Category Archives: Lyme Disease

Lesson 1489 Border to Border New Hampshire Walk – Followup

A few followups to our epic journey-

Are you okay?

It took about 3 weeks for Griffin’s blisters to heal (they never got infected) and it took about 4 weeks for my torn tendon to settle down to the point where I didn’t need a brace anymore (although I still had to be careful.)

Our doc had us switch from Motrin to Aleve, but Aleve also has some impressive magical toilet properties. Let’s just say that we were both relieved when we got off of all meds.

Who knows why, but my Lyme Disease flared after the walk. It might have been physical stress from the walk, it might have been that I got re-infected along the way. Who knows, but I’m working with my doc on getting that back under control.

Are you going to get an artificial knee? Continue reading

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Lesson 1488 Border to Border New Hampshire Walk – Day 16-3 (the end.)

Day 16-3 Nashua to Massachusetts

 

The Nashua River Rail Trail is a former railroad right of way that travels 11 miles through Massachusetts and ends in Nashua (or vice versa if you are going the other way.) The trail offers a 10-foot wide paved surface for the entire length and a five-foot wide gravel equestrian path for seven miles. It’ a way  for pedestrians, bicyclists, inline skaters, wheelchairs and cross-country skiers to get outside when within the city.

It’s a beautiful trail, wooded and set back from houses and business.

“It smells like fall,” said Griffin as we walked in an area overhung with tree branches. .

It did. The trail was splattered with dropped pine needles and brown leaves that had begun their fall migrantcy from on high to low. There was that sharp smell of trees and plants casting off, getting ready for a rest.

The season was starting to turn. It smelled like the beginning of change. Continue reading

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Lesson 1487 Border to Border New Hampshire Walk – Day 16-2 (It’s the Lyme)

Day 16-2 Nashua to Massachusetts

The Mayor of Nashua: Mayor Jim Donchess had also heard about our walk. He had called me and told me he wanted to join us as we walked through Nashua’s main street.

Mayor Donchess and an aide met up with us at a public square and they walked and listened to what I had to say about the trip.

At first I told them about all we had seen, but then I started telling them about Lyme disease. About how 5 of my 6 children had it. That it took 7 years and 11 doctors before we knew what was attacking our family. That most doctors in New Hampshire, one of the states with the highest incidence of Lyme disease, didn’t know how to diagnose or treat the disease.

That we were lucky, we had stumbled upon a Lyme literate Medical Doctor who had treated us with high dosages of antibiotics for many months. That some of my kids seemed to recover while others including myself seemed to have re-occurrences.

That people were dying of untreated Lyme disease. I told him about the waitress we had met and her son, I told him about how everyone knew someone who had Lyme disease up north and that there were no resources to help them.

I told him about the different symptoms and how in my own family, 6 people had Lyme disease and we all had varying symptoms. That Lyme disease destroys your immune system allowing your weakest link to break.

I told that in southern New Hampshire if you are bitten by a tick you have a 76% chance of being exposed to Lyme disease. That didn’t mean you would get it, but it meant you were exposed. If you were bitten by 2 ticks in one summer, there was virtually a 100% chance you were exposed. Continue reading

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Lesson 1486 Border to Border New Hampshire Walk – Day 16 (7 miles)

Day 16 Nashua to Massachusetts

There is a certain sense of melancholy on the last day of a trip. After today there would be no more walking across our state (and this was particularly true because both Griffin and I had been cautioned by our doctors to give our feet and ankles a good few weeks of rest.) There would be no more life lessons learned by walking through towns we had only driven through before, windows up, radio on.

There would be no more long uninterrupted discussions with my son. What’s on your mind now?

Our sense of unity would be challenged. It’s one thing to spend time with your mom when she is the only company, it’s another to spend time with her when others are around and watching.

There is always a time of grieving that goes on at the end of a most excellent trip.

Griffin and I packed our bags. One bag to be sent home (things that we needed for the hotel) and our trusty packs which held the bare minimum.

After 16 days our backs had gotten stronger, our posture taller. Wearing a backpack no longer felt like a punishment, it felt like having an old friend with us.

