Gosh, I am blown away with all the love and support I've gotten for starting this blog! You are all angels, thank you so much!
I've received a lot of inquires about what sort of things my doctors have checked for and where in the world I caught this from. Well, I will tell you...I don't know. (Ten points to anyone who gets that reference!). According to my doctor, it's impossible to know for sure how and when I caught the disease. I have my theories though, and that is what I will be sharing with you today.
A lot of the questions I received inquired about whether I caught some sort of nasty bug while in Mexico during our honeymoon. The cruise that we ventured on was a four night cruise and we ported in Mexico for only one day. In an effort not to catch anything weird, Sam and I boycotted all food and drink while in Mexico - we simply ate a large breakfast on the ship before heading out and packed some snacks to bring along with us while we were out. So I couldn't have gotten sick from something that I ate. Early last summer while we were right at the beginning of all this, we talked with my primary care doctor about whether I could have been infected with some sort of parasite (how yucky that would be!). After analyzing my symptoms and the region of the world we vacationed, my doctor said there was only one possible parasite I could have gotten that would be making me react the way I am. So we got that tested and it came back negative, ruling out parasites as the cause.
Now to the subject of Lyme disease. Lyme disease is caused by a nasty spiral-shaped bacteria called Borrelia that is most commonly transferred to humans by being bitten by an infected tick. Although it is possible that I was bit by a tick while in Mexico, it's not very likely. Ticks are most often found in more indigenous habitats with cool, moist environments and forests filled with lots of greenery surrounded by fresh bodies of water - very much different from the dry beach we visited.
There are a whole list of sneaky things the Borrelia bacteria does (a list, I'm sure I will go over in a later post), one thing is that the disease can remain dormant in the hosts bloodstream for years before it becomes active. There are dozens of places where I could have been bitten by a tick - any of the times I've been camping or swimming at a lake could have been the incident where I contracted the disease. The bacteria could have been lingering in my bloodstream for the past decade, for all I know. However, the bacteria usually activates at a point where my immune system is really low. It's like it's been waiting for the opportune moment when my body is most vulnerable to attack. My theory is that I contracted the Epstein-Barr virus (which is the virus which causes Mono) while on our cruise. With this virus in addition to all the physical and emotional stress I was under for undergoing my wedding, I think that was just enough to tip my immune system overboard, granting Lyme the perfect opportunity to come forth .
Another question I have been asked about is whether or not I have Celiac disease, a condition caused by a severe reaction to gluten. As of right now, I'm not sure whether I have celiac disease or if I am simply gluten intolerant. The test I took in order to find out this information wasn't testing for celiac specifically, but simply to see if my body showed any reactions to certain dietary aspects. I was tested to see if showed an intolerance for gluten, soy, egg, and dairy. For a healthy individual, all these dietary items will have a test score <10. My test score for gluten sensitivity was a 22, which is significantly higher than the normal range. I was advised to start a strict gluten-free diet immediately. In order to know wherther or not I have celiac disease, I would need to be on a gluten diet for a few weeks before they could conduct the test. With my lyme disease and my immune system so low, it's not wise for me to experiment with that right now. Now, there is a chance that once I'm cured of Lyme, my gluten intolerance will diminish as well. I'm really hoping this is the case - I really miss gluten foods! But once I'm healthy again, I want to get tested for celiac disease to know for sure.
I hope that answers some of your questions! Please don't hesitate to ask me if there's anything else you're curious about.