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AbledConditions story headline shows a photo of HLN 'In Session' producer Erik Nivision looking to his left with his hands in his pockets and wearing a blue, green and white striped shirt along with a grey fedora with white trim. He was diagnosed with Lyme Disease last month after 2 years of what he calls 'hell'.

 

Erik Nivison was diagnosed with Lyme Disease last month after suffering symptoms for 2 years 

Erik Nivison is a producer for HLN TV’s ‘In Session’ program. Before moving to Atlanta, he grew up in one of the hot belts for Lyme Disease – Connecticut. 

His journey through the medical system over the past two years reads like a parallel diary to other people who develop mysterious and unexplainable symptoms that are misdiagnosed by physicians who are ill-schooled in the complexities of tick-borne diseases – chief among them – Lyme Disease.

Like other patients he had no recollection of being bitten by a tick and didn’t remember any characteristic rash, but went on to develop neurological symptoms, numbness and muscle weakness, as well as Bell’s Palsy, which paralyzed part of his face. 

And like other Lyme patients who were diagnosed late into their battle with the disease, Erik faces an unknown future of possible continuing health complications.

He’s sharing his story at CNN.com to raise awareness in the hope that others won’t suffer the same fate. Here’s an excerpt :

‘For most people it starts with a telltale, bulls-eye rash and flu-like symptoms. It then develops into neurological problems, such as numbness in the limbs or facial paralysis, leaving the patient in excruciating pain.

About 300,000 Americans each year are infected with Lyme disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That number, the CDC reported last week, is about 10 times higher than they had previously estimated.

But what if you never get the rash? What if you blow off your symptoms as a bad case of the flu?

I spent the first 30 years of my life in New England, where talk about Lyme disease was prevalent. When I was little my mother would have us slather on the DEET before we went outside made sure we had long pants and socks on, especially when we’d play in the woods. She’d check us for ticks and remove any she found with a match and tweezers. Problem solved — no rash, good to go.

Then in 2006 I moved to Atlanta, and Lyme disease faded from my mind. Common in the Northeast, Lyme disease is found less often in the South. The year I arrived, eight cases were reported in Georgia, compared to 1,788 in my home state of Connecticut.

I am now one of the cases for 2013.

At least once a week, my muscles start to twitch uncontrollably; they tighten so much my fingers turn into fists. I can feel my fingernails digging through my skin. My heart races out of control and my blood pressure skyrockets.

My doctor holds me down, consoling me, telling me to breathe because he has no idea what’s going on. My face is numb, and it feels like I have the flu. I have trouble breathing. The pain is so bad I start to cry.

A few years ago I noticed a pain radiating down my leg, starting from the small of my back. I had had artificial disc surgery in my spine a couple years prior and thought this new pain was due to scar tissue from the surgery.

Then I went to work one day and lost all feeling in my legs. My arms were tingling and it felt like I had pins and needles everywhere in my body.’  

 

Read more of Erik’s story at HLNTV.com and CNN.com.

 

And read our special coverage on Lyme Disease.

 

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