Tips to Deal with Ticks and/or Lyme Disease

Tick_nymph_handNow that the weather is nice, this is the season for ticks, which  means you may be at risk of getting infected with Lyme disease, as well as Babesia, Erlichia, Bartonella and other associated diseases.

If you get Lyme disease and/or a related disease, you may have some or more of the following ailments: fatigue, muscle or joint pain, headaches, mental confusion, fever or chills and swollen lymph nodes.

Why am I bringing this up now?

Well, in the past week, two people (one friend and one acquaintance) sought me out to discuss Lyme disease. They both know that back in 2008, one of those teeny-tiny bugs got far too cozy with me (burrowing under my skin — yuck!) and gave me this Modern Menace. So now I know a bit about this devastating condition.

In 2008, after being afflicted with Lyme disease, I plunged into investigative journalist mode. (My background is as a reporter.)

So I began holding Gab with the Gurus shows to help others, reading books, etc. Therefore, here are some Lyme disease resources for you and your loved ones:

1) First I invite you to read and comment on my op ed piece on AOL News last year about Lyme disease  (

2) Then listen to least year's Gab with the Gurus Shows about Lyme disease.

Listen to internet radio with Gab With the Gurus on Blog Talk Radio

3) Next, I invite you to listen to my very first Gab with the Gurus Show right after I got Lyme disease in 2008, where you'll hear from the following amazing experts:

Please bear in mind that, at the time, I wasn't feeling well when I did this show, because I'd recently gotten Lyme disease myself and was kind of spacey and wiped out. Listen here:

Listen to internet radio with Gab With the Gurus on Blog Talk Radio

4) Then, I invite you to check out another Gab with the Gurus Show, in which you'll learn about the documentary, Under Our Skin. Just go here:

Watch this trailer for this dramatic, eye-opening film.

Listen to internet radio with Gab With the Gurus on Blog Talk Radio

5) Then, see this blog post about Lyme disease, too, and how you can get Bitten in the City.

Now, for a few pointers if you've been out near nature and aren't feeling right:

  • Get some help right away!
  • Bear in mind that fewer than 50 percent of people know they were bitten by a tick.
  • See what's called a Lyme-literate doctor pronto. See info below on how to find a doctor.
  • If you do have Lyme disease, I believe that one week or 10 days of antibiotics isn't enough. Of course, bear in mind that I am NOT a doctor, and I'm not giving medical advice. This is my perspective based on my own experiences and the considerable research that I did. That's why it's imperative to see a Lyme-literate doctor. (See below on how to find a doctor.)
  • Purify your diet big time. Get on what I call a Quality Diet. You don't want your body to be a hospitable host for those nasty spirochetes.
  • In particular, cut out all processed carbs and sweets. This is very important! (After being diagnosed with Lyme disease, I started laughing when the doctor told me to quit sugar. For some reason, in my fatigued, fuzzy-headed state, it struck me as humorous. I'm not sure why, but bear in mind that I felt awful and I'd already been off sugar since 1998.)
  • Educate yourself. You need to learn about this scary disease. I highly recommend Pamela Weintraub's book, Cure Unknown: Inside the Lyme Epidemic. You also may want to read Coping with Lyme Disease and User's Guide to Treating Lyme Disease.
  • Learn more through the knowlwedgeable Lyme Disease Association (LDA) 
  • Find a nurturing group of people who understand what you're going through. For instance, if you live in Manhattan, check out the New York City Lyme Support Group at .

Meanwhile, if you haven't been bitten by a tick, here are some ideas what to do when you go out outdoors:

  • Stay in the center of a trail.
  • Wear light-colored clothing.
  • When you go into nature, wear long pants! Then, make sure to tuck your pant legs into your socks so those little critters can't crawl up under your pant legs. Apparently, some ticks even can crawl down into your shoes. They're even small enough to crawl through socks.
  • Take a shower when you come back from nature.
  • If you don't wear long pants or if you do, make sure that every time you come back from nature, especially tick-infested areas such as in the Northeast, very, very carefully check your and/or your loved ones' bodies body for ticks! This is imperative! (You can even whip out a mirror and a magnifying class to inspect under your arms, near or even in your ears, inside your belly button, between your legs, on the back of your knees, and even near your hair. (One Lyme expert found a tick washing her hair after being out in nature!) That's why, with my long curly hair, I usually hide it under a hat under my helmet if I'm out bicyling.
  • When you're back home, take off your clothing and toss everything in the washing machine and the dryer. Make sure to put the the dryer at high heat, because that's how ticks are killed.
  • Bear in mind that your pets may be tick carriers, too, so inspect them, too. Just think — they often frolic about in nature so when you hug or pet them, those ticks could be transferred to you. 
  • If you do find a tick attached to your skin, pull out a tweezer and pluck it out. Do not pull it out with your hands. At that point, you may even want to get the tick checked for Lyme disease. (URL coming of places that do that.)

