Leaving Lyme Behind...
Updated: Aug 3, 2019
How I beat Lyme Disease in Under a Year Using an Exclusively Naturopathic Approach
It’s been a year and 7 months since the bite that changed my life, and as much as I wanted to be more hands on in showing my journey with Lyme Disease … quite simply I was too busy fighting my way through it to do so. Now, if you’ve followed me long enough on Instagram, you’ll be most familiar with the tone that is my writing voice, but this piece, as personal as it is…. Is going to drum to its own tune. There’s just no time for anything but the raw truth… and the whole truth when it comes to sharing a story like this. The ordeal with this approach, however, is that unless you’re in the mood to read a novel the likes of Gone With the Wind, there’s not nearly enough time, for you… or me … to delve into this in its entirety…. For Lyme is an ongoing nightmare…. And even more sadly… for some…. a continuous one that never ends.
Consequently, for the sake of brevity, I’ve written this in Question and Answer format.
How did you get Lyme Disease?
I believe I was bitten by a mosquito or biting fly, though it very well could have been a tick…. while visiting the city of Jackson Hole, Wyoming in 2017.
What was your reaction to the bite? Did you get a bullseye rash?
I did NOT get a classic bullseye rash, but did get a Rickettsial rash in the 24 hours following the bite in the area where I was bitten. I did not associate this with a tick bite at the time as I had been bitten by ticks several times in the past having been involved in Agriculture and never experienced such a reaction. Typically in the past I could detect a tick after a period of time or notice where one had bitten me based off the little lump like nodule that resulted under the skin. This bite was in no way shape or form like any of the other bites I had received by a tick, and so it is why I believed and still believe a tick was not the vector who bit me on that occasion. Only 3 to 4 days after returning home, I came down with what I believed to be severe food poisoning like symptoms. I had nearly no appetite, couldn’t taste, had a sour spoiled feeling in my gut akin to morning sickness, continuous diarrhea for 3 weeks, fatigue, insane thirst, bloating, and parasite like intestinal symptoms. As I have fairly extensive experience in the field of managing parasites with livestock, as well as knowing how to treat them (and humans) from a Naturopathic perspective, I was thoroughly convinced I had contracted giardia…. And so began the first set of testing to determine what was the cause of this elusive illness suddenly turning my health upside down.
What did your test results say?
My test results for giardia were negative and so I decided to treat myself for a broad spectrum level of parasitic infestation, figuring I had eaten something of contaminated nature while in Wyoming. Instead of any such improvement, however, I rapidly became worse. While my gut issues lessened up a bit, I found myself with an onset of a whole other slew of issues, the most notable of which included changes in my ocular health, waking up to eyes so completely dried out, they were in fact crusted shut. This is also when an onset of arthritis like symptoms appeared overnight, accompanied by extreme fatigue….. and the spotted rickettsial markings that had still ceased to fade away. It was at this time that I began to consider Lyme Disease, a rickettsia infection, or other vector borne illness.
So did you test for these pathogens?
I did and at that time, everything was negative, lending me to foolishly believe Lyme or any other coinfections were not in fact the problem at hand. It was shortly after these labs were completed that I began to experience ice pick contorting like paralyzing pain. Pain which …. To date is still the seemingly worse thing I have ever felt while on this earth.
Describe your pain.
One day I literally woke up nearly paralyzed at the neck, through the shoulder blades, into the mid back region. I remember that day distinctly, as that day was just like any other had been, until, I attempted to get out of bed. Instead of muscular cognition manifesting at the control of my brain’s orders to move… I couldn’t move even a half inch… I couldn’t even breathe for that matter, without severe distressing silencing pain. While I have never been eaten alive and had my flesh ripped and burrowed into by a pack of wild coyotes before…. I’ve seen them do it…. and it is the best analogy I can draw as to the type of pain I felt at the time. Merely getting out of bed was even so painful that I often laid frozen for a two hour window of time making continuous promises to myself that the next minute would be the one I finally found enough courage to brave through the pain to sit up. Such an ordeal went on and on for the next 7 months, of which I never once took any conventional pain killers, allowing the coping mechanisms of the body to step in and allow my pain threshold to improve. This is not to say that my pain decreased in any way, only that I learned to live with it much better. My hypothesis in those days was that I must have injured myself during yoga, or worse yet, during the deep tissue massage I had with a friend the few days prior to the onset of pain.
