Bulletin from a Bite

When the tick bit me, infecting me with Lyme, it was telling me something. It was communicating to me that the walls I’d built throughout my life to ward off toxic energies weren’t going to work anymore. They probably hadn’t ever worked, in more than an illusory way, but it had been enough to get me by. Until now.

The moment that I realized that I’d contracted Lyme disease, in that potent instant, my experience of my life radically changed. Prior to this, I’d always been uniquely aware that I didn’t want my life lessons to come in the form of a health issue as I’d observed in others. I’d heard about and read stories of people experiencing great transformations after, or while, healing from a serious illness. I’d also seen how the mantle of illness could substitute for personal identity. I knew that I preferred to meet my life lessons in other forms. I’d even promised that I would willingly show up for those lessons if we could ‘agree to leave my health out of it.’

What I learned, as I shifted from someone without a potentially life-threatening illness to someone with one, was that I didn’t become someone different. I suddenly had a new job and a radically different priority. The path that I’d clearly asked not to have to travel lay before me and it felt like so much of it was unknown and suddenly terrifying. How would I walk through this experience? I was in shock, I shivered, I cried, I hopped onto the internet and looked for information. I was walking through a personal and intense earthquake, grasping onto anything that would help me keep my balance.

A Peaceful Pond in Maine

I’d been vacationing in a lovely home on a beautiful, small pond in Maine with my husband and daughter. The peace and quiet were broken only by the primeval calls of loons. It was an unusual year in that instead of a typical mating pair, five or six of them had recently taken up residence. These striking black and white birds were swimming with and calling to one another day and night. Magic was everywhere on that first morning when my daughter and I were swimming and hanging out on the dock moored just off the shore.

“I think there’s something on your leg.” She pointed just above the back of my knee.

I reached down and could feel that it was a tick. It seemed like it was barely hanging on, and after all, we’d only arrived the afternoon before. It didn’t seem likely that it had been on me long enough to have dug in since I hadn’t been hiking or walking in tall grass. I’d removed a tick or two off of my dogs, so, without even looking, I swiftly pulled it out.

My daughter, trained in tick identification by her naturalist mentor, said, “it’s a dog tick.”

Fine, no problem, dog ticks don’t carry Lyme, I thought to myself. The spot where it had been looked angry and irritated. Each morning, I checked the bite area. Although still swollen, it wasn’t getting any worse and I’d have it looked at when we returned to California. I was beginning to regret my casual approach to removing it, although I was still confident that dog ticks didn’t carry Lyme disease. At most, I reasoned, I’d need to deal with a secondary infection.

The Wake-Up Call

Exactly seven days later, we were in Portland, Maine en route to Concord, Massachusetts.  I awoke, did my daily meditation, and checked the bite, as had become my routine. What I saw caused all time to stop. The room began to spin around me because I saw a ring of red around the bite. A fairly perfect ring, the kind I’d heard about that was an indicator of Lyme disease. My mind didn’t quite know how to process this information. It didn’t seem possible that it was Lyme because it had clearly been a dog tick.  Yet a very distinctive red circular rash known as erythema migrans had appeared. This was the bullseye rash of Lyme disease.

It was slowly dawning on me that the tick must have burrowed in overnight giving it plenty of time to transmit the disease. My cavalier removal of it would have increased the risk of transmision.

Realizing that this disease, which I had seen become disabling for others, was now attempting a coup in my body sent me deeper into a state of shock. I felt my chest tighten, my mind was frozen, and I was certain the hotel room was tilting. In that moment, I couldn’t decide whether to climb back under the covers and cry, or get active and research everything available about Lyme.

Then, I heard, very clearly inside,

‘The tick is not the enemy. The infection is not the enemy. This is not a battle to fight, not a war to win by the decimation of the adversary. Be.’


Continued . . . What The Tick Was Telling Me: My Personal Lyme Story, Part 2

About Zette

Zette Harbour is an iPEC certified life and leadership coach, and, an award-winning professional storyteller, who helps women shed what’s not working in order to live the life of their dreams.

Read more of her column, Successful Awakenings and explore the limitless power of awakening to the brilliant and beautiful story of who you truly are.


*Nothing here should be construed as medical advice. If you feel you have a medical problem, please consult a licensed professional.*

Photo Cred: John Silliman, Unsplash.com