Nurse practitioner takes on Lyme disease 
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 Nurse practitioner takes on Lyme disease


Nurse practitioner takes on Lyme disease
07:01 PM CDT on Tuesday, September 7, 2004

Celine McArthur / Healthvue reporter

Lyme disease is the most common tick borne disease in the world.

While it can be treated, it can turn deadly because it's often misdiagnosed.

One Austin nurse practitioner is making it her mission to uncover these
cases -- and she's saving lives.

Ginger Savely loves her job as nurse practitioner because it allows her to
spend quality time with her patients.

It's this connection that earned her the title "Texas Nurse Practitioner of
the Year" and allowed her to uncover a potentially deadly problem in several
of her patients -- Lyme disease.

"You have to be a good detective," Savely said.

Lyme disease is caused by bacteria from a deer tick bite. The ticks are
found in high grass or wooded areas mostly in the Northeast and some here in
Texas. Symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, muscle pain, stiff neck,
joint inflammation, overall itching, tooth pain, change in vision, trouble
concentrating and sometimes a bulls-eye rash at the site of the tick bite.
Doctors often misdiagnose the disease because it mimics other illnesses like
MS, lupus, or chronic fatigue syndrome, so most people with Lyme disease are
sent to all sorts of specialists.

"The list of "ologists" goes on and on, and by the time they come to me
they've seen 10 other doctors," she said.

That's what happened to both Lisa Maynard and Jay Barnett.

Jay was infected by a tick in Llano -- Lisa in Dripping Springs.

Both have been terribly ill for years.

"I felt like I wished I would die," Jay said.

Doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with either of them and
eventually gave up.

Lisa says one of her doctors told her "I need to send you to a psychiatrist,
you obviously have some mental issues because no one could be in this much
pain all the time."

That's when they found Ginger Savely.

She diagnosed their Lyme disease -- and started treating them with very
strong antibiotics.

Those antibiotics can range from $1,200 to $12,000 a month, and not all
insurance covers them. Cost aside, Jay and Lisa say they're just relieved to
find out what's really wrong with them. They also have some advice for

"Start listening to your patients, most people don't lie about being in
pain, " Lisa said.

The best way to protect yourself against Lyme disease is to avoid wooded
areas. If you can't, cover yourself head to toe with clothing and bug spray.

For more information, you can reach Ginger Savely at the South Austin Family
Practice Clinic at 512-892-7076 or log onto the International Lyme and
Associated Diseases Society at

Mon, 26 Feb 2007 11:29:21 GMT
 [ 1 post ] 

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