Chronic Lyme Disease, Misdiagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): Jo-Ann’s Lyme Disease Story Comes To An End


In Memory of Jo-Ann Colburn, a true Lyme Warrior!

Jo-Ann’s Chronic Lyme disease fight comes to a tragic end

It is with great sadness that I (Jo-Ann’s husband) must tell you that Jo-Ann’s health worsened and within the last couple of weeks she suddenly passed away. We are heartbroken but comforted in knowing that she is no longer suffering.

We are picking up the pieces and struggling to cope with her loss; she was a fighter to the end and never once considered defeat, so neither did we.

I will likely take up where she left off as we both were concerned for those struggling with Lyme disease, it’s symptoms and diagnosis. To that end, I’m sure I will write more about Jo-Ann’s journey and it’s tragic and unexpected end. Unfortunately, from this point on you will get my perspective, but I will always do my best to honor her heroic battle and let her voice shine through whenever possible.

Chronic Lyme disease is often a controversial topic, as I sure many of you know. Jo-Ann was denied treatment for Lyme disease for the better part of a decade, believing in what her medical “professionals” where telling her rather than what her body was telling her. She often used the word “misdiagnosed” to describe those unfortunate lost years in proper medical treatment, but I now see that in addition, or as a better definition, perhaps the correct term should be “undiagnosed”. If not that, then certainly “untreated” is accurate.

She would have been surprised and I think a little pleased that one of the underlying diseases listed on her death certificate as causing her to die, and is now in the official records, was Chronic Lyme disease! Too many times the medical evidence, patient history and the obvious symptoms of Chronic Lyme disease were overlooked or summarily dismissed as not being something “real”, causing her, a suffering patient in need of help and healing, to experience additional real physical and mental suffering.

I will rant at another time: but I wonder as a society if we are practicing medicine or selective torture in the name ego, ignorance and profits?

For the time being, we are coping as a family with the loss of someone so dear to us, her husband, three sons and family. It is not lost on us the impact Jo-Ann had on many of you, too, here on this site, Facebook, Twitter, etc. She helped many people all around the world each week learn about Lyme disease, and I know that made her happy.

If you would like to honor Jo-Ann you can make a donation to ILADS in her memory. If you would like to support her family, please make a donation using the button below. We will use the donations for the immediate and unexpected needs to support our family and three boys, with any extra money donated to ILADS in Jo-Ann’s memory and to help in the Lyme disease research and fight.

Your support is greatly appreciated.

Arthritis Supplement Super Arthgold Recalled

image Nano Well-being Health, Inc., has issued a voluntary recall for Super Arthgold (500 mg) . Super Arthgold is  a dietary supplement marketed for joint pain and arthritis. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found that it contained undeclared drug ingredients, making it an unapproved new drug.

The ingredients that have been found in this supplement, but are not listed on the label are two prescription NSAIDs indomethacin, and diclofenac. The muscle relaxant chlorzoxazone was also found in these supplements.

According to a press release issued by the FDA:

“Use of this product containing undeclared drug ingredients has a reasonable probability of resulting in fatal adverse events in consumers and patients with underlying illnesses, including known allergy to the hidden ingredients, cardiac, gastrointestinal, hepatic [liver], and renal [kidney] conditions as well as patients who recently [have] undergone cardiac bypass graft surgery.”

Before taking any supplement it’s always a good idea to consult your physician. In this case, because the drugs were not listed on the label, there is risk of accidental overdose  or higher risk of adverse side effects for those already taking NSAIDs.



Rheumatoid Arthritis: RA Factor: What Does it Really Mean

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What is an RA factor? Well to start, RA factor is a protein. This protein is made by the immune system to attack certain bacteria and viruses. The blood test to measure the RA factor  is used to help diagnose rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases, viruses and infections.   What I was told by my rheumatologist and believed,  was that my elevated RA factor along with my swollen joints indicated rheumatoid arthritis. Those two factors alone do NOT necessarily mean you have RA. In my case it did not.

An elevated RA factor can indicate increased autoimmune activity in the body that does not necessarily relate to rheumatoid arthritis. It is extremely important that all  the symptoms be considered before a diagnosis is made and no one test can indicate disease. High levels of RA factor can be found with patients suffering from viruses like Epstein-Barr and diseases like Hepatitis.

Other tests that should be done at the same time include:

  • ANA                          (Anti Nuclear Antibody)
  • Anti-CCP                 (Anti-cyclic citrullinated Peptide)
  • CRP                            (C-reactive Protein)
  • CBC                            (Complete Blood Count)
  • ESR                            (Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate or Sed Rate)

I will discuss these tests in future posts.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: SED Rate

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When I was first diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) the doctors started talking to me like I knew what all these terms and tests meant. Even after getting an explanation from the doctors, I was so overwhelmed with information that my head was swimming with facts and figures. After I had time to try absorb what they were saying, I realized I needed more information. I wanted to know more than what the test was for, but I wanted to know how it related to my particular heath.

SED rate was one of those terms that doctors talked about. The ESR (Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate) also know as SED rate is a blood test that measures the how quickly your red blood cells settle to the bottom of a test tube in an hour. The more Erythrocytes (red blood cells) that fall to the bottom, the higher the SED rate.

The test is used to detect signs of inflammation not the cause of inflammation. A normal SED rate is between 15 and 20 millimeters per hour. An elevated SED rate may have many possible causes so it’s important to discuss with your doctor all the potential reasons your SED rate is high.

LivingRheum is Going Green for Lyme Disease Awareness Month


The past four years I have spent talking about how to live well with chronic disease.The mission of this blog was to talk about not only living with chronic disease, but living as well as you can with it.

Initially I thought I had RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis). I received a diagnosis in 2001 and I trusted the doctors.

I have learned a lot since then. A lot about myself, RA and Lyme disease.

In trusting the medical professionals more than myself, I spent 9 years being treated for a disease I never had. While other deadly diseases were wreaking havoc throughout my entire body. And to add insult to injury, the treatments that were supposed to help me actually made my body  the perfect host for these bacteria.

What I actually had (and still do) is Lyme disease (Borrelia Burgdorferi), Babesia and Protomyxzoa Rheumatica (AKA FL1953 or “The Fry Bug:)

That’s a mouthful for sure.

All three diseases are parasitic diseases that attack the joints, the central nervous system, the heart, eyes, lungs, stomach, intestines, liver, uterus and spleen just to name a few.

These are serious diseases that have been marginalized by the medical community for far too long. The result has been thousands of people suffering needlessly for years unable to get a correct diagnosis.

There are many reasons for the failings in the medical community most of which are discussed in the documentary Under Our Skin. I would strongly suggest that everyone, whether you are sick or not, watch this movie. It truly is an enlightening film.

So in honor of all my fellow Lyme Warriors and in memory of all those who fought so hard only to eventually succumb to this insidious disease, for Lyme disease awareness Month, is going green for the month of May. And I will try to share as much information about this and other vector-borne infectious diseases as I can.

Product Review: THERA-GESIC Pain Relieving Creme

Recently I was contacted by a representative for THERA-GESIC. I was asked if I was interested in trying their product.

Well I’m always up for trying something new so I said yes.

The product arrived the next day and as luck would have it I was in need of some relief from my aching muscles and joints. Lucky for me they sent the Maximum Strength formula, because I was really feeling awful.

I have to admit, I have tried many pain relieving rubs with varying degrees of success. I had never tried this brand before so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

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This was such a great idea, that I had to share 🙂


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