Sunday, May 06, 2018

The Final Post

Continuum, the final card in the hand I've been dealt. Our journeys move onward in sequential progression of being and place in a continuum of wholeness.

My memoir Spirochete starts hereMy spiralling, unconventional path winds around the Americas, becomes knotted during a foray into a foreign faith, is smoothed for a while by a bank robber, then snarled again with Lyme disease.

Posts are indexed under "FROM THE BEGINNING…

You'll find artwork, photos and other pieces of my writing throughout Listen to My Silence and on CynOptixToo'Visually Speaking

Saturday, May 05, 2018

The Final Year 21

"… there is no reason why I should be here rather than there, now, 
rather than then." — PenséesBlaise Pascal (1623-1662)

Reason or not, we are here, now. Yet the past forms us, carries us forward with perspective and wisdom. In my past the vessel of flesh and bone that is me became unbalanced with the heaviness of some of the cards in my hand.  

Negatives over-occupied inner spaces that should have been light and lovely. I felt the wrongness of the imbalance. That was intuition. I'd been dealt an intuition card but lost it somewhere when I let its significance diminish amidst human made, human-directed beliefs and priorities. I set out to revitalize it.

Silently, in the only way I knew how, I began to create a new life combination for myself. That meant, and still means, exploring what I sensed, contemplating and then writing, journalling, drawing or painting my self-perceptions. 
In so doing I lightened the density and opaqueness of some of my past experiences by applying transparent filters to them, through my thoughts and through my voice as I described or illustrated them, whether abstractedly or intentionally. 
And I arrived here, now. This is my present.

Friday, May 04, 2018

7 More Things About Lyme Disease

1. Although it was defined as Lyme in the 1970s, some cases of the disease were reported in Europe in the late 1800s.

2. Ticks feed on birds, lizards and mammals.

3. After they've hatched ticks feed on different hosts at different times in their three stages of life: larva, nymph and adult. 

4. The nymph stage, when they're about the size of a poppy seed—the same size as the period at 
the end of this sentence—is the highest disease transmission phase. This small.   .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

5. Similar in structure to peer-to-peer networking and distribution, tick borne disease is host-to-host.

6. As discussion about Lyme disease being used as a binary bioweapon continues, modification of wild animal DNA to prevent them from contaminating ticks is being proposed as a radical intervention. 

7. While pesticide application is being considered as a public health strategy for targeted areas, immunization of at-risk humans is being investigated.
Gary Nafis photo via Pinterest.
Here's a link to research that is helping to improve testing and treatment. 

The Final Year 20

This month marks my 42nd anniversary with Lyme Disease. At the time I was bitten by a tick, no one I knew or was attended by was aware of the vector born illness. Untreated it became chronic. Make yourself aware. Don't get it.

This is what it feels like…
…and so is this.


Thursday, May 03, 2018

The Final Year 19

This is a repost from a page of Spirochete Chapter 41.
It had taken dozens of medical professionals more than thirty four-years to diagnose the disease spiralling and cycling beneath my skin. For over four hundred months generations of parasitic bacteria mutated and hid from my immune system in scar tissue, in my eyes, in my joints and central nervous system all the while breeding, reproducing, infecting, persisting until Dr. Shaun detected their sophisticated stealth.

Diet was the first line of defence. Dozens of foods, including all raw vegetables, were immediately eliminated, as were items containing corn, sugar, oats, soy, or gluten, anything made with cow’s milk, pork, shellfish, eggs, mint and raw nuts. I was to add coffee, but caffeinated tea, especially green tea, a drink I’d never liked, was forbidden. I’d already discovered intolerances to many of these foods years earlier, but it was interesting to see them listed together on a chart from Dr. Shaun. Gradually the list would be modified as some items were reintroduced after six months, carefully monitoring the outcomes of their addition.

The second defence was a five session round of hour-long laser treatments to blast and immobilize the parasitic bacteria. I sat across the room from a machine that pulsed and shot light, aimed at my gut. I learned that the procedure had been developed to fight malaria in armed forces personnel returning from duty after contracting that disease. As the spirochete died off and released toxins into my system, herxing commenced. I’d herxed for years, it felt like a gallbladder attack, but I never knew what it was. I’d even had ultrasounds to see if something had gone awry with my liver or pancreas. In the past, my Lyme-illiterate doctors shook their heads when nothing was found, insultingly suggesting I had a phantom gallbladder.

Dr. Shaun explained what was happening. Called a Jarisch-Herxheimer Reaction, after European dermatologists credited with discovering the manifestation, herxing is a debilitating response to the release of dead cell walls into the immune system, stimulating it and causing the liver to overwork. I herxed for weeks both during and after the laser sessions, enduring without aide until the pain subsided. Over the years herxing had come and gone spontaneously as generations of spirochete cycled, but the laser attacks killed off colonies of them sparking a more intense reaction.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

The Final Year 18

Internationally, May is Lyme Awareness Month.Here's a repost of an excerpt from Spirochete.
Lyme gets its name from Lyme, Connecticut where a mysterious arthritis-like disease was discovered in children in the early 1970s. Most of those children played in wooded areas, home to deer that were hosts to ticks with infected spirochetes. Those ticks, the tiny brown-bodied black-legged vectors of Lyme Disease, enjoy the same shady, woody, brush areas that animals including squirrels, mice, chipmunks, raccoons, cats, dogs, horses and humans do. The ticks cling to grass and leaves and when a mammal brushes up against the greenery, the tick latches onto the animal or human, and bites into the skin for a meal of blood. Ticks aren’t limited to the woods or remote areas. They also attach themselves to feathers and travel across the sky with birds, ducks and geese, dropping off in backyards, playgrounds, fields and gardens. Horses carry ticks into barns while pets bring them into homes and vehicles.

