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Mandy Hughes Mandy Hughes

Once a marine animal trainer at Sea World, Mandy is diagnosed with Lyme disease at age 19, but is given insufficient treatment. For more than seven years her health deteriorates as doctors tell her she has chronic fatigue syndrome, dystonia, multiple sclerosis, and psychological problems. Finally, a physician diagnoses her with Lyme disease and treats her with intravenous antibiotics. Just as her health begins to improve, her supportive husband, Sean, begins to exhibit his own Lyme-like symptoms and the couple is left to worry about the possibility that Mandy has sexually transmitted the disease to her spouse. Mandy is also the woman in the pool on the cover of Under Our Skin.  

Read an update by Mandy on the UOS blog

Jordan Fisher Smith Jordan Fisher Smith

Jordan, a park ranger, pulls out an embedded tick and brings it to his doctor. Though Jordan is concerned about contracting Lyme disease, the doctor tells him not to worry about it, because "it's a rare disease in California." Eight months later, Jordan's overwhelming cognitive issues and fatigue cause him to go on disability. After a renowned Lyme-literate physician begins treating him with long-term antibiotics, Jordan starts getting his old life back, and he goes on to write the acclaimed naturalist book, Nature Noir

Read an update by Jordan on the UOS blog

Dana Walsh Dana Walsh

Penniless and in desperate need of medical help for her chronic Lyme symptoms, Dana accepts a crew job with U2 on tour. But with a body that is shutting down, the strains of life on the road force her to quit her dream job. In a last ditch effort to recover, she relocates to Seattle to seek treatment from a leading physician of integrative medicine. Read an update by Dana on the UOS blog

Elise Brady-Moe Elise Brady-Moe

After several miscarriages caused by the congenital transmission of Lyme disease, Elise gets pregnant again and gives birth. A mother and school administrator in Connecticut, she fears for her baby's life and health. Her Lyme literate physician wonders how many mothers unknowingly pass Lyme to their children through the womb, unaware that they themselves are infected or that Lyme can be passed from mother to child.

Alan MacDonald, MD Alan MacDonald, MD

Dr. MacDonald is a staff pathologist at a regional hospital on Long Island, but in his free time he is an impassioned researcher who works out of a makeshift home laboratory. Dr. Macdonald's research into Lyme disease began over 25 years ago, when he noticed striking similarities between the bacteria that cause Lyme disease and the related bacteria that cause syphilis. Against the dogma of the mainstream medical establishment, his pioneering research shows promising connections between Lyme disease and neurodegenerative disease, bacterial biofilms, and the role of maternal-fetal transmission.

Jared Shea Jared Shea

Jayne Shea knows her newborn son, Jared, has developmental problems, but her doctors either won't believe her or ascribe his problems to "unknown etiology." As Jared's neurological symptoms worsen, she demands that her son's pediatrician test him for Lyme. After receiving positive test results, Jayne realizes that her son's cascading symptoms are likely the result of maternal-fetal transmission. As she drives through her rural neighborhood, Jayne points to the many neighbors impacted by the epidemic of Lyme disease in their neighborhood.

Marlena Connors Marlena Connors

Marlena is a promising young ballet dancer when, at age 12, she is struck with loss of muscle control, inability to walk or talk, and other debilitating symptoms. Almost overnight, she goes from performing the Nutcracker with the Boston Ballet to being wheelchair-bound. After local doctors suggest that Marlena's problems are "all in her head," her mother takes her to a controversial Connecticut Lyme pediatrician. The long-term antibiotic therapy he prescribes finally enables Marlena to walk again and return to school.

Ben Petrick Ben Petrick

An up-and-coming star of major league baseball, Ben is forced to retire from the Colorado Rockies at age 23 because of a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease. He is skeptical of the suggestion to get tested for Lyme disease, but a positive result and subsequent Lyme treatment give him a reprieve from what he previously thought was a "slow death sentence."

Joseph Jemsek, MD Joseph Jemsek, MD

Dr. Jemsek is one of the leading Lyme-literate physicians in the Southern U.S. From 2003-06 his Lyme clinic treated an average of 80 new patients per month from 46 states. A vocal critic of the Infectious Disease Society of America’s Lyme Guidelines, he has reported success treating the chronic form of Lyme disease with long-term antibiotics. For his maverick approach to treatment, Dr. Jemsek was officially sanctioned by the North Carolina Medical Board. The sanction provided a foundation on which Blue Cross/Blue Shield filed suit to recoup fees they had paid for the “unauthorized” treatment. He declared bankruptcy and moved his practice to South Carolina.

Charles Ray Jones, MD Charles Ray Jones, MD

Dr. Jones, the leading Lyme-literate pediatrician in the U.S., is considered the dean of pediatric Lyme by his colleagues. In his private practice he has treated more than 10,000 Lyme patients, 300 of whom contracted Lyme in the womb, and at least 35 who acquired the disease through breast milk. He has reported success treating the chronic form of the disease with long-term antibiotics. At age 79, Dr. Jones has been in legal proceedings for 2 years, initiated by a divorce-inspired complaint by a non-custodial father in Nevada. The Connecticut Medical Board found Dr. Jones guilty of diagnosing Lyme over the phone and prescribing antibiotics over the phone. His case is currently in appeal.

Read an update by Dr. Jones on the UOS blog