Annual Picnic

It’s incredible how quickly a year can pass. It seems like just yesterday we were preparing for the 15th Annual Potluck in 2017… but here we are 11 months later…


Harts Of Lyme is happy to be sponsoring WA’s 16th Annual Potluck Picnic for those who live with BorreliaEtc and their families/caregivers! We’ve booked Pt. Defiance Park, the Gig Harbor View Point Picnic Area (along 5 Mile Drive) for the 3rd Saturday of September.


Topics we are hoping to talk about:

Pranayama Yoga and Meditation
Medical Cannabis
Qigong Healing

But as normal (last year was very special) all we truly “plan” for is for an afternoon of relaxation, conversation, support and sharing with wonderful people and equally wonderful food.

There is no cost to attend, if you wish to donate towards next year’s picnic there will be a donation box but it is entirely voluntary.

Important details:

Who: patients with chronic, complex illnesses and those who support them (family, friends, medical professionals, other interested community supporters and even well-behaved four-legged friends).

What: The 16th Annual WA Lyme Picnic (a potluck) sponsored by Harts of Lyme (patient Anna and her parents Lorraine and Matt). This is a special event for the Community at large to gather one more time before winter settles in, it’s a low-key social gathering.


Please RSVP to either [Facebook] event page. You are welcome to send a private Facebook message or email Anna at

If you have any questions, please ask away!

When: Saturday, September 15, 2018 from 2 p.m. til we go home

Where: Point Defiance Park, Tacoma, Washington, Gig Harbor Viewpoint picnic area/shelter.


Follow Five Mile Dive from the park entrance to the event area at the tip of the peninsula. We will put up green balloons to help lead you.

To learn more about this picnic area and view a map, follow this link:

There will be a parking lot and handicap-accessible restrooms just a few steps from the picnic shelter.

Why:  Our mission and vision of this event is to share a relaxing afternoon and evening where we can reflect, share, have conversations and visit with old friends and welcome new ones in a beautiful and tranquil setting.

What to Bring:

Yourself and those who support you!

This picnic is a potluck so we ask that you to bring food to share with others.

***Due to the dietary restrictions for many, please note the following guidelines: please bring a written ingredient list and specify whether your food is organic or nonorganic; this information should accompany your potluck contribution on the table.

Please try to avoid the following ingredients:

  • gluten
  • dairy
  • alcohol
  • sugar

We look forward to your delightful dishes! Many thanks in advance. Some may want to ask for recipes (it’s happened before, we are talking of a very imaginative community!) so you may want to bring a notebook.

Please bring your own beverages (important note: alcoholic beverages are not allowed in parks). The Harts will bring water and there is a sink at the pavilion.

The shelter is reserved with minimal seating and tables. Please bring your own chairs or blankets to make yourselves comfortable.

Oh, are you drowning in bottles of OTC meds you don’t need anymore?

And what if I told you that shampoo bottle and toothpaste tube you just finished could help patients with BorreliaEtc?

The Give Away Table

Bring your extra OTC supplements and vitamins! Bring books you’d like to pass along! Business cards to share!

Please bring anything to the park for others, we will happily set up a Give Away table. With supplements et al please check expiration dates. (Remember, “sell by” dates are very different than the product expiring. I’ve had many doctors tell me that pills last years beyond expiration dates, though they do lose some efficacy. Capsules are the same, though they don’t last as long as pills. Remember, check the dates and only take what you feel comfortable with.)

Thank you in advance for helping and supporting others!

Plus Anna is signed up with the Recycle For Lyme program (as are others!) so we can recycle supplement bottles that are done, tincture bottles, sports drink packages, shampoo bottles and other materials!

Even prescription bottles (but hang on, more on that in a moment)

More information can be found on their website.

***Prescription bottles go to a different place than Recycle For Lyme. A church is accepting used Rx bottles to pass along to those in need.

Thank you to the TOF for this great recycling program!


Please DON’T bring:

Picnic supplies, such as plates, napkins and utensils. We’ll supply all of those.

To maintain a comfortable and safe environment for all, this is a fragrance-free event. This means please refrain from wearing any perfumes, scented body-products and scented clothing (from laundry detergent to soaps and shampoos). No smoking or vaping of any kind will be allowed at this event.

