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Pictures.... worth a thousand words

When I watched Dr. Corson's lecture from the ILADS Lyme Disease Boston 2012 Conference, I got this knot in my stomach.

Back when I was in the process of researching Lyme pre-diagnosis, in the testing phase, I came across a photo. It was a specific photo of a bulls-eye rash. Now, I had seen other photos in the past and over the week that I was saturated in everything Lyme, but there was something about that photo that gave me instant recognition.

I had seen that exact rash before.... on my own body.

That was the moment I was certain this was Lyme Disease.

During Dr. Corson's lecture she put up a slide with two photos of one little boy. The first photo was before or during treatment, the second was after. In the first photo there is a slight Bell's Palsy. On it's own, without the other photo next to it, it looks like an even face. But next to the other one, you see the slight drooping of one side.

The second I saw that photo I knew.... I had seen that photo before... of myself.

I frantically went searching through my online files to find the old scanned school photos and there it was... A photo of me around age 5 with one side slightly lower than the other.

Today I spent the day rummaging through old photos. I pulled out every single school photo and many candid shots. I also pulled out school photos of my sister and group photos of family members.

In all of my sister's photos and the group photos everyone's face is even. Their mouths are even, their eyes are even.

In over half of my photos, starting around age 4 years, one side of my face is lower than the other. Most often the right side of my lower lip. Most of my school photos show this. I have one at the age of 3 years from preschool, and then one for every year up until High School graduation.

The first one at age 3 years is the only photo that is even and symmetrical. After that, less than a handful of school photos have "fairly even" faces. The others have a noticeable droop to the lower right lip. Two have a droop to the left side of the face.

So that is consistent with Lyme Disease: It migrates and changes.

Looking through all the photos, certain times of the year my smile would be uneven. The beginning of summer and winter were "good" times of the year. Late fall, mid-late winter, late summer, spring were "bad" times of the year. My face in those photos is not symmetrical.

At first I thought my eyes were playing tricks, because there couldn't be that many photos with it, and it not be seen after all these years. So I put them onto my computer and placed an original photo and a mirror image right next to each other.

In the photos where my face is symmetrical, both images look like a "normal"face. They could be the same child.

In the photos where my face is uneven, the mirror image looks very warped like a fun house mirror.

All these years I thought I was just not very photogenic!

Now I know I had Lyme Disease all the way back then... at the age of 4 years, and I had a mild Bell's Palsy that was unnoticed.

The initial (first tick bite) infection date moves back once more..... 4 years old.
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