactions with my dogs as well as the frequency of my visits to Cape Cod. Ticks are also rampant in Worcester County as well. The way I figure it, if I don't have Lyme disease, it would be a miracle! While I have, to my knowledge, not seen the typical bull's-eye rash, I have often found ticks on myself, although I am not aware specifically of an actual bite. I check myself and my dogs for ticks constantly, and I'm more than vigilant about doing so. We are over-run with ticks here on Cape Cod, and it's not unusual to find one crawling up my leg! The dogs, who often sleep with me, are always loaded with ticks. I spend a good part of our post-walk routine picking ticks off everybody.Since neurologists are the specialists most often dealing with chronic Lyme, it is more than ironic that these two newsworthy developments would occur just days before my upcoming introductory appointment with a neurologist.I intend to discuss both issues with her: Lyme and Fibromyalgia.Stay tuned!

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