Should I be worried?

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I haven't been diagnosed with Lyme disease, but I did find this rash on my leg on the 10th August. I've already put it up on here but I am writing this to mention possible Lyme symptoms. I went to The New Forest on the 26th and 27th July. I didn't know about ticks in the area at the time, even though now I know it's one of the places where they are most likely to be. I definetly didn't know about Lyme disease. It was hot so I walked around in shorts both days, for hours. On the Sunday I actually saw some deer in a woodland area and there weren't many paths, just trees and high bushes/grass. This in itself tells me I most likely got bit by a tick as these things must have put me at high risk and I did have bites on my legs but thought nothing of it. So 2 weeks later I found this rash on the bottom of my leg, but at first it felt swollen and it wasn't read, it then got bigger and felt more swollen and hard. Within hours it went red and became more noticable. Then in the next few days the swelling went down so it did get smaller but then it formed this pattern. It was always changing, so it went from all red, to a red circle in the middle and a red ring around it. Then faded within a week. Clearly it was from a bite as there was the bite right in the middle of it. It wasn't from that day as I hadn't gone outside and I have never gotten any reaction from any kind of bite before. Even before it had formed this pattern, I looked up what the rash could have been and the results did come up with Lyme disease but I thought it couldn't be that as it didn't look like it. Then when it formed the pattern I thought it could look like it only the ring wasn't far from the centre, so it wasn't the classic rash but what else could it be? I looked Lyme disease up and found out that even after you get bit the rash might not appear until 30 days later, if ever. Also that it was from a tick bite and ticks are in New Forest. It was too much of a coincidence for me so I did get it checked out by a nurse, she said it didn't look anything like it and the tick wasn't still there and it was probably just a horsefly bite. Well to me it looks like it, just not the typical one, it's the same apart from the fact the centre and the outter ring isn't that far apart. Also I doubt the tick would have stayed there for 2 weeks. So then I went to see my doctor, but by the time I did the rash had almost faded. I showed him this picture and he said it didn't look like the classic rash but it was still possible. I managed to convince him to give me a blood test. Even at the time I had already looked up enough about Lyme disease to know the test was likely to come back negative, which it did. Before my test results even came back I was feeling more tired than usual, had a foot cramp and 2 leg cramps, soreness under my ribs, sometimes felt off balance when walking or standing, severe abdominal cramps followed by diarrhea, started feeling really weak, at some points couldn't concentrate or think clearly, sometimes forgot things even less than a minute after they had happened, misused some words in conversation, and felt really irritable and stressed. At the time I put it down to me just being worried about the results. Since the results things seemed to get even worse, I've had aching muscles and joints (Neck, Shoulders, back, arms, hands, fingers and legs), tinnitus, muscle spasms in my leg and hand, feeling lightheaded but body felt heavy, shooting pains in my chest, headaches, and a weird feeling of pressure in my head. I did go swimming twice before I got my blood test results but I doubt I did enough to make myself feel weak and achey. I also work outside which sometimes requires heavy lifting but I can usually do it just fine without feeling achey afterwards. I did take a day off work at a time I felt really achey and I stopped going swimming after 2 times just because I felt too weak to do it anymore. The symptoms are on and off, at the moment I feel fine but I know they haven't completely gone away, some days its worse than others. I really don't know whether to put all these things down to coincidence, stress and general everyday aches and pains from work and walking etc. If I hadn't got the rash I really would have. I can still move, the symptoms are only mild, it's things that everyone gets at some point in their lives anyway. Then again, even if I did have Lyme disease I might not get the symptoms for months or years. I did email Lyme disease action who also said it didn't look like the typical rash but because of my symptoms I should go and talk to my doctor again. They also gave me a leaflet to give to my doctor (like a lot of gps he didn't seem to know much about Lyme disease, he didn't know the rash could appear weeks after the bite, so he said I must have gotten bitten when I saw the rash and that it was impossible to get Lyme disease in my area.) I made an appointment with him last week and couldn't see him until this Thursday. I keep thinking he's just going to say the test was negative and that I don't have it, I just want to get it over with because even if I don't have it, I don't want to take the risk. I know they say it's rare to develop neurological damage and for it to actually be life threatening but that doesn't make it impossible. Also I obviously don't want a life of pain and arthritis, even if that's as worse as it gets. I'm 21 so it has plenty of time to develop if I don't get it treated and I end up finding out I do have it. Is it likely I can persuade my doctor to prescribe me Doxycyline as a preventive measure? If not I was wondering if I can buy it from a pharmacy as treatment to prevent Malaria, isn't it the exact same thing? I don't really want to wait to get tested again just for it to come back negative again. I've heard that the antibiotics become less effective the more time you wait to use them, Is that true? If I did get bitten by a tick I'm pretty sure It would have been on the 27th July, so that means i'd have had it 2 months already? So I really want to get the antibiotics as soon as possible for it to be as effective as it can be, whether I have Lyme disease or not. I haven't stopped thinking and worrying about it and I want to put my mind at rest.  I don't want to wait any longer, everything just seems like wasted time because the test isn't accurate and not many people are aware of it. I really don't know what to do if my doctor still doesn't understand what I'm on about and won't give me antibiotics, apart from to buy them. (That's if it's the same tablets as the Malaria ones.) I still really don't know what else the rash could be apart from Lyme, even though people have said it doesn't look like it, i've found examples of the rash that look similar enough. Can anyone help?

