The Connecticut Post Online - TICKED OFF
Published on: 6/9/2006
Nancy Berntsen remembers a time when
she struggled to walk up and down stairs.
The Shelton woman had a never-ending headache, her hands
and feet ached, she lacked stamina, suffered hair loss
and sometimes couldn't speak clearly. "I'd intend to say something and think I
was saying a word, typically a noun, and the wrong word would come out of my
mouth. I thought I had a mouthful of cavities when my teeth were fine. I could
not tolerate hot and cold. I had body aches from head to toe,"
Frequent sinus, bladder and kidney infections signaled to
Berntsen, a registered nurse, that her immune
system was compromised, but doctors didn't know what ailed her.
For years Berntsen lived in misery until she realized
herself the symptoms she suffered were the result of a
tick bite she received decades before playing in the
woods as a child. Although a blood test came back negative, a doctor confirmed
Berntsen had Lyme disease, which
gets its name from the town in eastern Connecticut where the disease was first
recognized in 1977.
"It took about 24 months of almost continual antibiotic treatment," said
Berntsen, who remained symptom-free until
she was reinfected by another tick bite three years ago.
"I'm on treatment currently. I did not get very sick [this time because
she got treatment immediately] but I'm still fighting
off the last symptoms," Berntsen said.