If you need to find a doctor, here are some resources:

Would you like to chat about ticks and Lyme disease? Post comments here, on this Sugar Shock Blog and on my Facebook page, at and also my new Facebook page,

Look forward to connecting.

Off Vacationing to Walk My Talk: Do You Take Time for You?

Lately, I've been striving to walk my talk. Sure, I stay away from sugar and refined carbs and work out, but I just work too hard and don't take enough time for me.

So I'm off on vacation now taking some much-needed time for me.

Back on July 13 to help you again.

Do you walk your talk? If so, I encourage you to do so. I'm already feeling much more invigorated and ready to give back.

By the way, if you have sugar issues, did you know that I offer coaching (of course, my time is limited).

If you're fed up with your sugar issues, it would be my honor to help you break free of your sugar addiction. And I know we can do that together!

Please join my for next Tuesday's radio show about Lyme disease. This is a very important show about a fast-growing, infectious disease featuring the director and senior producer of the riveting, must-see documentary, "Under Our Skin."

Lyme Disease: You Can Get Bitten in the City & Country: Learn About this Controversial Infectious Disease With “Under Our Skin” Creators

TICKS CDC_TickSizeComparison Do you spend time outdoors? If so, it's important to pay attention to this blog post. You could unknowingly be the target of a tick, who could give you Lyme disease.

Right now, I'm concerned, because people quickly reading this New York Daily News article may falsely conclude that you can only get Lyme disease in wooded or rural areas in such areas as Connecticut, New Jersey, Long Island and Westchester County.

That's not true. You can get "Bitten in the City," which is evidently what happened to me last year at this time. (You can learn more about Lyme disease and my horrible experiences in last year's radio show, on which several renowned experts shared their insights and info.)

Of course, there's considerable truth to the statement in the Daily News that "city dwellers have less exposure to ticks," as Dr. David David P. Calfee of Mount Sinai tells reporter Katie Charles, but it's false that "Rocky Mountain fever is the only disease known to be transmitted in all five boroughs."

Anyhow, in my opinion, more than 417 New Yorkers got Lyme disease in the city last year. (The New York Daily News News cites another figure — 538 people.)

Let me repeat: It you spend any time at all outdoors — i.e., most Americans — you MUST learn about this infectious disease. Again, I urge you to to listen to last year's radio show, which featured Pamela Weintraub, author of the book, Cure Unkown; Pat Smith, president of the Lyme Disease
Association; Dr. Bernard D. Raxlen; Dr. Steven J. Bock; Dr. Qingcai
Zhang; author Rebecca Wells ("Ya-Ya" novels) and Kris Newby, senior
producer of the “Under Our Skin: The Untold Story of Lyme Disease.”

Next, I encourage you to tune in July 14 at 3 pm EST to my Gab With the Gurus Radio Show for a special show about Lyme disease in which Andy Abrahams Wilson,
director/producer of the poignant documentary, "Under Our Skin," and Kris Newby, the film's senior producer. The film is now playing at selected movie theaters nationwide.

Together, they will open your eyes about the mistruths and controversies surrounding this fast-growing, infectious disease. (Special thanks to Kris for alerting me to this Daily News article cited above and for consistently providing me with lots of background information about
this tick-borne illness.)

Again, let me insist! All Americans need to know about tick-borne illnesses. You see, as many as 2 million to 3 million people around the country, according to some experts, have Lyme disease, but they and their doctors don't know it.

That's because people with Lyme disease are often misdiagnosed as having a variety of other illnesses such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, lupus, ALS, lupus, arthritis or even psychiatric disorders.

