Deer TickThis past week my 11 year old son was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. The debacle began when Ben started complaining about his knee. His complaints were minimal though and more along the lines of growing pains. I gave him one advil a couple evenings in a row to ease the ache before bed. He had a Boy Scout camping trip that weekend and he went without issue. But when he came home on Sunday afternoon his left knee looked like a cantaloupe and he had a low grade fever. And he just looked exhausted, although that is not really an unusual look for him after a weekend of camping. What really caught my attention is that it was bothering him so much that he wasn’t straightening it all the way or bending it more then about 15 degrees. So he was walking on his toes.

We decided that we would take him to the chiropractor first thing in the morning on Monday. Since it was a knee thing we thought that was the best place to start. The chiropractor (Dr. Tony) didn’t see anything wrong with his knee structure and was concerned about the accompaniment of a fever so on to the pediatrician we went.

The pediatrician shared Dr. Tony’s opinion about Ben’s knee and asked if he had had any bug bites lately. We said no but we wouldn’t always see them unless they were more irritating than usual. He’s 11; he doesn’t talk to us about everything like he used to! In the meantime he does camp about once a month with scouts so there is no doubt that he has been bit by a bug or two! She ordered blood work and an x-ray just to be safe and sent us on our way.

So after only 2 days of waiting (thank God!) the doctor called and said that he had Lyme Disease and he would need a month of a powerful antibiotic called doxycycline and a visit to an orthopedist to make sure there’s no real damage to his knee. (There isn’t!)

Bruce and I were very relieved to hear that it was only Lyme that was causing Ben’s issues because the doctor tested for a couple other things that present in a similar way and they are much more difficult to deal with. One was Rheumatoid Arthritis. NO THANK YOU! I was devastated at the idea of Ben having to deal with something so debilitating so early in his life, if ever. God willing! She also tested for Lupus which runs in Bruce’s side of the family. That would have made for a very difficult road ahead as well.

As I started sharing the news with various family members and those close to us that were keeping tabs on the situation everyone seemed so shocked and almost upset at the news. I realized that no one really knows much about the disease and since it is so prevalent in New Jersey I thought I might fill you all in on some important points that I learned.

  • Lyme Disease is contracted by being bitten by a deer tick. (I’m sure ya’ll knew that!)
  • Often the bite can be distinguished because of a red ring around the outside of the bite however that is not always the case.
  • Symptoms range from fever and stiff neck to facial paralysis and joint inflammation.
  •  The symptoms tend to get worse the longer the disease goes untreated. (duhh!)
  • Most cases can be cured with a 2-4 week dose of an antibiotic meant to treat bacterial disease.

What we are noticing in Ben now that he has been on the meds for a whole week is that his knee is back to its normal size and is only giving him occasional pain and he is a little more tired than usual. My assumption is that the tiredness is due to the antibiotics making his body work double time to eliminate the disease! Which I am quite happy about! He is not enjoying it so much because it has landed him in bed a little earlier than his normal time till he gets his energy back.

I am grateful to have him back to mostly normal and back in school! His bad attitude was killing me! (And his cabin fever!)

Thank you to everyone who expressed their concern for Ben and thank you for all your prayers!