I was chatting with a friend today and he asked me about how my recovery was going from Lyme’s disease.
If you are not aware, in 2014 I was bitten by a tick. I got the traditional bull’s eye rash around the bite site and I hurriedly went to the doctor. Unfortunately, my doctor (at the time) was not Lyme’s educated and she only prescribed two weeks worth of antibiotics. This was way too short a time (six weeks is now known to be the bare minimum to prevent an infection). I think that all the 2 weeks worth of antibiotics did was suppress the bacteria for a few months, to delay the infection as it were.
[Side note – the reason two weeks is not long enough is that the bacteria has a 28 day or so life cycle which alternates between a cyst form and a spirochete form. The antibiotics only affect the spirochetes. So while it kills some bacteria in that amount of time, it cannot get all of them in such a short time because the cyst form is relatively dormant but still very virulent once it matures. Also, the Lyme’s bacteria forms bio-films – layers of recruited bacteria that prevent the antibiotics from getting to the bottom of the pile so to speak. Therefore treating Lyme’s is a complicated situation! Some doctors recommend being on the antibiotics more like six months. Although this brings up more discussion about how much those said antibiotics are tearing up your healthy bioflora…]
So, sure enough, I started to notice slow insidious symptoms creeping in. I was busy at the time taking pre-requisite classes for nursing school and working full time, plus being in a relatively new relationship, so I was distracted from focusing on my health. I just thought that the ache in my elbow or wrist was from something I ate – maybe a reaction to drinking a beer or two (which is yet another potential Lyme’s symptom – see below).
Not knowing what else to do, and unfortunately forgetting about that Lyme’s tick that bit me the year before, I had my blood tested (CBC and thyroid test and lipid panel). That did not show any really bizarre anomalies. Other than a slightly low lipid count. So I carried on, doing well in classes and maintaining in my job.
Cue 2015 and things started to get worse. By the summer, there were some days where, if I was stressed, I would be easily irritable and disproportionately upset by additional stressors. I started to wonder what was wrong with me. But then nursing school started and I literally did not have any time to worry about my health. There were some days that were very clear and my mind was cogent. But that alternated with some days where I had to struggle through a mental fog.
I did well that first semester of school. But Thanksgiving rolled around and I used that week off to blow off steam by playing a few extra hours of computer games / day. I had refrained from playing these for the previous 6 months or so. Well it turns out that Lyme’s + final exams stress + additional stress on the nervous system of gaming = symptoms ramping up exponentially.
By December of 2015, I was suffering bad. My wrists and elbows were inflamed and they usually felt arthritic. I could no longer drink more than one beer / day as this made me feel worse. And apparently something about the computer games set off a bizarre reaction in my arms (yes I played more over winter break) – by January, the ulnar nerve in both of my arms – that would be the nerve that innervates the pinky fingers and half of the ring fingers – was starting to go numb – I was experiencing frightening neuropathy. I say frightening because as a nurse, I could not fathom giving medications if I could not feel one and a half fingers on both of my hands!
So suffering from foggy-headedness and not knowing what else to do, I quit nursing school (for a semester). The time off improved things a little but not much. In fact, the beer thing got worse, along with eating gluten. If I had gluten plus sugar, the inflammation the next day throughout my body was worse (see below for why).
And then, thank god, I was referred to Michael Jabalee – an acupuncturist and Lyme’s specialist in Charlottesville Virginia. He helped me tremendously over the next six months. His website by the way is: Michael Jabalee’s website
Jabalee does a form of bio-energetic testing where he is able to test the body’s strengths and weaknesses and whether or not Lyme’s is present and whether or not there are any co-infections. I should point out that soon after I went to Jabalee for the first time, I also had the Western blot blood test run and sure enough – he was correct in his assessment that I had active antibodies for Lyme’s disease going on meaning I had a positive test result. Jabalee said the same thing – that I had Lyme’s disease but no co-infections (there are other bacteria and / or parasites which occur with some tick bites and these are sometimes worse than a Lyme’s infection).
At first he put me on a lot of homeopathic medicine for Lyme’s – it is a protocol of 4 different homeopathic medicines which help the body to detox, to clear the energetic body and to go after the actual Lyme’s bacteria. And yes, some of you are thinking, “Homeopathic medicine? That is all you did for Lyme’s?! Are you crazy?” And I understand why you would think this, but the answer to that question is basically yes. He also gave me two potent vitamin B supplements – because I was also suffering neuralgia from a post-herpetic (Shingles) condition. And I was put on an interesting supplement for Leaky Gut (which is also Lyme’s related). He does not take insurance, so my HSA account was drained a little with that first round of meds / supplements ($400 for intake visit + everything else) but it was so worth it.
I should mention that (see previous posts) due to having received an abundance of bodywork treatments – Craniosacral Therapy, emotional-process-oriented bodywork, acupuncture, somatic therapy and being a decent meditation practitioner – that I was very embodied and in touch with my body. My body communicates with me and I know how to listen. When he put the Leaky Gut supplement in my hand, my stomach had a monstrous gurgle the likes of which I had never heard before. I knew instantly that I wanted to start taking that supplement immediately!
The regimen was as follows: take the homeopathic meds (away from food or drink) 3x / day for 3-6 months, take the vitamin B’s and then go get tested by him again, along with the Leaky Gut supplement – take that and then get tested by him 12 weeks down the road. Then each month the supplements and acupuncture got cheaper as I needed less and less.
This is getting wordy, so to be continued…
[The footnotes referred from above will be on the next post.]
(thanks for reading!)