What happened next?
In an attempt to find what was causing my pain, I visited physical therapists, sports medicine physicians, and went through a full screening of x-rays, physical examinations, expensive chiropractic care, and more… all in hopes of expediting the recovery from the damage I believed I had somehow sustained. After 7 months with no improvement and the onset of even more symptoms, I knew this was no mere injury.
What other symptoms did you start having?
*Costochondritis… which in addition to being terribly painful, seriously hinders one’s ability to breathe, and even wear a bra for that matter.
*Extremely low blood pressure & POTS
*Bartonella and Rickettsial rash manifestations
*Horrifically terrible circulatory issues
*Multitudes of food allergies
*Extreme Brain Fog and Cognitive difficulty. I even got lost driving home from a market I lived walking distance from… so far gone was my cognitive sense.
*Forgetting the names of others I had known for years. Being unable to say a word on the tongue despite having it in my mind (Hard to describe unless you’ve experienced it)
As a Naturopath, I knew the signs of Lyme Disease were screaming loud and clear, and so I tested myself again, but this time using cutting edge Bioresonance technology. The results vindicated every last suspicion and intuitive feeling as both a practitioner, and a patient. I did have Lyme Disease!
Did you follow up with conventional lab work following this?
Yes! I tested negative on the ELISA screening yet again, but elected to pursue a Full Western Blot test, which confirmed the findings of the Bioresonance testing.
Did you test for any Coinfections?
Yes! I tested positive for antibodies to ehrlichia, babesia, and mycoplasma. I did not test positive for bartonella, but have had the rash on several occasions, so the conclusion was reached by both myself and the testing infectious disease physician (who saw both my bartonella and rickettsial rashes on several occasions) that I was infected with a species of bartonella outside of what the lab tested for. Oh and less I forget lovies, I also tested positive for two mycotoxins.
Yes! WTF was definitely the sentiment of the moment … but it was short-lived, as I immediately went to work researching day and night everything to do with Lyme disease and its related coinfections. I chose to approach the use of antibiotics with caution, and so I did not commence an antibiotic regime, despite it being Rx to me, pending my ability to make an informed decision as to their efficacy. I searched high and low for the research to support the use of antibiotics as an option for someone infected for the length of time I had been infected ……. but I never found it. Instead, I remained unconvinced. So in holding true to my training in naturopathic medicine, I elected…. much like all my other health ordeals in the past…. not to seek the treatment protocol established by conventional medicine.
Were you familiar with Lyme Disease prior to this point?
I studied Lyme Disease and pathogen related infections while studying with the College of Naturopathic Medicine, but once I delved into research as my own Doctor … it became apparent to me, not simply how much I did not know, but in fact how little attention was being given to Lyme Disease period.
So what did you choose to do?
I immediately began a mold and mycotoxin chelation protocol and to my delight, began to feel a noticeable lift in pain within just a 10 day period. I continued on this protocol whilst deciding which step I would take next. In hindsight this couldn’t have been a better decision, as later clinical research I came across indicated that mold toxicity should indeed be among the first things addressed, even before or at minimum concurrent with the actual treatment of Lyme Disease
How and when did you begin treating your Lyme Disease?
