April Lawyer Maxxis Truck Tire

My Lyme Disease Story - Part 2

Just over a week after shooting the US Open of MTB in New Jersey I traveled to Bend, OR to do a shoot with my friend April Lawyer for Maxxis Tires. Maxxis was doing a series of ads with their Mountain Bike athletes to promote their truck tires, and April and I had been discussing what we would shoot for a while. She owns an upscale clothing boutique in Bend called Vanilla Urban Threads and we wanted to include that in the photo. We shot these photos on June 4th and 5th, and by the end of the day on the 5th (my birthday) I was starting to feel really sick. Flu like symptoms but worse, body aches, serious sinus headache, fever, and really tired. But while my sinus' felt like they were blowing up my nasal passages were completely clear. No congestion, no runny nose, it didn't make sense to me.

April Lawyer Maxxis Truck Tire
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Finishing up the shoot I headed home to Vancouver wondering what was going on. I saw my Dr and he listened to my symptoms and checked my nose and sinuses and told me that they were both completely clear and that it was probably a dental issue. I quickly scheduled an appt with my dentist who X-Rayed my jaw and told me I had no dental issues and confirmed on the X-Rays that what could be seen of my sinuses were clear. This was incredibly confusing for me as I was in incredible pain with the worst body aches and sinus headache I'd ever had, and I had a fever of 104. Thinking back to the tiny ticks I had found on my clothing in NJ I started researching symptoms of Lyme Disease and a little light went off in my head. Everything I was experiencing was a symptom of Lyme Disease.

I returned to my Dr. with what I thought was a pretty solid diagnosis of what was going on. I'd been in the heart of Lyme Disease country a couple of weeks previously, I'd found ticks on my skin and clothing, and now I was experiencing symptoms of Lyme Disease. It made perfect sense to me. Unfortunately my Dr. at that time was a family Doctor that was getting on in years, and to him anything he hadn't seen before didn't exist. So his answer to my "I think I might have Lyme Disease" was "You're not a doctor therefore you shouldn't try to diagnose yourself, Lyme Disease doesn't really exist. You probably have some sort of infection." A few days later I had a large red rash from my left armpit extending across my chest and I returned to see him again. This time he said "You have a bacterial infection, that's what the rash is from." and he prescribed me some antibiotics to take care of it. When I suggested that the bacteria in question might possibly be Lyme he again stated that Lyme didn't really exist. The reason I'm telling you this is because this kind of thing is still happening, and with Lyme Disease early treatment is critical. Killing all of the bacteria before they have a chance to multiply and start wreaking total havoc on your body is key to a successful treatment.

The antibiotics he prescribed ended up making me feel better for a few weeks, but they didn't cross the blood brain barrier to kill all the bacteria, and several weeks later my symptoms were back. It took me another week after that before I found a Dr that would actually listen to my story and consider it. He didn't know anything about Lyme but he was willing to look it up, and after finding a highly elevated white blood cell count in my spinal fluid he immediately started me on several weeks of daily IV antibiotics and sent a blood sample in to be tested. It took a few weeks but the blood test eventually came back positive, confirming what I had believed all along.