Inspiration From a Family of Fighters

Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 30-07-2010-05-2008


“Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional”. My sister, now an OT, first uttered these words to me when were both in high school and I was stricken with a severe case of the “poor me’s”; I had just had my leg operated on after a running accident and had to spend eight long weeks on crutches. Unfortunately, this wouldn’t be the first or last time she’d have to say this to me. In all honestly, she shouldn’t have had to. I’m surrounded by a family of fighters who have battled against the odds over the years to fight things such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, Chiari and then there was my son born seven years ago, the biggest fight to live I’ve ever witnessed.

Let’s start with my father: At the age of 41, my father had his first heart attack. It was a frightening time for the family. My mother was a stay-at-home mom with six small children to look after. My parents had a mortgage and my father owned his own business, so another loan/mortgage to pay off. I was very young at the time and didn’t fully understand all that was going on, but I did understand all the changes my family then made to help my father regain his health. There were diet changes, activity changes and even as children, we grew to know the word “stress” very well. At first making these changes weren’t easy. You’ve got a hot summer’s day with the opportunity to eat a hotdog with chips presenting itself at a barbeque, but you instead opt for salad, fruit and water. Really? But my dad did make that choice and has continued to make that choice again and again. He started an exercise regime that has stayed with him to this day of his 78th year. He also quit smoking, another feat that considering it was the 70’s and everyone was smoking, there were no cessation programs,  made it  even more difficult to achieve. He has had to battle every day since the initial heart attack to stay healthy and well  so far succeeding  and becoming  one of my biggest influences and inspirations to date.

One of my sister-in-laws has been fighting Chiari Malformation for a few years now. Her symptoms present themselves in ways very similar to Lyme and we both have an understanding of each others debilitating pain. Though I have recovered mostly from mine, sadly she has not recovered from hers. A fall off her horse back in October 2007 precipitated the onslaught of the disease which has left her not only in pain, but at times paralyzed on one side, unable to leave the house. And she bears it all with a grace and humility that is humbling and inspirational. She is also a strong advocate for her own condition which has helped inspire me to take up the cause of advocating for others with Lyme.

My other sister-in-law is fighting cancer. She was diagnosed just two years ago but has already undergone major surgery as well as many bouts of chemotherapy which have left her sick and nauseous and often times in great pain. Throughout it all she never complains and if you were to speak with her you’d never know from her lips what she has been going through. She is determined to beat the disease and is putting up a tremendous fight with a spirit, that if it could only be bottled and I could take a dose of it every day, I’d be a much, much better person for it.

And then there is my son: Seven years ago at 2:00am my second son was born at home. My mother, sisters, sister-in-laws, nieces, husband and father were all on hand to welcome him into the world. However, he was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, was bluer then blue, had lungs full of meconium and needed immediate resuscitation. For all who were there that day, the fear that he would not make it was far too great to speak of. Silently we prayed that the mid wife would be able to clear his lungs and get him breathing. But I knew, I knew my boy was a fighter. He was so strong in the womb that I just knew he would make it. And so I remained silent and to the rest of my family, uncharacteristically calm. He fought and he fought and if ever there were inspiration in my life to continue to fight and believe that the worst possible outcome is not a foregone conclusion, it was experienced that morning as my son pulled through, started to breathe, kick and cry. This minor setback at birth has hindered him in no way and he has grown up to be the healthy, active and loving child!

To all these inspirational fighters, and others I have yet to meet,  I vow to continue my fight for all those battling to regain their health and well-being.  With every mile I run I feel closer to achieving that goal. You’re my inspiration and my reason for running and together we’ll all get across that finish line.

Week 4 of NYC Marathon Training

Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 28-07-2010-05-2008


A few people have mentioned that I ought to keep a video diary of my experience training with chronic Lyme Disease to run the New York City Marathon this November 7, 2010. I kind of  like the idea too as it does put a human face on who is doing all this running. So, here we go. This week’s update is a video of yours truly discussing how the training is going. Please feel free to leave a comment (or donate to the cause!)

Lymerunner, NYC Marathon Training Week 4 from angela coulombe on Vimeo.

Back on Track – Lymerunner featured in the Biddeford Saco Courier

Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 24-07-2010-05-2008


^ Click here or on the image above to read the full story titled: Back on Track.

In an effort to get the word out and raise awareness  about Lyme Disease, I’ve been doing a few local newspaper interviews. Never doubt the power of local press. Already I’ve had quite a few phone calls and emails from others with Lyme Disease who, like me, need someone to talk to about the disease. I’m astonished even now that there are so many people affected by this disease and it does seem obvious that more needs to be done to raise awareness about it. So, in my best efforts to do so, starting with the local press seems like a great way to go. Here is an article that appeared in this Thursday’s Biddeford Saco Journal (July 22, 2010).

Photos from the Yarmouth Clam Festival

Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 23-07-2010-05-2008


Last Friday, July 16, Lymebuddies, Lymerunner and Lyme Disease Awareness all pulled together to create a float for the Yarmouth Clam Festival. The theme of the festival was Local Champions: ” the champion is in the eye of the beholder, so show us who yours is!”

