Video: “What Makes Ticks Stick”

If you’re like me, you’ll appreciate this,  a close-up view of how a tick attaches to people. These images may just stick in your mind and spur you to check for ticks daily.

Do ticks live through winter? Research says yes! You can’t protect yourself 100%, but we need to do all we can to lower the odds of getting Lyme—or getting reinfected.

Video: Pathologist Alan MacDonald Addresses Important Lyme Questions

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.

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When Lyme Disease Goes to the Heart

Carolyn and her dog x with the friends helping her get the xx treatment.

Carolyn with her pooch Betty and, from left to right, the friends who have banded together to help Carolyn get treatment: Mark Gordon, Jim Pettengill, Teresa Gordon, Bruce Hoppenworth, Marianne Antonelli, and Gary Antonelli. Not pictured: Maggie Gobie.
Photo: Randy Martinek

Lyme affects the heart in more ways than one. Just ask Carolyn Ross, who was loving the outdoor life on a Virginia horse farm back in 2007. Then ominous change came overnight.

She can tell you the day her health crashed: December 27. After a holiday party, flu-like symptoms came on, and a few days later she noticed a rash on her arm.

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Blackberry Cobbler

IMG_0947

Photo: LifeLoveLyme

I miss cooking, I really do. I used to prepare meals all the time—for friends, for my kids, just for myself. I’m not an amazing cook, mind you. But I love the process, from chopping and stirring to arranging everything on pretty serving dishes.

When Lyme hit and left me breathless with shock, I couldn’t stand up long enough to stir a sauce, much less haul my pain-riddled self up and down the aisles of the grocery store and stand in the check-out line.

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Video: Young Freeskier Makes Comeback Following Lyme Treatment

LymeLight – The Story Of Professional Freeskier Angeli VanLaanen Living With Lyme Disease from NEU PRODUCTIONS on Vimeo.

Considering that I can’t even walk my dog around the block right now, this story of an amazing athlete’s return to health was an especially great find.

Freeskier Angeli VanLaanen made this film because she wants others with lyme know that they are not alone—and that recovery is possible.

Click on “play” above to hear her talk about how she was probably infected with lyme disease as a ten-year-old girl by tick bites she got in Wisconsin; Angeli was misdiagnosed during many years of dealing with various symptoms.

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Video: “The Biology of Lyme: An Expert’s Perspective”

Meet Dr. Alan MacDonald. Okay, so he’s a little wonky when he goes into the scientific details—he’s a pathologist. But remember, those details speak to his credibility. And in this July 2013 YouTube video, he serves up some excellent big-picture explanations that we can all understand.

You might be surprised by some of the details he offers in a variety of areas, including these (keep your cursor on the bottom of the screen to keep minutes visible and zoom to these highlights):

  • what we can learn from syphilis as it relates to its “cousin” Lyme (4:00)
  • how Lyme infects just about any part of the human body (6:15)
  • what MacDonald found when studying the brains of people who had dementia (8:19)
  • how the current U.S. Lyme test is based on only one strain, although there are at least 100 known here—and more in Europe (8:28)

The ongoing work of dedicated researchers like Dr. MacDonald is critical to filling the holes in current knowledge about Lyme disease.

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5 Medical Appointments to Add to Your Lyme List

Medical centre

Credit: ashroc’s flickr stream

Coping with persistent Lyme—or any serious illness that goes on for a long time—often becomes a part-time or even full-time job.

With so many medical appointments and medications to keep track of, not to mention feeling rotten, you might be letting some important things slide.

Here’s a reminder of items to put on your calendar:

    1. Dental check-up and cleaning. See your dentist once a year; neglecting your teeth could cost you in the long run. Your dentist not only catches problems with your teeth before they reach a crisis stage, but checks for mouth cancer as well. Untreated gum disease can lead to the loss of your teeth; studies suggest it may cause strokes or heart attacks. 
    2. Colonoscopy. The schedule varies depending on your age, race, and family history. Colon cancer may not cause symptoms until it is pretty advanced. Don’t take chances.
    3. Annual skin check—or an immediate appointment if you see something suspicious. Skin cancer rates are higher than those for any other form of cancer. A dermatologist can readily recognize both dangerous skin cancers and potential troublemakers, hopefully catching them before they spread. This infographic from the American Cancer Society tells the story.
    4. Gynecological/Prostate exam. Okay, so no woman or man looks forward to these appointments. But getting checked out sure beats the life-threatening alternative.
    5. Eye exam. See your doctor at least every two years for things like macular degeneration and glaucoma (yearly if over 60) and be sure to alert the doc to your lyme infection, which may impact your eyes.

And don’t forget your annual physical. Your Lyme literate doctor is covering a lot of bases, and may well catch something amiss that’s not related to tick-borne infections.

Nonetheless, it’s important to maintain appointments with your primary care physician, who goes through an exam with a fresh eye and check basics like cholesterol. Put your general practitioner and Lyme doctor in touch to ensure that your care is complete.

Buttercups

Buttercups.  Credit: LifeLoveLyme

Buttercups.
Credit: LifeLoveLyme

One of the many reasons I love getting away to the house I visit in a small community in Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay: Buttercups.

Back in my suburban neighborhood, herbicides have wiped out “weeds” in every perfectly manicured yard. But a few weeks ago at my get-away, I saw the cheery flowers in the photo above growing in the yard across the street with wild abandon. No weed killer there.

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10 Quotes on Life and Love for Those Tough Lyme Days

: Plenty of life and love. Photo: LifeLoveLyme

Granddaughter, grandmother: generations of life and love.
Photo: LifeLoveLyme

On days like today when I’m feeling too sick to write—well, that’s when I most need encouragement from the words of others. Here are some quotes that really speak to me; be sure to click on the links to read a little about these inspiring women and men.

1. Where there is love, there is life. Mahatma Gandhi

2. Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live. Dorothy Thomson

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Video: Rachel’s Story: What It’s Like to be a Teen with Lyme

I like so many things about Rachel’s YouTube video, I hardly know where to start. She’s so earnest, so honest, so insightful.

The details she gives of life with lyme at 14 along with her perspective at age 20 reveals so much. Her juxtaposition of “then” and “now” is simply brilliant.

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