Rep. Rock recovering from Lyme disease

PAT FRIDGEN
Rep. Todd Rock

Rep. Todd Rock, 90th District, was back in his Waynesboro office Tuesday morning, after a rough two weeks battling Lyme disease.

Rock was diagnosed Oct. 1. He had experienced one of the classic symptoms, joint inflammation, for six months, but shook off the pain to other causes. When he could no longer walk on Sept. 29, he knew it was time to go to the emergency room. He was also sure what the multiple testing results would be.

“I knew in my mind what I had,” he said, “and from my research and talking to people, knew I had to address it aggressively.”

With the confirmation, Rock told his physician he wanted double doses of antibiotics for the 28-day treatment plan. He accepted the likelihood there would be side effects from the medication, and there were.

“I had stomach problems, was bedridden for five or six days, my fever went from 97 degrees to 102 degrees, I couldn’t eat and lost eight pounds,” Rock said.

He turned a corner on Sunday, and took into account the fact that members of at least 10 churches were praying for him. He also understood that the medicine kicked into high gear after 10 days.

“You can think anything you want, but something changed at noon on Sunday. In the morning I couldn’t function, I was in a daze, and by 12:30 I was 100 percent better.”

Rock switched to a different antibiotic that more agrees with his system.

“I could handle the joint pain, even though it brings tears to my eyes,” he said, “but not the fever and other effects. Things are looking much better.”

Still in the middle of treatment, Rock is grateful he discovered the source of his health problems within six months of a tick bite, of which he was never aware. He doesn’t have the permanent internal damage affiliated with people who go for a long time, often with misdiagnoses of their symptoms, before they start antibiotics.

When the medication has run its course, he plans to visit an infectious disease specialist to determine if the Lyme disease is gone. “I want to know that,” he declared.

Rock hopes to be back to his regular work schedule next week but realizes his road to recovery is not over, and he still suffers from pain.

“This is serious business.”

Lyme disease

Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria carried by ticks that bite mice or deer. A person bitten by the tick may experience chills, fever, headache, lethargy, muscle pain or a bulls-eye rash at the site of the bite. Later stages include itching, joint inflammation, stiff neck or unusual behavior. In advanced cases, people develop joint, neurological or heart problems.

A blood test for antibodies to the bacteria identifies the disease. The treatment is a full course of antibiotics.

The ticks are found in wooded or grassy areas.