Adult deer ticks have eight legs and are about the size of a pinhead. Tick nymphs have six legs and are so tiny, sometimes as small as poppy seeds, that their bites don’t hurt. They usually go on sucking, undetected until they’re fat and full of blood, if they’re noticed at all. A tick feeding in your scalp or groin, on the back of your neck, or behind your ear, is easy to miss. Sometimes the first sign is an oval ring with a red centre that shows up on the skin where the tick bit, as infection begins to spread.

The scientific name for Lyme Disease is Borellia burgdorferi, in recognition of Dr. Willy Burgdorfer who, in 1982, while studying microscopic coiling phylum bacteria called spirochetes discovered a link between deer ticks, the town of Lyme and the disease. Now, while it’s endemic in some areas across the northern hemisphere, Lyme Disease has been reported on every continent except Antarctica, in over eighty countries. 

The list of Lyme Disease symptoms is extensive. I’ve had them all 
in the years since being infected. Sore throat, headaches, stiff neck and extreme fatigue. What’s known as Lyme-flu brings joint pain, muscle pain, and arthritis.
Severe pain migrates from joint to joint, stabbing, burning, sometimes in an instant other times for hours, or days. Rib and chest and side pains are frequent. There’s also burning, numbness, crawling, tingling, itching, and vibrating electric shock-like sensations.

There are neurological symptoms: facial paralysis, brain inflammation, cognitive dysfunction and psychiatric ones: panic, anxiety, and depression.

And then there are fevers, chills, blurred vision, and sound sensitivity. Shortness of breath, palpitations, abdominal pain, pelvic pain, irritable bowel, irritable kidney, lightheadedness, vertigo, tremors, the list goes on.

The symptoms are cyclic and persistent as they spiral in changing measures of severity. Sometimes they’re disabling, at others barely noticeable, always present lingering, nagging, underlying. It’s tiring and debilitating. Chronic Lyme can go for years before being diagnosed and during that time, patients, myself included, tend to develop autonomic dysfunctions that affect digestion, breathing and heart rates,
 and body temperature.  Borrelia burgdorferi can invade the heart muscle, infect its tissues, and cause carditis that leads to heart block, which happens when the electrical signal to the heart is interrupted and abnormal heart rhythms occur.
And then, when patients dare to hope after weeks, months, even years of near dormancy that the disease has cleared, severe Lyme symptoms can be reactivated by trauma, pregnancy, psychological stress, an illness that needs to be treated with an antibiotic, and in my case flying. When a threat to their existence is detected, spirochetes can hide with a cloak of biofilm where they’re protected from the immune system, or morph and mutate into microscopic cysts. Once the threat of detection passes, cysts transform back to exposed spirochetes. To increase their stealth, Borrelia burgdorferi is the only bacteria known that doesn’t need iron to survive, preferring a more elusive trace of manganese to thrive.

Tests for Lyme now include DNA sequencing, a huge step given that spirochetes prefer joints and deep tissue to blood. No wonder blood tests consistently provide false negatives. Much of the Lyme learning curve is left to individuals to research and process and to keep up with changing terminology, treatments and legislation. It can be a daunting task, even if you’re not infected.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

7 Things Someone With Lyme Disease Wants You To Know

1. The name of the disease is neither plural Lymes nor possessive Lyme's. It's Lyme, a four-letter word.

2. Lyme attacks us inside. We may look fine but we're struggling internally. Triggers for mast cell activation are increased with the presence of Lyme disease.

3. Lymies need to plan ahead, make the most of every movement, conserve energy, pace each day.

4. Expect Lymies to tire easily. Fatigue washes over us like a wave, even with inactivity.

5. Many of us are unable to sweat. 20 degrees feels like 30 to a Lymie's body. 
When we get cold, we struggle to warm up.

6. Reading about Lyme disease informs you, but doesn't make you an authority.

7. You don't get it until you get it—try to be understanding. Try not to get it.

Final Bird of the Month

May's bird is a small white heron called a snowy egret. Egret's are symbolic of grace, determination and stability.

Thank you Christian Bagnol for permission to use his photos.

Egret relief in a temple wall at Edfu
constructed 237-57 BC.

A look back:
January's Bird
February's Bird
March's Bird
April's Bird

Other bird associations are
dove—June; eagleJuly;
red-tailed hawkSeptember; 
swanOctober; kestrelNovember and ravenDecember. 

Here's a look back this month's flower.

Thanks for exploring the beauty of nature in these posts.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Final Year 17

more of the hand.

The Lyme Card. Unwelcome, unwanted and hidden for years,
this card's negative influence has been profound enough to write a book about it.