I'm 20 years old and I live in South-Eastern Pa. Over the summer I went to Valley Forge Park with my boyfriend. We were walking around in the tall yellow grasses there to take photos. In retrospect, I realize that this probably wasn't a good idea. About a week to two later, I got this bizarre middle-of-the-summer cold. I had severe nasal congestion and my throat was so sore I couldn't eat. I thought nothing of it- in fact, my roommate also had a slight cold at the same time. But then I also had this red bump on the top of my left foot. It itched like nothing else, and I thought it was a spider bite or some kind of poison ivy. I started to get really worried when the bump began to get larger. I bought several different poison ivy/sumac treatments, bug bite creams, etc. Some things took the itch away temporarily, but did nothing to stop the bump from growing. I also tried to keep it clean, but taking hot showers made itch more intense and very painful. About 2-3 weeks after I initially noticed the bump, it started to change shape and texture. It was almost like there were three layers...a smaller red dot in the middle of a yellowish, scabby circle that had a ring of tiny raised blisters. Many people told me to get tested for lyme disease. I put off going to the doctor until I broke out in a rash all over my body- small red clusters that were not raised at all and did not itch like the mass on my foot. They were just there, and seemed to be under the skin. I finally walked to the Jefferson Hospital emergency room in Philadelphia. I had a rough time getting there because my foot itched so bad that it was hard for me to walk. I had about three doctors/nurses look at foot only to confirm what I had already thought- lyme disease. Then a fourth doctor told me that it couldn't be lyme because bulls-eye rashes don't normally itch. He prescribed me hydrocortisone cream (a tube that cost me over $10 when I could have went to CVS to get it for $2) and told me to go home. A few weeks later, the rash on my foot literally just disappeared within a few days. The rash on my body went away over night. I was so confused, but extremely relieved that this was over, though I do have a light scar on my foot from the rash. Now, more than six months later, I'm starting to wonder if that last doctor only told me the rash was nothing for insurance reasons. And I'm not sure if this is of any significance, but I only had a month of insurance coverage left when I went to the emergency room. It doesn't make sense that three medical professionals would immediately tell me that the rash was due to lyme disease only for some doctor to come in and prescribe me hydrocortisone cream. In the passed few months I've suffered from an ever-present fatigue, constant headaches (some migraines, and I've never gotten a migraine before in my life), muscle aches, etc. I'm currently anemic due to a three year vegetarian lifestyle. I've recently started eating meat again to increase my iron intake. I was under the impression that these symptoms were due to my anemia, but now I'm referring back to the rashes I got months ago. I realize that these are minor symptoms, but I can't help but think that this is just the beginning of something worse to come.I have no medical insurance and cannot afford to see a doctor, so I'm resorting to help and advice on the internet. Please tell me anything you can. I'm terrified and desperately need to know if this could be lyme or not so I can try to take care of it the best I can before it gets worse! Thank you!
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replied January 20th, 2009
hi there
i do have lyme disease, and your symptoms do sound convincing that it is lyme, i am no expert, but can tell you that it took several months, and several misdiagnosis later to determine that it was lyme. the only way to know for sure is to have a blood test taken, if you have no insurance, find a free clinic near you and ask them to test for lyme. hope you do well with it

lewis
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