Read more about this incredible documentary in this Vanity Fair article.

You can listen to this show live Tues., July 14 at 3 pm EST or later, at your convenience.

Incidentally, because of my horrific experiences with Lyme disease, I've written an op-ed piece, "Bitten in the City: How a Tick Made a Mockery of My Memmory," which will soon be published in a major newspapers. Details coming.

Plus, I'm now writing a book about Lyme disease. The  working title is: "Bitten in the City: Facts &
Fallacies about Lyme Disease." Stay tuned for announcements about it.

Remember, on July 14, on the Gab With the Gurus Radio Show, the creators of "Under Our Skin" will educate you about this horrifying, horribly misunderstood, controversial disease.

Lyme Disease Featured on Dr. Mehmet Oz’s “Oprah & Friends Radio Show”

Tickmatch Hurrah to Dr. Mehmet Oz for discussing Lyme disease on the "Oprah & Friends Radio Show" on Wed. Nov. 26

The acclaimed Dr. Oz — who, of course, appears often on "Oprah" — conducted interviews"Under Our Skin:  The Untold Story of Lyme Disease" filmmaker Andy Abrahams Wilson and reporter Kathy Fowler.

Listen now to the fascinating "Oprah & Friends Radio Show."

I also encourage you to listen to my Gab With The Gurus Radio Show about Lyme disease in August. In the show, I discussed my bout with this menacing disease, and I also interviewed Pamela Weintraub, author of the groundbreaking new book, Cure Unkown; Pat Smith, president of the Lyme Disease Association; Bernard D. Raxlen, M.D.; Steven J. Bock, M.D.; Dr. Qingcai Zhang; author Rebecca Wells ("Ya-Ya" novels) and Kris Newby, senior producer of the new documentary, Under Our Skin: The Untold Story of Lyme Disease.

If you don't know much about Lyme disease, it's spread by a tick, which is smaller than the tip of a match, as seen above.

If you haven't seen the documentary, Under Our Skin, you really should! It's absolutely riveting.

Thanks to Lauren Egler of the Chicago Lyme organization for alerting me to this show and for spreading the word about Lyme disease. Her group just had its 7th showing of the amazing film, Under Our Skin, and 60 people turned out, even in miserable weather, she reports. 

Also, please join Lauren, Dr. Joe Jemsek, Kathy Fowler and other Lyme-literate folks to urge Dr. Oz (email Dr. Oz here) and to write to the Oprah community so that Oprah will do something on her show soon about Lyme disease. It would be great if "Oprah" interviewed Andy, Kathy and others of us, who've had Lyme disease.

Stay tuned here, because shortly, I'll provide a link to a personal essay that I wrote about my confusing bout with Lyme disease when it's published soon online on a prominent website.

Get “Ticked Off” with Writer Tula Karras, Another Lyme Disease Sufferer

What a coincidence!

This afternoon, I’m in my doctor’s office waiting to get an antibiotic injection to kill off my Lyme disease when I find this remarkable personal essay, "Ticked Off," about Lyme disease.

You won’t be able to put down this powerful, poignant personal essay, which appears in the June issue of Self Magazine. In the piece, writer Tula Karras reveals how she endured a decade — yes, 10 years! — of fatigue, brain fog and body aches before getting her Lyme disease diagnosed. Not only that, but friends, family members and even doctors thought she was making up her symptoms!


Questions? Ask Your Questions About Sugar & Lyme Disease on Sept. 23 on my Gab With the Gurus Radio Show

Regularly, I’m swamped with questions about sugar, Lyme disease, life coaching, etc. Unfortunately, it’s just impossible to answer them all — way too time consuming!

So save the date! I’m so excited, because I figured out a way to help you. Yeah!

I’m pleased to announce that on Tuesday, Sept. 23, on my Gab With the Gurus Radio Show, I will hold the first "Just Ask Connie & Company" show.

On this show, which I’ll hold either monthly or bi-monthly, you’ll get your questions answered.

So call in on Sept. 23 at 3 p.m. Eastern. Looking forward to talking to  you then.

Guest call-in number: (347) 426-3366.