Griffin dressed his feet for the walk one last time. Continue reading

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Lesson 1485 Border to Border New Hampshire Walk – Day 15-3 (Good news!)

Day 15-3 – Manchester to Merrimack

By the end of the day, we had made it to a park in the next town on our route -Nashua. At the last minute we had changed our route from following the main drive down to the Massachusetts border going past a large mall to instead walking circuitously on back residential roads to get to a white pole indicating the state line between Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

We had wanted a good resting place for the rocks which we had picked up at the Canadian border and carried with us the entire way.  Proof that we were there, that we had made it.

Because of our route change, we thought our final day was going to be a 15 mile walk. Not impossible but when you considered the injuries, along with the heat, it wasn’t going to be easy.

We added a few miles on to today’s walk so that tomorrow wouldn’t be so brutal. A roadside equivalent of taking from Peter to pay Paul.

We called Marc and he came to pick us up at the park. We were hot, and tired. Even with the constant water we were getting from people and businesses along the way, we were still a little dehydrated. We were done for the day. Continue reading

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Lesson 1484 Border to Border New Hampshire Walk – Day 15-2 (Baby it’s hot out there)

Day 15-2 – Manchester to Merrimack

 

Over the course of our walk, we had moved from the beginning of August to the end of August and while we were past the horrid heat wave of two weeks ago, it was still hot, hot hot.

When you are walking on hot pavement, it can feel even hotter.

Merrimack has wide main streets with commerce on both sides. Griffin and I both realized that our bodies weren’t keeping up with the heat even on top of frequent stops to buy water. The cold drinks were going down quickly and nothing was coming out.

Dehydration can be a killer even for walkers.

To pass the time, I told Griffin about the Hitchcock story I had read last night.

We had discussions about what we saw in our town – from the perspective of walking. Continue reading

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Lesson 1483 Border to Border New Hampshire Walk – Day 15 (Home town and bread)

Day 15 – Manchester to Merrimack

Griffin and I didn’t even need the alarms this morning. Excitement has a way of getting you up and out of bed. Both of us had gotten up with the sun. We only had two days left before we reached Massachusetts and this was the day we were going to be walking through our town. What had seemed so unlikely two weeks ago was now literally coming home to us in a big way.

We were positively giddy.

Both us stood in the living room of our house emptying our backpacks. IN each pack, we only kept one bottle of water. One granola bar. Sun glasses.  Chapstick. My sitting towel. And money.

I thought back to a conversation I had had with some hiker friends. Money, they told me was far lighter to carry than anything else. Bring only what you think you’ll need and buy any extras along the way.

I also put a bottle of Benedryl tablets in my pack– a precaution the doc had warned us to have if there was an allergic reaction from Griffin to his antibiotics. And for the first time during our walk, due to a proliferation of sidewalks (something we didn’t see much of up north), I decided to leave my trekking poles at home. Sidewalks are flat, I didn’t have to worry about twisting my foot (as much.)

And that was basically it. Our packs were now feather light. A weight had literally been removed from our shoulders.

Marc drove us to the place where we had ended the day before in Manchester. After another breakfast of bagel sandwiches and coffee (why not have coffee? We had access to plenty of bathrooms) Griffin and I started the day’s walk.

Yes southern New Hampshire is more populated, yes, there is much more development and construction, but if you look closely, the southern part of the state shares much with the north.

We saw a flock of geese and waited while the birds strolled across the road in front of us. In between the cracks of pavement, under the harshest of conditions, we saw blades of grass valiantly trying to grow and thrive enough to throw off seeds for the next generation.

We saw water, ever present water responsible for bringing life and people to New Hampshire.

And we saw people. All kinds of people going to work, riding bikes, and, even like us, just waking. People everywhere do the same things day to day.

Soon we arrived on the outskirts of our town – Merrimack. The place where Marc and I had moved to almost 25 years ago in order to raise our family. The community where I lived and worked (and yes, on occasion, disagreed with its residents.)

We were coming home. Continue reading

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