Thanks for joining us for the final edition of “My Summer Book Shelf”. While summer may be coming to an end, I think the gals and I will probably continue reading. Probably right through autumn and very possibly on into winter. And we will probably continue sharing what we read right here with you. We might have to come up with a different name though. Maybe something catchy like “My Fall Book Shelf”? Like that?
Moving right along…I have a revelation to share before I talk about the books that I didn’t read this month. Quick, gather ’round. Ready for this? I think I have figured out why I read so slowly. And I figured it out by reading. See this little guy?
This, my friends, is a tick. But you probably knew that. Looking at this photo it is easy to see where the expression ‘full as a tick’ originated. Can you say over-eater?
What does that have to do with the reason why I am a slow reader? Kind of a round-about story. In August 1998, I found a tick in my head on the drive back to El Paso from Tennessee. It was the middle of the night, we were in the car and I felt a lump in my hair. I couldn’t tell what it was, so we turned on the car light and my daughter Lauren plucked an inflated tick from my head. We rolled down the window and tossed it to the winds and didn’t think about it again. Until three or four days later, when I started feeling sick. Like the flu on steroids.
After several doctors appointments and no relief, I remembered the tick. I was tested for Lyme and tested negative for recent contraction but “suggestive of infection at some undetermined time or maybe indicative of past infection or early current response to infection”.
I was treated with a month-long course of oral antibiotics and still felt miserable. So I was referred to an infectious disease specialist. Dr. Lam determined that I had all of the symptoms of Lyme but it was as if I had contracted the infection some time earlier. And then I remembered a trip to Colorado with my family in 1991.
I was so sick on the last day of the trip that my parents drove my car from Colorado to Albuquerque and my then boyfriend (I was divorced!) flew up to ABQ to drive the girls and me home to El Paso. I think that’s when I contracted the disease but it went untreated until seven years later when we discovered the tick in my head.
So, that brings me back to the purpose of this post. I haven’t completely lost track. My sister, Valerie, recently watched an interview with a doctor who contracted Lyme disease that went untreated for years. He has written a book…I know, finally getting to the books…about his experiences with Lyme. And guess what I am reading?
Gone in a Heartbeat: A Physician’s Search for True Healing is written by Dr. Neil Spector. This oncologist-turned-author contracted Lyme disease that went undiagnosed for years while his body became increasingly more debilitated. Spector lived for years with ten percent heart function due to untreated Lyme until he received the heart transplant that restored his life.
This book resonates with me because of the diagnosis Spector and I have in common. But it is an uplifting, inspirational read for anyone struggling with a chronic health condition. Spector encourages readers to take charge of their health or lack of. To ask questions, to trust their instincts when something tells them things are ‘not quite right’ with their body, their health.
As a medical professional Dr. Spector was not a particularly religious man. It wasn’t until he realized that a heart transplant was the only hope for saving his life, that the doctor surrendered his health and life to a Higher Power.
And that is as far as I have gotten in the book. Page 188. Out of 254 pages. The end of chapter 33, which happens to be my favorite number (totally off subject). I do know that Dr. Spector survives the surgery and his health is restored because I found this video of his interview on Fox News.
But I am reading as quickly as I can to discover how the doctor’s Lyme disease was treated. I was given a fourteen day intravenous course of doxycycline, the drug of choice for treating Lyme infection. And the same drug Dr. Spector was given for a mysterious bout of arthritis he had before being diagnosed with Lyme. Once the damage is done by years of undiagnosed infection it is not easily reversed or remedied.
And that brings me back to the books I didn’t read this month. I didn’t read them because I am a slow reader. And I am a slow reader who has trouble staying focused, difficulty concentrating and absorbing information. Symptoms of this disease identified by Dr. Joseph Burrascano, a pioneer in treating chronic Lyme. [source] These symptoms don’t trouble me all the time but mostly when I have a Lyme disease flare up, which tend to occur about this time every year. My flare-ups can be almost unnoticeable some years – I am naturally a little ADD – but this year, I seem to be having a number of symptoms.
All of this to say, I recommend Gone in a Heartbeat for anyone dealing with a chronic health condition. It will give those readers hope.
As for the other books I had hoped to read this month…
slow and steady wins the race. Hopefully, I can report back to you on these next month.
I am thankful that my sister heard Dr. Spector’s interview and shared the title of his book with me. I am grateful to be reminded of my diagnosis as I have developed several health issues out of the clear blue that may be attributed to Lyme. Apparently, the good doctor and I are in good company. Check out this list of celebrities who have been diagnosed with Lyme. Some of them are well-know authors. I want to be an author. Maybe something good can come of this.
Here I am holding my jumbo bundle of health records and the folders I have for each specialist.
Just so you know, I am looking into listening to books to speed up the process of reading. I hope I can surprise you next month by the number of books I have to share with you.
Was this a summer of reading for you? If so, won’t you share the books you enjoyed in a comment below? Then be sure to run by the blogs of Sheila at Making the Most of Every Day, Michael Ann at Out and Back, Christy at r Squared, Katie at The Mishaps and Mayhem of a Solitary Life and Joy at Quilty Joy Joy.
Thank you for “listening” to my long-winded book review? Enjoy a restful, re-energizing long weekend. Please come back to see me again soon.
Hugs and kisses,