WATCH LIVE

Living with Lyme 

WITH WARMER WEATHER AND LONGER DAYS MOST OF US ARE SPENDING MORE TIME OUTDOORS.

AND THAT MEANS MORE CHANCES TO RUN INTO A LITTLE PEST THAT CAN SERIOUSLY THREATEN YOUR HEALTH. THE DEER TICK, WHICH SPREADS LYME DISEASE.

TEN YEARS AGO THERE WERE FEWER THAN 100 REPORTED CASES OF LYME DISEASE IN MAINE. LAST YEAR THERE WERE 500 REPORTED CASES.

TONIGHT WE’LL TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT HOW IT’S IMPACTING LOCAL FOLKS AND THEY WAY THAT THEY LIVE.

ADRIENNE BENNETT JOINS US FROM OUR CENTRAL MAINE BUREAU WITH MORE ON THAT…ADRIENNE

TONIGHT WE’LL MEET TWO WOMEN WHO ARE LIVING WITH LYME DISEASE BUT AS THEY’LL TELL YOU GETTING DIAGNOSED WAS ONE OF THE TOUGHEST BATTLES.

&quot:I did get an atypical rash. I did see my Dr. who I worked with very closely in the hospitals but was unable to get a correct diagnosis for 5 years.&quot:

DURING THE SUMMER OF 1994 CONSTANCE DICKEY FOUND TWO TICKS ON HER SHOULDERS WHILE SPENDING TIME AT HER CAMP IN LAMOINE…AFTER THAT SHE BEGAN TO GET FLU-LIKE SYMPTOMS WHICH LASTED MONTHS COUPLED WITH OVERWHELMING FATIGUE.

&quot:it’s not like oh my gosh I’m so tired today I’m going to go home and take a nap or go to bed and feel better the next day. Very often you don’t get restful sleep.&quot:

DICKEY, WHO IS A REGISTERED NURSE KNEW THE SYMPTOMS ASSOCIATED WITH LYME DISEASE AND SHE DID SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION–MANY TIMES. FINALLY, AFTER FIVE YEARS WITH THE SYMPTOMS DOCTORS DETERMINED SHE WAS IN FACT CARRYING THE BACTERIA.

&quot:by that time the illness becomes chronic. I was severely ill and the treatment was much more complicated.&quot:

LYME IS KNOWN AS A MULTISYSTEMIC, MULTISYMPTOM DISEASE AS DICKEY FOUND OUT…WHAT WAS HARDER TO FIND THOUGH WAS GOOD INFORMATION.

&quot:one of the misconceptions that I’m hearing from a lot of people repeatedly that Dr’s are telling patients that we don’t have a problem here with lyme disease and that’s absolutely not true.

JULIE MINOR AGREES.

SHE SAYS IT TOOK HER MORE THAN 3 YEARS TO GET A CORRECT DIAGNOSIS…BUT UNLIKE DICKEY SHE NEVER FOUND A TICK ON HER.

&quot:I never got the target rash. I just had tons of symptoms that mimicked a lot of other problems.&quot:

MINOR HELPS HER HUSBAND RUN MOUNT VERNON’S DEW ANIMAL KINGDOM .

THE DISEASE EFFECTED HER MEMORY.

&quot:you want to stay strong and be strong because you always have been and then you can’t but you’re trying and you’re forgetting important things even paying the bills and forgetting to put a check in or writing a check out and sending the bill with leaving it in the checkbook things like that.&quot:

MINOR WENT THROUGH A MYRIAD OF MEDICATIONS BEFORE HER BODY WOULD ACCEPT ANY. NOW, SHE TAKES 2 DIFFERENT TYPES OF ANTIBIOTICS EVERY DAY.

&quot:you think lyme disease, ahhh you take antibiotics you get better it’s not that easy.&quot:

NEARLY A YEAR LATER SHE IS SEEING SIGNS OF IMPROVEMENT BUT THE ROAD TO RECOVERY IS STILL WINDING. SHE’S LEFT WONDERING IF SHE WILL EVER BE COMPLETELY CURED.

&quot:my mind is clearer. that’s the best thing but now that my mind’s clearer and I know it’s progressively getting better the physical part is a lot harder because you quickly fall apart. It’s a lot harder to build back up to where you begin with so that’s my struggle right now.

FOR DICKEY, WHO IS NOW OFF ALL ANTIBIOTICS HER HOPE IS TO HELP OTHERS AND IT’S WHY SHE’S ORGANIZED SEVERAL SUPPORT GROUPS THROUGHOUT THE STATE INCLUDING ONE IN WATERVILLE.

&quot:we’ve had probably as many as 60 in and out of this support group.&quot:

FOR THOSE WHO HAVE LOVED ONES WITH THE DISEASE MINOR CAN’T SAY HOW MUCH SUPPORT MEANS.

&quot:if somebody in your family has lyme just be……….patient with them.

ANYONE WHO KNOWS THEY’VE BEEN BITTEN BY A TICK AND DEVELOPS A RASH SHOULD CONTACT THEIR DOCTOR.

For more information on Lyme Disease log onto: http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/boh/ddc/_lyme/lyme_1.htm