Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What I Wish I Would Have Known About Lyme Disease

The most frustrating part for me of having Lyme disease is the lack of awareness surrounding the disease. Apart from what they've learned from me, my friends and family don't know anything about my disease. In fact, the only people I know of that know anything about Lyme disease are either those who have it, or those who have a loved one with it. It is spreading like wildfire, while the task of educating people about Lyme disease has been left to those of us who have the disease.

Misdiagnosis is a huge problem with this disease. Doctors are not looking for it. It took countless doctors before I got the correct diagnosis. Because of that mistake, I might not ever be totally well again. The Lyme bacteria had time to disseminate throughout my entire body: it's in my brain, my organs, my joints, etc. What could have been easily treated in the beginning now causes me excruciating pain every day that may never go away.

The number of cases of Lyme disease are on the rise and it is believed to be spreading more rapidly than AIDS. What I wish I would have known about Lyme disease is that it is preventable! Our children learn in school about preventing AIDS, doing self-exams for cancer, and the importance of safe sex. Did you know that children have the highest risk of contracting Lyme disease? So why aren't our schools teaching them the simple ways to prevent Lyme disease, how to properly remove a tick, and the warning signs of Lyme disease?

Our children are not allowed to attend school until all of their vaccinations against childhood diseases are up to date. While there is currently no vaccination against Lyme disease, prevention is key. If our children were taught in school how to prevent tick bites in the first place, and properly educated on what to do if they do discover an attached tick, we could stop this rapidly spreading, and PREVENTABLE, disease in its tracks. The less we are educated about it, the faster it is going to continue spreading.

Sadly, lack of education about Lyme disease means very little money is going into research for this disease. Without that, there is no hope for a cure for people like me and countless others who have very complicated cases due to misdiagnosis (which is very common). Please check out this website for Columbia University Medical Center's Lyme and Tick-Born Diseases Research Center and consider making a donation for Lyme disease research.

The most important thing you can do is to educate yourself and your children. Remember, Lyme disease is found in every single state in the United States and many other countries throughout the world. It is usually easily treatable in its early stages. However, when it is left untreated for too long, usually because doctors aren't recognizing the signs, it turns into a painful and crippling disease that is very difficult, sometimes impossible, to eradicate.

I hope you'll take the time to click on the links I've included throughout this post. If I could prevent just one person from going through what I went through, it would be worth all of this pain! Knowing about Lyme disease could have saved me from going through the agony of this disease. I hope you will repost this and help me spread awareness for Lyme disease.

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