Saturday, July 2, 2011

We with Lyme are not alone

Today was a special day for several reasons.  I tipped the 1,500 kilometer mart.  I had originally figured that as long as I did 1,000 km, Cycle For Lyme would in my mind be a success.  I further figured that 1,500 kilometers would exceed my own expectations.  Given that I am dealing will Lyme daily now, I have well exceeded those expectations and then some.  To land at the foot of Queens Park this time next week, will be something that even a year ago, I never would have believed that I could accomplish.
I cycled about 38 km to the home of Betty and Bruce Craig today.  I first met them both in Ottawa in May. Betty has Lyme and is just recently getting treatment.  Bruce and Betty not only welcomed the three of us into their home, they fed us a wonderful meal and gave cycle For Lyme a generous donation that is very much appreciated.  As if that was not enough, they even offered that we can park the truck and trailer in there driveway for the night.  Thank you both so very much!
As if dealing with Lyme disease alone isn't enough, it was wonderful to hear all how active Betty and Bruce have been in raising awareness about Lyme in their community.  It continually amazes me that Lyme awareness has ended up being a task that has to be taken on by the victims of this disease, and how community after community is being neglected by local departments of health.  Having traveled from town to town through the Cycle For Lyme route, what people like Betty and Bruce are doing is not only special, it is a vital necessity that for the most part goes without praise. So if you see or know the Craig's, thank them for making your community a safer place to live.
I was quite taken back by the response given to the flyers I handed out today.  Virtually every Cycle For Lyme flyer went to someone who was either well informed about Lyme, someone who had an family member that had Lyme, and one man that I missed by a couple of minutes, told Heather and Gavin that he himself had dealt with Lyme.  On the one hand, this was an excellent day for me to hear all this knowledge about Lyme, yet on the other hand it just further goes to show that Lyme disease is not an isolated and/or rare infection to obtain.  The fact is that the area I cycle today from Brockville to Gananogue is only a three hour drive from where Heather, Gavin, and I live in Newmarket, Ontario.  In other words, on any given weekend, we could drive to this area with our RV and unwittingly end up getting bitten by an infected tick - so why is it acceptable that the majority of doctors in the GTA, or anywhere else in Ontario don't even have the basics about Lyme.  The Ministry of Health knows Lyme is here.  Health Canada knows Lyme is here.  The Ministry of Natural Resources has know for 20 years that Lyme is here - so why are the doctors that take care of our health the only ones out of the loop. 
My Lyme pain was bad this afternoon, but at the same time I find it inspiring.  Although a little on the whiney side this evening, I would have to say that it is pain that makes Cycle For Lyme even more real and more powerful.  After not knowing what was wrong with me for 19 years, talking to people that suffer with Lyme as I have is so helpful.  Now that I am experiencing the return of Lyme, hearing what Betty Craig is going through, the meeting of the minds as it were, is the icing on the cake.  Hearing what Betty has to say is such an effective way of putting what is important into perspective.  That I have the opportunity to do what I am doing today - simply perfect.

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