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My name is Perry Louis Fields. I’m a US Track and Field athlete and I compete in the 800m and 1600m (arguably the two hardest events in Track and Field.)
In 2003 I was just out of college training for the 2004 Olympics. It was a few months before I was going to Bolivia to train at altitude.
I was bitten by a deer tick at an outdoor festival called the Highland Games in North Carolina. Two days later I pulled the tick off the back of my head at the base of my neck.
Growing up in the country, I didn’t think it was such a big deal. After all I’ve been bitten by everything.
For a few weeks I had flu like symptoms and did not know about tick infections. I thought I had very bad PMS and a cold from running so hard.
After a few weeks it went away and I went to Bolivia.
I continued to train and run well for 2 years until the 2005 US Track and Field Championships, where I was expected to win. For a few weeks prior to the event I had considerable stress from a coaching change and moving from Tucson, AZ to Orlando FL all within a few days. Training was sporadic and I had days where I would throw up but it wasn’t anything I was eating. I felt slightly toxic.
On the day of the big race, nothing was abnormal. During my race, however, it was a different story. I was racing the 800m (a two lap all out sprint race). Coming through the first lap I was in the perfect position to make my move but noticed my arms and legs becoming cold and numb. I had never experienced anything like it before. It was a nightmare with all eyes on me.
I finished the race dead last and then went to throw up soon after (but again it was nothing I was eating).
My track season was trashed and I had no way of explaining what had happened.
I went home to see my parents for the first time in a while. While at home my mother noticed me scratching the back of my neck. She took a look and told me of the bull’s eye rash on the back of my neck.
I immediately knew what it was from and started researching everything I could about Lyme disease.
I figured I could knock it out with a course of antibiotics. I decided to see the best infectious disease doctor who specialized in Lyme disease in the southeast.
Sitting in a room full of AIDS patients and Lyme disease patients I realized the severity of the situation.
He ordered a series of costly tests as well as 4 types of high powered antibiotics, after I told him the story. * Later on I found out from another test that I could not detox sulfa drugs (antibiotics.)
Once the tests were received… I was positive for Lyme (I had the worst bands possible on my Western Blot test) and I had a co-infection.
The antibiotics did kill off some of the Lyme. My health deteriorated quickly while on antibiotics. I was as feeble as a 100 year old lady. For weeks I would stay in the bed. I couldn’t feed myself and I certainly couldn’t drive anywhere. I felt like toxic mush.
Every square inch of my body was in pain and while this went on for months, I couldn’t see the outcome being very positive.
His office called me one day saying that I could go back to running if I wanted and then later do another course of treatment. This made me realize that while they were treating people they really had no idea how bad their patients were feeling. I couldn’t run if I was being chased by the mob! How on earth would I go back to even jogging or walking in my condition? How on earth would I ever be normal again?
After declining further conventional treatment, for it took almost 8 months to get over what one course of antibiotics did, I later found out that one thing that was prescribed, which Lyme doctors do, is actually banned in the UK for killing people.
Thus I had to go with my gut on this and become my own expert at solving this puzzle. I later contacted another Lyme specialist and didn’t care for what he had to say either. One medical doctor I had to go see during an emergency visit one Saturday morning told me he didn’t think people could get Lyme in South Carolina? * Later I realized that my visit was due to a neurological manifestation of meningitis. I literally woke up and thought I snapped my neck. My neck became so stiff after a load pop and I couldn’t move my neck so I had to see a doctor immediately.
As months went by I had severe depression, or so I thought. To this day I don’t know if I had depression or if the Lyme bacteria was in my brain causing mental health issues (see Lyme Symptoms as this is a real phenomena.) Everyday I thought about how I could end my life because I didn’t really have a life anymore. I was a strong athlete reduced to this vegetable.
A few times I was close to telling my mother to commit me as I didn’t think I could control myself any longer. I thought I was going to hurt myself or someone else.
Even during these dark times there was this spark, deep down inside still glowing. I don’t know how, but it was. This tiny little spark was still there telling me that I would get through this.
Mentally I told myself to get over running completely. I just couldn’t deal with the misery of not being able to compete as an athlete again. It just hurt my chances of healing. So mentally I had to tell myself, on the surface, to move on and work on just getting back to a normal life. The goal was to live normally (but believe me deep down inside that little spark was still there and what would ultimately be the reason for my full recovery, finding all my answers to this Lyme riddle, and getting me back to training and competing.)
After I semi-recovered from the conventional route, I decided to go unconventional. I’ve long been a proponent of alternative health. After all I found out I was gluten intolerant and that I had a few food allergies from an Applied Kinesiologist (a type of alternative doctor.) No conventional doctor, I ever saw as a child said “it might be something you’re eating” when I went for so many visits about earaches, stomach aches, etc. As soon as I stopped eating certain foods I never had to go to the doctor again.
During these past 4 years I went on this enormous search to get the “cure.”
I did everything humanly possible (even to the point of experimentation on myself.)
I would not take “NO, we can’t help you” for an answer. I simply continued my quest.
The result is my doing something that was deemed close to impossible. I’m not only healthy…I’m healthier than I was before I was bitten. (No kidding!)
My training and racing proves that. I’m the fastest and strongest I’ve ever been; which is truly amazing! I still to this day have not found anyone with the success I’ve had.
Lance Armstrong did for cancer, what I hope to do for Lyme disease. I have sometimes told myself that I wish I had cancer rather then Lyme. Someone with terminal cancer may feel otherwise, but I’m truly upset that the research on this disease is so inconclusive. The treatment for it is inconclusive. It’s like nobody has had any experience with it at all, yet hundreds of thousands of people get it every year (I think that number is more like millions.)
There is no cure. There is no one good way to treat it.
So instead of saying “why me”…which I have to admit I did a few times, after this health quest of mine, I realized the answer to that question. I’m here to simply share my story, to give hope and help people answer their own health riddles. There are multiple ways to treat it and multiple steps you can take to treat it.
So there is hope with a disease that seems completely hopeless.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease."
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