It’s tick season here in Michigan, and this year, the little pests are out in full force. In years past, we’ve seen a few here and there…the dog comes in with a couple each summer, and I had one several years back while pregnant with Eloise. I’ve never liked the little things, but for the most part, I’ve not feared them either. That is, until this summer.
I’ve been more attuned to ticks this year because a dear friend of mine was recently diagnosed with advance stage Lyme Disease. She is one of the most beautiful people I know, and she is weathering the disease with grace and amazing faith. But she is suffering, and to witness her journey is both humbling and eye-opening. God has woven so many graces into my life through this woman and her family, but this week, her suffering–and her desire to spread awareness about Lyme, has blessed our family beyond measure. Without her story, I would not have been so vigilant with tick checks here at home. And without her story, we would likely have a very different tale to tell about Lyme here in the little blue house…
Our sweet, teensy Eloise was diagnosed with Lyme on Tuesday, after just a few days of watching a tiny bite on her leg go from unremarkable and skin-colored to red to the telltale bull’s eye rash. Friends, this is a God story if I could ever tell one, because a few months ago, I was convicted in my fear of ticks and Lyme and began praying that God would cover our children and family in this arena instead. I am SO unbelievably thankful for the prompting to pray over this area of our lives! Here’s the short version of our week and why I believe God showed up in a mighty way:
-Last weekend, we noticed a small, skin-colored bump just below Eloise’s knee. It had a hard little top, but nothing out of the ordinary. We’ve been doing tick checks on the kiddos regularly this summer, usually at bath time every other night or so, or when we’ve been in an area where we’d suspect a higher tick population (rare, because we’re usually playing in the back yard). We never noticed a tick on Eloise, and this bite seemed very minor. We made a mental note to keep an eye on it.
-On Monday, three days had passed and the bite was now reddish and looked more like a mosquito bite. Eloise complained about it a little, but didn’t seem to want to itch it much. By bedtime, it was red and spreading out to the left and right, with the slightest hint of a white ring around it. My radar was a bit heightened, but I was trying not to worry. 😉
-By Tuesday, the ring was more prominent, and a new red ring developed outside of the white. A friend confirmed my concern that it wasn’t your average mosquito bite, and I called the doctor “just to be safe.” They had an opening an hour later and we snagged it (that never happens!) Our regular doc was off for the day, but the Dr we saw was proactive and cautious. The presence of an erythema migrans (bull’s eye rash) was so fortunate as a tell tale sign of Lyme. Less than 50% of all Lyme cases present with this rash, and it can come and go quickly. Eloise was prescribed an antibiotic and should heal well with early treatment.
-By Wednesday, her leg was looking less remarkable again–the bull’s eye was already on its way out. Can I say how thankful I am that timing was what it was?! We might not have caught the very obvious symptom only 24 hours later.
Leaving the doctor’s office on Tuesday, I was admittedly questioning God a bit, “My little girl? Really?! She’s so tiny! Why not me, instead? I’ve been praying about this, so why the bite? And Lyme?!?! I asked you to protect her!”
I’m not proud of this course of thinking, but I am grateful for it. Over the past few days, and as I’ve read even more about Lyme, God has answered my questions, one by one. He did protect our sweet little girl–in a mighty way! Considering that we never even saw a tick on her (the nymphs that bite and primarily spread Lyme are about the size of a poppy seed), how amazing is it that both her bite and the rash were in an obvious and prominent place? How fortunate are we that Eloise had a rash at all?! How blessed to have health care and great doctors and medicine at our fingertips, that she could be treated early, and that we have access to the appropriate follow up to ensure her health and a full recovery!
And how incredible that God is always turning beauty out of ashes, using one person’s story to make waves and make a difference in the lives of others! I would not ever wish the pain and struggle that my friend is experiencing in her fight against Lyme right now…on anyone. But I know that her heart is to glorify God and to serve Him through her story, and just look! I am so humbled by the way God moves and weaves and protects and carries us.
I wanted to share about Eloise and the week we’ve had because I think awareness is super important. I don’t want anyone else to miss out on treatment at the earliest possible stage, and by nature of where we live, I do want others to know that Lyme is a very real thing. A little soap-boxy, perhaps, but bug spray and tick checks go a long way
To learn more about Lyme, symptoms of Lyme, and what to do if you suspect it (rash or no rash), I’ve found the following links helpful:
Children’s Lyme Disease Network (also linked above)
In case you’re wondering, Eloise has exhibited just a few other symptoms, which I would describe as flu-like and mild in nature. She’s had a very low-grade fever here and there throughout the week, is low-energy with a reduced appetite, and has complained of her leg and knee hurting her, especially when there is any pressure applied to that area. Joint pain and swelling to the knee are also indications of Lyme in children, so something to consider if your child displays any of the above symptoms through these summer months.
Below are pictures of Elle’s rash as it looked on Monday night and in the doctor’s office Tuesday, as well as a new favorite photo of our girl drinking her “coppee!” this morning on a family outing. Thanks so much for your prayers and well wishes this week for our sweet Eloise!