Lyme Disease & Running

I am writing this blog post to share what happened to me, and make more people aware of that vicious illness.

If you don't know about Lyme, read up here:

I am writing this blog post to share what happened to me, and make more people aware of that vicious illness. I've contracted the Lyme Disease a year ago and got gradually sick without knowing what was happening to me at first.

I am a avid runner and I live in a forest area. I do a lot of trail running and that exposes me to ticks. Winters are warmer these days and ticks are just craving to bite mammals.

On my case, I got bitten in the forest last summer by many ticks I've removed, and a week after, without making the link between the two events I got a full week of heavy fever. I did a bunch of tests back then including Lyme and we could not find what was happening. Just that my body was fighting something.

Then life went on and one month after that happened, I had a Erythema under the armpit that grew on half the torso.

I went back to the doctor, did some tests, and everything was negative again and life went on. The Erythema dissipated eventually.

About 3 months ago, I started to experience extreme eyes fatigue and muscle soreness. I blamed the short nights because of our new-born baby and I blamed over-training. But cutting the training down and sleeping more did not help.

This is where it gets interesting & vicious: for me, everything looked like my body was gradually reacting to over-training. I went to the osteopath and he started to tell me that I was simply doing too much, not stretching enough. etc. Every time I mentioned Lyme, people were skeptical. It's very weird how some doctors react when you tell them that it could be that.

This disease is not really known and since its symptoms are so different from one individual to the other due to its auto-immune behavior, some doctors will just end up saying you have psychosomatic reactions.

Yeah, doctors will end up telling you that it's all in your head just so they don't face their ignorance. Some Lyme victims turn nuts because of that. Suicides are happening in worst cases.

At some point, I felt like I simply broke my body with all those races I am doing. I felt 80 years old. Doing a simple 30 minutes endurance run would feel like doing a Marathon.

And I went to another doctor and did a new blood test to eventually discover I had late Lyme disease (probably phase 2) - that's when the borellia gets into your muscle/tendons/nerves.

I took me almost one year to get the confirmation. Right before I got that test result I really thought I had a cancer or something really bad. That is the worst: not knowing what's happening to you, and seeing your body degrading without being able to know what to do.

They gave me the usual 3 weeks of heavy antibiotics. I felt like crap the first week. Sometime raising my arm would be hard. But by the end of the 3 weeks, I felt much better and it looked like I was going to be ok.

After the 3 weeks ended, symptoms were back and I went to the hospital to see a neurologist that seemed to know a bit about Lyme. He said that I was probably having post Lyme symptoms, which is pretty common. e.g. your body continues to fight for something that's not there anymore. And that can last for months.

And the symptoms are indeed gradually fading out, like how they came.

I am just so worried about developing a chronic form. We'll see.

The main problem in my story is that my doctor did not give me some antibiotics when I had the Erythema. That was a huge mistake. Lyme is easy to get rid off when you catch it early. And it should be a no-brainer. Erythema == antibiotics.

Anyways, some pro tips so you don't catch that crap on trails:

  • use long socks in the forest and put a bunch of tick/mosquito repellant on them. winters are warmer, ticks are nuts.
  • full body check after the run & shower. Ticks are very small when they jump on you around 3-5mm. They wait for you to run by. Most of the time they are not attached under your skin yet
  • use dog/cats tick remover
  • if any byte gets red-ish - go to your doctor immediately and ask for antibiotics. If your doctor is skeptical about Lyme, go see another doctor.