Ok, I think I'm ready to tell my story publicly. Some of you may already know but I wanted to give an update.
On Saturday, April 18th, I was bitten by a Lone Star Tick on a photo shoot at Panther Creek State Park in Morristown, TN. I found the tick attached to the back of my leg in the shower. It couldn't have been attached for more than a couple hours max. We taped the tick to a jar lid to save for testing. That night I went to ER to ask for Doxycycline, but no one would even see me because I wasn't exhibiting any symptoms. Monday I went to a local urgent care and they wouldn't treat me either due to lack of symptoms. No one would test the tick either. Not even the local health department, who had never even heard of this type of tick. On Wednesday evening, I started feeling flushed and was running low grade fever. We immediately went to the ER in a neighboring city, where we demanded a prescription for Doxycycline. The PA said "Well, I know for sure it ain't Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, 'cause you only get that out West". No, I'm not lying, that's exactly what he said. What are they teaching these people?! He did prescribe a two week course of Doxycycline and sent me on my way and it was at that point I decided I would try to locate an LLMD (Lyme Literate Medical Doctor). I found one in Franklin, TN and once he heard I had just recently been bitten and that I had the tick, they got me in right away. He promised me I would never suffer from chronic Lyme disease from this tick bite and prescribed two months total of Doxycycline. He also encouraged me to detox and put me on an anti-inflammatory diet: No soy, gluten, red meat, or dairy. I stuck to the diet religiously and am still following it, although I do cheat once in a while. About a week after seeing the LLMD, I received an email that the tick I had sent off for testing had gotten damaged in the mail and the envelope was empty when the lab received it. Great. I figured maybe this was God's way of telling me to rely on Him more and not test results. He does have a way of testing our faith so, doesn't He?
About the last week or two of Doxy, I started getting constant, dull headaches. I figured it was from the Doxy. I went off the antibiotic for one month and then we did lab work.
I received another email about a week afterwards saying the vials for the Lyme test had been damaged and I would have to redo. Another great!! I had to wait for them to mail me a kit and redo blood work. Long story short, everything came back negative EXCEPT for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever! He told me it was indicative of a recent infection but that it was gone. I asked him "If it's gone, then why do I still feel like crap?" and he told me it could be the residual effects of the RMSF and that it can take months to get over. He feels these symptoms I'm experiencing will fade over time and I pray with all my heart that they do. We will re-evaluate in 3 months. I am so blessed to be seen by a specialist and that we treated early!! My hopes remain high!
I haven't done a photo shoot in months. I want my life back!
If you're still reading this, please remember to keep me in your prayers and thank you for all your kind messages and words to me. I know things could be a lot worse, but for me personally, this has tested my faith more than anything I've experienced. To be in constant pain... I have to give this situation to God daily and let Him reign over my life and my health or else I don't think I could handle it, emotionally. A big thank you goes out to my family for putting up with my mood swings and pity parties, for their impromptu prayer meetings, and for being a source of light in my darkness. Love you all!
Side note: if you find a tick on you, KEEP IT. Put it in a ziplock baggie and write the date on it or tape it to something. According to the CDC, it takes 24-36 hours for an attached tick to transmit a disease... I am living proof this could not be further from the truth!! And why risk it??? I would rather take one bottle of pills than have a picc-line put in and take thousands of dollars worth of pills later on down the road, wouldn't you? If you find an embedded tick, demand at least a one month prescription of Doxycycline and get the tick tested! Here is a site which will send you a testing kit: