What’s your greatest fear? When we moved to Maryland in 2015, one of mine was that my husband, daughters, 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, 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 can 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 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year. That’s one in every thousand Americans every year. Unfortunately my dad, daughter, and I are three of them.
Never Alone weaves our story with vital facts about this tick-borne illness. It will include four parts, dozens of chapters, and at least a hundred or two blogs. Browse through my working table of contents below. See a post that interests you? Just click on the link!
Part One: Our Family’s Lyme Disease Story
- A Fear Realized, a Dream Come True
- An Unwelcome Gift for My Fortieth Birthday
- Bad Buddies in the Big Apple
- Misdiagnosed and Feeling like a Hypochondriac
- My Insomnia Solution: Becoming a Sleep Geek
- The Weekend My Husband Thought I Would Kill Him
- Am I Dying? Daydreaming About a Diagnosis
2. Saved by Our Seven-Year-Old
- The Lyme Disease Rash: Our Daughter’s Story
- The Symptoms of Lyme Disease? I’ve Had Forty
- How the Lyme Disease Test Failed Me
- Could I Have Lupus or Rheumatoid Arthritis?
- Treatment for Lyme Disease: Finding Hope
- Finally! A Positive Test for Lyme Disease
- Lyme Disease Testing: “I’ve Had This How Long?!”
3. My Journey from Hope to Healing
- Babesia Treatment: Neon Yellow and Nauseating
- Did Michaela Have Babesiosis, a Malaria-Like Disease?
- In the Shadow of Your Wings, I Will Sing
- Complications from a Clean-Up Drug Called Coartem
- Doxy Side Effects: Sun Poisoning from Skiing?!
- Flu Season Robs My Med-Free Victory
- Beauty and the Belligerent Bartonella Beast
- Treatment for Bartonella: Taming the Beast
- Lyme-Literate and Covered by Insurance? Sign Me Up!
- Drug-Induced Lupus? The Week of Murphy’s Law
- Just Call Me Granny: Combined Immunodeficiencies (CID)
- Can Lyme Disease Cause Hypothyroidism?
- Symptoms: Pneumonia, Strep Throat,, and Chronic Sinusitis?
- Lyme in the Time of COVID-19
- Lupus? Or Yet Another Lyme Disease Symptom?
Part Two: Lyme and Other Insect-Borne Infections
4. Lyme’s History, Biology, and Global Threat
- Avoid Tick-Infested Areas During High-Risk Months
- Permethrin: Why and How to Use This Tick Repellent
- Dressing to Protect: Tick-Proof Your Outdoor Outfits
- Best Insect Repellents to Prevent Lyme Disease
- Landscape Your Way to a Lyme-Free Yard
- Prevent Lyme Disease: Hiking Dos and Don’ts
- Kill Ticks in the Dryer
- How to Check Your Child for Ticks
- Bathing to Prevent Lyme: Dos and Don’ts
- Lyme Prevention in and with Pets
- How to Treat Tick Bites in Seven Easy Steps
6. How to Recognize the New Great Imitator
- After a Tick Bite, Watch for These Symptoms
- Tick Bite Symptoms: Our Earliest Warning
- Tick Bite Rash: A Blessing in Disguise
- Lyme Disease Awareness: Lyme’s Three Stages
- Catching Lyme Disease Early before It Spreads
- Stage 2 Lyme Disease: My Dad’s Story
- Dizziness and Other Late-Stage Lyme Symptoms
5. Why Standard Testing Might Not Be Enough
- Primary Care: How to Advocate for Yourself
- Which Lyme Tests Should You As Your Doctor to Order?
- The Lyme AB Screen: Four Reasons It Fails
- The Lyme Blood Test Bands Controversies
- Why the Tests for Lyme Disease Flunk
- A Better Lyme Test: The C6 Borrelia Burgdorferi
- IGeneX Lab: Sensitive Lyme and Co-infections Testing
- The CD57 Blood Test for Lyme Disease
6. Lyme’s Common Co-Infections and Other Tick-Borne Diseases
- Co-infections: Lyme’s Common Partners in Crime
- Lone Star: My Dad Got Bit by a Tick
- Ehrlichia, Tularemia, And Other Lone Star Tick Diseases
7. Current Events: A Concerning and Controversial Theory
Part Three: Treatment Protocols for Tick-Borne Diseases
8. Antibiotics and Anti-Malarial Medications
8. Healthy Habits: Complementary Approaches to Treating Lyme
9. Lyme Disease Triggers and Related Health Issues
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, e-mail me from the Contact Me page.
Want to read our family’s Lyme disease story? Click here!
Want to learn more about Lyme and other tick-borne diseases? Click here!