You are more than welcome to take photos (please ask people you don’t know their preference) but we ask that you do not record near the pavilion nor the circle. If you want to do a Facebook Live, there are beautiful trails to walk to just feet away from the shelter, or there is the beautiful backdrop of the Salish Sea about 200 yards away, across Five Mile Drive, where privacy can be respected.


To keep a low-key and relaxing environment for guests, loud music and noisy games, sports equipment or the like will not be allowed.

While children and dogs are welcome to the event, please keep in mind that we want to keep the environment as tranquil as possible for our patients.

The weather in the Puget Sound region of Washington State is lovely in September.  We’ll post weather updates as we get closer to the event so that you can be prepared.

We are looking forward to seeing you all!!


Caregivers Corner

Eventually I plan this page to grow in a couple different ways – there are certain things my family have learned in dealing with me during daily life let alone during flare ups, this is an area they can write their observations, tips for others they’ve learned… Or share their personal journeys.

Plus we can show specific exercises we do in Qigong, we can explain the acupressure points we’ve learned about… And this is all stuff we learned on the way. I wish we knew half of what we know… hindsight and all.

Coming Soon!



What’s In A Name?

Why do you use “BorreliaEtc” instead of just saying Lyme, or Chronic Lyme?

I get asked this a lot and the whole answer is long-winded, so I promised my second post on this site would be about it and said simply: it’s time we left Lyme and the stigma it carries behind.

Those of us with tick-borne infections use the name “Lyme” all the time; it’s what most other people recognize and are exposed to at least a concept of – even as we try so hard not to gross out friends and family with articles that bear huge ticks on the cover.

So most people by now have heard of “Lyme disease,” a complicated infection if not caught early, caused by bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb). We mostly see transmission of this bacteria through ticks, though other vectors carry Borrelia as well.

There are two schools of thought about tick borne infections.

1. Lyme is hard to get and easy to treat. We made treatment guidelines for everyone to follow.

-IDSA; the Infectious Diseases Society of America

2. Lyme is easy to get and hard to treat. We advocate for an individual approach to each patient.

-ILADS; the International Lyme & Associated Diseases Society

The IDSA feels confidant in its one-size-fits-all treatment guidelines. If tick borne infections are treated right away, a person can go on with their lives. It’s when the diseases have time to set up camp that they become serous problems.

Most often I see patients dealing with the chronic form (some now call them long haulers) because it took too many doctors and too much time to recognize what was going on. Months, sometimes years pass by as sick patients become dangerously ill looking for answers.

“Lyme” is a loaded word, no matter which side says it. That label is now hurting us because of the stigma it carries.

If a person doesn’t spend years searching from doctor-to-doctor, another scenario that happens often is a person is bitten by an infected tick* but their immune system handles it for a while. Years later that very sick patient will be hard-pressed to connect the dots from a tick bite to where they are.

*or mosquitos, or fleas, or mites, or… parasites have many vectors so please protect you, your family (especially young children) and your pets from ticks and insects!

Ask your vet for particulars like bug spray safe for animals or Seresto collars for dogs. or

(If you use something like Brevacto for dogs, that only kills when the fleas or ticks bite, it doesn’t repel insects and arachnids, be sure to have back-up repellant spray.)

But here’s the MAIN problem with using the term Lyme – ticks can carry many infections in them! And Bb is just one type of Borrelia, there are hundreds of Borrelia strains out in the world. There are also:

  • Bartonella
  • Babesia
  • Rickettsia
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Ehrlichia
  • Mycoplasma
  • Tick paralysis
  • Anaplasma
  • Q-fever
  • And more…

As you can see, one bite from an infected tick doesn’t just mean Lyme disease, it can mean many different outcomes. So saying, “I have Lyme” just doesn’t cover it.

Patients turn to research and find the subject is riddled with politics, two schools of thought (wait, make that four schools of thought?) and many different treatment protocols all claiming to cure very sick patients.

I’m going to assume that because you’re here you know about those politics and the Lyme Wars, but if you do need to catch up please start with a great documentary called Under Our Skin and follow it up with a dear friend’s website:

When you have “Lyme” in your medical records that diagnosis carries around a stigma that changes how emergency rooms see you, doctors in many specialties, sometimes even family and friends. That stigma is more damaging than you can imagine.

So back to the insufficient label: many who use “Lyme” actually mean it as an umbrella term to encompass all the tick-borne infections they are dealing with.

