Lyme Stories from North Carolina Residents
Charlotte, NC - Real Lyme Stories
Charlotte, NC - Real Lyme Story
I am a physicist who was bitten by a tick in October of 2004. Within several months of the bite, I experienced symptoms including severe mental fog, loss of attention span and balance, photophobia and slight numbness in my extremities.
I was rapidly reaching the point of not being able to function at my job as a research scientist at a high-tech company in the University Research Park of Charlotte, NC. As I recently watched a friend experience declining health due to similar symptoms (until she was diagnosed and successfully treated for Lyme disease), I began to search for doctors in Charlotte, NC to be tested and treated for Lyme. Even though I specifically mentioned that I had been bitten by a tick, the doctors refused to prescribe even a short term "preventive" treatment with antibiotics (as several articles I found had recommended) since the "titer" tests they did turned out negative for Lyme. My health continued to decline.
After several months I was able to get an appointment at Dr. Jemsek's office. His staff listened carefully to my history and current situation and asked detailed questions about my condition and symptoms. They warned me that the tests for Lyme were not very reliable and that they would treat me based on the symptoms and the fact that I actually saw the tick bite. Since my symptoms were primarily "mental fog" related, they prescribed two antibiotics which they believed would target this area.
In approximately 48 hours from this appointment, after taking the recommended antibiotics, I felt the mental fog and tension dramatically "melt" away over a period of about 8 hours. When I awoke the third day following the appointment, I felt as if a veil had been lifted from my eyes and all the tension in my neck and head was gone. I felt crystal clear mentally and relaxed for the first time in months. I had not realized how far I had degraded in such a short time. Even my colleagues at work noticed that I seemed like a new man that morning. The change was so dramatic, I felt almost as if I had been reborn.
Thanks to Dr. Jemsek's office, I was able to rebound and perform at ~95% of my ability. The long-term antibiotics regimen they put me on continued to eliminate the last few remaining physical symptoms (e.g. numbness of hands).
I fear, based on the rate of my initial decline, that if it were not for Dr. Jemsek, I would be completely incapacitated by now, as initial medical consultations revealed that the mainstream medical community did not know how to diagnose or treat the disease (they relied on unreliable tests, for example). I have found Dr. Jemsek's office to be not only knowledgeable but professional and courteous. They have patiently answered all my questions and continue to conduct "safety" blood tests while I'm on the prescribed antibiotics regimen.
Please Note: While all the Lyme blood tests turned out negative, I did have a PET scan (at Dr. Jemsek's request) at Presbyterian Hospital in the early phase of the disease, which showed mental impairment consistent with Lyme disease ("global hypokinesis of the anterior and medial aspects of the temporal lobes bilaterally" which has been "described in patients with cognitive dysfunction and Lyme disease").
Since Dr. Jemsek was effectively put out of business in North Carolina, it has been very difficult to find doctors who will prescribe effective antibiotics to address the monthly relapses I have. Dr. Jemsek's treatments were very effective in addressing these pronounced relapses and restoring me to a functional condition. Losing Dr. Jemsek was an unspeakable loss to the North Carolina community.
Matthews, NC - Real Lyme Story
Thanks for the link to the article, I'm so thankful you are doing better. My son XXXXX treatment was interrupted by the NCMB ruling against Dr. Jemsek (isn't he wonderful!) so he has deteriorated very badly, but we are still hopeful that with long enough treatment on IV's (now out of state) he will be able to improve. We also were denied on all level of appeals with our insurance despite his positive Western Blot test and obvious clinical Lyme.
Our address is Matthews, NC but we are actually in the Mint Hill township where XXXX had his first tick bite with a red bull's eye rash at age 3 and 1/2 and many others over the years since we live in the country and XXXX has always loved playing in the woods. Since his pediatrician told us "no Lyme in NC" and his apparently strong immune system covered him until he became very ill in 2004, he was not diagnosed until 2005 by Dr. Jemsek and now has severe neurological problems and joint issues and has been in constant pain for over 3 years and is now a semi-invalid. Many thanks for what you are doing, I would like to be more active for the NC Lyme group, but caring for XXXX takes most of my time right now. Let me know if I can do anything else for your research. I will have the other moms of teens I have met who also contracted Lyme in NC get in touch with you.
My now 16 year old son contracted Lyme disease in NC and was treated here in 2005-2006. He is still undergoing treatment, but now out of state because of the NCMB restrictions on length of IV antibiotic treatment allowed in NC. You will need to contact me with the specific info that you need as he is visually impaired from the Lyme disease.