Until recently, many North Carolina residents and physicians have presumed that the risk of getting Lyme within state borders was nonexistent. Casualties have included not only residents who contracted the disease, but also Dr Joseph Jemsek's Charlotte, NC medical practice. (Please note: Dr Jemsek moved his clinic to Fort Mill, SC in 2008.)
Dr Carl Williams performs disease surveillance for the North Carolina State epidemiology department. His office is in the tick-counting business. He says that unfortunately, the risk of contracting a tick-borne illness is nothing new in NC.
"Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) is still a greater risk than Lyme in North Carolina, and you can catch both of them here," says Dr Williams.
Risk of Lyme disease in NC has now been officially acknowledged. "However," he adds, "skepticism is high because counts are low." That is, the numbers of confirmed cases of Lyme are still lower than cases of RMSF. There has been one fatality due to RMSF in North Carolina this year.
"As far as prevention goes," says Dr Williams, "there is nothing new to recommend. The same old tried and true methods are still the most effective."
Cooler weather is no deterrent to ticks, so he recommends that we stay tick-aware at all times of the year. "Just because it's January, for example, don't think you can't take precautions or don't need to. We want people to recognize that there are a variety of ticks here in NC, and that it's important to take care and adhere to preventative measures."
What are those tried and true methods?
"Use DEET on areas of exposed skin, and Permethrin on clothes. Perform tick checks when you come in from an area where you may have been exposed to ticks, and realize that even though you can significantly reduce your chances of getting bitten by a tick, taking these safety measures is really not a guarantee. There is no failsafe mechanism to guarantee that a tick will not get onto your skin, or attach to it."
And, I'm so inspired by CJ Jaffe, Perry Fields, and all of the other athletes and exercise enthusiasts we've interviewed here, who have kicked Lyme and continue to integrate a rigorous exercise program into their schedule of healing.
But when we're talking exercise, just how much is enough? How much is too much? Should you start an exercise program without consulting your doctor or medical adviser? After all, getting stronger and getting well are the goals, not wearing ourselves out.
Recently, I had an opportunity to talk about these issues with Katherine Dowdney, a Functional Movement Specialist with a private practice as an exercise and rehabilitation coach. She describes her experience in working with people who suffer with conditions brought about by chronic illness. She talks about the problems and concerns we all face, such as how to choose a good exercise coach and just how far to push ourselves when we're really sick or feeling out of balance.
Here is her bio and website:
Katherine Dowdney’s passion for anatomy and movement is evident in her teaching. She enjoys empowering clients to meet their personal fitness and wellness goals. Utilizing a combination of the Pilates method, yoga, traditional weight training, and additional corrective exercise modalities Katherine has a special interest in working with individuals with chronic conditions and pre or post rehabilitation. Katherine is a certified ACE personal trainer, a dual certified Pilates instructor through Peak Pilates and Balanced Body, an E-RYT 200 hour yoga instructor, an NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist, and an AFPA Post Rehab Specialist. She has received training in experiential anatomy, pre/post natal Fusion Pilates, Sadhana Chi yoga, Children’s yoga, and Structural Yoga Therapy. She recently attended an 8-day training in Therapeutic Yoga for Seniors at Duke Integrative Medicine. Her interests are in mindful movement, pain management, and corrective exercise.
Katherine is a founding member of Moving Women Dance Performance Ensemble in Asheville, NC where she choreographs and performs as a modern dancer. Along with dancing and teaching movement science, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Sam, and their dog, Ranger.
Her website is www.blissful-body.com
LDRD members, please listen to the conversation with Katherine here.
Some days we all do, and I'm glad to bring you an exciting piece of news about a young athlete and registered nurse whose story is chronicled on our Lyme Success Stories series.
Here is an update on CJ Jaffe, who remains a bubbling fountain of energy despite continued trials with Chronic Lyme symptoms. CJ is a triathlon competitor and one of our favorite success stories (read more about CJ's Lyme success story here).
We in the Lyme community don't have too many opportunities to get psyched about something fun. So, don't miss this chance to put a bit of excitement on your healing path. On November 22, 2009, CJ will be competing in her 2nd Ironman Triathlon with Chronic Lyme. More importantly, she will be raising money for the Turn the Corner Foundation to help fund further research.
