California: Jordan Fisher Smith

JordanFisher22011Within these groups of individuals across the United States and other countries, there are fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters and so forth. As Dr. Jemsek states, “sooner or later” your family will be affected by this growing disease and you, too, will be trying to make a difference

“In the Lymelight” ~ Jordan Fisher Smith

Jordan Fisher Smith is a nationally-known writer, former park ranger, outdoor adventurer and a cast member and narrator in the award-winning documentary on Lyme disease, Under Our Skin. He has spoken out eloquently in print, film, and personal appearances for medical freedom and better care for victims of tick-borne illness. Jordan’s articles have appeared in the Discover, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Backpacker, Men’s Journal and other publications. He is the author of Nature Noir, a Booksense Bestseller and Audubon Editor’s Choice now out in paperback and an Amazon Kindle e-book.

Mike Davis said of Nature Noir, “This astonishing book, with its brilliant interweaving of murder, irony, and natural history, invents a new genre.”

One day in 1998 when Jordan was a law enforcement park ranger, he was involved in a foot pursuit of a lawbreaker in a rugged canyon in the Sierra Nevada. The next day he found and removed a tick from his abdomen.   “My physician didn’t see much point in testing the tick,” Jordan later wrote. “He mistakenly thought Lyme was a rare disease in California, and told me that if by some wild chance the tick in the bag was carrying it, I was unlikely to get it.   He told me to expect some localized redness around the bite. I followed his advice. When a classic Lyme rash appeared around bite, I didn’t worry; I’d never seen one before.”

“The first thing I noticed in the weeks that followed was a crushing fatigue that didn’t improve with rest. In August, I went to see another doctor. I told him about the tick bite, the rash, the fatigue.”

Unfortunately, based in a single negative test called a Lyme titer or ELISA—one that Lyme specialists consider highly unreliable when used alone—the doctor told Jordan he didn’t know what was wrong with him, but maybe he was just depressed. In spite of the tick bite, rash, fatigue, and the fact that the doctor’s notes recorded that Jordan’s spleen was enlarged, he was given a prescription for Prozac!

By a few months later Jordan was losing the feeling in his hands and feet, had stabbing and shooting pains, blurred vision, ringing in the ears, diarrhea, headaches, arthritis, a profound sleep disorder and exhaustion, heart palpitations, muscle twitching, memory loss and cognitive problems, and rashes all over his body. He was forced to retire from rangering. In 2001, while taking intravenous antibiotics, Jordan went to a writer’s conference in Montana where the teacher discovered him and notified a New York publishing house. He is now a successful writer.

“Lyme is the most common vector-borne disease in America,” says Jordan. “That people infected with tick-borne illness must suffer lack of treatment, financial ruin, and being consigned to junk diagnoses and a life of suffering is ridiculous. The United States is an advanced country. Yet medicine for tick-borne illness here is as bad as medical care in the most blighted parts of the developing world. It’s criminal, and we in this community are working on changing it.”NatureNoirBookCover

You can read more about Jordan’s experience at Backpacker.com. You may also go to NatureNoir.com and JordanFisher.com for more information.

Read Under Our Skin: How is Jordan Fisher Smith Now?

Lyme-Aware is an independent organization and has no affiliation with this organization or individual.

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