Thank you for publishing the Lyme Disease Human Risk Map in the Feb. 4 publication. The 2004-07 map shows the western Pennsylvania area to be at a low risk. At this time, cases of Lyme are being reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Health with patients residing in Somerset County.
In June 2009 an undiagnosed illness suddenly took me on a downward spiral. My volunteer work came to an abrupt end, and I had to step down from a rewarding career of 38-plus years. After three negative tests for Lyme and 18 months of 35 abnormal symptoms, I was diagnosed with Lyme by a lab in Palo Alto, Calif.
I am reaching out to the public with this letter to let everyone know that while enjoying our beautiful God-created world please be cautious because Lyme carriers are in Somerset County. My husband and I have spent many hours in the past riding the bike trail, camping, hiking and cutting firewood because we thoroughly enjoy the outdoors.
Approximately 50 percent of Lyme patients do not recall a bite or bull's-eye rash that is associated with Lyme. I did not remember a bite or rash. Flies, mice, scorpions, spiders and ticks are known carriers of the Lyme infection. Seek immediate medical attention with any bite or imbedded tick.
Lyme can cause severe cognitive destruction affecting the neurological, muscular and skeletal systems. I fell up and down steps not knowing what was happening to me. I tripped over curbs and had an abnormal gait. The many tests were painful but I endured and prayed that each test would give me a diagnosis so that I could start a treatment. The inspiration published in the Daily American was often my lifeline with 1 Corinthians 10:13 being my favorite.
This journey has been easier because of my faith and knowing that when the path of my life leads through rough places, Jesus assures me of his never-failing love and care. I am blessed with a wonderful husband, family, church family and friends who understand my limitations but still let me be me. I graciously thank you for your patience.
I feel compelled to help others as my friends struggling with Lyme have helped me. Symptoms are confusing but the struggles are real and adapting to a chronic illness is a lifelong process. I focus on what I can control but dealing with Lyme is a full-time job of facing new challenges. With this in mind, Meyersdale Medical Center and fellow Lyme patients will be forming a support group in the near future. When arrangements are final, the public will be informed.