Here's the fun part: You are invited to follow CJ online on the day of the race. Simply go to ironmanlive.com and click on "Athlete Tracker." Type in "JAFFE" and her stats will come up. So tune in, watch, cheer on CJ and get engaged.
Vote for CJ!
In addition, CJ has been nominated for the Ford Everyday Ironman Hero award, to be presented in front of a crowd of more than 5,000 people. If she wins, the prestigious award will help her build Lyme awareness. Plus, she would receive an extra $1,000 for her charity, the TTC foundation. Please cast your vote for CJ Jaffe for the Ford Everyday Ironman Hero award by emailing [email protected] The more nominations the better!
"I have been feeling okay, considering being treated for the symptoms I have," says CJ. "But, I'm still focused on athletics and I am convinced that between athletics and keeping a positive outlook, it's saving my life. I think I'm going to continue on this road for a while."
Stay tuned to the LDRD blog for further information about CJ's plans to launch CTJ, "Create The Journey," an athletic team -- local and national -- of athletes like her. People who are passionate about giving Lyme patients a reason to survive, while positively impacting society.
However, many people do recover from this profound illness. I recently took a road trip with my significant other, attended a family reunion, and reconnected with friends I cherish. Life is so astonishing sometimes, so precious, that now I have complete days when I totally forget how sick I've been, and what a long, slow climb it was back to a state of health.
I've been collecting Lyme success stories almost from the time I was diagnosed, because I felt strongly that if someone else out there had healed from Lyme, then I could too. My parents brought me up to share good news, so I'm still gathering success stories that others can learn from and be inspired.
Have you recovered from Lyme disease? Are you well on your way to a healthy, post-Lyme life?
People take so many different paths back to living a productive life. Many are able to follow a Lyme-literate doctor's protocol until they're Lyme-free. Many aren't able to afford that luxury, and so they use a combination of protocols and techniques that seem to help. Some are on a strict diet, and they claim that it has helped them walk away from Lyme. Some use herbal therapies and devices such as the rife machine. And considering how bone-crushingly weary Lyme can make us, I'm always impressed by the numbers of people who swear that rigorous physical exercise played a central role in their healing. Many of the people we've interviewed in our Lyme success stories, such as Darryl, who races bikes and works as a professional Hollywood stuntman, talk about applying the mental rigor, discipline and intense focus they honed as a competing athlete, to the path of healing.
Walking away from Lyme is something we all desire to do one day. If you've been successful in doing so, please consider sharing your success story with others. You never know when something you say might trigger an idea in someone's head and help them turn their health situation around for good. You won't be telling other people what to do. You'll simply be relating your own experience, which is in itself, a powerful sort of medicine.
Contact me directly for further information about sharing your Lyme success story.
How to Repel Ticks -- powered by eHow.com
This eHow video, posted by a gardener, explains the basics about how to protect yourself and your kids from ticks. She recommends the usual precautions, such as covering up head to toe with multiple layers of clothing. Then she mentions something I hadn't heard before. She suggests that on your hands and face, and any other body parts that aren't covered by clothing, you put on oil.
Her reasoning is that although the ticks are nearly impossible to repel once they've gotten onto your skin, they don't like oil because it causes them to slip, or reduces their success at sinking their sharp teeth into your skin. She says any kind of oil will do -- olive oil, lavender oil, baby oil, etc. She mentions DEET, as well, for its effectiveness as a tick repellent.
She also recommends putting your clothing into a hot dryer as soon as you come in from the garden, woods, forest, or wherever you may have been exposed to ticks. She claims that if you put your clothes into the washing machine, you risk setting them loose in the house. However, the hot temperature of the dryer should kill them.
I think I need to ask Dr Eva Sapi or some of our other Lyme experts about these claims before I believe them wholeheartedly. In our last interview, Dr Sapi told us that the biology graduate students in her University of New Haven Lyme research program couldn't even keep the ticks away using DEET, as they went hiking in the forest for a tick-gathering field trip.
What do you think? Have you ever used this oil trick? Is it effective?