Lyme Disease – no laughing matter.

I’ve been diagnosed with Lyme Disease…

I am the gardener with gloves up to my elbows and awkwardly unfashionable plastic shoes over white socks pulled up to my knees.  I’m the one in long-sleeved shirts and pants in the heat and humidity of August afternoons.

I’m the runner who wears light-colored clothing in spring and summer to easily spot insects invading my running spaces.  And I’m the runner who plans routes away from self-imagined tick-infested breeding grounds; tick orgies.

I’m the one who just took a bath in DEET and fashions jewelry from Bug Bands.

I’m the little lady sitting on the front porch or back patio enveloped in the incense of pyrethrum powder smoldering from the 1,000 mosquito/bug coils surrounding me.

I’m the OCD Grandmother chasing my grandkids around my big back yard and baseball fields and beaches with tall grass and parks with the likes of sprays and wipes and guards and herbs that allegedly prevent ticks from jumping on their precious skin. I’m the one repeatedly screaming, “THERE MAY BE TICKS IN THERE.”

I’m the doggie Grandma who asks, “Do you check them for ticks?  Did you check them for ticks?  HOW OFTEN DO YOU CHECK THEM FOR TICKS?”

I’m the one who would willingly live in a mobile netting rather than encounter a tick or mosquito; those nasty, blood-sucking, miniscule vermine that prey on innocent bystanders of life.

I HATE BUGS, ticks in particular.  I’m a proud, card-carrying  Tickicidal Maniac.  A Tickopath.

I DRIVE PEOPLE CRAZY.

I scour doggie fur and kid’s heads and behind ears and in-between paws and toes and unmentionable places in search of these scourges of society.

I guess I just don’t often check my backwards self in mirrors, because recently, while I was walking around in shorts, my husband Barry asked, “What’s that bruise on your thigh?”

I wasn’t at all alarmed because I’ve always bruised easily; AND I had recently experienced the bruise-mobile of my life at my first spin class.

But Barry was saying, “I don’t like the looks of it.  It has a bull’s eye.”

WHAT?  WHERE?  MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL…

And there it was.  On the back of my thigh. A very prominent white circle surrounded by a reddish-blue area with a little nodule in the center.

I FREAKED THE FREAK OUT.

Barry was already Googling it.  He was photographing mine for comparisons.  I was skeeved to the max.  Revolted.  Violated.

Barry was not encouraged by the looks of this offense, this trespass to my skin… as I was texting photos to my daughter-in-law Nicole, who was simultaneously texting the photos to a wonderful family friend, a nurse.

Within seconds, I got the news I expected, but that sent me reeling.  It definitely looks like a bull’s eye.  See your MD in the morning. Then info on Lyme Titer test and questions about recent cold symptoms, etc.  I almost couldn’t concentrate…

THIS IS ME.  TICK-A-PHOBE.  Cautious – Wary – Attentive – Heedful – Preventative – Mindful-of-Odious – Detestable – Abhorrent – Abnoxious – Abominable TICKS, ME.

The very next morning, I was in my MD’s office.  He didn’t like it.  Bottom line:  Lyme Disease.

WT-TICK?

I’m being treated with heavy meds, the kind that comes with all sorts of directions of when you can eat and not eat and what you can eat and not eat and that you ABSOLUTELY CANNOT BE IN THE SUN and nausea stuff and all that good stuff that will literally obliterate this scourge from my body; this TICK assault.

I’m all in.  I’m all good.

I don’t know the wheres or whens or whys of the Battle of my Tick, but I am going to win the war on this one.

And if my family thinks I was crazy before, look out for me as the Head Marcher in the Detest Ticks Parade. I’ll be out front with flags and banners with my Color Guard uniformed marchers right behind me.

These uniforms will consist all-white clothing, bug bands, portable tick coils, white socks pulled up to knees and tucked into plastic shoes, gloves up to elbows and full body nets.

Seriously, though, Lyme Disease is no laughing matter. 

According to the CDC, here’s the skinny on Lyme Disease:

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks; laboratory testing is helpful if used correctly and performed with validated methods. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics. Steps to prevent Lyme disease include using insect repellent, removing ticks promptly, applying pesticides, and reducing tick habitat. The ticks that transmit Lyme disease can occasionally transmit other tickborne diseases as well.

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I’m strongly encouraging you to visit the CDC website, linked above, for more information on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of Lyme Disease.

I love gardening.  I love running, walking, cooking, entertaining and playing with my 9, soon-to-be 10, grandkids in our big, happy back yard.  I love being outside.  I love summer.

Ticks and bugs will never stop me.  I may be sitting in the shade for a bit, sipping ice cold water from a tall Peroni glass, taking my meds and curtailing afternoon runs and romps with my grandkids…

But here’s the rub.  If I can get Lyme Disease, anyone can get Lyme Disease. 

Please be careful out there.

 

SHOWHIDE Comments (14)
  1. oh no!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m so scared of ticks and Lyme disease – I’m SOOOO sorry you are going through this. I hope that you feel better very soon and don’t worry, I’m crazy about preventing and checking for ticks!!

  2. Sorry to hear you have Lyme. I’ve had it too, 6 years ago – I posted my story today. I hope you’re feeling okay, sounds like you got it early. There’s so much to learn and so much confusion – even among experts – on Lyme.

  3. I’m so sorry to hear that, Sharon! I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease 4 months before my wedding. They thought it was Mono at first, I was in so much pain and felt sick for a week before I saw a doctor. I never had a tick bite or bulls eye. I strongly encourage people to know the signs and symptoms. It’s a sneaky disease.

  4. From one tickaphobe to another….that is horrific! My skin is crawling right now. Take care of yourself…and be free to ask again, “Did you check them for ticks?”

  5. Definitely not a good way to start off the summer. Hope you are feeling well soon!!!!

  6. Sharon,
    I am sorry to hear about the Lyme-we certainly know how dangerous it can be. Good thing Barry was checking your legs out.
    Take good care of yourself.

  7. I am so sorry you have Lyme Disease! You’re so cautious- it’s making me more aware. Thank you for sharing your battle of the ticks with us so that we may know more about how to protect ourselves.
    Take care of you!

  8. Your story has reinforced my bug spray and body check mania. I pray for your speedy recovery and glad those ticks are not stopping your life!

  9. wow sharon i can not believe it! so sorry this happened. thank you for this great reminder that it doesn’t always matter how careful you are. i am definitely not as careful as i should be with myself – the dog – and the kids… i will be so much more vigilant now. i hope everything turns out ok with you. xoxo

  10. I am so sorry you have to go through this Sharon! As Rhode Islanders, I am sure you also know a lot of people with Lyme or tick-borne illnesses, and many do well with treatment and support–which I know you are blessed to have a lot of! Stay well;)

  11. My son and I have been suffering with Chronic Lyme disease for five years. We didn’t catch it in time before it became Chronic, it’s now next to impossible to cure. I’m so glad you got the bulls eye, so few actually do. I am praying for you and hope the treatment you’re in will do what is needed to cure you of the disease.