(This image is from the LymeDisease.org website, and for the most part, it accurately reflects my early Lyme disease and babesiosis symptoms, although most other sites agree that less than 50% develop a Lyme rash. My own symptom list is below.)
Here’s the Complete List of My Early Lyme Disease and Babesiosis Symptoms
I was bitten in County Kerry, Ireland on June 20, 2015. I removed the tick within 8 hours.
I did not develop a bull’s eye rash at any point, but the bite itself remained a bit pinkish, although flat, for 6 weeks. I thought this might be because I had to dig out the tick’s mouth parts with a needle after its head came off during removal. I now think this was a symptom of the Lyme disease and babesiosis infections, as the bite became invisible soon after I started antibiotic treatment in early August.
2.5 weeks after the bite
Around July 8, I had very mild chills, as well as a very light sore throat, and slight soreness in my arms, shoulders, and upper back. I didn’t think much of it. I may have had a low fever, but it wasn’t overwhelming. I was still energetic and strong.
4.5 weeks after the bite
My family flew back to California from Ireland on July 13. Around July 21, I became incredibly fatigued. I’d have a good night of sleep, but felt incredibly tired by the early afternoon, and started going to bed around 7pm, completely exhausted. At this time, the muscle aches returned and were much stronger. I also had mild headaches, neck pain, a sense of needing to think about my breathing (air hunger and shortness of breath), as well as foot pain.
5.5 weeks after the bite
By July 28, I was feeling joint pain in my ankles and knees, and broader back pain (effecting the upper and lower back). The fatigue and other symptoms were still present.
On July 29, the joint pain spread to my hands. My throat became sorer, and I now had a strange “full” feeling in my throat when I swallowed. All of the other symptoms continued, but the joint pain and muscle aches would move around, not always occurring in the same location.
6 weeks after the bite
On July 30, my stomach became bloated and full feeling.
By August 1, I developed nausea, as well as soreness in my heels when I stood up. My joint pain abated somewhat.
6.5 weeks after the bite
On August 3, I went out for the day with my family. I was extremely fatigued by noon. We did a little bit of walking (less than half a mile), and I had to stop and sit down because I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath, and I was about to pass out. Around this time, I also began to feel like my heart was racing, and had intermittent heart palpitations.
On August 4, I felt a deep bruise in my calf (not the leg that the tick bit). I could not see the bruise, but felt it with minor pressure.
By this time, I was positive that I had Lyme disease, and I was trying very hard to get a doctor to prescribe antibiotics. Later lab tests through IGeneX confirmed that I had both Lyme disease and a co-infection called babesiosis (babesia). I have wondered if I might also have bartonella due to the heel pain and calf pain, but have had negative tests.
I hope this list can help others identify early symptoms of Lyme disease and/or babesiosis so that they can seek immediate treatment. Please see my post about finding a Lyme-literate doctor near you for more information.