After several markers indicating my body was moving toward an autoimmune state such as rising RF, elevated CRP levels, and a recent celiac diagnosis… I understood my body’s immune system was functioning in a hyper vigilant state. In my research I knew that this in itself was a problem. Not simply for its ability to induce full blown autoimmune disease, but also for the sake of further tissue damage and breeding of the bacteria (borrelia and several coinfections liquidate your collagen matrix, fascia, connective tissue, and more to be able to liberate nutrients for their survival). After careful consideration I chose to pursue Homeopathic low dose antigen therapy (post coming on this soon). Having been recommended the DesBio brand by the Bioresonance lab that I contract with (founded by a Lyme patient), I ordered the Borrelia/Babesia antigen series and officially started my regimen. It was also at this time that I adopted an alkaline diet, having noted that animal proteins, and most especially eggs, did not sit well with me. I also upped my dosages of collagen and hyaluronic acid to compensate for the tissue damage that had transpired and speed healing, as well as starting on homeopathic lymph drainers, and other DesBio formulas to control Lyme symptoms. Understanding that detox pathways needed to be running properly, I upped my dosage of HUM Nutrition’s Wing Man (milk thistle), as well as their Daily Detox support. I had been on these supplements prior to Lyme and credit them immensely with why I never accumulated as much toxicity and sensitivity as many other Lyme patients do. Nonetheless, I knew I needed extra support and so I proceeded to take a triple dosage of Milk Thistle nightly, as well as a triple dosage of the daily detox formula in the AM. I continued with the immunotherapy reset for a two month period but saw incredible almost miraculous results within the first week of treatment. This held true most especially for my Babesia symptoms, which at the time had me feeling absolutely out of my mind, alongside physiological symptoms that caused me great concern, such as being unable to even get up for a glass of water from the couch without my blood pressure falling close to 30 points! Heart palpitations were also an issue for me during this time, with my heart experiencing tachycardia episodes close to 125 beats a minute while simply lying in bed.
What is Low Dose Antigen Immunotherapy and how does it work?
Antigen therapy has been used in Europe, most especially in the Naturopathic and Functional Medicine sphere, for a rather lengthy amount of time with most incredible success. One of the highlights to mention is that in addition to its successful record in modulating patients’ immune systems, it also bodes nearly none of the risk of the traditional subcutaneous allergy therapy (injections of allergens under the skin) often practiced in the States. I elected to take the Homeopathic version of this treatment, as I had learned it to be less potentially “herxing” and symptom drawing in nature from other Lyme patients who had used it …. Another decision I am most grateful for to this day.
The objective of low dose antigen exposure (coupled with other homeopathic supportive formulas designed to aid the immune system) is to retrain and tone the immune system into reacting less vigilantly. While this may sound the opposite of what one would want when endeavoring to fight a pathogen. We must first understand that Borrelia, Babesia, Bartonella, and several other of the typical Lyme Coinfections…. do not conduct themselves in typical pathogen fashion. Rather they are masters of trickery when it comes to deluding the immune system and going unscathed, often inciting immunological confusion in an immune system that knows it has a job to do but remains confused as to how to identify, and even more so, target the pathogen. Still, how is lessening its potency a good thing, you ask? As previously mentioned, inciting a cascade of inflammatory cytokines is a stealth trick of the synergistic pathogen chemistry that makes up Lyme Disease. In doing so it attains the following benefits: inflammatory damage to localized tissues that allow for the liberation of nutrients in which it will reproduce and strengthen its colonization and the ability to overwhelm the immune system and keep it turned on to a perpetually heightened state, (at which the potential for mistaken antigen feedback can occur; triggering autoimmune type immunology; only further allowing it to go unaddressed by an increasingly distracted immune system).
Low dose antigen exposure assists the immune system in both desensitizing its response to the pathogen, (the pathogens whose antigens you choose to include in your therapy), as well as modulating its expression in how it deals with those said pathogens. In essence, by doing so, this therapy calms the cycle of inflammation; lessening the pathogens control over the body, it’s potential to replicate, as well as decreasing overall symptoms as a result of controlling these processes (a great amount of Lyme Disease symptoms come not directly from the pathogen but your immune systems response to it). It is by providing this respite from immune dysfunction and interfering with the modus oeprandi of the pathogen that a patient may not only begin to experience less symptoms and improved quality of life, but also be able to derive more benefit (as well as tolerate) further treatments designed at addressing the pathogen itself; such as antibiotics, Bioresonance, RIFE, phyto-biotics, homeopathic formulas, ozone, and more. One last thing to note as well, is that, while LDA therapy helps lessen an overexerted immune state, it does not outright inhibit it in the way corticosteroid therapy would; a clear and stark difference.
What exactly did you do?
Desbio Series Kit for Borrelia and Babesia, as well as other accompanying homeopathics to help with immune modulation and Lyme symptom management. After the success with these protocols, I then went on to add other formulations specific to mycoplasma, bartonella, and ehrlicha to my regimen.
Is that it?
