Lyme Disease Diagnosis: “It Is All In Your Head. Next Patient Please!” Part Two


This is Part Two of a two part story. Click here to read Part One.

Joyce Sanchez, M.D., professor at Wisconsin’s Medical College, supported the women by stating that if they are experiencing symptoms, then the symptoms exist. Dr. Sanchez is an infectious-disease authority with experience treating Lyme patients who have persistent symptoms.

Dr. Sanchez commented that when people have physical symptoms that are ignored, they may develop mental health issues which will, in turn, exacerbate their physical problems.

Test Results

The U.S. CDC recommends using a two-step process for testing tick-borne illnesses. One of the five women took the test and it rated her positive for the disease.

Three other women in the group took a test that was not one of the CDC’s recommendations and all three tested positive.

A fifth woman in the group was tested “possibly” positive by a practitioner who was considered to be “Lyme-literate.”

Symptoms Varied

Seventy to eighty percent of patients experience a rash surrounding the tick bite. Yet none of the five women in this group noticed such a rash. The group’s commonalities, however, were cardiac, rheumatologic, and neurological.

Crystal Pauley always excelled at her studies, but once Lyme disease took control she had problems remembering the simple directions for her medication. Crystal resorted to putting sticky notes all over her office.

Alicia Cashman told Wisconsin Watch about the devastating pelvic pain she began to experience in 2010. Alicia said it made her feel that she wanted to die. The symptoms included headaches, joint pain, insomnia, and severe fatigue.

Shelbie Bertolasi’s deteriorated over a seven-year period without a specific diagnosis. Her problems included rashes, joint pain, intestinal issues, and a heartbreaking miscarriage of twins.

Shelbie had temporary relief when her doctors found excess bacteria in her intestines unrelated to Lyme disease.

Yet the entire time that she visited a series of doctors, not one took her other symptoms seriously.

It was not until a naturopath suggested that she take a Lyme test (she tested positive) that she could prove her symptoms were real. She had told her primary care doctor about her brain fog, but the doctor would not believe her.

Shelbie told Wisconsin Watch that she just wants people to know that the symptoms are not in her head. Lyme disease is real.

A Side Note

Pfizer just announced that it has begun a late-stage clinical trial testing a new vaccine (VLA15) that may protect against Lyme disease. Approximately 6,000 healthy adults and children will be enrolled in the Phase III trial.

If successful, it will be the first U.S. in-human inoculation for the disorder in the past twenty years.

The CDC estimates that over 476,000 people in the U.S. are infected each year.


Rose Duesterwald

Rose Duesterwald

Rose became acquainted with Patient Worthy after her husband was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) six years ago. During this period of partial remission, Rose researched investigational drugs to be prepared in the event of a relapse. Her husband died February 12, 2021 with a rare and unexplained occurrence of liver cancer possibly unrelated to AML.

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