Monday, July 3, 2017

A gardener's tragedy, part 2

Resource: Center for Disease Control
Since I was diagnosed with Lyme disease I have been doing some research on it, of course. I'd like to share with you what I learned because I want my fellow gardeners to be aware and to be safe!

I look out over my yard and I'm gripped with fear and a nagging notion that something I love turned on me. (Sorry for the drama.) How can I have ticks in my yard?. But then I read a few facts and now I know how they are in my yard. My back yard is about 100 feet deep. Then there's a six foot solid fence, fencing off the neighbor behind the fence. Then there is a woods. I love all these things. But its only a couple hundred feet from my yard to the woods.

I love looking out on my back yard early in the morning to see wild critters in it - the rabbits, the possums, the assortment of birds. The deer in the woods fortunately haven't figured out the salad buffet that awaits them over the fence, thankfully. But the Center for Disease Control (CDC) says all of these animals are little tick-carrying critters. Yes, even the birds. And, mice are tick-carriers. So there is no deficit of four-legged transportation bringing the nasty things into my lawn and garden.

Like you, probably, I've heard many horror stories about Lyme.  I learned that there are four levels of Lyme. Mine was diagnosed at Level 1, and this is the level at which one can take the doxycycline antibiotic and be cured. However, you never know if you are cured because you will always test positive because our bodies produce antibodies, so we'll test positive even tough the bugs are gone.

The commonly-known bulls-eye from a tick bite is not accurate. Some say it only happens 30% of the time. CDC says up to 80%.

The horror stories come from the poor people who have Lyme and didn't know it, yet their health spiraled downward with horribly serious problems. People have been misdiagnosed with other illnesses and the real culprit was missed. Lyme affects every organ system and wreaks havoc when left untreated. There are a lot of conjectures floating around, such as is Alzheimers really undiagnosed Lyme disease? Then there's the Conspiracy Theory - honest - look up Plum Island.

Go here to the CDC website to learn more facts.

So, I bought myself a can of Off Deep Woods insect repellent with 25% DEET to kill the little buggers - or bugs, I should say. Wearing long pants, sleeves, and socks will help, but not practical when it is almost 90 around here.

Go here for an article to prevent ticks in your back yard.

Let me know what you think of this Lyme disease problem.

Now I have to figure out how to get rid of the poison ivy in my backyard. Do you have any ideas?

Be safe, gardeners,



  1. Oh my, my friend,
    I am so sorry you picked up Lyme Disease. And seeing that you are now well-versed on the condition, I certainly do hope the antibiotics will help you. How long do you have to take them?

    I too, have Lyme Disease but it was only diagnosed long after the fact. I have peripheral neuropathy and other problems resulting from the original disease. They only found it after doing estensive antibody testing. I probably picked it up as a child in California. We lived in the mountains and raised horses.

    But, back to your garden - How is it doing so far? And next time, maybe you can adds some pictures of your beautiful flowers. Stay well, Karen

    1. Oh Karen, I am so sorry to hear you've been living with Lyme most of your life and what it's done to your health! Wow, I don't think most of us know how dangerous and what a serious threat to our lives this thing is! Makes me very grateful for "supposedly" catching it early. You should write a book about your experiences! You're such a great writer!

  2. I almost forgot - Happy Fourth of July!

    1. Happy Fourth of July, Karen! I love our country!

  3. Sorry to say, DEET does not kill ticks. It doesn't even do very well as a repellent of ticks. Permethrin is the preferred repellent. Best wishes to you for safe gardening!

    1. Thanks, Kate. I will read the link. The OFF Deep Woods says "Long-lasting protection from ticks...etc." Doesn't really say what it does, doe it?

  4. Thanks for all this info. I used to think I had to go into the woods for ticks to be a problem. Hard to think of our gardens in ths negative way. Good luck with your treatment.

    1. Linda, you made my day. I wrote this to help gardeners see that we are all susceptible to this "bug bite" illness - especially learning that the birds can carry and drop theses ticks all over the place! We need to take precautions - not quit gardening!!