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Background: I went camping in Big Sur, CA May 9-11, 2008 and was bitten by 5 adult ticks while hiking. One was below my right should blade, one was on the left side of the back of my neck, one was on my left mid-back, one was under my left armpit, and the other was under my right armpit. The ticks were removed by my friend within 5 hours, and I did not keep them as samples to test. (I'm new with this tick thing). I immediately went to my insurer's primary physician the following week. We decided to check up in 2 weeks for symptoms to show up. No symptoms showed up, and I canceled the follow-up check up. I kept up-to-date on the tick bite diseases by looking online at wikipedia, webmd, and cdc. In the meantime, symptoms never popped up. Unfortunately, the bites never fully healed properly, either. They were left as "bumps" on my skin.

The week of July 21, 2008, one of the bumps started to swell, itch, and considerably enlarge itself. This is when warning bells started to go off in my head. I decided to wait it out to see if it it would go away. It didn't. I started to look online again for more details.

The week of July 28, I was moving out of my apartment and cleaning it up. I had awful bouts of fatigue, but I wasn't sure if it was because of moving and cleaning or because of lyme disease. In fact, I didn't go to work for 2 days that week as I tried to fight through the fatigue. It was also this week that another bite began to swell, itch, and enlarge itself. I made an appointment with my primary doctor and got an appointment with him August 10, 2008.

August 10, I go to the doctor and he isn't sure what to think of it, and refers me to an in-network dermatology doctor. (The appointment was really a waste of my time). He wasn't ready to call it lyme disease.

Over the weekend, the second bite began to clear (after I stopped itching it like crazy and breaking the skin) and revealed a bullseye. Uh-oh I went to myself. I went to the doctor Wednesday, August 13. He pulled out the CMDT 2003 and prescribed me 100mg of doxycycline, twice/day and ordered the ELISA test.

In the days since the appointment, I have religiously taken the doxycycline twice/day. Once 2 hours after breakfast (because I eat cereal), by itself. Once 3 hours after my last meal, by itself. During this time, the rashes have enlarged, spread further, and new rashes have popped up. They all itch like mad.

I have been reading the threads and looking at more and more websites as studying tick bites in general has begun to consume me and freak me out. A few questions that I have:

1. Is 100 mg of doxycycline twice/day enough for an adult male (I am 24 years old, 160 pounds, 5'11") after such a long dormant period (almost 3 months) and having been bitten 5 times? Should I go to either 150 or 200 mg?

2. How do I know if I have a co-infection?

3. Can anyone recommend any Bay Area California doctors? I have seen the names of Christine Greene and Raphael Stricker thrown out there, but are there others? They seem to be booked, but I will be giving them a try this coming week.

4. Is it recommended to take doxycycline just before/during/after a meal? I've heard it absorbs better. True? What does it mean to not take iron prepartions within 1 hour of it? Does that mean no food with iron in it?

5. I haven't seen any improvements since taking the doxycycline. The rashes continue to itch, are still swollen, and I have a few new rashes. [B]Is this normal????[/B] Is this just herx?

6. My brain is also beginning to always feel like it has trouble focusing and having trouble with short-term memory. Is this typical of lyme disease?

Any help will be greatly appreciated. I am just in agony as I itch my body and break the rashes.





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