Monday, September 23, 2013

Up until very recently, according to the CDC's website, there were around 30,000 cases of Lyme disease reported annually in the United States. In the last few months, however, the CDC released an explosive statement saying that reports are showing that the number of cases is at least 10 times higher, making it closer to 300,000 cases of Lyme disease a year.

The CDC has always taken the stance that all cases should be treated with 2 to 4 weeks of antibiotics. Shunning the idea of chronic Lyme disease, they came up with their own fancy term for it: Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS). Now, if you mosey on down to their website and pull up the page on PTLDS, the first thing you will read is this, "Approximately 10 to 20% of patients treated for Lyme disease with a recommended 2–4 week course of antibiotics will have lingering symptoms of fatigue, pain, or joint and muscle aches."

Hold your horses, now! Remember, the CDC just updated the number of cases to at least 10 times higher. So now, instead of 10 to 20% of the much dinkier 30,000 purported cases annually, that's now at least 30,000 to 60,000 people a year who are not responding to the recommended 2 to 4 weeks of antibiotics!

I remember pausing and reflecting at the four week marker in my treatment. I thought to myself, "This is it; according to the CDC, this is as good as I can ever feel." I shudder to think about what would have come of myself if I would have accepted that fate.

But I'm one of the lucky ones; I've been in remission for almost ten months now and not a day goes by when I don't think about how lucky I am to have had a doctor who was willing to put her job on the line for me and others like me. She was fired this summer for treating her Lyme patients with more than the CDC recommended 2 to 4 weeks of antibiotics, despite the fact that patients like me are now symptom free and pain free for that very reason!

I'm more than ready to hear what the CDC plans to do about the 30,000 to 60,000 of us annually who don't get better with 2 to 4 weeks of antibiotics. Because, quite frankly, this (taken from the same link above) is absolutely unacceptable: "Your doctor may want to treat you in ways similar to patients who have fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. This does not mean that your doctor is dismissing your pain or saying that you have these conditions. It simply means that the doctor is trying to help you cope with your symptoms using the best tools available."