I think I figured it out.

I think I know when I got bit by that tick.  I just put this together and it is kind of blowing my mind.

I think was in August 2006 at a party on Marine on St. Croix.  It was a birthday party for my former landlord's partner at their friend's beautiful house out in the country.  We all sat outside, relaxing in the wilderness.  Later in the night I threw off my clothes and jumped in the hot tub, leaving my clothes in a pile.

It's not like I noticed a tick or anything, or noticed a bite.

But one day in late August, I woke up with a little red rash on my leg.  It started as just  a small dot, then over the course of a few days took over my leg.  I remember thinking, "Is this a tick bite?" but not being able to imagine how that would have been possible.  It didn't look like a bullseye rash, it had a funny shape and was growing in a very strange way.  I and never saw a tick.  But it proceeded to grow and expand, becoming painful and red and bumpy and itchy. I felt sick and fluey. I went to my general practitioner at the time, who had no idea what was going on and was totally unhelpful.  He said it was cellulitis, and put me on an antibiotic or something. It didnt' go away. So I went to another doctor, totally irritated with his lack of help, and she referred me to a dermatologist, who was also totally confused. I was put on steroid creams and got a shot  in the butt of another steroid. Eventually it went away.  But it took weeks and I felt terrible. At the time I remember thinking how strange it was, so I took pictures of its progression over time.  Clearly,  I've always been observant (uh, hyperaware) of what is going on with my body...

Someday I'll find them and upload them.  I don't feel like doing it right now because I'm crabby. My sauna box stopped working this morning, I need it bad, and I'm pissed off about it.

anyway, not long after that whole bite incident my period went crazy. I had it for two months straight.  My gynocologist at the time had no idea what was going on and didn't make any connection to the bite or all the steriods, despite me telling her things had been strange ever since.  Eventually, my period regulated again.  But I started feeling all out of whack.  In retrospect, I think a lot of what I was going through emotionally was probably the start of my Lyme Disease life.  I was starting to feel unhappy in my relationship at the time, was feeling depressed and anxious.  Granted, there were lots of other life transitions going on too that contributed.  But I do remember feeling particularly out of sorts.  My relatinoship ended, I moved to a different apartment, and proceeded to take on a totally different lifestyle post-break up - as many people do - of drinking and partying and staying out late and shopping a lot.  I remember feeling sick a lot, although all the booze must have had something to do witih that. My skin was terrible.  My digestion was worse.  Things were getting all crazy. After I got the Gardasil vaccine in October 2007 things only got worse, and it was 3 months after that when things really started getting bad.

For a long time, I pictured the Gardasil vaccine as the beginning of my downward spiral. But looking back, I think it started after that rash. Previous to that, I certainly had my fair share of issues - allergies, digestive problems, depression.  But generally, I was managing.  Thriving, really; I had just completed two triathlons and a 300 mile bike race, had loads of energy, and was able to manage my depression and anxiety very well.  My period was like clockwork.  Things were, for the most part, pretty good.  But after?  More stuff started going wrong. My period was irregular for the first time every. I remember feeling more and more of an emotional wreck. I was acting in ways that were very atypical. I remember getting sick more and having swollen glands and getting more hives and having worse allergies.  My ability to exercise well had decreased.

Who knows.  Maybe I got bit before as a kid, then got bit again at that party. Maybe that rash was somethign else. Or maybe that party was when it happened.  Really, it doens't matter.  But realizing the timing around that party and realizing it probably had something to do with my infection was kind of an eye opener.  It blows my mind a little bit, and it feels weird to think about.

If it was back in 2006, that means I've only had it about 3 1/2 years, which isn't all that bad, and would explain why I'm not as terribly sick as some people.  I just can't imagine that crazy rash didn't have soemthing to do with it.  I've talked to my doctor about the rash and he thinks it is definitely possible that was the source.

Does it matter? No? But do I want to know WHEN this all started? You bet.  People want answers. People want to have solid knowledge. In my life, Lyme is nothing but shifting sands.  Nothing solid. It is frustrating.