While Lyme Disease is not as well known as some things, and most do not understand what the disease is all about, this seemed like the  perfect way to help people understand the fight that occurs daily for people with Lyme. We are all Lyme Fighters, we are all champions.

We found out one week before the parade that our float had been accepted to participate in the parade. Unbelievably, we not only pulled it off, but managed to win second place for a non-profit organization!!! Champions – YOU BETCHA!!!!!

^ Assembling the float at Yarmouth Junior High School. The theme was a backyard theme with lawnchairs, picnic basket, hay bales and a fire. The truck’s bed had a tent, deer and trees on it.

^ Two lovely ticks rocking out to “Beat It”.

^ Amie Levasseur and Angela Coulombe of Lymebuddies/Lymerunner

^ Prepping the tick to be scary and menacing.

^ Close-up of the float’s banner. Kudos to Amie Levasseur!!!

^ Amie Levasseur, Jessica Platanitis of Lyme Disease Awareness, Angela Coulombe (aka Lymerunner)

^ Second place, wow!!!!

^ Ted St. Amand of Atlantic Pest Solutions watching on as the group celebrate 2nd place award.

^ Group photo on the float.

^ Holding on tightly to the second place trophy

^ Thumbs up to all Lyme Fighters!

^ Lymerunner being chased by a menacing tick during the Yarmouth Clam Festival parade.

^ Lymebuddies’ float on the Yarmouth Clam Festival parade route. Huge crowds lined the street cheering us on.

^ Lymerunner still being chased by menacing ticks! Aaaaagggggghhhhhh!

^ Lyme fighters waving to the parade crowds.

^ Lymerunner’s perspective of the parade.

^ Amie Levasseur holds the second place trophy high atop the Lymebuddies float at the Yarmouth Clam Festival parade.

^ Lymerunner and ticks run the whole 1.3 miles of parade route to the applause of cheering crowds.

Yarmouth Clam Festival Parade

Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 20-07-2010-05-2008


How to make your own Tick costume. For the body, you’ll need:

1 black hoodie, 3 pairs of black football (soccer) socks, black thread, fishing line, wadding to stuff socks.
For the pincers on the head, you’ll need: 1 headband, wire, black electrical tape.

Below are my two sons wearing their homemade tick costumes during the 2010 Yarmouth Clam Festival parade. Lymebuddies/Lymerunner/Lyme Disease Awareness float took 2nd place. Thanks boys!!! You did your mom proud.

^ Click to view larger image.

Lymerunner’s Story on WCSH6 – Lyme: Beyond the Bug

Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 10-07-2010-05-2008


I’d like to send out a huge Thank you to WCSH6, Portland, Maine for having the courage to launch a four part series about the controversy surrounding Lyme diagnosis, treament, and for highlighting what it is like to live with Lyme. Kudos to Sharon Rose for doing such a tremendous job with this difficult subject. My children were 3 and 8 when I became ill with Lyme. It was hard to explain to my three year old why I could no longer pick him up, why I had to go to bed BEFORE him, why I couldn’t play with him, etc. My sons are now old enough to understand and this series played a huge part in explaining it to them. Sharon, today’s 6 mile run, again around Back Cove, is dedicated to you and the staff at WCSH6. Thank you for letting the voices of those of us battling Lyme be heard! Also, thank you for compiling information about Lyme, tips to avoid it, resources and more on your website.

Please visit the homepage of WCSH6’s website, under Health Beats,  for more information about Lyme.

Day 3- running in extreme heat!

Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 09-07-2010-05-2008


Day three of my NYC marathon training has arrived. Maine, like the rest of New England and other states, is experiencing a heat wave. Temps have been ranging from 70F-, well, on Tuesday the thermometer in our house had the outside temp at 105F, not sure how reliable that was, but it sure did seem plausible! And the humidity… yes, 100% humidity (I have no idea what that percentage is based on as I’m not a meteorologist but it certainly means something to my body!) Okay, so we all get it, right, it’s been hot! Thing is, Lyme doesn’t like heat or humidity, or at least my Lyme doesn’t! My training was going so well when temps were below 70F with no humidity. Sure, there were minor set backs, but generally, I was okay to run. This week, the going has been hard!

Day one of NYC Marathon Training Day One, 4 mile run @6am in 80F Day 2 of NYC Marathon TrainingDay 2, 4 mile run @6am in 77F Day 3 of NYC Marathon Training Day 3, 3 mile run @12 noon in 80F. Still smiling!

I’m following Hal Higdon’s novice marathon training. My running days are Tue, Wed, Thu and my especially long running days are Saturday, with cross training on Sundays. Rest days are Mondays and Fridays. I am already referring to these days as sacred and blessed!

I figured the first 7 weeks of my training would be quite easy as I have pretty much done all these distances in the same running day pattern since February of this year. The only thing I have not counted on being such a big factor in all this is the heat! Granted, it has been unusually high in New England, and let’s face it, the marathon is in November where I’m quite certain the temps will NOT be in the 80Fs, but for now, it’s a bit of a set back. A friend of mine who ran the Maine marathon last year did warn me about training in the heat by sharing some of her horror stories with me, but of course being me, I figured; that’s her, not me.

