An artist shares her experiences on creatively developing, tending to and nurturing her garden as spiritual sanctuary for herself, her friends and family. Gail Allen contributes her thoughts on creating a sacred space as an oasis for soothing your soul in today's busy world, enticing your senses and and fostering your own personal growth

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Gardening, Patience and Lyme Disease -Gail Allen

"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Patience is a virtue and gardening involves so much patience. There are times when you can create an instant garden, like I mentioned in the post below, but creating an outdoor garden and letting it evolve into a mature landscape takes time,  planning, a lot of work, willingness to change as nature dictates and patience. Our gardens have been a work in progress for over 14 years and are over 4 acres in size. There are evergreen gardens, perennials, a water garden, hosta garden, vegetables and woodland garden.

It has been months since I have written, primarily because I have had to limit drastically my involvement with a myriad of my endeavors. Right now, I am having to put most of my energy into my paintings as you can see on my Easel Tides blog: Easel Tides: Gail Allen's Artistic Journey.

Gardening is my second favorite pastime, which I have always also pursued with vigor. The reason for the abrupt stop to the gardening, and this journal is: About two years ago after spending weeks in April and May clearing out a large amount of underbrush, to plant a new area near a garden shed, I became extremely ill, fatigued and couldn't walk well - or for more than 8 to 10 feet, dragging my left foot as I walked. I developed a large (18" diameter) raised red rash on my stomach. Severe headaches, like migraines, joint pain and numbness followed. Soon my memory was fading, my words were slurring, getting all mixed up and I had a short term bout of bells palsy numbness of my face. After many tests and months of extreme pain and anguish, I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. To make a very long story short, my point in this post is to make gardeners aware of the dangers of Lyme Disease. If you Google the term Lyme Disease,  there are so very many stories and sites that will explain the symptoms and how to prevent it. I will put a list at the end of this article. Most cases show up in June, July and August, as it takes a few days to weeks of having  (the deer tick), the culprit that causes the disease, attached, to infect you. The deer tick is found in long grass or brush and is about the size of a pin head. It can be easily mistaken for a small mole, or possibly not even seen, except for the slight itchiness at the site of the bite, which is not necessarily where the rash occurs.

I still garden, but for this year, as I undergo long term antibiotic treatment for stage three or tertiary lyme disease and the symptoms wax and wane, sometimes to a debilitating extent - I have had to exhibit the pace of nature - patience. The weeds are slowly taking control, but thanks to the drought conditions we have faced in this area this summer, the weeds have been a bit contained and some have even died. I've been somewhat lucky in that. I'll be posting some summer pictures soon. 

For gardeners of all types, I hope you read up and make yourself aware of prevention and treatment of Lyme Disease. Don't wait to be stricken. Cases are on the rise at alarming rates, it simply takes education of how to prevent being bitten - by dressing properly, using the correct lotions or sprays to deter them and checking yourself as you come in from gardening in your yard. 

Some sites to explore: