I was plagued by what’s called “phantom tick syndrome” for a few days after interviewing Shelley Ball about her book Lyme Disease, Ticks and You. It’s a primer for those who need to access the fundamentals of Lyme disease and other Tick-Borne Diseases (TBDs), quickly. Shelley wanted to write a book that could help others diagnosis and treat Lyme and other TBDs. The book does just that. It educates, informs and terrifies all at the same time.
Shelley became more aware of Lyme disease after she got it from a tick bite back in 2019. After discovering a fully engorged tick on her back she went to the local hospital to have it removed, and to educate herself on what the next steps were to help keep herself safe from Lyme disease and any other TBDs. The ER doctor didn’t seem overly concerned and sent her home with a single “prophylactic” dose of the antibiotic doxycycline.
That quick and misguided visit to the hospital ended up costing Shelley her health ever since. She’s experienced unimaginable pain, suffering that is still lingering to this day.
It seems it’s an absolute nightmare to navigate Canada’s health care system when it comes to diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease, as well Bartonella and Babesia (both caused by a tick bite). To her, it seemed obvious that Health Canada does not recognize chronic Lyme disease as a treatable illness. At the same time, tick populations are on the rise across Canada, and so is Lyme disease. It’s believed that thousands of people are inflicted with chronic Lyme but most doctors will tell you the opposite. Shelley even stated that infectious disease doctors will often refuse to even see you. At least that was her experience.
Shelley ended up going to a private clinic in Ontario that has Lyme-literate medical doctors. There was a long waiting list to get in but it was far better than a few years previous where people had to go to the United States to get treatment.
Having a science background as a research scientist and a university professor, Shelley used her knowledge on tick-borne illnesses and her experience with Lyme disease to create an easy-to-follow essential guide to understanding, detecting and treating Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.
This is an important read. If Lyme is not treated early it can advance into a debilitating disease, with symptoms that can last for years. Lyme Disease, Ticks and You dwells on understanding the science, prevention of tick bites, recognizing Lyme and other TBDs, and also informs how to seek treatment for this convoluted and often misdiagnosed disease.
Check out my full Whisky Fireside Chat on my KCHappyCamper YouTube channel with Shelley. Just be warned, you’ll be itching, scratching and tick checking yourself for a few days afterwards.