My friend Mickey gave me this magnifying glass cleverly disguised as a necklace. Note the thin tweezers for grasping the tick close to the skin, and the sesame seed next to the largish-sized nymphal tick.
Last week, I had just pulled out of my brother’s driveway in the gorgeous countryside on the outskirts of Middleburg, Virginia, when I felt an itch on my ankle. I looked down and saw a teensy tick clinging on by its mouthparts. Wrenching the steering wheel, I pulled over in a blind panic. Using my fingernails as tweezers, I grabbed it as close to the skin as I could and got it off.
Chanting “Be calm, be calm,” I got out of my car and scanned the parts of my body I could see. There on the back of one leg was a larger tick. I struggled with that one but got it off, too.
Making a U-turn like I was in a movie getaway scene, I tore up John’s driveway, jumped from the car and ran into his house. I shouted out what I’d found as I headed for the bathroom, stripping off my clothes as I went. Continue reading
Staying on boardwalk trails at Great Falls National Park in Virginia.
I’ve been thinking about the day I went hiking in a gorgeous old chestnut forest in Southern Maryland that is protected by a local land trust. Volunteers keep the trails beautifully manicured, with small limbs trimmed back and mulch on the paths.
This was my first long walk in years; treatment had finally gotten me to a place where I figured I could handle it without crashing.
I felt I was relatively safe from ticks there, keeping out of underbrush, not brushing up agains branches. My boots and clothes were treated with bug-killing permethrin. I really looked forward to rambling about for an hour or so of fresh air, soaring trees, and bird song. Judging from the way he pranced along, my dog Mo was pretty excited, too.
When I got home I did all the necessary things: Stripped, threw everything in the dryer on hot for 20 minutes to kill any ticks, took a shower, washed and dried my hair, checked my body.
It wasn’t until the next morning that I found a tick sucking on my leg. Who knows where it came from. Perhaps from Mo; my vet tells me no tick-killing products for pets are 100% effective.
It’s a myth that it takes at least 48 hours to become infected—more like a matter of hours. So I knew enough to call my Lyme doctor, who immediately increased my antibiotics (I was recovering from a tick bite more than two years before and still on meds). But it was already too late. Continue reading
That’s the little portable pump for my IV drugs. Then there were the pills. More pills. Harsh meds that made me sicker so I could get better. I can’t believe I made it through all that. When it could have been avoided…
It’s 2016, and I’m finally climbing out of the Lyme hell I fell into blindly four-and-a-half years ago. If only I’d known more, sooner.
Maybe I can help someone, somewhere, by offering a few things I was shocked to learn. Frankly, it is damned hard to pick just 10 things. But here goes: Continue reading
Don’t be put off by the science lingo—click on the image to download and play a Powerpoint of the nanotrap at work. Cool, right?
Courtesy of Dr. Lance Liotta, George Mason University.
Several years ago after gardening in my suburban backyard, I found a deer tick attached to my hip. Then came a rash. And then I started hurting all over like I was getting the flu.
I wasn’t surprised when my nurse practitioner examined me, diagnosed Lyme, and prescribed antibiotics. I should have been lucky. I had the bite with the beast still attached, in the middle of the classic target rash. I felt like I was dying of flu-like aches and pains.
But as it turned out, I wasn’t lucky after all. Continue reading
If you’re like me, you want to know the latest scoop on what scientists are learning about Lyme disease. In this May 2013 interview we hear again from pathologist Alan MacDonald. (This interview is part 2 of a 3-part series, see the first one here). I’ve noted some key points you can jump to if you don’t have time to view the entire interview.
I’m pretty sure most people around the world who aren’t living with Lyme think the symptom list is this simple and straightforward:
- bull’s-eye rash
- flu-like symptoms
And I reckon that this false belief is a major reason persistent Lyme disease continues to be missed in people with a wide range of complaints physical, cognitive, and emotional.
This video on YouTube gets up close and personal, a fascinating view of how ticks transmit the coinfection babesiosis.
Check out the tiny size of young ticks, or nymphs. Wow. No wonder infected people often never see them.
Then learn what happens once the parasite gets inside the human body. Symptoms can include drenching sweats, fatigue, and muscle aches. Click here to read a story from the New York Times about the potential impact of babesia on the spleen.
Noted on YouTube:
Special thanks to Rick Smith at The University of Rhode Island for narration; Rick’s brother was recently diagnosed with Lyme disease. To learn more about Tick Bite prevention, please visit http://www.TickEncounter.org
It’s not just places in the U.S. where people are told, “No lyme here.”
In this video posted on YouTube from Australia’s “Today Tonight” (aired 13 February 2012), a government health official says people with lyme in Australia most likely got infected elsewhere.
Patients interviewed say otherwise.
Note: For those not familiar with lyme at its worst, I must warn you that the interviews are graphic examples of the suffering inflicted by persistent lyme disease.
See another “Today Tonight” lyme report about a 3-year-old infected with lyme here.
And here’s research on coinfections in Australia.
For more information on lyme down under, visit the Lyme Disease Association of Australia.