Lyme Disease and Treatment
By Laura D. Field of Potpourri of Health – May 4, 2016
By now, you have heard about Lyme disease, yet might be confused about all the various treatments of the disease. The reason for the variation in how it is treated, along with the confusion of why there are so many methods. Lyme disease itself is a conglomerate of multiple bacterial bugs that drill themselves into hiding, while multiplying and changing as they become accustom to the host (the person or animal who is infected). To treat Lyme disease, the physician needs to truly understand the chemical and biological changes that the person has endured. This is not an easy task, as each person is different, as is their immune system, physical health, unknown longevity of the disease, and what symptoms they are experiencing.
You might not even realize you have Lyme disease, yet if you have an infection (not Lyme related, such as a UTI) in which your physician prescribes a short course antibiotic for, the Lyme bacteria responds to that treatment in an effort to protect itself from being killed off. Sure, you might have resolved the infection for which you were being treated for; yet, you have also created a whirlwind within, similar to that of a bee hive being disrupted, as the spirochetes are also being ambushed by the antibiotics. They are literally not happy and will respond in kind, resulting in symptoms you least expected.
Other things that can disrupt the hidden cycle of spirochetes are that of herbals and oils that might have an anti-microbial and antibiotic component to them. Surgeries can disrupt their nesting, as can steroids. It is not to say these positive health options should be avoided when needed, but in my situation, it was as if a fire pit was stirred resulting in a very different response to healing than I once experienced.
I personally believe, with the guidance of my LLMD along with my research and medical knowledge, that the bacteria caused by the ticks and other forms of invasion into our bodies, we need antibiotics to kill the bugs that mass produce, which create co-infections that affect ones quality of life. For some individuals a short-lived antibiotic course of treatment is appropriate, yet for others, it is the complete opposite.
Lyme Disease is simply a horrible and life changing disease. It affects everyone differently, regardless of how healthy you might consider yourself to be. You can have a great immune system, yet the moment your system in compromised, the lovely little spirochetes come out of hiding and begin attacking. Where once you had energy and strength, you discover the life altering weakness that becomes a part of your life.
I personally support both antibiotic and herbal tinctures for treating Lyme disease. I also believe that herbals and essential oils, along with exercise and a clean diet play an intricate part in everyday health and in supporting our overall health and any life altering symptoms. For myself, to date, I have had 17 months of antibiotic treatment. Around 6 months in, I started adding additional essential oils to help with some symptoms, and more recently some herbal tinctures combined with antibiotic care. All of this has been done with physician support along with his knowledge of what I was doing, although not all prescribed.
Fortunately for me, I have a fabulous LLMD (Lyme Literate Medical Doctor) who has first hand knowledge of this disease and what it can do to a person. It creeps up on you, and all of a sudden you are wondering what the hell ever happened to your vitality of life. The symptoms vary from person to person, with various levels of tolerance. For most, it simply wipes you out and causes extreme pain, weakness, and chronic fatigue, along with a vast variety of other symptoms.
My list was endless, causing me extreme frustration. My primary care provider and other specialists she sent me to, had me endure various tests with no “real” answers, proving that I was completely healthy, while making me feel as though I was wasting my time looking for answers. The best that they could do was to prescribe pain meds along and other medications (“let’s try this to see if this helps”), yet I refused to take a pharmaceutical remedy without having an answer, so I was seen as a non-compliant patient.
I finally gave up and accepted that this was my life while accepting that I was simply getting old. I contributed my joint pain to the osteoarthritis and some tears, while the other symptoms I simply could not understand.
While I was visiting my specialist for another reason, he noticed all the tests that were done on my medical record and asked about my symptoms. As I shared my extensive list of symptoms, he patiently listened and knew what was going on, yet needed for me to confirm his suspicion. I did the IGenix test (very different from the generic test done at the hospitals), which cost me $200 out of pocket with no insurance reimbursement. Within a few weeks the answer arrived guiding my LLMD to choose which treatment I should start on. When my LLMD finally diagnosed me with Chronic Persistent Lyme Disease (an estimate of over 8 years of being undiagnosed with compounding symptoms while the spirochetes multiplied, causing the symptoms to intensify), I was ecstatic. “Finally!! An answer!!” yet this excited relief only lasted for a day. I read the recommended books and literature. The defeat I felt left me crying for days, which was quite unusual for me.