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10 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Jodie, 

    For your picture, I'd say there's no doubt about it being Lyme. Mine was just like it, and then it started spreading outwards. I also got treated on antibiotics 2 months in. I panicked, thinking ive had it for ages! But it is fine? 2 months is a while but some people have carried it for years. Doctors will give you two weeks worth, but you may want to add another 2-3 weeks to that yourself.  You can get the tablets Doxicicline from lloydspharmacy, yes it's the same tablets.  They come in 100 mg form, and the gp would recommend at least 2 of those a day. I took 3 a day. Tall or heavy people can take up to 4 a day, but it's 4.4 mg per kilograms, so often women can't take as many. 

    You might react to the antibiotics and feel a whole lots worse. Just ride it out and drink plenty of water, no coffee..and do whatever you can to detox your system. For me the effects lasted 6 weeks before I started to feel pretty normal again. Lyme and the effects brought up to the surface by antibiotics can linger a little, but gradually you will feel better. Best of luck to you! Xx

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  • Posted

    I know how hard that wait to see the doctor can be but I think you should take comfort in what the LDA said about the rash and at least you now have the information they have given you to take to your doctor. I don't know what other people's experiences are, but, I hope it helps if i tell you that my daughter was a LOT more ill after two months than you describe.  I'm not suggesting you do or don't have lyme, but perhaps feel reassured that your symptoms aren't necessarily lyme. I know it's hard but try not to let the worry overtake you as it can do no good and only makes you feel worse! Best of luck with your appointment.  
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    • Posted

      I know i'd rather not have it but at the same time I don't want to take the risk. Thanks for the response!
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  • Posted

    Talk to your doctor and explain your fears. Show him literature about lyme and how the test is only 30% accurate especially in the beginning. Ask him for a precautionary course of antibiotics. I am waiting for my test results for lyme and co infections. I don't remember a bite but it would have been years ago. My husband remembers me having a bite similar to lyme bullseye. We used to rescue lots of stray cats and dogs ( most tick ridden). I live in the Middle East and don't think we have much lyme but I know babesia is bad here. My symptoms have been going for years since a corticosteroid shot for allergies. I have hyperthyroidism since then and nobody can work out why. There is a clinic in Hemel Hampstead and a lab in Germany and one in America for further testing that's reliable if you are worried. Don't rely on doctors you have to do this yourself as they don't tend to listen.  Didn't to me anyway.

    Good luck. 

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  • Posted

    So I went to my doctor today and said that I was worried I still might have lyme disease because the test can come back negative in early stages. He said that he doesn't think I have Lyme disease or ever did and that I'm probably just obsessed with it because i'd be really ill by now. Is this neccessarily true? Don't some people go months/years before finding out there is something wrong?  I gave him the leaflet that LDA gave me and showed him the picture again. Then he said well it might be it... he could see that I was upset/worried about it and ended up prescribing 2 weeks of doxycyline anyway. He told me I might be in the 'small minority' of people that it came back negative for. He asked me if he could keep the information I gave him so he probably realised he didn't know as much as he thought. I'm not sure if he believes that there is a chance I could have it or if he just said it anyway. 
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  • Posted

    well done to you! 

    I saw a doc at the hospital of infectious diseases in london, and he stated that NO other bites gives a bullsye rash, no insects or other conditions, so i would say judging by your rash, there is not much doubt about it. Also not correct about what your gp said about Lyme as how it causes severe illness. Yes, in some cases it can develop to a chronic condition, but it can also be worked out of your body by your immune system, which is what happened to a friend of mine.

    All the best to you, be careful if you drive - the doxicycline really messed with my eyesight, made me clumsy and confused, but i won't last long. a few days at the most, or up to about 2 weeks xx

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    • Posted

      I know that's what I was thinking, I asked him what else could it be if it wasn't Lyme and he just didn't know and it seemed the more I explained myself the more he did think the rash could be from that.
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    • Posted

      That's really great that you've got him to take it seriously - a huge step. Good luck with the meds. Don't worry if you don't feel better straight away but I hope you start to pick up soon! Two months isn't that long to have had it so hopefully it won't take too long to get rid of it.  All the best.
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