Our Story By Joseph P. Orban, III

Here you can introduce yourself and give an account of your medical history, visits to physicians, results of treatments, etc.
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CaliforniaLyme
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Our Story By Joseph P. Orban, III

Post by CaliforniaLyme » Wed 31 Oct 2007 16:32

Our Story
By Joseph P. Orban, III

Over the past year, I have been touched by Lyme disease in many ways.
Little did I know that Lyme Disease had played a part in our family for
over 15 years.

This past February, I started to become very dizzy and had a mental
fog. Unable to concentrate, I soon dropped out of my masters degree
program, which I was attending after work. As the weeks went on, my
dizziness turned into a profound "seasickness" feeling that lasted for
weeks. Unable to eat much, I started to lose weight. Soon I started to
have anxiety problems, blurred vision, memory loss, weakness on my
right side, and flushing. In time, I started to have profound feelings
of faintness.

One night, I ended up in the emergency room because I could barely keep
from passing out. I had noticed how my symptoms would come and go, just
as if someone had flipped a switch. Up until February, I was very happy
with everything in my life, and all was going well. Suddenly, at 27
years old, my life was falling apart.

After about three months of numerous tests, (including Lyme tests,
which I asked for) nothing was showing up. Not once did the doctors
mention Lyme disease, even though many of the medical technicians who
administered the tests mentioned it. My doctors were perplexed. At
first, they told me it was an inner ear virus. As time went on, my
primary care physician started inferring there were psychological
reasons for my illness. He often pointed toward work as a source of
stress. I was adamant about the fact that I loved my job as an
engineer, and found work to be very enjoyable. In fact, it was my
inability to concentrate on projects I had handled with ease just
months before that led me to believe there was a physical problem.
Something didn't fit the picture. It all came to a head when he wanted
to prescribe and antidepressant.

It wasn't until I started looking around on the Internet to find what
could possibly be making me so sick that I found a newsgroup about Lyme
disease. I couldn't believe that others were out there with the same
problems I had.

Through the net, I also started to meet many people with multiple
sclerosis who actually had Lyme. I had spent the past fifteen years
watching my mother slowly digress from the effects of chronic
progressive multiple sclerosis. Over the years our family had grown
together to help her as best we could. She is now barely able to move
her arms, and is confined to an electric wheelchair. I would read these
stories to her, with the hope that maybe a miracle could fall upon our
family. That was a major turning point for my family and I.
W ith the help of the Lyme Disease foundation, I found a very
knowledgeable doctor who has since helped me immensely. He gave me the
latest Lyme tests, which were positive. I am now on IV treatment, and
look forward to a recovery in the future.

My Lyme doctor was very interested in my mom's health history. As a
young girl growing up in Connecticut, she had rheumatic fever and was
given penicillin as a prophylactic treatment to prevent strep throat.

She maintained a daily pill of penicillin for the next twenty years. In
1981, at her doctor's recommendation, she stopped taking penicillin. He
told her he wasn't totally sure she ever had rheumatic fever so many
years before. It was that year she began to lose strength in her leg.

After many doctors and a few years later, mom was finally diagnosed
with chronic progressive multiple sclerosis. Over the years, she had
strange growing rashes and periodic hair loss, which no doctor could
explain. She had a Western Blot Lyme test in the late 80's, which we
were told was negative. Recently, we made her an appointment with my
new Lyme doctor. He gave her the latest round of current Lyme tests,
which to our amazement came back positive.

One evening, I came home to find my parents both taken by emotion.

After asking what was wrong, she told me that the antibiotics were
helping her. Throughout the fifteen-year battle to fight her disease,
not once did anything help her. After many months on antibiotics, she
has begun to move her toes and fingers something she had lost the
ability to do many years ago. Although the road ahead will be a long
on, we now have hope that had all but disappeared over the years. She
is grateful to be given the opportunity for improvement.

Over the past year, I have spent a lot of time reading about the
different aspects of this disease; diagnosis, treatments, politics and
scientific advances. Although many people are led to believe it is an
arthritic disease, it is a multi-systemic infection. In my case, it
attacked my neurological system. I never had one ache from it. Another
misunderstanding is the interpretation of the more common antibody
tests. When people take any sort of medical test, most automatically
believe they are very accurate. My experience has taught me otherwise.

I can only imagine the national uproar if the HIV test was as
unreliable. We need more government support for education, insurance
legislation to protect those who need treatments, and funding for
additional treatment research. It is my hope that our experience will
inspire others to educate themselves about the many complexities of
this disease.

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