LOL! That was just the beginning. After 2 months of immune modulation and homeopathic protocol, I continued on to my next chapter in healing… plant medicine. I selected my choices in plant medicines based off the research of Stephen Buhner, after having read his three publications: Healing Lyme, Natural Treatments for Lyme Coinfections, and Healing Lyme Disease Coinfections. If you have Lyme Disease and are even remotely interested in taking a naturopathic and/or plant medicine based approach, I cannot state enough how very important reading these texts are. The information contained within goes eons beyond the scope of simple recommendations for Borrelia and respective coinfections, but lays out well respected research, and clinical data….. in addition to actually breaking down what each plant constituent does at the cellular level, what to take for each Lyme specific symptom, how much, when, and how the herbs themselves should be prepared. It is in essence, a masterpiece of herbal medicine.
So what did you take?
Some of Buhner’s recommendations remained constants in my treatment, whilst others were rotated, and or only used for acute purposes. Here is a list of Buhner researched plant medicines I took at some point or another:
Chinese Cats Claw Stephania
Celandine Sida Acuta Licorice Chinese Skullcap Red Root Red Sage Cryptolepis Bidens Isatis Houttuynia
So that’s it after the plant medicines, you were healed?
Healing is never linear and I did react very slightly to Japanese Knotweed and Cats Claw with symptoms such as achiness, however, rather than discontinue them, or continue at dosages creating side effects, I simply lowered my doses to levels which did not provoke symptoms to that degree, and raised them progressively according to tolerance. I did this … as I knew firsthand the value a modulated immune system played in managing my own Lyme Disease symptoms, and I did not wish to jeopardize the progress I had made by flaring my immune system into hypervigilance once again. I remind you that none of the previously mentioned homeopathic and immune modulating regimen (initial treatment) consisted of any “kill the bug” oriented protocols, personally confirming for me… my hundreds of hours of research that immunomodulation plays just as significant role in healing from Lyme disease as does managing pathogen loads. While I do believe managing one’s total pathogen load is important in the recovery of Lyme disease, I also believe that when used indiscriminately, it is an incomplete approach for the majority of Lyme patients, most especially so the longer you live with the disease. Nowhere is this more evident than with the thousands of Lyme patients who have underwent countless rounds of antibiotics (and even herbal kill protocols) who remain chronically ill. In managing pathogen loads, several factors must be considered. They include but are most definitely not limited to: the said length of time a patient has been infected, what they are infected with, their detoxification capacity, immune status, and overall symptoms being reported. Forcing a “kill protocol” on a physiology which is not prepared to deal with the repercussions not only creates the perceived “herx reaction,” which in and of itself is NOT a desirable reaction for those attempting to heal from Lyme Disease, it bodes the risks of further dysregulating the immune system and increasing symptoms, predisposing them to autoimmune disease, increasing inflammatory damage, and may even be potentially causative of severe intracellular toxicity, that if the host is unable to detox the byproducts of quickly enough, can induce extreme sensitivity to any and all further plant medicine, supplements, and treatment… a dire place you most definitely do not want to be (but of which there is also hope to overcome). In other words, commencing a kill protocol before the body is ready, or forcing through a kill protocol that becomes too much for the body to process, contrary to popular belief… isn’t indicative of healing, but of further damage to an already extremely fragile physiology. This isn’t to say healing is all peaches and cream, but if the greater part of your treatment plan consists predominantly of suffering… you most likely aren’t on the right track. If “herx” symptoms don’t recede, dosages and prescriptions need to be reevaluated and reexamined as to their suitability to the patient.
With the above treatment approach in mind, I went on the slow and steady route to balancing pathogen loads. Additionally the above mentioned plant medicinals listed are not all aimed at killing pathogens directly, but synergistically serve to provide immune modulating, anti-inflammatory, cell protective qualities, and more for a continued multi-faceted and supportive healing approach. While I did have testing to know what pathogens I was dealing with, I do believe that if one is using plant medicine and homeopathy, treating empirically can often be just as effective as no testing at all. In fact, if left to do things over again, I would elect to use strictly bioresonance testing over many of the pricey conventional labs, as it is the one form of testing that never failed me and to whose treatment plans I designed around it were always spot on. Another advantage to bioresonance testing is that it cannot only help to identify pathogens that are circumventing the immune system (and hence failing to solicit antibodies to test positive), it can also let you know which one of them is causing the greatest stress to the body…. For if identifying what needs to be fixed is crucial…. So too is knowing in which order to do it! Bioresonance, in my own clinical and personal experience does exactly this! If this is not a possibility, however, or if money is tight… I recommend, as previously stated, to work with a skilled Environmental Illness savvy practitioner to best identify empirically (according to symptoms) what pathogens might need to be treated. This is in part what I did for myself, incorporating pathogen specific plant medicinals when I believed those pathogens to be most active, based on correlated symptoms transpiring. Consequently …in listening to my symptoms instead of simply looking to squash them, I experienced a whole other paradigm of healing at my doorstep.
