I received the results of my blood tests, which Dr. McFadzean ordered for me. Instead of going through Lab Corp, like I did the first time, she sent my blood work to IGeneX, Inc. This particular lab specializes in Lyme and other tick-borne diseases http://igenex.com/.
Dr. McFadzean ordered another Western Blot and a PCR test for Lyme, as well as other tests for co-infections. She also ordered a CD57 test, which from what I understand, measures a certain type of white blood cell called the NK cell or Natural Killer Cell. A low CD57 count indicates that your immune system is weak and will need antibiotics to help fight off infection.
If you’re considering going this route, be prepared because it is very pricey! I had a total of 17 tests done and it cost $1463.00!! Ouch!!! This doesn’t include the travel costs to fly out to San Diego to meet with Dr. McFadzean, plus her consultation fee. So far my insurance has not covered anything, but I’m still trying to work things out with them.
Why did I have to fly all the way to San Diego to have this blood work done you might be asking? I could not find a Lyme Literate Medical Doctor (LLMD) in the Dallas area who was willing to send my blood work to a lab like IGenex. IGenex is different because unlike commercial labs, they test for all the bands that are specific to Lyme bacteria. These bands are: 18, 23-25, 31, 34, 39, and 83-93.
Explaining Lyme Disease Testing Techniques
In order to test positive by CDC standards, I needed to have 2 of the following bands positive on the Western Blot IgM: bands 41, 23, or 39. I only had band 41 come back positive on the Lab Corp. test.
It is unfortunate, that there is such a discrepancy on testing for Lyme disease. Commercial labs and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) do not recognize bands 31 and 34, for example, because these antibodies were at one time used to develop a vaccine for Lyme disease. They exclude these bands in order to not get “false positives” from people who have received this vaccination. This vaccination, however, has not been available to the public since 2002. Therefore, people who have these antibodies present are not considered positive for Lyme by CDC standards, even though they are highly specific to Borrelia Burgdorferi (bacteria associated with Lyme disease).
It took about three weeks before I got my test results in. According to IGeneX, I am positive for Lyme and Bartonella, another type of tick-borne illness. I have the following bands positive: 18, 30, 31, 34, 41, and 66. I am indeterminate (means that the antibody is present but below the calibration standard) on bands 39 and 83-93. I also tested positive for Lyme on the PCR test, which actually detects the DNA of the Lyme bacteria.
I kind of have mixed feelings getting these results. I am happy that I finally know for sure what is wrong with me and that it isn’t anything worse. I am also anxious, knowing that the road ahead to getting better is going to be a long one. I am just thankful to the Lord, for giving me His peace through all of this and for guiding me to the right people to get an accurate diagnosis.
Let the healing begin!!!!
Lyme Disease Testing: Bob Giguere from IGeneX