Borrelia Burgdorferi and This Blogged Book

What’s your greatest fear?

When we moved to Maryland in 2015, one of mine was that my husbanddaughters, or I would get Lyme disease. We had traded Chicago’s cold, crime, and bad traffic for an enemy the size of a sesame seed. How could we fight a foe we could barely see?

Borrelia Burgdorferi

Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, is spread through infected blacklegged ticks. Also known as deer ticks, these bloodsucking arachnids are far smaller than other ticks. Depending on their stage of development, they range in size from a pinhead to an apple seed.

But the damage they cause can destroy your life. Untreated borreliosis may lead to arthritis, neurological problems, and even heart failure. Brain fog, joint pain, and severe fatigue have caused many Lyme sufferers to go on disability. Others have died.

In contrast, the CDC says, “People treated with appropriate antibiotics in the early stages . . . usually recover rapidly and completely.” This underscores the importance of discovering Borrelia burgdorferi as soon as possible. Better yet, let’s prevent ourselves and our loved ones from ever getting it in the first place.

Lyme disease is most common in the Northeast, but it’s spreading across all fifty states. In fact, cases have been reported in more than eighty countries. In the U.S. alone, the CDC estimates 330,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year. That’s one in every thousand Americans every year. My dad, older daughter, and I are three of them.

Christy Brunke with parents and two daughters
Photo by Ben Stafford

Never Alone: A Book about Borrelia Burgdorferi

Never Alone weaves our story with vital facts about this tick-borne illness. Journey with us as we illuminate a path toward prevention, early diagnosis, and effective treatment.

You will:

11 Ways to Lower Your Risk for Lyme
  • discover how to become your own best advocate
  • find out how to lower your risk for getting Lyme disease
  • get tips for tick-proofing your clothes, yard, and loved ones
  • learn how to recognize Lyme disease as the Great Imitator
  • untangle the controversies about the diagnostic tests
  • gain an understanding of how Lyme affects the mind and body
  • explore ways to get the upper hand on this too-often debilitating disease
  • unearth Lyme’s history and understand its global threat
  • reflect on faith, hope, and love through uplifting devotions
  • experience what it’s like to have Lyme from the pen of a bestselling novelist

Table of Contents

This blogged book will include four parts, dozens of chapters, and at least a hundred or two blogs. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the content I’ll be covering:

Part One: Our Family’s Lyme Disease Story

1. Suffering in Silence with Late-Stage Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease: The Clue in the Diary Brunke

2. Saved by My Seven-Year-Old

The Lyme Disease Rash: Our Daughter's Story

3. My Journey from Hope to Healing

My Journey from Hope to Healing
  • Atovaquone: Neon Yellow and Nauseating
  • Common Side Effects of Coartem
  • Free at Last—No More Meds!
  • Beauty and the Bartonella Beast
  • Drug-Induced Lupus? The Week of Murphy’s Law
  • “You Have the Immune System of an Eighty-Year-Old”
  • Pneumonia, Strep Throat, and Chronic Sinusitis
  • Lyme in the Time of COVID-19
  • Bug-Induced Lupus?
  • Ten Things I’ve Learned from Lyme Disease
  • Life and Laughter with Lyme and Littles

Part Two: Lyme and Other Insect-Borne Infections

4. Lyme’s History, Biology, and Global Threat

The ixodes tick that carries Borrelia burgdorferi
  • Itty-Bitty Bug—Big, Big Problem
  • How Lyme Got Its Name
  • Fourteen States Where Lyme’s the Worst
  • From the East Coast to Fifty States
  • “The Fastest-Growing Vector-Borne Illness in the US”
  • Lyme Disease Reported in Over Eighty Countries
  • Lyme: “The Butterfly of the Bug World”
  • Lyme: “The Cockroach of the Bacterial World”
  • A New Threat: The Clone Tick
  • More Than Ticks? How Lyme is Transmitted

5. Eleven Ways to Lower Your Risk for Lyme

Permethrin spray to prevent Borrelia burgdorferi
  • The Best Repellents to Prevent Lyme Disease
  • Ten Reasons to Treat Your Shoes with Permethrin
  • How to Treat Your Shoes with Permethrin
  • How to Treat Your Clothes with Permethrin
  • Dress to Protect: Tick-Proof Your Outdoor Outfits
  • Landscape Your Way to a Lyme-Free Yard
  • Treating Your Yard with Sevin: Seven Tips    
  • Prevent Lyme Disease: Hiking Dos and Don’ts
  • Kill Ticks in a Hot Dryer
  • How to Check Your Child for Ticks
  • Help! I Found a Tick on Myself
  • How to Safely Remove a Deer Tick
  • Bathing to Prevent Lyme: Do’s and Don’ts
  • Lyme Disease: Protect Your Pets (And Yourself!)

