The treatment for Lyme disease often means taking two steps forward, one step back. Sometimes it even seems like taking one step forward, two steps back.
Herxing: Getting Better—and Worse—on Doxycycline
The same day my primary care provider prescribed the antibiotics, I started taking them. On the Doxycycline, my energy began to return. I enjoyed a zest in my step I hadn’t had for months. But, over the next few weeks, I also faced new Lyme symptoms. Meanwhile, old ones flared.
I felt weak, shaky, and lightheaded. A spot on the back of my head grew tender.
Pelvic pain emerged. Joint pain and muscle aches rose and receded. Nerve pain electrified one part of my body then another.
My right calf and foot hurt so much that I made another appointment with my primary care provider. He ordered an X-ray, but it showed nothing unusual.
Later, I discovered the Jarisch-Herxheimer flare—”herxing”—happens frequently when treating spirochetal infections like Lyme. Dr. Richard Horowitz describes it as a “temporary worsening of the symptoms of Lyme disease that occurs when the Lyme spirochete is being killed off by antibiotics.”
Amid all this, I became desperate to see a Lyme specialist. Through my cousin’s recommendation, I discovered Dr. Hope McIntyre of Lyme Hope, LLC.
Before becoming a Lyme specialist, Dr. McIntyre practiced family medicine for sixteen years. During that time, she encountered many patients with acute Lyme disease. Unfortunately, after they completed the standard Lyme treatment, many still became chronically ill.
Tackling the Treatment for Lyme Disease
When her daughter got Lyme, Dr. McIntyre knew she needed to learn more about the treatment for Lyme disease. She trained under Lyme specialists and has been specializing in tick-borne diseases since 2010.
Before Dr. McIntyre agreed to take me on as a patient, I had to write and submit a one-page health summary. Once accepted, her assistant asked me to have as many medical records as possible faxed to them. So began the most detailed, thorough, and comprehensive doctor’s visit I have ever had.
To prepare for our meeting, Dr. McIntyre read through a decade’s worth of my medical records. Finally, the day of my appointment arrived. Would this doctor finally diagnose me with Lyme disease?
A slender, middle-aged brunette ushered me into her office and began our two-hour meeting. We went over my previous labs and medical history, and then she completed a physical exam. That’s when she discovered a nodule on my thyroid.
Dr. McIntyre didn’t diagnose me with anything that visit, but she did say suspecting Lyme was “astute.” She then ordered a thyroid ultrasound plus sixteen blood tests from LabCorp. They included three for Lyme, five for coinfections, and eight for various other conditions.
Want to know what my ultrasound and blood tests revealed? Click here to continue reading my story!