DEAR ABBY: May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. I'm a longtime Canadian reader who has suffered from it for many years. More than 300,000 people are infected by this tick-borne illness every year, yet people know little about it.
If someone doesn't recognize the symptoms and seek treatment immediately, Lyme disease becomes chronic and debilitating. For many years it wasn't well understood, and many sufferers like me have gone from doctor to doctor with their long list of symptoms, becoming increasingly frightened and depressed.
Please suggest your readers learn about Lyme disease by visiting ILADS.org or canlyme.com. It isn't as rare as some people believe. It has been found everywhere on the planet except Antarctica. -- LYN D. IN "ABBYLAND"
DEAR LYN: I'm glad to do that. Several years ago, my husband caught Lyme disease while sitting in a friend's living room in California.
Our friend's dog had been running loose through some marshland that afternoon, and several ticks it picked up bit my husband. When he noticed the bulls-eye inflammation, we called our doctor, who said to come in right away and have it checked. After taking one look, the doctor called in his partner -- a doctor from Connecticut -- to take a look. (Lyme disease is named for a city in Connecticut.) They said the rash was "classic."
My husband was lucky for the quick and accurate diagnosis. Because it was caught early, strong antibiotics headed off any serious problems. But not everyone is so fortunate, and people with chronic Lyme disease have been known to suffer for life. A word to the wise: Be informed.Read more in: Health & Safety
DEAR ABBY: My father always wanted a son, but he and Mom had only one child -- me. Now that I am the mother of two boys, he has taken over their schedule and signs them up for activities they often are not interested in pursuing. This results in my spending my time away from work taking them to activities and sports they don't enjoy.
How can I respectfully tell Dad I don't want him doing this? He often calls my children and me lazy if we say we don't want to participate in the swimming, karate, soccer, baseball, gymnastics and other activities he constantly signs them up for. We just want some downtime once in a while. This has caused many angst-ridden arguments. Please help! -- NOT INTERESTED IN ILLINOIS
DEAR NOT INTERESTED: Everyone enjoys downtime once in a while, but if your children are spending their days sitting around, your father may have a right to be concerned. Daily physical exercise is important for good health.
Because none of the activities your father has chosen "for" your sons appeals to them, talk with them, suggest they choose a sport that does interest them and have them sign themselves up for it. Then inform your dad that you no longer want to hear critical comments about your boys because they are not constructive, and if it doesn't stop, he will be seeing less of all of you.
P.S. Because your dad signed his grandkids up for activities, I'm mystified that he wasn't more involved in providing their transportation.Read more in: Family & Parenting | Health & Safety