These pills I swallow…

I get asked a lot about the treatment for Lyme Disease. The short answer is 4 weeks (minimum) of antibiotics. But that alone isn’t usually enough to clear the infection. The bacteria that causes Lyme Disease is extremely difficult to kill, and gets more difficult the longer you’ve been infected. It typically takes up residence inside cells, and can bore into bone, tissue, nervous system, brain… basically anywhere it wants to avoid the detection of your immune system.

A good Lyme doctor will work with you to get your whole body as healthy and supported as possible, decreasing “total body load” so that your immune system can focus its attention on seeking out and killing the Lyme bacteria. This is where things get a little more complicated (and why a Lyme-literate doctor is imperative), because everyone reacts to Lyme differently. Sure, there are a handful of symptoms that most people with Lyme will experience at some point–but beyond that, the symptoms can vary wildly. It can cause any manner of physical, mental, or emotional ailments. And, further complicating things, any individual’s list of symptoms will change throughout the course of the disease and treatment. A Lyme-literate doctor will assess your particular symptoms and recommend supplements, dietary changes, and lifestyle changes–along with antibiotics (most likely)–to best address your particular circumstances.

I thought I’d share my personal treatment plan as an example, partly because I get asked so often and partly because I have a very minimal understanding of the concept called “too much information.”

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She who has the most pills in her purse wins

On free Slurpee day (7/11), I went to urgent care with a mysteriously swollen right knee. It had started bothering me the day before, but both my knees have been a little wonky since my days of forcing my turn out and jumping higher than my infuriatingly shallow plié could support (like a good little ballerina), so I initially didn’t pay it much attention. But when it quickly escalated to the point of near immobility and was accompanied by a blinding headache and dizzy spells, I thought perhaps some sort of  THING was happening. 

And as anyone with an Internet connection and a list of symptoms knows, THINGS are never good.

And that’s how I found myself in urgent care. And then, a week later, on the phone getting my lab results. Lyme Disease.

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I pulled my car into a spot next to the motorcycle I thought was his, turned off the engine and gazed at the small apartment complex, realizing for the first time that I didn’t know his unit number. My dad had just moved into his new place, and though he’d armed me with something resembling driving directions (“Get off the freeway, and head toward the library. Then look for a big building that people might live in.”), I found myself just short of enough information to declare my journey a success.

I got out of my car and looked around, trying to decide what to do. This was in the time before mobile phones, so a quick call wasn’t an option. I took a few steps in the direction of the town’s main street and the corner bar he frequented, and then paused. It was a nice day. Overcast but warm with a soft breeze. The kind of day, I thought, that would mean my dad would have his windows open. Maybe even his front door. And so I paused…




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From the Vault: Squirrel!

In an effort to collect all of my writing in one place, I will occasionally post previously published work here, under the heading “From the Vault.” This was a mostly stream-of-conscious little ditty I wrote after watching a squirrel nervously scamper around the fall chestnut bounty of my back yard.

One of my favorite things about Fall is looking out the window and watching the squirrels try to wrap their brains around the sheer volume of chestnuts in my backyard. They scamper in, see one chestnut, then two, then fifteen. They get a little excited. “Wahoo!” they think. But then they find 30 more, and then another pile, and another and another. And even while they’re collecting the ones on the ground, more are falling off the tree. They get more anxious, they pace, they twitch, their movements grow more fitful, more frantic. I can see the panic behind their beady eyes.

I like to imagine that some of these squirrels tire of being slaves to their obsessive compulsive neurosis and try desperately to change. The one scampering along my fence looks particularly self-aware; I’ll bet he’s in therapy. Once a week, perhaps. Certainly once a month. And his therapist is his polar opposite. Something calm, something slow, something zen. Like a giant tortoise.

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An Homage

With Halloween fast approaching, I finally got around to donating the kids’ remaining outgrown costumes from years past. I don’t often form emotional attachments to possessions, but this lot has been hard for me to let go (as evidenced by just how many costumes I had available to donate). My mom hand-made each of these costumes for her grandsons (just like she did for me every year when I was a kid) so they were not to be parted with lightly. But saving them in an old plastic tub in the basement year after year didn’t seem like the best use of space–and they still all had plenty of trick-or-treat life left in them. So, new homes it was.

I used my local Buy Nothing group to find recipients for each costume, which made it feel more like handing down a treasured family heirloom to an old friend. And I dug up old pictures of (nearly) all of them, which I share with you here in homage:

Not shown: the cutest freaking skunk costume you’ve ever seen (because Riley wore it as a 14-month-old and that was so long ago it predates my digital camera ownership), plus some others that have either been repurposed or worn out over the years.

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