Sugar & Lyme Disease — Don’t Have Sugar While Grappling With Lyme Disease, Reader Writes

I love getting mail from readers of this blog. Here’s an interesting e-mail I just received from John in Maryland, who, unfortunately has Lyme disease, like me:

"I have Lyme disease and I wanted to comment on the issue of eating sugar/sweet food/carbs when you have Lyme disease and while on antibiotics.

"Sugar in all its forms (except stevia) is a real problem when you have Lyme and are on antibiotics for months. With a weakened immune system and being on antibiotics…eating sugar is a recipe for disaster.

"Yeast overgrowth is a real problem for people taking long-term antibiotics, and yeast feeds on sugar. That’s why many people (who have good LLMDs [Lyme-literate dotors) are on some sort of yeast control diet.

"The one I’m on (Dr. Burrascano’s) is very strict when it comes to carbs and sugar and sweet fruits etc."

"OK… Like you, I get total brain fog and have cognitive problems so I hope I’m making sense… I just wanted to point out the unintentional link between your sugar education and Lyme disease."

John, thanks so much, John, for writing. You made perfect sense, and what you brought up is so important that I wanted to alert others with Lyme disease, too.

Basically, a good rule to follow is that whenever you recover from any disease, you don’t want to have sugar. You can learn more in my book, Sugar Shock!

Of course, while recovering from Lyme disease, I’m on a sugar-free diet, as I’ve been for 10 years now. Naturally, I’m also making a point to use probiotics as well.

Thanks, John, for talking about Dr. Burrascano protocol. He’s considered a pioneer in the field of treating this disease. For those of you who have Lyme disease or know people who have it, you should check out Dr. Burrascano’s diet and other recommendations, which he goes over in the Managing Lyme Disease section of his booklet, Advanced Topics in Lyme Disease.

For example, he suggests a "restricted carbohydrate regimen."

According to Dr. Burrascano, you can have all the protein food you want such as meat, fish, fowl, cheese, eggs, dairy and tofu.

As for fruits, he says, they "may be a problem because they contain a large amount of sugars. However, if the fruit contains a lot of fiber, this may make up for the sugars to some degree." You can have fruits "at the end of a meal, and never on an empty stomach" and only high fiber fruits and in very small amounts.

For instance, you can have "generous amounts" of grapefruit, lemons, limes, tomatoes and avocado, but you should have "small amouints only" of pears, apples, strawberries, cantaloupe, etc."

You are NOT allowed oranges, watermelons, bananas, grapes and fruit juices. Plus, of course you should never have foods with any kind of flour — no breads, cereals, cake, etc.," Dr. Burrascano suggests.

Pasta is taboo, and he recommends avoiding or limiting starchy vegetables such as potato, rice and beans. Green vegetables and salads are OK.

Sure sounds like a man after my own heart!

Thank You to the Many Concerned Readers! I’m Grateful to You

As I’m sitting here unable to sleep because of my horrific Lyme disease-induced headache (I hate that tick!), I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart!

So many of you have been kind enough to write to me and wish me a speedy recovery since hearing my radio show about Lyme disease in which I interviewed seven top experts and briefly told my story.

Thank you sooo much for writing to me! I really, really appreciate it!

I’m so very grateful to you for your understanding, kindness and patience. 

Anyhow, your wishes seem to have helped! Yeah!

The good news is: I’ve made a huge turn for the better, thanks to the month-plus course of antibiotics, Chinese herbs and supplements I’ve been taking.

Of course, I would never have improved so quickly were it not for my absolutely astute and brilliant friend, the amazing nutritionist J.J. Virgin, who insisted that I get tested for Lyme disease.

See her clever blog post, in which she playfully discusses, "Why did Connie crash and burn?"

Again, when you go outdoors, please, please, please check yourself very carefully for ticks! I would not wish this Lyme disease on my worst enemy (and I don’t have one.)

Everyone, including the woman who got annoyed with me for writing to my list about Lyme disease and not sugar’s dangers, needs to watch out!

After all, I bucked pre-conceived notions when I was "Bitten in the City!"

Without revealing details just yet, I’m dedicating my next book to J.J.

