W hen I was selected as a member of the Tick-Borne Disease Working Group Subcommittee on Disease Vectors, Surveillance, and Prevention, I felt part of my responsibility was to represent my home state of California. The CDC maps with their myriad little black dots make it look like Lyme and other tick-borne diseases (TBDs) barely exist in California and on the West Coast. We who live here know they do—at least 10 tick-borne diseases occur in California, with Lyme disease being the most prevalent. In this paper, I will discuss some of the scientific evidence and unique features that make California high risk for acquiring Lyme disease and other TBDs.
I was told I had an autoimmune disease, a diagnosis I lived with for 10 years. Ten long years when I felt like death warmed over, with pain, extreme fatigue, and no hope for a cure.
After growing up in Connecticut and living in Lyme-endemic areas much of my youth (south of England, southern Germany), I finally contracted Lyme disease in Mendocino County, which is in the coastal range of northern California. No one knew it then, but the incidence of Lyme disease in my rural community would turn out to rival that of highly endemic areas that had been studied in the Northeast. But it was 1977, and no one even knew what Lyme disease was in those days. I got the flu-like illness and swollen knee, and then, months later, severe arthritis of the spine and other symptoms. I was told I had an autoimmune disease, a diagnosis I lived with for 10 years. Ten long years when I felt like death warmed over, struggling to get through each day, with pain, extreme fatigue, and no hope for a cure.
Diagnosed With Lyme Disease
It wasn’t until 1987 that I was finally properly diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease. After three years of oral antibiotics, I could plan my life more than one day at a time. It was a good thing, because by then I had started trying to educate my community about it. My efforts led to a newsletter—The Lyme Times—which rapidly grew into a nationally distributed lay journal. Then I started a nonprofit to provide education and support to people with Lyme disease. This eventually became LymeDisease.org. If raising five kids and running a homestead wasn’t enough to keep me busy, my new work was. The interest was huge and the need was great…… Join or login below to continue reading.
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