Matthew Goss's Lyme Disease InformationHow I Got It
February 28th until June 21st of 2002, I hiked nearly a thousand miles through
the Appalachian Mountains from Georgia to Virginia. You can read the story
of my journey here.
I didn't hear a whole lot about Lyme Disease before I left for my hike. But I learned a little bit about it, and went fully armed with 10 days worth of tetracycline antibiotics, which I carried for nearly a thousand miles before I went home in good health. They were one of the few non-negotiable items in my pack.
I never used them...on the trail.
About 3 weeks after I got off the trail, I was back in Pennsylvania working on finding a job, relocating, living out of a suitcase, a million "other" things to do. I got a really bad sinus infection that turned into a fever, complete with chills, sweating, mild hallucinations and swollen glands. After my third straight day in bed I pulled the antibiotics out of the first aid kit in my pack and started taking them. A week later I was back to normal. Still had lots of "other" things to worry about. It went away, and since I was unemployed and didn't have health insurance, I didn't go to a doctor.
Fast forward 4 weeks...
I had just relocated to Nashville, started a new job, and was still trying to unpack and furnish my apartment. Still lots of "other" things to do to transition back to the "real" world.
I got a really sore throat that seemed to last forever, and got more and more painful as the days went by. I eventually lost my voice. My glands swelled up again. I started back on what I had left of the antibiotics, and the illness turned into a chest cold with a bad cough and then went away after about 2 weeks.
Two weeks later I was back where I started. Each time I got sick it seemed to get worse. And each time more and more symptoms showed up. I got a urinary tract infection that went away for a week and then came back for a week, back and forth, no getting rid of it, despite massive doses of antibiotics. I slept 10 to 12 hours a day. After taking enough antibiotics to kill a small mammal steady and hard for 3 weeks, I was still sick and tired.
Within a couple of weeks, I began experiencing what people with Lyme call "brain fog," which is a collection of symptoms that involve difficulty concentrating, short term memory problems, focusing, etc. At the same time I also began having trouble focusing my vision. It became a real effort to keep my eyes focused on what I was reading. You know how you feel when you haven't had any sleep for a couple of days and you just can't get your eyes to focus anymore? I started feeling like that for a couple of days at a time, even though I'd been sleeping 12 hours a day.
I also started experiencing muscle twitching all over my body, and some muscular aches and joint pains. My legs would feel like Jello®.
Next came the hearing sensitivity. I work on the phone all day, and I started having to turn the volume on my phone way down because background noises and high pitched voices really started to grate on my nerves.
And I noticed trouble thinking clearly, and became frustrated easily. I used to enjoy reading very much, and spent most of my free time doing that (at least 2 hours every day). But I found myself constantly having to re-read things and eventually gave up on it. Short term memory became a problem, and I would "zone out" easily. I forgot things as soon as I was told them, and had to ask people to repeat things often.
I started having trouble with simple math problems. Like a math computation which requires two or three steps of simple arithmetic, such as adding a couple of numbers and them multiplying that by another number, and then dividing by something else. I'd get to the second or third step and forget what I was trying to figure out, or what the next step was, and I'd have to start over. Usually by the third try I would actually get it.
Want to know what its like to have a Lyme brain? Check out the Forum Discussions on Lymenet.org for personal accounts by members.
The Matthew Goss Lyme Disease Information content is no longer being updated by Matthew Goss. A new home on the web for this information is provided by Melissa Kaplan's Anapsid.org Herp Care and CND & Lyme Information. Please report any webpage errors to Melissa Kaplan.
Last Update: 10/22/2004