by Sybil Hoffman
Posted on January 30, 2012 at 3:18 PM

Monday, Jan 30 at 10:41 PM

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Doing something as simple as taking a walk used to be something Debra Grizzle didn’t have the strength for.

“I got to the point where it was so hard to get out of bed,” she said. “No energy. I couldn’t exercise.”

Unfortunately, Grizzle’s fatigue and joint pain lingered on. Doctor after doctor told her nothing was wrong.

“I knew something was absolutely wrong,” she said. “That was kind of the fight in me, I kept this fight, to where I knew I was sick, I had to find an answer and so I had to keep searching so that’s what I did.”

“It is very difficult to diagnose this disease,” said Dr. Martha Grout with the Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine.

Lyme disease is a tick-borne infection first discovered in Lyme, Conn., in the 1970s. Most patients get a rash but for many others, only internal symptoms develop.

“They’re not testing for it,” Grizzle said. “They’re not looking for it. It’s not on their radar screen.”  

Currently, the Infectious Disease Society of America recommends doctors give patients an Elisa test, which only screens for Lyme disease.

“All their bloodwork will be perfectly normal,” Grout said. “Their urine tests will be perfectly normal. Their joints will look just a good as my joints. They won’t be swollen, they won’t be inflamed, none of that, OK, but they can’t move in the morning.”

Studies show in 56 percent of the cases, patients whose screenings come back negative are later proven to have Lyme disease, which is what happened to Grizzle. It wasn’t until she got a different kind of test.

“So six and a half years into it, I got tested with a Western Blot for Lyme and I showed up positive,” Grizzle said.

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