Thursday, July 9, 2009

Fear and Loathing in Lyme

If you believe the big screen hype, Connecticut's biggest exports are hauntings and tick-borne terror. In addition to the cult classics, profiled by BlogStamford, and the locally staged Away We Go, profiled by Streets of Stamford, The Avon features a summer documentary series that kicks off on July 15 at 7:30pm with Under Our Skin, a frightening profile of Lyme Disease.

The local fear factor is that this horrible disease is named after the town where it was discovered, about 75 miles away from Stamford. Doctors recognized it in the 1970s, and thirty plus years is plenty of time for a tick to thumb a ride down 95. Stephen Holden of the New York Times describes the movie as "scary enough to make the faint of heart decide never to venture into the woods or to lie on the grass again without protective covering." The film's website describes it as "bring[ing] into focus a haunting picture of the health care system and a medical establishment all too willing to put profits ahead of patients."

Whether it's more dread or more med, it seems worthy of the ticket price. The director/cinematographer and a medical specialist will answer questions afterward if you make it to the end without feeling an imaginary parasite crawling up your leg.

(photo from monkey.grip, flickr.com)

6 comments:

JR said...

My dad has Lyme Disease, and it developed back before the recent leaps in treatment. He had to do a fun year of antibiotic injections. It's a bad, bad thing to get.

StamfordNotes said...

So sorry to hear it, JR. Hope the movie brings attention (and $) to combat the disease and help those who need treatment.

Melina said...

I have it, my sister has it, my son has it...my grandfather got it so badly that his arms were paralyzed. His Dr in NYC had never done a test on him (the test is wrong much of the time anyway...the rash doesn't always show up) a Rheumatologist finally did a test and he was so positive....
Many Drs around here have been very invested in not getting involved with treaing something with long term therapy that requires much time and consideration. You dont just prescribe it and send the patient home.
My Dr was a scientist at first and he has looked at the spirochete for years. It runs in a cycle and is only detectable at certain points in its cycle. Its also only susceptible to the different therapies at certain points in the cycle, so its imperative to do a long term therapy of dual therapies, changing from time to time.
The worst thing is trying to deal with Dr's who deny the existence of lyme if there is not a positive western blot, which is known to be wrong 50% of the time, and/or a bulls eye rash, which can appear not as a bullseye but a flame or in the scalp or not at all! These Dr's want papers in journals, but no one wants to study this.
The insurance industry is against these therapies....and Ive been on IV antibiotics, injectable penicillin, and oral medications.
The worst thing is that many Dr's don't know about the co-infections that Ticks carry. So, for instance, I had babesiosis, which is like malaria, but its curable.
The symptoms are exactly what ruined my career a long time ago (not such a bad thing because I went in a different direction...but it was scary!)
the Lyme cant be completely eradicated unless its caught very early, so you strive it make it go into remission, and it stays that way until something like stress or trauma bring it out.
The thing is not to stay out of the woods or run afraid from ticks.
be aware, wear DEET, check yourself, and if you can afford it use CT Tick to prevent the ticks from getting lyme int he first place....have your property sprayed...do whatever they say to do. And get some chickens;-)

I have a backyard flock of chickens and 2 ducks and I havent seen a bug this spring!...ys, some flies and mosquitos, but not ticks...and I have 5 dogs!

Im OK for the most part, but joint problems plague me and I go through times of sickness.

I have gotten ticks in the parking lot of the supermarket downtown...this disease has spread across the country on birds and other animals....so there is no place you cant get it. And feeling like you cant get ticks on the beach, or downtown is just wrong...they are, apparently all over beach grass. They are on birds flying overhead and they travel on your clothing and anything that they can grab.
They stand at the top of grass or weeds and wave their arms until a host comes by and they grasp on.

See the movie...be careful...and be glad that we have finally reached a point, at least here in CT where laws are being passed to allow the Dr's to treat their patients without being brogh up on charges.
This is a very real thing, and some of the attitudes that many of those stricken have come across should be considered criminal!

JR I hope your dad is OK. If you email me I can give you the number of my Dr. he was the president of IllADS until recently and he is one of only 4 Dr's from the entire nation being asked to go to Washington to testify in front of a task force or subcommittee. He is really damned smart!
I foudn that the IV made me much sicker...there is a new amoxicillin out that I have been having some success with. fingers crossed...I'm living a normal life.
It just cant be good to take so much of this stuff...but if you know the alternative, there is no question what you would choose.

Melina

Whitemist said...

Babesia can be more damaging than Lyme! Some Nutritionist work can be in order.
I sway in the middle road, the spirochete is not a new organism, syphilis is one! The doctors are supposed to go on symptoms, but yes many doctors are very reluctant not to have a blood test (which is not good at all at the beginning when the disease is most treatable).
Also check the work done by the New England Journal of medicine which shows that a common disease (cat scratch fever) may mimic chronic Lyme symptoms and is treated differently!

patty said...

Oh yeah. We did the Lyme thing last summer. Long before I had Joey K to rely on.

http://blog.wingdangdoo.com/2008/07/erythema-migrans/

Stamford, the workin' city? said...

Anyone remember the horror flick, Ticks? Ugh!