Well, I’m going to try to avoid any horror stories of my own. I think running in anything about 75F at noon is not so wise so I’ll just have to plan my runs earlier or later (though I prefer earlier just to get them over and done with). The unusal heat is supposed to break soon, this weekend I believe, so fingers crossed this Saturday’s run, which I will do with my NYC Marathon partner, Martha Hall, a short 6 miler, will be comfortable and easy.

The biggest challenge of this whole marathon attempt is to continue to manage my Lyme so that it does not flare up and cause me too much pain whilst getting in all the training necessary in order to successfully run 26.2 miles in November. This means being clever with the obvious, I guess, and so, I will persist but will adapt my running schedule to acheive this.

If anyone out there reading this has any tips at all about running in extreme heat and humidity, please feel free to leave a comment or get in touch Thanks.

WCSH 6 Promo: Lyme-Beyond the Bug

Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 06-07-2010-05-2008


Below is a video promo for the Sharon Rose Series, Lyme-Beyond the Bug starting tonight at 6pm on WCSH6

WCSH6 Sharon Rose blog

Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 06-07-2010-05-2008


As mentioned in the post below, I was recently interviewed by Sharon Rose of WCSH6 news for a piece on Chronic Lyme Disease. Below is her blog entry about the project. Lymerunner will be featured in the Friday segment, so please watch!!!

Wow!  It has been awhile since there’s been a new entry in the ol’ Morning Report Blog spot.   Lee, the usual keeper of the blog, has been on vacation.  And I haven’t blogged for… I don’t know… two months or so(?).

I have a pretty good excuse.  At least I think so.  I’ve been working on a HUGE project: a series of reports on Lyme disease.  More specifically, what’s known as “chronic Lyme disease”. It’s a condition that is believed to develop when severe or late-stage Lyme disease goes untreated and/or does not respond to a standard 2-4 week course of antibiotics.

This project has been all-consuming and, by far, the most challenging assignment of my 20+ year career.  You see, chronic Lyme is steeped in layers of controversy.  And since I’m not an MD, the research for these reports has been quite daunting.

Everything from the reliability of the lab test for Lyme disease… to the way the Lyme-causing bacteria behaves in the human body… is up for debate among doctors and researchers.  On one side, those who say chronic Lyme is much more prevalent than anyone knows.  On the other side, a medical establishment that doesn’t even recognize the existence of chronic Lyme. Meantime, people’s lives are being devastated by the disease.

“Devastated” — now there’s an overused term.  But in this case, it’s accurate.  What I have learned about chronic Lyme over the last several weeks could rival the plot of any horror movie. The bacteria that causes the disease can attack every part of the body, including the brain.  Patients suffer not only crushing pain and fatigue, but terrifying mental symptoms.  The people I interviewed shared stories about the “fog” that enveloped their minds, making them forget how to drive a car… read… or even count money at the grocery store.

At the same time, they’re forced to deal with doctors who tell them it’s all in their heads… or it’s just stress… or there’s nothing that can be done for them.   If they do manage to find a so-called “Lyme literate” doctor to help them, they often have to deal with insurance companies that deny coverage for long-term or “experimental” treatment.

The interviews for this series have taken me from Hampden to Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  I have spoken to doctors, activists, Lyme sufferers and survivors, and their families. My desk is piled high with papers and studies about Lyme and chronic Lyme disease. I’ve been having work-related dreams.

I’m not complaining, mind you.   This is the kind of work that really gets my blood pumping.  And it will soon come to fruition.  As I’m writing this, Gary Sturtevant, my videographer and partner on this project, is sitting 20 feet away in an edit bay, putting together the first report.

The series will run on our 6:00 p.m. news, Tuesday through Friday.  The first two parts will delve into the debate over chronic Lyme.  The third part will focus on the high profile suicide of singer/songwriter Bill Chinnock after a 9-year struggle with chronic Lyme.  And we’ll wrap things up on Friday with a story of hope — a woman who has recovered from a severe case of Lyme disease and is now doing something remarkable to raise awareness and money.

I hope you’ll watch.

And after that… I’m taking a few days off.

Read her blog here:

Lymerunner Featured in TV Interview

Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 05-07-2010-05-2008


Lymerunner was interviewed in May of this year, official Lyme Disease Awareness month in Maine, by Sharon Rose of WCSH6 news. What started off as a story of a single individual (me), grew into a 4 part series on Lyme Disease. The series starts Tuesday, July 6 during the 6pm news slot and will run until this Friday, July 9, 2010 with my interview. Please watch if you can, but if not, watch this spot for updates and video! Special thanks to Tom, Lisa, Jim, Brett and Chris, my Back Cove Posse!

^Sharon Rose of WCSH6 interviewing Lymerunner, May 2010

^ Angela Coulombe and Sharon Rose of WCSH6 news, May 2010