6. How to Recognize the New Great Imitator

Three Stages of Lyme Disease
  • Lyme’s Three Stages and Their Symptoms
  • Summer Flu? You Might Have Lyme Disease
  • Early Disseminated Lyme Disease: Seven Telltale Signs
  • Late-Stage Lyme Disease Symptoms
  • Misdiagnosis: A Frequent and Frustrating Problem
  • Multiple Systemic Infectious Disease Syndrome (MSIDS) Questionnaire
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Often Rooted in Lyme
  • Fibromyalgia and Lyme Disease
  • Differentiating Lyme from Other Autoimmune Disorders
  • How to Recognize Lyme Disease in Children
  • “Invasive Blood Test” or Permanent Health Problems?
  • Lyme Rage, Aggression, and Irritability
  • Neuroborreliosis: Neurological Lyme Disease
  • Lyme Arthritis
  • Lyme Carditis: Dr. Neil Spector’s Story

5. Why Standard Testing Might Not Be Enough

Testing for Borrelia burgdorferi
Image by Ahmad Ardity from Pixabay
  • How the ELISA Misses the Mark
  • What’s Wrong with the Western Blot
  • The C6 Borrelia Burgdorferi (Lyme) Test 
  • The HNK1 (CD57) Chronic Lyme Test
  • Which LabCorp Lyme Tests Should I Get?
  • The Lyme Lab: Accurate Results Through Igenex?
  • How Lyme Disease Should Be Diagnosed

6. Lyme’s Common Co-Infections and Other Tick-Borne Diseases

  • Introduction
  • Babesiosis
  • Bartonellosis
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Mycoplasma
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Anaplasmosis
  • Colorado Tick Fever
  • Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever
  • Q Fever
  • Powassan Viral Encephalitis
  • Tick Paralysis
  • Tularemia

7. Current Events: A Concerning and Controversial Theory

  • Plum Island: The Origin of Lyme Disease?
  • Bitten: The Secret History of Lyme Disease?
  • The Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Amendment

Part Three: Treatment Protocols for Tick-Borne Diseases        

8. Antibiotics and Anti-Malarial Medications

  • The CDC’s Recommended Treatment Protocol
  • Why a Short Course of Antibiotics Might Not Be Enough
  • Best Drugs for Lyme, Babesiosis, and Bartonellosis
  • Treating Kids with Lyme: Amoxicillin Isn’t Enough
  • Disulfiram: The Cure for Persistent Lyme Disease?
  • The Downside of Treating Lyme with Antibiotics 
  • Minimizing Bartonella Flares from Rifampin and Clarithromycin
  • Why You Should See a Lyme-Literate Doctor

8. Healthy Habits: Complementary Approaches to Treating Lyme

  • Sleep Smarter: Top Ten Tips
  • Four Recommended Diets for Lyme Disease
  • After Lyme: Top Vitamins to Prevent Relapse
  • Ten Benefits of Bone Broth
  • Kristina Cowan’s Bone Broth Recipe
  • Unlocking Lyme: A Book Review

9. Lyme Disease Triggers and Related Health Issues

  • Lyme Disease and a Woman’s Monthly Cycle
  • Triggers for Lyme Disease: Food, Stress, and Toxins
  • One Autoimmune Disease Could Lead to Another
  • Lyme Disease: Become Your Own Best Advocate

Part Four: Stories of Friends and Family

The final segment of Never Alone: Our Journey with Lyme Disease is all about you! I’ve already had the honor of hearing many of your stories, and I hope to hear and learn from many more. If you’re willing to share your experiences with the world, I’d love to interview you. 

Side note: Most of the part four memoirs will be exclusive to the published version of the book. Others will be exclusive to the blog.  

Do you have a personal story you’d be willing to share about Borrelia burgdorferi? If so, comment below or send me an e-mail from the Contact Me page.