In Nelson County, Virginia, declaring “I have had Lyme disease” is unlikely to raise a surprised eyebrow. It is relatively common here. I have personally had it once and my wife was diagnosed with Lyme Disease twice. We probably picked up “vector” deer ticks while walking our dog, Amelie, on our attached property — an open field we mow bimonthly.
The immediate environment is well suited for transmission of the disease. Behind the house are a few pines, some tulip poplars plus other assorted trees. There are deer in the woods that wander onto the field. There is also an abundance of rodents.
My First Bout
I have not kept medical records, but I had surgery in 2009, and I recall I had my first bout with Lyme shortly before that. I estimate 2008. It began with an itch on the back of my left calf. If it itches, I scratch. As a result, I never saw the little tick that had chosen to attach itself to me. The bite kept itching, and a red rash developed. The rash wasn’t too bad, and I assumed a bug — perhaps even a spider — had bitten me.
The red rash grew to considerable size — perhaps three inches across. It was solid red, roughly round, and the darkening surface grew hard. I remembered a co-worker that once had a spot on his face become infected. He neglected it for some time with serious consequences. I decided it was time for a doctor visit. The rash had no particular pattern to it, so I was surprised to hear it was Lyme Disease. The rim of the rash was not noticeably thicker to me. I was treated with doxycycline quite successfully — without consequence.
My Wife’s First Bout
My wife, Sheila, probably about 2010, removed the tiny tick from her waist. It itched; she scratched. Where we live, a bug bite is a frequent occurrence, so it was some time before she noticed the target rash. We visited the doctor. He prescribed amoxycillin. The rash went away. We were relieved she was well, as complications to Lyme disease can be quite serious.
My Wife’s Second Bout
It was spring 2013 that my wife experienced a second bout. Again, she recalls the location at her waist. This time she was given doxycycline, but she experienced a reaction to it. Amoxycillin replaced it. The rash cleared up, with no obvious consequences. Sheila thinks some of her arthritis may be due to Lyme disease, but there is no easy way to prove that.
- Penn State Entomology: Lyme Disease
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Lyme Disease