vanessa farnsworth's blog

Vaccinating Nature

Vaccination - hand and needle

Whenever I bring up the need for a Lyme disease vaccine, I'm typically greeted by one of two responses. The first comes from Canadians who are incredulous that we have a vaccine to protect dogs and even horses from Lyme disease, but we do not currently have one to protect humans. The second comes from those who are fundamentally opposed to human vaccines against any and all illnesses.

Defining Influence

Influence defintion

One of the many things that differentiates book authorship from magazine writing is that, as a book author, I'm often asked to name my literary influences. I can't ever remember anyone asking me to name such a thing as a magazine writer. Generally speaking, no one much cares what a magazine writer's influences are, only that they've managed to piece together a cohesive story on a compelling subject and, ideally, spelled most of the words correctly.

Taking a Chance on Imagination

The Others story image

I have spent a surprising amount of time over the past decade writing experimental fiction, some of which will be published in The Things She'll Be Leaving Behind. There are a lot of great things about writing in a genre that has only ever seen the mainstream from a distance. Money isn't one of them.

An Anniversary But No Celebration

Lyme support ribbons

This year will mark the fifth anniversary of the publication of Rain on a Distant Roof: A Personal Journey Through Lyme Disease in Canada and I'd like to take a few minutes to reflect on what has and, notably, what has not changed about the Lyme disease situation in Canada in the intervening years.

The Long, Strange Trip to Publication

When Rain on a Distant Roof: A Personal Journey Through Lyme Disease in Canada hit bookshelves in 2013, it marked the first time my writing had ever been published in book form. That wasn't my intention. My first book was supposed to be a short story collection entitled The Things She'll Be Leaving Behind. It was the first book I had written and, by rights, should have been the first one to make it to print. But fate had other ideas.

The Perfect Storm: Why There Are Suddenly So Many Ticks in Canada


In recent months, various media outlets have been reporting that Canada is anticipating an explosion of ticks this year thanks to a mild winter that has failed to kill off resident tick populations in many regions. As with everything related to Lyme disease, the situation is much more complicated than what's being reported.

The Freedom to Speak

Sapling in sunshine

Section two of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the right of all Canadians to voice their opinions on any subject they feel the need to voice an opinion on without fear of recriminations. While some Lyme sufferers have been very vocal about their struggles, many more have chosen to remain silent. And always they give the same reason: They fear that if they publicly criticize their doctors, health authorities, or anyone else for failing to provide them with a satisfactory level of care that they will be subject to exactly the sorts of recriminations that the Charter makes illegal.

Top 5 Books on Lyme Disease

Reading books

There are a lot of books on Lyme disease out there and it can be difficult to know which ones contain valuable information that can help you to better understand Lyme disease and which ones fan the flames of controversy without delivering much in the way of knowledge. Here are a few that I found helpful when I was sifting through a mountain of research trying to get my head around what makes this disease tick.

Tick-borne Illnesses in Canada - Part 2

Tick on hand

This is the second of two posts looking at the tick-borne illnesses it's possible to contract in Canada. As you read though this post and the one I wrote in October keep in mind that our collective knowledge of tick-borne illnesses is far from complete. Some of the organisms that I describe in these posts have been known to exist for many decades and are well documented while many others are new to medicine and little is currently known about them. Still others have yet to be discovered.