Saturday, May 28, 2016

Lyme Disease and Identifying the Rash.

Remember that fabulous hike we took to the Cascades a few weeks ago? It seems that i brought home more than just memories.  The day after our hike i found a tiny tick attached to the back of my knee and removed it. The next day i found another along my waistband. It was attached just above my hip, then i found one more on my tailbone and while in the shower i removed another.  In just three days time i removed 4 tiny deer ticks that were all attached.  

 So earlier this week when i developed a bright red quarter sized spot around one of the bites i was really concerned that it was the tell-tale Lyme bullseye that you always hear about.  i had my husband take a look, but he assured me it wasn't a bullseye. It just look like a allergic reaction to the bite. It was red and swollen, almost like a hive.  i asked him to draw a circle around the edge of the rash so i could see if it's was expanding.

Later that day i noticed the lymph nodes in my groin area were swollen and tender. i checked the rash and it had doubled in size. i had my husband look again, but he assured me that it looked nothing like a bullseye, it was large, but still just looked like an allergic reaction. So i put hydrocortisone cream on it, and took a Ibuprofen for the pain and swelling.  The next day the spot was 3" in diameter, It was still just red, but also still expanding.  i had tossed and turned all night unable to sleep because of the pain in my lymph nodes and lower back, and made an appointment with the doctor. 

i still did not a have a bullseye rash, so i thought i was just having a bad reaction to the tick bite. The doctor took one look at my rash and said "you have Lyme Disease".  She said there was no reason to test, the test are expensive and unreliable. False positives are very common and the rash was all she needed to diagnose me.   She prescribed a round of Doxycycline and apologized for the cost. The price of Doxycycline has sky rocketed over the past few years because it's the main antibiotic to treat Lyme which is on the rise and becoming epidemic in many areas where it wasn't problem before.  $100+ prescription for a tick bite.  Ouch.

So why didn't i get the classic Lyme Bullseye that everyone is told to watch for?  My rash had now expanded to around 5" in diameter, and had a weird blue tinge to it. Honestly, it looked more like a bruise than a rash. So i did a little googling and looked up blue lyme rash and found out Erthema Migrans (lyme rash) can actually present many different ways, including the Blue-red lesion which is what i have.

i was able to catch Lyme early, so with the antibiotics i have a really good chance of wiping it out completely.  Had i not found the tick (which was the size of a poppyseed) i probably would have dismissed it as a spider bite, although i would have still ended up at the doctor eventually because the rash kept growing and turning weird colors. i apologize for the graphic photo below, but wanted to share it because it doesn't look like a classic bullseye and people need to be aware that Lyme rashes present in many different forms.

It's really hard to capture rashes in a photo, but you get the idea. It actually looks much bluer like a bruise. This was taken 3 days after i started the antibiotics. The rash is now between 5"- 6" in diameter, and its just starting to show a little bit of central clearing.

i was able to catch Lyme before getting the flu symptoms, so i don't know if i'll still get them now that i'm on the antibiotic or not. Typically the flu symptoms don't appear for a few weeks after the initial tick bite.  The first night i started the antibiotic i  fevered and had chills, then woke up drenched in sweat around 4am. This is considered a  Herxheimer Reaction from the antibiotics. Apparently when antibiotics begin to attack the lymes bacterial it releases toxins during the die off, which cause all kids of additional symptoms, but thankfully don't last very long.

So yeah, getting Lyme disease is not how i was expecting to start my summer vacation. i'm on antibiotics for a month, and they make me sensitive to sunlight. So i'm not sure how that's going to work out with all the hiking and gardening i have planned. i still don't have my garden completely in, and i'm not about to let a little Lyme disease keep me from getting things planted. ;)  


  1. Many people I know with lyme had no rash at all. My brother-in-law had what looked like hives all over his body. I wish it were easy to catch (like lyme always = bull's eye rash) b/c like near you, it's becoming an epidemic up here, too. :( I'm so glad that you caught it early!!

  2. I am heart broke to hear/read that you contracted Lyme disease. I am likewise VERY HAPPY that you found it early and it is being treated! I have skin tags and many small brown spots in a lot of places that tics like so I'm always looking...I don't think I would have ever found such a tiny bug! Thanks for sharing your findings with us!