Short Story: My Dear Sister

Chapter 1

“So, yeah…” I finish saying to Alex. He keeps reminding me to call him by his first name. I suppose he helps to make me perceive this as being more of a casual setting.

“I see,” he replies. Then pauses. Oh boy, here it comes. “I think we should see each other more frequently. Perhaps twice a week instead of once a week. How would you feel about that?”

“Sure, that sounds ok to me,” I answer. Do I really have another choice? Patient confidentiality aside, I know he will tell my parents that he thinks I need more sessions.

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The Perils of Lyme Disease

Growing up we were taught to be especially careful when outdoors in high-grass areas because of the threat of ticks. Specifically, we were warned to the possibility that a tick could give us Lyme Disease. We could expect aches and pains and the tell-tale target looking rash. After a few weeks of medication, things would go back to normal. While all of this is true, it is only partially true. We were undersold on how difficult detection of Lyme Disease could be and how extensive the damage to our bodies would be if left undetected and not properly treated.

With warm weather now on the way, more people will be spending time outdoors. This is why summer months have the most reported cases of Lyme out of the whole year. While this might be the “busy” season, Lyme Disease can be contracted at any point in time.

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme Disease is caused by four different kinds of bacteria: Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia mayonii in the US, as well as Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii in Europe and Asia. It is carried by blacklegged ticks, often called deer ticks, and is transmitted through the bite of the insect to a host. The bacteria then flows through the bloodstream and attaches itself to tissue.

As an inflammatory disease, the most common symptoms early on are aches and pain as well as fatigue.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease

Early Symptoms (within first 30 days):
– An expanding rash that resembles a bullseye
– Flu-like fever, aches and pains, and swollen lymph nodes

Later Symptoms (months after bite):
– Spreading of rash to other parts of the body
– Arthritis, joint pain and swelling
– Pain in muscles, tendons, and bones
– Heart palpitations or irregular heartbeats
– Changes in vision
– Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
– Nerve pain and numbness
– Facial palsy
– Short-term memory loss and brain fog

If left untreated, the symptoms of Lyme Disease can become quite severe and debilitating for someone affected. There are a number of reports of individuals who have gone months and years without being properly diagnosed and, at that point, the long-term impacts of Lyme Disease take a while to be resolved.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Lyme Disease

Doctors will take into account the symptoms a patient is suffering from to determine whether or not Lyme Disease is the cause. They will usually end up relying on laboratory tests involving bloodwork.

Another method used when the patient is experiencing the above mentioned neurological symptoms is a spinal tap.

Patients who are diagnosed will then be treated with antibiotics for up to a month.

Diagnosing Lyme Disease isn’t that straightforward, however. For one thing, many of the symptoms resemble those of other illnesses such as the flu. The rash, which we all believe to be ultimate evidence, is only found in about 70% of reported cases. This means that at least 30% of people (more who are not reported) never get a rash. Doctors may not be prone to looking for Lyme Disease because of this.

As for the bloodwork, they can produce false negatives if done too soon (within the first 30 days) or if you already have a suppressed immune system. Even after that time period, there are currently no tests with 100% accuracy to diagnose Lyme Disease.

If found later on, long term antibiotic treatment is not recommended as it is not proven to cure the Lyme Disease. Such exposure to antibiotics is also shown to not be beneficial, and can actually be damaging, to the body and immune system.

Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome

Even after diagnosis and treatment, there are cases where patients can have symptoms persist or resurface after a time. This can be very difficult to treat as studies have shown that the infection is no longer active within the patients. Because of this, antibiotics are rendered useless.

This might be considered “worst case” as patients have to work with doctors for relief from their symptoms of severe fatigue and joint pain and swelling, as well as neurological issues.

In Conclusion

The public needs a much better education regarding Lyme Disease and the possible long-term severity. The medical community also needs to work on more comprehensive ways of testing for this disease to avoid misdiagnosis.

The long term impact, while not the norm, is damaging enough that Lyme Disease warrants much more attention.

If you have been bitten by a tick, or have any of the above symptoms, do not be afraid to push your doctors for Lyme Disease testing.


Links

CDC on Lyme Disease
Mayo Clinic on Lyme Disease
American Lyme Disease Foundation
John Hopkins Medicine on Lingering Symptoms of Lyme Disease
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on Chronic Lyme Disease
CBS News on Untreated Lyme Disease

Newsworthy – Apr 26th, 2019

Very young children should have limited screen time, higher death rates from multiple causes found in the South, Google has received authorization for drone operations, and social security costs to exceed income in 2020.

These are just a few of the newsworthy stories from this past week.

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Newsworthy – Apr 19th, 2019

Less adults belong to religious institutions, a fertility lull is creating a dependency on immigration, central bankers are concerned over President Trump’s criticisms, military seeking more funding to counter China, and an overview of Robert Mueller’s report.

These are just a few of the newsworthy stories from this past week.

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Newsworthy – Apr 12th, 2019

Evidence found of a previously unknown human species in the Philippines, first ever image of a black hole shared, continued spread of measles, White House to help private sector in 5G development, public retirement facing problems, and Disney+ to launch in November.

These are just a few of the newsworthy stories from this past week.

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7 Spiritual Rules to Live By

Deepak Chopra’s The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success outlines principles of spirituality that can be applied to our everyday lives for well being and success. Below, you will find summaries of all 7 rules and the steps you can take to follow them.

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Newsworthy – Apr 5th, 2019

Amazon lowering prices at Whole Foods, Alabama prisons violating constitutional rights, increasing Chinese influence in Latin America, and concerns over recent outbreaks of the measles.

These are just a few of the top newsworthy items from this past week as first shared on our Facebook page.

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The 4 Pillars of a Healthy Relationship

Relationships can be the most rewarding parts of our lives. They can also be the most trying. A healthy and successful relationship with another human being has a myriad of benefits, including scientifically proven mental and even physical health improvements. An unhealthy relationship results in stress, anxiety, heartbreak, and even potential abuse.

In this article I attempt to distill what I believe to be the four main pillars of any relationship.

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Newsworthy – Mar 29th, 2019

Advances in medicine are outpacing the political debate over drug prices, millions of Americans are facing the risk of contaminated drinking water, a falling average mortgage rate, and a breaking point has been reached at the southern border.

These are just a few of the top newsworthy items from this past week as first shared on our Facebook page.

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A Healthier Relationship With Your Smartphone in 2 Easy Steps

As part of my own personal journey to generate greater wellness in my life, I have decided to make some adjustments to my iPhone, including the utilization of the “Downtime” feature.

The smartphone has become an ingrained part of our daily lives. For the most part, it has been extremely useful and helpful. However, the now almost effortless exposure to people, social media, and the world at large has begun to create some unhealthy side effects.

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Newsworthy – Mar 15th, 2019

The consequences of breeding chickens to grow rapidly, minimalist phones are growing in popularity, FAA grounding Boeing’s 737 MAX fleet, the U.S. Navy is under cyber-siege, and rural American law enforcement unwilling to enforce new gun control measures.

These are just a few of the top newsworthy items from this past week as first shared on our Facebook page.

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