Sunday, 10 February 2013

Those Nasty Ticks

I love all creatures, big and small but I think I will take exception to this particular one.
Way back in July I woke up one morning and my knees didn't work. I just couldn't figure it out and I also couldn't figure out why I was so tired all the time, really really tired. I convinced myself that it was the heat, bad mood, creative energy not flowing but had no way to really know what was wrong with me. 
About the same time we were infested with ticks. Not the usual dog ticks, these were tiny dark ticks, so small, head of a pin size. They were climbing the walls, in the bed, all over the floor and all over the dogs. 
We did the usual things, spray to get rid of them, get them off the dogs but they kept coming and I was so tired and it was so hard to walk, my knees, wow they were painful. 
With very little energy not much was getting done. 
Then I noticed tick bites. They were small, I would never have known they were tick bites except I caught one biting me and then I noticed more of the same marks. They were everywhere, dark spots.
I got bit a lot. Still did not put it all together. Even went to the doctor complaining about the knees and he gave me a shot of voltarin and sent me on my way. 
The months went by, knees getting worse and exhausted all the time. 
End of September I decided I would go to Orlando for a week, maybe what I needed was a small holiday to get over the summer blues. I rallied for the week, had a great time, knees sore but I managed and I rested a lot in an airconditioned room. 
It was all great but did not solve the problem. 
Chris said come to Nevis, he was working at Four Seasons so I changed my ticket and spent another week in a nice airconditioned room. I got worse. 
Finally for some reason I started looking at tick diseases. I can't even remember why, maybe somebody said it sounded like Lymes disease. 
I began my internet search and sure enough, I found a lot of information about ticks and the problems they can cause to humans and dogs. Also I was starting to get desperate. I wanted to go back to normal life and it was not happening. How long can something like this go on...a long time so it seems.
Next step visit the doctor. No one on Anguilla knows anything about tick bites or problems with tick bites. But the fact was I was bitten by at least 5 ticks and I was feeling just awful.
The doctor took blood tests to see what he could rule out. He also x-rayed my knees. Results said I had an infection, it was enough for him to put me on antibiotics. 
Doxcycline is the remedy of choice for this sort of thing and since we really didn't know what it was it was the best choice. 
After a month of pills I was worse. Seems you get worse before you get better. So I got more pills, two months worth. I can't go outside, sunshine has a bad effect on this drug and I am too tired to exercise but on a bright note, I am losing weight. Not hungry, food tastes bad or no taste at all so the weight is coming off. 
Everyday I am on the computer looking for ways I can make myself better. There are lots of forums out there about the problem and lots of opinions but the best advice I got came from a therapist who told me to give myself a break, stop trying to get better, just let your body have a chance to fight this. 
These little bugs or bacteria hide out in your cells. Regular antibiotics can't kill them, your body has to kill them and the only way they can find them is to let the antibiotic expose them. Expose away I say.
So I rest a lot. Whenever I feel a bit tired I just lay down and watch stupid TV to occupy my brain so I don't fret. 
One day I woke up and had absolutely no pain in my knees and I felt pretty good. Wow, it's gone? Not so fast, it was a great day but it did not last. Seems that is the way it goes. 
It is a long and drawn out process and very boring but I started to notice improvement. Little by little. More energy, better mood, all good. Oh forgot to mention the prozac. Don't think I could have done it without help. I was so anxious all the time, I was just making it worse. Doctor recommended prozac to take the edge off. It really helped me be calm about the day in day out waiting for change. 
Finally three months of pills is over. I tentatively go off the meds. Now I can get in the sun again, and eat dairy and other stuff. It took a few days but I started to feel good. The better I felt, the better I felt. I bought an exercise machine and started using  it to build up my leg muscles. So weak it is scary. 
But a little at a time I am coming back. 
I learned some things. 
I now exfoliate with a natural brush. Just a scrub before a shower. People in the know say to do it to remove dead skin and whatever the bad stuff is that is being killed off. It does a lot more than that, now my skin feels and looks better. 
Also my teeth turned black, how attractive. Went to my dentist and the dental assistants gave me a good cleaning, back to sparkling white or near enough.
A final shower rinse with white vinegar is great for remove soap residue and improving hair condition. Just put a half cup in a gallon of water and dump it over your head, don't rinse it off. Nice.
I am learning to eat better and eat less. I am exercising slow and easy. 
All though it was a terrible malady, not one I would wish on anyone, I did learn some things in this long and painful process. 
I think the most important thing I learned was if you feel like something is wrong, don't wait for three months before getting it checked out. Go find out and don't leave stuff out like "oh by the way, I was bit by ticks." Could be important. 
So, I am hoping for the best, working to make myself healthy and having a good attitude. I am feeling so good right now that I could jump for joy, I still have pain in my knees, but my body is not tired anymore and neither is my brain.
I say...back to work!


  1. Jo, thanks for sharing, you poor thing, I had no idea you have been ill. How terrible for you. Glad you are on the mend, baby steps dear!

  2. Thanks Ellen, it was awful but it's getting better.