Whether you have Lyme Disease or not, most know that treating the affliction can be far more complex than simply administering 21 days of antibiotics. But resistance to medical intervention of the tick born illness doesn’t always represent the most elusive aspect of overcoming this problematic disease, according to Dr. Daniel Cameron.
The Mt. Kisco based Internist and President of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS), is referring to a procedure called Two Tiered Testing. “Patients don’t necessarily test positive,” he says, “yet they are still sick.”
So if the doctor you’ve chosen doesn’t actually attribute Lyme symptoms such as severe fatigue, poor concentration, joint pain and headaches to Lyme disease, insurance coverage is out. Along similar lines, a positive diagnoses has doctors of this mindset often focusing on the Lyme rash. Once the outbreak fades away, the physician doesn’t seek to treat for long term chronic Lyme.
For the patient, obtaining treatment then involves a search for the right second opinion. “It can be difficult,” says Cameron, but narrowing the leg work can be greatly facilitated by making sure the next doctor is an expert in the affliction.
Even so, as the profession is genuinely divided on what constitutes a positive diagnoses and the long term implications, Cameron doesn’t see the field proceeding along the normal lines of coming to a resolution. “For some reason with Lyme disease, doctors haven’t come together to workout agreement on how to approach people with chronic Lyme,” he says.
That leaves the obvious question of what role insurance companies play. Cameron defers that speculation to others. “Many suspect that the insurance companies are reluctant to throw their support behind a long term treatment,” Cameron conveys.
No matter, the time lost can make a difference. “If intervention is delayed, Lyme becomes more difficult to treat – especially within the standard 10 to 21 day regimen,” he says.
Otherwise, those who do manage to notice the rash at the outset – which occurs approximately half the time – medication has 80% of patients doing well, according to Cameron.
Thus computing all those left in a diminished state doesn’t take a lot of calculus. But Cameron believes the prognosis is not hopeless.
Camron points to a pair of documentaries called “Under our Skin,” which he is one of the doctors interviewed. “By the second movie, three of the patients most affected were found to be doing quite well with treatment,” he says.
Talk that may seem cheap to those still suffering, but therein lies the only way forward for Cameron. “Through ILADS, I want to continue to highlight the problems that my clients face and work toward a dialogue that encourages more to better understand the treatment of Lyme disease – even if it becomes chronic,” Cameron concludes.