As I returned to my LLMD to discuss treatment options, I literally cried. I was extremely fatigued, my body was in constant pain and weak, the brain fog was beyond comprehension, my equilibrium was off, and my body felt as though I was being eaten from the inside out. I honestly felt like I was dying. The reality of what was happening to my energy, strength and focus in life turned to frustrating anger. I was literally ticked off.
Despite the challenges that faced me, I saw that I was quite fortunate in having a LLMD willing to guide me (who told me that I was NOT old), along with a husband who has been supportive beyond what many others experience. I also have the personal drive to maintain a healthy lifestyle, which meant healthy clean living along with daily exercise, regardless of my energy levels continued to be essential.
Not only is Lyme disease controversial, so are the treatment options. Some support the antibiotic approach of killing off the many bugs that continually multiply; some choose strictly herbals, tinctures and/or essential oils. Personally, despite the controversy, I believe that antibiotics have their place and serve patients best, then as the course of treatment continues and symptoms improve, add in herbals and tinctures.
In all honesty, I fought using antibiotics and whole heartedly wanted to be treated completely holistically, yet I also knew how sick I had become and I wanted to be well, so I listened intently to what my LLMD shared. With medical courses and healthcare work behind me, what he shared made complete sense to me, although I was apprehensive in supporting Big Pharma with their overpriced options that produced allergic responses and horrible side effects.
I am currently now pulsing with antibiotics combined with herbal tinctures. In addition I use LLMD supported supplements, with my ability to use the essential oils I see fit. I continue daily detox baths, and my husband provides daily massages each evening to reduce the pain elements of this disease. So far things are going “okay” with pulsing. The non-stop ear ringing, headaches, and a few other symptoms are returning, which I have experienced as a result of when we change treatment. I have also learned to ride the roller coaster of Lyme disease with grace, although there are days that have proven to be a little more challenging than others. Those are the days I look at my husband and ask him “Am I a little cranky today?” I love his honesty in sharing that maybe it is more than “a little” yet he never complains. He has shared that he can always tell when the disease is taking over, as it affects my response to circumstances that would otherwise not bother me.
When out and about, no one really knows you are ill, hence the “invisible illness” label. You make light of your disease, because if you are asked to explain, it would not only be exhausting for yourself, but others would begin to seek the nearest exit sign. Most of those who become ill, and have enjoyed a life of self-sufficiency and pride, are not seeking sympathy or attention, and desire to be a full participant at work and social events. Their pride causes them to hide from the shame that society has cast on those who are weak. Those with Lyme disease simply want to be understood, helped without making them feel inadequate, and enjoy conversations that do not revolve around their disease.
My pride was shattered, something I continue to struggle with, resulting in my going to my appointments trying to be positive and not really sharing “everything”. It was my way of trying to overcome a negative with a positive. Yet the day my LLMD noticed the tremors in my hands, he reminded me that in order for him to help, I had to be totally honest with him in reference to my symptoms.
This is the reason that treatments vary from patient to patient. It is essential for one to have a LLMD or LLND who takes the time to listen while observing what is physically happening during ones appointment time, as well as pertinent questions. By their ability to show compassion with great listening skills, they can then analyze and decide which co-infection to go after in ones course of treatment.
Lyme Disease really sucks!! The bad days make you feel defeated, yet the good days make one feel like they can conquer this twisting mountain. Eventually, you adapt to the roller-coaster ride of healing, and create the internal determination that you will get through this. But more importantly, you discover how vitally important it is to be caring and loving to oneself. If your body requires a nap, you make time for that nap. If you need a break in life, you take that break. Eventually you find that peaceful balance that is required for healing.
I have no idea why God has allowed my body to go through this challenge. But I do believe His purpose will eventually be revealed.
“May compassion be your strength and love be your sword” – Laura D. Field
Laura – Blogger and paid Freelance writer
Potpourri of Health www.potpourriofhealth.com
Freelance writer at www.reflectivetapestryoflife.com
Seamstress consultant at www.davinadawnsewing.com