An update on my journey from ME/CFS, Fibromyalgia, Arthritis and Muscle weakness, Poly Myalgia Rheumatica, to Lyme Disease and a cure for my illness which started in 2003.
I have details of my story on the right hand column on my blog and decided it was time to post an update.
I originally started Joanne's Cottage Garden as a record of my garden, I was able to enjoy gardening once again after an illness of 6 years. Those who followed that blog will notice my mention of my ongoing Lyme Disease symptoms, mainly in my legs.
A few months ago I started Looking at Lyme Disease blog in order to post information that interested me.
Over the last year my symptoms have continued to improve. My scariest symptom was swallowing problems which improved on Doxycycline but returned on Amoxycillin and improved again on a combination of Amoxycillin and Clarythromycin. I tried many times to reduce the Clarythromycin and always my arthritis and muscle weakness would deteriorate but by week three the worst symptom, the swallowing problems were the ones that would push me back into taking Clarythromycin again.
In November 2009 I stopped antibiotics. I still had some symptoms in knees, feet and facial tingling and twitching, I was never sure what was just muscle problems and what was peripheral neuropathies. My GP had discussed the Chief Medical Officers letter with me (details of this on Lyme Disease Action website). I had mistakenly thought she was going to refuse any further prescriptions and so decided to stop antibiotics whilst still having some in hand for emergency (Lyme patients would understand this, others not familiar with the problems getting treatment may not).
It is now week 13 since stopping antibiotics. So far my symptoms have deteriorated, weeks 4, 8 and 12 being the worst and symptoms picking up in between. Symptoms have appeared in a variable way in calf muscles, knees, wrists, feet, face and rt hip. So far I am delighted that my immune system seems to be coping and within a few days of any new symptom appearing, my immune system seems to get on top of it. This is what we are aiming for the immune system in control.
I did see my LLMD and he confirmed I still had Lyme like symptoms and at some point more or less definitely would need antibiotics again, but not just now. He advised me that many of the USA Lyme doctors would treat more aggressively and for longer. This I know, many would treat with cyst busting drugs, we discussed this and decided not to do so at present. The reason for my cycling symptoms is thought to be the dormant infection (which goes into cysts) replicating usually on a 4 weekly cycle.
So at present I am not as well as I was when last on antibiotics, fatigue being another of my problems but not the chronic fatigue that doesn't improve with rest. I am delighted not to be popping pills and delighted that generally my health is still improving so fingers crossed.
Discussing my situation with my GP she is as always very supportive and if the time comes when I need further treatment I am fortunate to have both my doctors there to support me.
I have to say that I have been very very lucky, so many Lyme Patients are far sicker than I ever have been even though there was a time three years ago when I did not want my life to go on because of the endless unremitting pain. It has been a very long and difficult recovery nearly three years of antibiotics, I suspect the 20 months of steroids given for the Poly Myalgia Rheumatica Diagnosis would have compromised my immune system and made my recovery more protracted.
For now it is a joy to be pain free and no longer on any medication.