My brother has Lyme.
For a year now, my brother and I have talked about the pain he was experiencing in certain joints, his shoulder and foot. I originally thought they were just injuries from the physical training he is required to do in the military. Then, a few months (or more) ago he got what he thought was pink eye that never went away and just got worse after treatment. He called me because he remembered when I had really bad infections in both of my eyes that eventually resulted in a ruptured cornea in one of my eyes. (Hmmm…this was two years ago, and as I’m writing this, I realize how eerily similar our stories are now. Did I have Lyme then? Who knows…something to think about….but now back to my original story about my brother…) He was finally referred to an Opthamologist and was told that he had Uveitis and Iritis. Uveitis is swelling and irritation of the urea, the middle layer of the eye. Uveitis can be caused by autoimmune disorders, infection or exposure to toxins. – Pub Med Health Iritis can cause the pupil to become misshapen as it did with my brother and is also accompanied by a high risk of serious visual impairment if left untreated. As soon, as he told me he was now having problems with his eyes, I thought, he has Lyme. How did he get Lyme in Texas? I know that Lyme is everywhere now, but even my husband said, there’s no Lyme in TX, how did he get it? I don’t know if I even told my brother about this as I am SO afraid of coming off as the paranoid Lymie who thinks everyone with pain in their joints and problems with their eyes MUST have Lyme! Then, he told me about a colleague’s daughter who had the same symptoms and was recently diagnosed by two different doctors as having junior rheumatoid arthritis by one doctor and Lyme by another doctor. I knew then that it was highly likely that my brother had Lyme and told him to think about getting the test done, just to be safe. Deep down, I hoped that it was just a case of Iritis and an injury from running.
A few weeks ago, Brad flew from Texas to visit my mother in New York and upon landing had some serious problems with his eye and got an emergency appointment with an Opthamologist. His Opthamologist actually told my brother that he thought that his problems with his eye were being caused by Lyme Disease and asked that he get tested. I have met a handful of people with Lyme who have had problems with their eyes so I suspected Lyme and gave my brother the information about the tests so that he would be better educated when he went to his doctor in Texas. I didn’t want to scare him and probably even told him, don’t worry, Brad! It’s probably not Lyme and just an annoying infection! That’s me! I wish I had been more assertive in the very beginning.
Two days ago, I got the dreaded text message. I tested positive for Lyme. Bands 23, 39 and 41 – Positive. I was SO angry that this disease had managed its way into my family again and even more upset that it was happening to my baby (sorry, Brad) brother who is due to have a baby with his wife in November. I thought how unfair this was to happen to the MOST generous and kindest person I know. The most loyal friend and someone who has been serving his country for over 10 years in the military with tours in South Korea, Pakistan and Kuwait. And, I’m still upset! But, my brother is strong and will get through this…without his beer. It was the one thing that made me laugh; when my brother asked me if this all meant that he couldn’t drink beer anymore. Haha! Welcome to the club, Brad.
So, there it is. Lyme has infected another member of my family but hopefully will NOT infect anymore!
Brad, you will get well and I will be here for you every step of the way. I love you!