Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Positive Lyme Test Finally! & Hormones Influence on Lyme Test Results

Part I

Ever since I first got very sick four years ago, the lyme question has haunted me.  Although my intuition told me I had it and that lyme was the silent, insidious bacteria inside of me that was keeping me from getting well, my continued negative test results made me doubt.  The negative test results also kept my doctors from treating me, except for one doctor in the beginning.  But that treatment didn't get me 100% well.  I have, at this point, probably seen more than 25 doctors.  Even my current doctor, who is amazing and treated me for babesia, never treated me for lyme.

But still, I just keep having a hunch that the current state I am in, though well, isn't good enough.  I am also one of the lucky ones who has amazing family and friends around me, "you know who you is," who keep encouraging me to listen to my intuition and to keep seeking answers.  So many don't have this support which makes them even sicker, because being denied one's own reality is maddening.

I read about Advanced Laboratory Services because another lyme patient tells me about it.  The best, most informative information has come to me mostly through other patients.  I had asked my doctor months ago to get these lab test kits and he did it right away, even though he hadn't used them with anyone else.  I am so appreciative that he is so open minded.  I don't remember why we didn't test me then, but I think we got side tracked because I asked to be given something for bartonella, thinking that I was possibly dealing with that.  Also, because I am relatively functional about two weeks out of every month now, it's easy to get distracted and forget how much pain I'm in during a flare.  Advanced Laboratory Services test also requires that one be symptomatic for the blood draw and so each time I didn't get tested during a flare, I had to wait for another one!

(A sidebar regarding lyme tests:  lyme tests are UNRELIABLE.  The two tiered standard approach with the ELISA and Western Blot are known to often return FALSE NEGATIVES.  These are the two tests I was tested with many times in the beginning.  What these tests are looking for is whether or not the patient has created antibodies to the lyme bacteria.  However, depending on the timing of the test, the patient's overall immune system and other factors, oftentimes the result will be negative.  My weakened immune system, hormonal fluctuations, adrenal fatigue and timing of the tests I did previously all contributed to negative test results.  Even Igenex, the gold standard for lyme tests which also tests for the antibodies the patient has made in response to the bacteria (not the bacteria itself), returned a negative test for me.  Advanced Laboratory Services tests for the bacteria itself.  And, I had blood taken while I was symptomatic.)

The last flare I have is incredibly painful and debilitating.  I am on the couch for days and it hurts to just breathe.  I can't eat for three days either because I am so nauseated.  This is really hard on the body too because any weight I've gained during my "healthy" days I immediately lose and thus lose strength.  I will myself to get to the doctor so he can do a blood draw while I am so sick.  And hallelujah, the test comes back POSITIVE.  I have read that a woman's menstrual cycle (hello, I have been saying this ALL ALONG) influences not only her flares but the probability of a positive or negative lyme test.  There is a great article about Dr. Marylynn Barkley, out of UC Davis who did research on hormones and how they influence the lyme testing that you can read here - Marylynn Barkley, Lyme Fluctuations, Tests, and Hormones.   If you are a woman who is experiencing painful lyme symptoms that are flaring around your period, or you feel crazy and your doctor isn't listening to you, read this.  And no, you aren't crazy.  You are sick and need to be treated.  LISTEN TO YOUR INTUITION.  I have been kicked into "early menopause" but now, because of this positive test, I can't help but wonder if I get treated and actually get better if my hormones won't regulate themselves.  And I am sending a copy of my positive lyme test to all of the doctors who told me I was wrong.

Part II - the protocol to eradicate these nasty bugs from my body...coming soon! 

No comments:

Post a Comment