Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Real Heroes: A Tribute To Lyme Warriors

There is a turning point for everyone. 
A place where courage overtakes fear.
A place where adversity reveals true heart and character.  

It is here, within the smoky haze of battle, that real heroes begin to arise, something stirring within them, fighting a fight they never asked for but pushing through nonetheless.

Wounded and weary from the prolonged fight, they wear their scars like service medals;
marking severe afflictions and commemorating hard fought victories. 

They do not stand alone but rather band together, supporting and holding each other up
along the way, not wanting to leave any behind.

But the battle takes some. 

Still they journey on; for the time demands it.
They will not forget. Nor will they lay the torch down. 

 Perseverance surges through their exhausted bodies.
Wisdom and experience holds them upright.
And they war with an intensity that marks their call. 


They step forward for this fight. 
Praying for the strength to overcome.
And they'll keep working until they get it right.

Pressing on in fortitude they take charge.
Believing the impossible to be possible, they change the atmosphere.

Now truth is bearing down,
revealing what could not be seen before.

And then they emerge...as the real heroes they truly are.

I've written this in tribute of all my fellow Lyme Warriors. I know the battle is hard. I know you're weary. And I also know you're stronger than you realize. You make a difference. You inspire and encourage. And you are some of the gutsiest, most kindhearted people I have the honor of knowing. Thank you for your friendships and support. You are heroes everyday.

Keep on keeping on. Change is coming.

With much love, gratitude, and respect. ~ Michelle

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Lyme Disease Awareness Month

It's May and that means Lyme disease awareness month. Lyme is caused by the spirochetal bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) that is transmitted through the bite of an infected tick. Therefore Lyme is primarily a tick-borne infection and ticks can potentially affect anyone. However, it can possibly be transmitted through infected mosquitoes, fleas and other insects as well. 

Lyme disease is not to be taken lightly. If left untreated or not treated sufficiently, Borrelia can disseminate throughout the body damaging cells, organs and tissues. It is a multi-system disease, meaning it affects many systems in the body. Late stage Lyme can greatly affect the heart, joints and muscles, as well as the nervous (central and peripheral) and immune systems. It has been documented that the Bb bacteria can invade the brain within the first 48-72 hours of infection. Lyme disease is also known as "the great imitator" because it can mimic so many other diseases and illnesses. So accurate diagnosis is paramount. 

Remember ticks also often carry other serious pathogens such as Bartonella (Cat Scratch Fever), Babesia, Ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Relapsing Fever, Q Fever, Tularemia and Powassan virus. This speaks of the more common picture of Lyme disease today, which is chronic relasping and includes multiple co-infections, such as those listed above, as well as viruses, parasites and fungals. This is more appropriately termed the Lyme disease complex. I'll be writing more about this throughout the month, as well as the life stages of ticks and how to recognize and remove them properly. 

We are now entering the season that ticks are most active (mid-Spring to Fall). So please be mindful to check yourself, your kids and your pets for ticks after being outdoors. And don't forget to check those inconspicuous places like belly buttons, underarms, in and behind ears, between toes, and groan areas. 

Educate yourself. Please see What Is Lyme Disease? for more detailed information about risk factors, safety precautions and the symptoms and stages of Lyme. Please see Resources for a list of helpful websites, blogs and books related to Lyme, co-infections and other relevant health issues. You might also want to consider reading The Complexities of Lyme Disease series by Thomas Grier, M.S. Part 1 can be found here or the entire series is listed in my blog archive (March and April 2013).

~ Michelle