Seven years ago Chris was having flu-like symptoms that were recurring every four to six weeks. She went to see her doctor and was told she had the flu. As the pattern persisted, she visited three other doctors, and each of them continued to tell her that it was just a bad case of the flu. Over time, the flu symptoms kept coming back and she also developed bronchitis, which turned into pneumonia on two occasions. After many doctor visits, tests and the same diagnosis, Chris discontinued seeing doctors due to the frustration of not getting better.
Over the next five years Chris accepted the flu-like symptoms, headaches, fatigue and lower back and neck aches until two years ago, when the symptoms grew so severe that she was not able to get out of bed. She returned to her doctor, and this time she was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). While she was disappointed to have CFS, she was happy to finally have a diagnosis. The doctor prescribed drugs to help her with the CFS, but over the next year, she did not get any better; in fact she became progressively worse. She found it difficult to get out of bed, she had very little energy and her body ached terribly.
In the summer, her son Conor went to a leadership conference in Malaga, Spain. At that conference, Conor spoke to one of the speakers, regarding his mom’s condition. When the speaker heard of the symptoms, he was convinced it was Lyme disease and recommended that Conor tell his mom to get tested. Conor said that in fact his mom had already been tested, but the speaker knew that often it does not matter: blood work can, and does, have results that are a false negative. It was explained that she needed to visit a tick-borne disease specialist to make the right diagnosis. Conor took the advice and convinced his mom to immediately email the Tick-Borne Disease Alliance (formerly, Turn the Corner) to help find a medical practitioner in her area. Once she saw the tick-borne disease doctor, Chris’s clinical diagnosis and blood work indicated that she did in fact have Lyme disease.
Chris is now in treatment and is starting to feel better, but realizes that it may take months or years of treatment, as the disease has gone undiagnosed for seven years. The longer Lyme disease is undiagnosed, the harder it is to treat. From her experience, she urges others to make their doctors listen to them in terms of clinical symptoms and to be tested for Lyme and other co-infections.
We wish Chris all the best as she continues her treatment, and we want to thank her for sharing her story with us. To share your personal story with us, please vist our Facebook page at http://on.fb.me/TBDAlliance
* Chris is very proud that her son, Michael Beach, is a Member of the TBDA Board of Directors.