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Local man wages battle for health

May 07, 2001

Local man wages battle for health



By MEG H. PARTINGTON

megp@herald-mail.com

Frank BoddickerPhoto: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer

For two decades, Frank Boddicker has fought to stay healthy.

When a tick lodged itself in his back while he was camping in Summit Point, W.Va., he wasn't fazed.

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"This was nothing new," said Boddicker, 47, of Knoxville, Md., who grew up in a rural area.

But this time he felt fatigued. A bull's-eye rash appeared at the site where the tick was found. His doctor thought it was a sign of ringworm.

Eight years later, Boddicker diagnosed himself after seeing a television program about Lyme disease. A positive result on a Titer test confirmed his suspicion.

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For two weeks, he took antibiotics at home every 12 hours through an IV.

Over the last 20 years, Boddicker has had chronic flu symptoms, felt arthritic, had intestinal problems and experienced brain fog - short-term memory loss and concentration problems.

"That's the hardest part," he said.

"My health kept going back and forth," he said, curtailing his ability to work.

At his sickest moments, he is only able to stay out of bed for an hour a day.

He said he benefited from treatment by a doctor in Bethesda, Md., four years ago, but couldn't afford to keep going there.

Now he takes several pills every day, including herbs, amino acids, vitamins and minerals.

"Supplements are the only things that keep me going," Boddicker said. "It works for me. That doesn't mean it will work for someone else. There is no magic bullet."

Watching his diet, getting enough sleep and avoiding stress help. But when one element is off, he gets sick.

Boddicker said some Lyme disease patients decline quickly, while the health of others, like him, breaks down gradually.

"If they lose their reserves, it takes forever to bounce back," Boddicker said. Every time the body breaks down, recovery time triples or quadruples, he said.

"We call ourselves the walking dead," Boddicker said. "People don't realize they're one bite away from losing their whole life."

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