Joy Pelletier Devins felt “crazy and alone” for two years before she was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease in November 2010. This book, based on her “Lymewhisperer” blog, is an informative and relentlessly upbeat resource for health professionals, people diagnosed with the disease and the people who care about them.
Devins has a degree in nutrition and a healthy skepticism of traditional medicine – understandable, given that Lyme disease, which is spread by infected ticks, is a stigmatized illness because doctors disagree on its diagnosis and treatment. If it’s caught early, antibiotics can be effective in curing it. Left untreated, it is a chronic illness with symptoms, including extreme forgetfulness, tingling extremities and anxiety, that come and go unpredictably.
In chatty, clear prose, Devins discusses the many treatments she has tried and approaches that others have found helpful, involving medicines, diet, supplements, exercise and a supportive social network. She also includes interviews she had with doctors who treat the disease. She wisely avoids delving into the controversies dividing the medical community, focusing instead on exactly how Lyme patients can follow the best advice she has heard: “Just get out there and do things.”
Devins dubbed herself the Lyme Whisperer because she thinks of the Borrelia bacterium, which causes the disease, as the invader inside her that she defeats daily with her positive attitude and healthy choices. In fact, she writes directly to Borrelia in most chapters, giving much of this book the feel of an intimate diary. The secret Devins is revealing? “We are not crazy, and we are not alone.”
Feeling isolated and misunderstood are the most damaging side effects of the disease, Devins says. This book is an excellent tool for helping Lyme patients feel less alone. People with other chronic diseases will also benefit from Devins’ humorous, hopeful message and enthusiastic approach to alternative medicine.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.