Again, thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

Music: No Need to Turn to Sugar, Drugs, Booze, Etc. When Soothing, Uplifting Tunes Can Lift Your Spirits

Miss_saigon_41nxhr1fhdl__sl160_aa11As I’m sitting here faced by an almost non-stop, ferocious, crushing Lyme disease-induced headache, which makes sleep virtually impossible, I’m easily riding it through, thanks to the fabulous tunes of "Miss Saigon" to which I’m now listening.

Which leads me to ask those of you who are suffering with bad habits: Why turn to sugar, drugs, alcohol and other horrible substances or self-destructive pursuits when music can salve and soothe your soul?

Try it sometime. Turn on tunes instead of rushing to self-defeating behavior. (You know what they are for you.)

Now, I invite you to learn about the benefits of music to lift depression. Just read Tara Parker-Pope’s intriguing story, which she posted earlier this year in the Well blog of the New York Times.

Sugar Shock Blog: Contest to Help Me Come Up With A New Name to Reflect Broader Interests Here

Please, I need your help! Put your thinking caps on. Get those creative juices rolling!

I’ve been ignoring the overwhelming truth: We’ve outgrown the name Sugar Shock Blog. Which is why I’m coming to you for help — I want your ideas on what the heck to call this blog!

Read on, because I have an enticement and awards to get you to contribute ideas!

You see, just as I recently realized that it was imperative to rename my Stop Sugar Shock Radio Show to the Gab With the Gurus Radio Show to more accurately reflect the broader range of subjects covered, it’s evident that I need to change the title of this blog. And pronto. (More like yesterday, a year ago and then some.)

The name, Sugar Shock Blog, doesn’t cut it anymore. For the most part, the title fit perfectly when I began it more than three years ago. (Read my very first entry here on June 7, 2005. But, let me contradict myself — shortly after the blog debuted, I already posted an item about the power of humor — nothing to do with sugar!)

So for years, this blog has outgrown its "Sugar Shock Blog" title. How can such a title reflect the enormous scope of topics covered here, such as:

  • Health & Wellness, from the power of sleeping to the importance of good nutrition
  • Dieting
  • Fitness
  • Personal Empowerment & Self Growth
  • The Power of Humor
  • Lyme Disease Information (my newest interest, given my current, alarming, debilitating bout with Lyme disease myself. Please listen to yesterday’s absolutely fascinating Gab With the Gurus radio show about it; my 7 guests were eloquent, intriguing and smart.)
  • Sugar News & Education (of course)
  • Artificial Sweetener
  • Power of Positive Thinking
  • The Law of Attraction (for instance, I’ve had three authors from The Secret on my radio show — Lisa Nichols, Joe Vitale and Marci Shimoff, who’ve excelled in making things happen.)
  • Happiness
  • Spirituality
  • Meditation
  • Life Coaching & Its Transformative Powers (As you may recall, I’m now a life coach, thanks to the fabulous training from iPEC, as I discussed here and then here.)
  • Health Counseling & Its Amazing Effectiveness (I’m also a holistic health counselor, thanks to the amazing Insitute for Integrative Nutrition, fascinating training which I’ve discussed many times on this blog, including here.)
  • Stress Reduction (I’m about to post a guest article here on this blog, and I’ve also presented a stress-reducation program with much-lauded stress-reductioin expert Jill R. Baron, M.D.)
  • The Power of Play and Having Fun
  • Feeding Yourself From Within
  • Finding Sweetness (not the kind you get from sugar)
  • Self Love
  • Fiction (I even plan to talk about various fiction books from time to time)
  • The Joy of Sports (Remember the times I talked about the Tour de Bronx and the NYC Century Bike Tour?)
  • Creativity
  • Social Networking
  • Blogging
  • Info for Fellow Authors

Help me out, please. What should this blog be called? Ideas? Please send your contributions!

For that matter, the name of my e-zine is outdated, too. Stop Sugar Shock Minute also doesn’t work any longer. So I’m looking for a name which can be adapted to both my blog and e-zine.

So what do you get out of helping me rename it? If your name is picked, you get:

  • 2 free coaching sessions with me (to kick sugar, be more productive, whatever you need)
  • 1 signed copy of my book SUGAR SHOCK!
  • 1 copy of my next upcoming book (details come later)
  • My profound gratitude!
  • A chance to boast to friends and family members (LOL!)

What are you waiting for? Send your contributions now, please!

Thank you in advance from the bottom of my heart for your help!