For Plano Pastor Ramon Hodridge, it was a mosquito bite that wouldn’t go away or at least so he thought. Then came flu like symptoms and a diagnosis -- Lyme disease, transmitted by the black-legged tick.
That was in 2015 and four years later things have grown considerably worse.
"Physically, it's difficult to walk, it's difficult to write now my hands are always hurting, so it's difficult," said Hodridge, a senior pastor at Church at Plano.
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Masses in his brain have also developed, causing memory loss and cognitive issues. Hodridge now walks with a cane.
He said he's unsure whether he contracted Lyme disease while traveling in Ohio or at a friend's farm in East Texas. Nationwide, Lyme disease is on the rise, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 30,000 confirmed cases were reported in 2017 and the disease's carrier, the black-legged tick, can be found across much of Texas.
"People in Texas really need to be aware of it. One of the main reasons are the numerous misdiagnosis," Hodridge said.
Fellow Pastor Jason Mills and others at Church at Plano have begun to raise money so Hodridge can seek non-traditional treatment in Arizona that he hopes will bring some relief.
"This man has given out so much support, he's been a constant encouragement to me," Mills said.