Across the world what we call Lyme is called Borreliosis.

It became evident to me when Wormser (an IDSA doctor) called us “Lyme Loonies,” we would need to let the name go. Then in Emergence, Under Our Skin Part Two, those interviewed express the popular opinion that the name is part of the problem. Dr. Alan MacDonald says quite wisely something to this effect: ‘let the IDSA study Lyme all they want, we’ll be over here studying Borreliosis.’

One day on Facebook I just happened to use the term “BorreliaEtc” and I looked at it.

It just fit ~ perfectly!

It’s caught on a bit. Some have called it cute.

Others have said it’s a great name as it speaks to the global experience and to the fact that we are dealing with more than one infection.

So… That’s why Borrelia Etc. I believe it’s more accurate and inclusive.

The Journey Begins

(Say: Buh – rell – ee – ah)

Hi! Welcome to BorreliaEtc, a site about a WA State family’s journey through tick-borne infections.

Thanks for joining us! You’ll mostly hear from me, Anna Willo Hart, the “BorreliaEtc” patient of this house.

All I’ve known my entire adult life is battling chronic illness. Throughout my childhood (I was born on Long Island in New York State two days before John Lennon was shot) my pediatrician was concerned that my immune system was inexplicably weak. I would catch every virus of the season peppered in with bacterial infections such as bronchitis.

Oh if I only knew then what I know now… but as my English Nan used to say, if wishes were horses beggars would ride.

We moved out west to WA State in the summer of 1996. In June of 1998, when I was 17 years old, I had finished a year of college along with my last year of high school ~ so I thought I had earned some time for travel, to learn from the School of Hard Knocks, and travel I did: through the Midwest USA, through Ontario, Canada, a train ride through upstate New York and buses to the city to get back to my childhood home of Long Island.

During my time in the Midwest, I was invited on a camping and canoeing trip with Lakota Elders and had the time of my life. My spirituality strengthened, my resolve about helping our planet strengthened (we were canoeing the Wabash River, then the 9th most polluted river in the USA, and tried to educate the local towns we stopped in about taking care of our Mother Earth)

…but unfortunately I still had a weak immune system. When I came off the river (my back was hurting suddenly.. I thought it was the constant canoeing and camping on the ground but, danget, I was 17! I should have sailed through that)

I was on the porch of our host in Indiana and I noticed my legs felt weird when I crossed them.

So I went inside, hiked my skirt up and saw two large bull’s eye rashes growing on my left leg. At the time I asked the locals and this is what I was told:

“Everything ’round here bites and gives rashes, don’t worry about it!”

So I didn’t. Even though I should have recognized that damn rash from New York health class! Yet out here in WA, it seemed no one knew anything about tick-borne infections.

I had the classic presentation of Lyme disease starting with a rash (well, two), developing what seemed like a cold, started to get aches and pains that a teenager should not have… and then the first clue started that something was seriously wrong: constant, daily nausea for 8 months during 1999 and for 6 of those months I woke up every morning at just past 7a having to run down to the bathroom to throw up. Every morning for 6 months straight. It got to the point where I couldn’t keep water down!

I went to so many doctors up and down the Salish Sea (Puget Sound) – from general practitioners, to naturopaths, to specialists (neurologists, endocrinologists, ear nose throat, gastroenterologists, and many others) until I ended up in the University of WA’s Medical Center. But even when I had put together the rashes and the wide range of symptoms I was having, the doctors didn’t listen. They just kept saying, “We can’t find anything wrong with your stomach.”

There is woefully little public education on tick-borne infections on the West Coast, and the reason behind that is because doctors and scientists are involved in what we have dubbed the “Lyme Wars” – two schools of thought as to what dangers tick bites can pose.

At 23 years old I moved back in with my parents, Lorraine and Matthew. I was going through a divorce (marital rape, but that’s a story for another time) and could not live by myself. My health problems had multiplied, including scary symptoms like seizures, paralysis, and other neurological troubles among other systemic problems (I have a symptom list three pages long).

Thankfully my mother became my official caregiver – but my family was tossed down the rabbit hole of activism for Lyme and tick infections. We enjoy what we do, but no one would choose this life.

So stay tuned, this is just a little introduction, all created from my bed.

Nice to meet you!


Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter.

— Izaak Walton