Lyme disease… the silent assassin

black legged tick

Disgusting, isn’t it?

We’ve all heard it… Lyme Disease is the fastest growing vector disease in the United States. Most of you either know someone who has contracted it or may suffer from it yourself.

It is a disease that does not discriminate.

It is resilient.

It is stealthy.

It is mysterious.

It is devastating.

It ravages more people each year than those unfortunately diagnosed with breast cancer and HIV/AIDS.

It is also a disease that is mostly ignored by the government, the health insurance companies, the pharmaceutical industry and many in the medical community.

It has stolen many days, weeks, months and years of my life. It has infected my husband and my son, my close family members, my neighbors, my friends and even my dogs.

It has marched, unhindered, across this landscape like a shadowy army of assassins bent on unholy destruction… and no one is safe.

It has made me bitter. It has made me sad. It has made me depressed. It has even made me angry at myself because I could not control how my body and mind have betrayed me.

It has, however, made me reevaluate the important things in life. It has taught me that I sometimes need to clear out the cobwebs in my soul. And even though I sometimes feel that I am drowning in an invisible, roiling sea of misery, it reminds me to take a step back and heed the powerful words that I had permanently inked on my skin… Still I Rise.

So please, practice tick prevention EVERY day of the year. You don’t have to live in the country, like I do, to become infected.

Remember that most people do not recall a tick bite and less than 50% ever develop the typical bull’s-eye rash.

Ticks are active all year round. Freezing winter temperatures do not kill them. Always do a tick check.

The traditional blood tests used to diagnose Lyme are notoriously unreliable. Your doctor should diagnose you based on your symptoms and exposure to ticks. Prompt treatment is incredibly important.

Be an advocate for yourself and your family and see a Lyme literate doctor. Most doctors don’t understand Lyme Disease well enough to treat it properly.

If you suffer from chronic Lyme like I do, there are hundreds of thousands of Lymies out there who know how you feel and are fighting just as hard to beat back this monster – speak up, reach out and don’t lose hope.