When Alex Blanco was bitten by a tick while running cross-country in eighth grade, he went to his pediatrician, who told him to see a psychiatrist.
“He just said, ‘Oh, you definitely don’t have Lyme disease. You’ll be fine,’” Blanco, 17, recalled Thursday.
And while a test for Lyme disease came up negative — and he showed none of the classic signs of Lyme, like a bull’s-eye bite mark — the Lake George teen did have the tick-borne illness, and he wasn’t fine.
He got sick with flu- and arthritis-like symptoms, had memory loss and had trouble understanding words on a page. His mother, Jennifer Blanco, brought him to the Stram Center for Integrative Medicine in Delmar about four months after he was bit. Nearly four years of treatment later, he’s doing a lot better, but it’s been a long journey, he said.
“I lost everything,” he said. “I lost all my friends, I lost my ability to do anything, I lost my ability to feel like a functioning human being. I didn’t even feel human. I felt like there was no hope for me.”
Before contracting Lyme disease, Alex Blanco was a straight-A student, a dancer and a runner.
“All of that was taken away from me, just because I got bit by a tick,” he said.
While Alex Blanco was at the Stram Center getting his IV changed, his mother was there to donate blood for a study of a new diagnostic test — one that could help people bitten by ticks find out if they have Lyme disease faster.
Her other son, Justin, 15, also has Lyme disease — she brought him to the Stram Center three years ago after he showed flu-like symptoms from time to…
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