Closer Than a Tick on a Hound Dog

I’ve never been fond of ticks.  I once accidentally picked up a well-fed tick off my kitchen floor, thinking I had dropped a blueberry. That was thoroughly disgusting – and it was a while before I was able to eat a blueberry again. Most ticks, however, are smaller than that.  Often they go unnoticed. 

I live in the midst of tick country.  Lyme, Connecticut, is not too far away from my home and the corridor where I live is known for its lyme disease carrying ticks. We get our dogs a lyme vaccine each year and we use a tick preventative on their fur coats. I’m careful to watch for ticks on their skin, and don’t even mind pulling them out. However, I guess I should have put some prevention on my hair. Somewhere, sometime in the recent past…I evidently had a tick that stuck quite closely to me.  I never even knew it was there.  Yet, it snuck on in and wreaked some havoc with me.

As previously shared, I recently had a heart catheter ablation.  It was actually a very needed and successful procedure, yet I started feeling worse than before I had it.   I read some people’s posts after they had their procedures, befuddled by their comments on the joys of their now quiet heart. I was truly happy for them – but knew something was wrong with me.

A couple weeks after my ablation, I was longing for that quiet heart. Things had gotten noisy for me.  I couldn’t sleep most nights, and felt like I was wired to an IV full of adrenaline mixed with caffeine.  I felt my heart beating through my eyelids, fingertips, ears, throat and my body would involuntarily start to shake. My pulse went up along with my blood pressure.  I could have taken orders for overnight house cleaning, gardening and various busywork – and gotten a lot accomplished…as I was on overdrive. It was truly miserable!  I found some relief from a prescribed medication, but unfortunately it was only treating the symptoms.  I was begging God for relief, most nights keeping music in my ears to try to gain some distraction.  I watched more  middle of the night “Chopped” and “Cupcake Wars” than I care to remember.

Today I saw my primary care physician and my cardiologist.  (Yes, the one with the 1950’s office).  I’m so grateful to have an astute physician who followed her hunch.  She had a premonition of what might be at the root of things and ordered a test for me last week – a western blot lyme test.  The positive result caused she and the cardiologist to let me know I had an acute case of lyme.  (A tick -or rather the lyme infection it had left me with, had been messing with my heart.)  Evidently, the prodding from the procedure (and possibly a flight) had stirred things up with the infection and caused these crazy episodes.  This news was a great birthday present, as I learned the root cause for my issues.  Once they get the heart rate down in about a week through medication, I can begin the lyme treatment and should see full and complete recovery!  My cardiologist stated I was “one lucky person”, as he thought that 99 out of 100 doctors (including him) would have never thought to check this. He felt that he would be pulling out his hair wondering what to check next.   I am very, very grateful.  Two scriptural principles stand out to me.

Jeremiah 6:14-16
    They dress the wound of my people
        as though it were not serious.
    ‘Peace, peace,’ they say,
        when there is no peace.
    [15] Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct?
        No, they have no shame at all;
        they do not even know how to blush.
    So they will fall among the fallen;
        they will be brought down when I punish them,”

says the Lord.
    [16] This is what the Lord says:

    “Stand at the crossroads and look;
        ask for the ancient paths,
    ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
        and you will find rest for your souls.

This scripture teaches me that it does no good to put spiritual band-aids over life (spiritual, emotional and physical) issues that must be pulled out by the root….or to tell people they are okay with God, when in fact God’s own words may say differently. We must “test” our lives by God’s word to know the good way, to choose it and walk in it.  This choice can give rest for our souls.

Also, Proverbs 20:5 teaches me that I need others in my life to help me “diagnose” the things in my heart.
The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters,
        but a man of understanding draws them out.

I’m feeling grateful for the woman of medical understanding that looked deeper than the surface, to what lay under the band-aid.  I’m grateful for those who have helped me see these things spiritually as well.

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  1. Bonnye Stare

    I’m so sorry you are having to go through this. My prayers will be for your complete healing. I ‘m grateful for your astute doctor. We never know what will be next!

    • jeanieshaw

      Thanks Bonnye. It’s really special to me to be reconnecting.


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About Jeanie Shaw

After retiring from forty-five years in full-time ministry, Jeanie Shaw went back to school to earn her master’s and doctorate in spiritual formation and discipleship. She also serves as a certified Christian life coach who loves helping people discover the joy, peace, and purpose that come from finding and following God’s plan for their lives. She has taught classes and workshops all over the world and has written numerous books. She has four grown children, eight grandchildren, and a golden retriever who thinks he is human. When she is not reading, writing, coaching, teaching, or enjoying her family she might be found walking along rivers, learning new lessons about life.

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