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Doctors: Please Treat My Lyme Symptoms, Not the Test Results

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I was recently diagnosed with Lyme disease, 17 years after the initial tick bite.

I began being tested for Lyme when symptoms appeared about six years ago, but every test came back negative. Although every doctor believed I had Lyme disease, none would treat it when the test came back negative. I have seen over 15 doctors trying to get the diagnosis, until I started seeing a Lyme disease specialist a few months ago.

At the end of that appointment, he had said that I definitely had Lyme disease despite the countless negative tests. I had learned that the Lyme had not only affected my joints, but my heart, brain, and spleen. It would have not gotten to this point had the doctors treated the symptoms and not the test results.

The blood tests for Lyme disease are not always accurate, yet every doctor relies on these results. Often times, doctors may believe a person has a disease but as soon as the test result is negative, they dismiss it.

This happens all too often with Lyme disease patients and they spend years searching for someone to treat them.

The idea that in order to have a disease the test has to be positive is an idea that I think needs to end. Not all tests are 100 percent accurate and it is causing patients to go on a wild goose chase just to get treatment for their symptoms. I think doctors need to start by not relying on test results and start clinically diagnosing patients based on symptoms, especially when everything else has been ruled out.

Treating the symptoms could remove the unnecessary suffering, testing, and searching. A patient knows their own body better than anyone and they often will have a feeling in their gut telling them what is wrong.

With the doctor and patient working together, those results are a lot more important and successful than the results of an unreliable test.

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Thinkstock Image By: megaflopp

Originally published: March 31, 2017
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