Tag Archives: prevention

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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Garden of Evil?

Photo: LifeLoveLyme

Photo: LifeLoveLyme

After months of being severely limited by Lyme – worn out by an hour or two of daily activities and resigned to holding court on my red sofa for most of my waking hours – I am enjoying a period of respite from herxing between treatments as I build up my immune system for the next big round of IV antibiotics. Mind you, at the moment I still only have maybe a quarter of a tank of gas per day to run on, but that’s enough to get me a fraction beyond just the basics. It’s enough to allow me to drive myself to the weekend house all by myself on better days when I’ve planned well, which means an incredible sense of freedom. The first day, I settled in to read a stack of library books and a bagful of New Yorkers and simply…rest.  But yesterday I was seized by the exuberance of the season and went to the hardware store to pick up a small shovel and hot pink petunias. Continue reading

Do Ticks Survive Winter? Researchers Weigh In

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I know, ugly photo. But it shows the flowerbed in my backyard where I got a tick embedded in my hip one summer. And a bull’s-eye rash soon after. And pretty soon was very, very ill.

As you can see, my garden is in a sad state these days. Last summer and fall I was too sick to clean it up—and besides, I was very afraid of the danger lurking there.

I said to myself, I’ll feel better in the winter. I’ll get rid of the dead things when the ticks are gone.

Flash forward to the middle of winter. Someone in my support group reported that she’d just come inside her house and done a complete tick check—in January. In Virginia.

And found a live deer tick. We were shocked.

I’d assumed that once temperatures dipped below freezing, ticks were done for ‘til spring. Now I know otherwise.

Here’s what I found out.

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Babesiosis: Multiple Strains Complicate Diagnosis

When I finally arrived at the door of a Lyme Literate Doctor (LLMD), I was surprised to learn that in addition to Lyme, I have an infection of the red blood cells called Babesiosis, caused by a tiny parasite.

Symptoms can include fatigue, drenching sweats, muscle aches,  and nausea; the infection often begins with a high fever. It can also attack the spleen.  I got mine from a tick bite. People also become infected through blood transfusions. 

The thing is, if you are treated for Lyme but you also have this co-infection going undetected and untreated, your health won’t improve, as seen in a recent television program about a young girl in Maryland who wasn’t improving when treated for Lyme alone. 

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Guest Post: Top Ten Tips to Prevent Chronic Lyme Disease

logoteEveryone, everywhere should read these tips from experts at the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS), reproduced here from the ILADS website with permission.  

Chronic Lyme disease patients may face a long hard fight to wellness. People with chronic Lyme can have many debilitating symptoms, including severe fatigue, anxiety, headaches, and joint pain. Without proper treatment, chronic Lyme patients have a poorer quality of life than patients with diabetes or a heart condition.

The fact is Lyme is a complex disease that can be highly difficult to diagnose. Reliable diagnostic tests are not yet available which leaves many—patients and physicians alike—relying on the so called “telltale signs” of Lyme disease: discovery of a tick on the skin, a bull’s eye rash, and possibly joint pain. However, ILADS research indicates that only 50%-60% of patients recall a tick bite; the rash is reported in only 35% to 60% of patients; and joint swelling typically occurs in only 20% to 30% of patients. Given the prevalent use of over the counter anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen, joint inflammation is often masked.

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