by Joseph J. Trunzo
If you’ve had to manage chronic symptoms of Lyme disease, you understand the title of this chapter perfectly. There are hundreds of thousands of people worldwide stuck in the Lyme Trap— working to get well and trying to live a meaningful life despite having a debilitating disease that robs them of everything they hold dear. For these people, Lyme leads to untold pain, loss, and suffering—with little consensus from the medical community on how best to help. The purpose of this book is to show you how Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT, said as one word) can help you escape the Lyme Trap and lead a richer, more vital, and more meaningful life while you’re on your journey to wellness.
Lyme is a tricky disease that’s surrounded by controversy in all facets of the illness—transmission, diagnosis, and treatment. You may be all too familiar with these issues already, but it’s worth reviewing them for newcomers, professionals, caregivers, and family members. This chapter alone could be an entire book (several books in fact), but I’ll do my best to present the most important information in a clear, concise, and unbiased way. I strongly encourage you to educate yourself about this disease as much as possible.
People contract Lyme disease when they are bitten by ticks that carry the Lyme bacteria, technically referred to as Borrelia burgdorferi (B. burgdorferi), named after Willy Burgdorfer, who discovered the bacteria in 1982 (Burgdorfer, 1993). Ticks are a type of arachnid, and they feed on the blood of small and large mammals, such as mice, squirrels, other rodents, and of course deer and people. As ticks attach themselves to these animals, they can both pick up and transmit B. burgdorferi through the blood of the host (Embers et al, 2013). There are many types of ticks, but Lyme is mostly associated with the deer tick.
Once the bacteria enter the bloodstream, they start to do considerable biological damage. B. burgdorferi is what’s known as a spirochete. The bacteria have a corkscrew shape that allows them to bore into the cells of the body, disrupt the functioning of those cells, and cause the symptoms of Lyme that can be so devastating.
It often settles in the joints but can also infect organ tissue, other soft tissue, and the nervous system. This is what accounts for the wide range of symptoms one might experience with this illness, earning Lyme the moniker “The Great Imitator” (Pachner, 1989; Burdash and Fernandes, 1991; Stechenberg, 1988).
Living Beyond Lyme - Reclaim Your Life From Lyme Disease and Chronic Illness
Learn to live a rich, vital, and meaningful life despite Lyme disease or chronic illness.
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