Joy Luck Club author, Amy Tan, on her Lyme Disease journey: As a Lyme patient, I have joined a club of people with a stigmatized disease that many doctors do not want to treat. While I have been lucky enough to find a doctor who is willing to provide open-ended treatment --and I have the means to pay for --many of my fellow Lyme patients have gone without appropriate care. As a consequence, they have lost their health, their jobs, their homes, their marriages, and even their lives.I now know the greatest harm borrelia has caused. It is ignorance.
Some inroads have been made. More research is showing why the bacteria can become intractable, how it can morph. The CDC, which said Lyme disease infected only 30,000 people a year, revised that number last year to 300,000, and then revised it again more recently, saying it could be as high as one million people infected each year. So why is there no public funding for dealing with this epidemic?
Lyme disease is more prevalent than most people think. It ismore difficult to diagnose than most doctors think. It requires ongoing treatment in many cases. More research is needed before we know how it can be adequately treated, and one day, cured. In the meantime, my advice to friends and family is to be aware and be informed. Realize that Lyme disease has been reported in every state. Wear insect repellent, the 12-hour kind. Check you body and all those crevices that ticks love. Check your loved ones and your kids. And if you are bitten by a tick and suspect you have been infected, go see a Lyme-literate physician. Get treated early and adequately. Don’t wait, as I did, and let a treatable disease turn into a chronic one. #Ignorance #NoPublicFunding #BeAwareBeInformed @amytanwriter