A heartfelt memoir about the repercussions of Lyme disease in one woman’s life.
Wood-Giles’ debut begins with surprising facts about Lyme disease, including the fact that it can adversely affect one’s immune system within just two weeks of infection. The Canadian author, a married mother of two, then goes on to detail her harrowing ordeal, which began while she was training for a physically demanding hike along Ontario’s Rideau Trail. She’d previously experienced leg-ligament injuries while playing hockey, so she was glad to return to intensive exercise. She also felt that the multiday hike would act as a salve for her grief over her father’s death. Due to her previous tenure as a park manager, she knew to get tested for Lyme infection when she discovered several ticks on her back, but she put it off until after the hike was over. Over the ensuing months, Wood-Giles was plagued by lethargy, labored breathing, and endless cycles of colds and viral infections. She also experienced chest pains and rapidly deteriorating cognitive function, which disturbed her supportive husband. She found some hope in listening to religious podcasts, but her feelings of powerlessness and dread grew as her mysterious ailments compounded. Wood-Giles passionately and vividly narrates this often distressing tale, and readers will express concern and apprehension as she navigates a maze of clinical diagnoses, trial-and-error treatment options, and other setbacks before her eventual recovery. She tells of how she became inspired to help others by disseminating lesser-known information about the contraction, incubation, clinical assessment, and treatment of Lyme disease. The author also effectively imparts her knowledge of how sugar, gluten, and stress can be detrimental to the health of Lyme patients. Several pages of resource materials, including a section of lyrically written self-care advice (including puppy therapy!), further fortify this significant, engrossing story.
A profoundly personal and illuminating chronicle on a growing public health problem.