Viruses, Parasites, Mold Oh My! Many of these are common denominators for Lyme Patients. Did you experience any of them too?
All of them! Whilst Mold I recommend treating as soon as possible, viral and parasitic issues sometimes need to be delayed slightly until the immune system or patient physiology is better equipped. I did not address my viral issues until after a full 2 months on plant medicinals for my Lyme pathogens. I did, however, notice even greater healing upon doing so. Parasites I did not address for nearly 4 to 5 months. Upon doing so, however, I did experience a minor onslaught of Lyme symptoms reactivated (parasites can host Lyme pathogens), but added in symptom specific homeopathics and detox support and it resolved within a couple days. This too… added another notch on my healing belt.
What about diet and Lyme Disease? Is there a certain way everyone with Lyme should be eating?
In general, when it comes to nutrition, I believe in the concept of bio individuality! While there are of coarse principals of which nearly all humanity can benefit from (hello green juice), when it comes to the subtleties of nutrition need variations among the population, I prefer to make assessments on a case by case basis.
Detox is often a big buzzword in the Lyme Community. How did this translate in your own healing journey?
As a Naturopath, I was extremely dedicated to my health pre Lyme Disease, and I believe it was exactly this diligence in my overall health protocol, including detox support, that allowed me to heal with the resiliency that I did. Prior to Lyme Disease, I already took several detox supportive supplements, was a consistent green juicer, and completed regular cleanses, parasite protocols, and more. Some of my favorite detox supplements at the time included HUM Nutrition’s Wing Man, a milk thistle based detox support, as well as their Daily Detox supplement, which contains everything from spirulina to green tea, MSM, ALA, beetroot, Oregon Grape Root, and more! I would like to mention, however, that often times when we are facing pathological symptoms (whatever they may be), the maintenance dosages we previously used with success, need to be amplified in order to sustain therapeutic value to the body. Though you must most definitely understand the contents on the label of the supplement you are taking, recommended daily dosages are often a bare minimum dosage level established as having a physiological effect. Often times much larger dosages than what are listed as the recommended dose are what’s needed to in fact make an impact. When I knew it was Lyme I was dealing with, I upped all detox protocols in order to ensure my body had the maximum support possible! This helped not only clear active toxicity from Lyme Disease, but minimize my symptoms, inflammation, and maintain immune modulation.
Where do you currently stand with your battle with Lyme Disease?
As of this moment I am near being my old self again. While my immunity is lacking in many ways… and I have got to be especially mindful of my new limitations and requirements to ensure sound health, in the end, I am able to enjoy a quality of life reminiscent of my Pre- Lyme Days. It is my plan to become more physically active now that crippling pain is not the issue it once was, in addition to completing a few homeopathic fully body cleanses I was previously not physiologically strong enough to see through. I am also looking forward to breaking ground on my first book! Quite a stark contrast to a simple year ago!
Any word of advice to fellow Lymies and those living with Lyme?
There are solutions! Do your research! Do not blindly accept whatever treatment options are mandated, as they could potentially do more harm than good... only compounding your suffering.
Join a community, whether in person or online, with other Lyme patients and exchange information. You’ll not only have a support system of individuals who get you, and what its like to live with Lyme, you’ll gain that much more insight on the disease itself.
There are so many good texts out on Lyme Disease that offer the latest advances in treatment options. Read them! Education is the first step of empowerment!
Lastly, It’s easy to allow chronic illness to change the way we view ourselves… and life will definitely change as you navigate Lyme Disease, but do not mistake this with surrendering your identity as a whole. Fight for the health of the person you were, the person you are now, and the person who have still yet to become.... each of them play a role in your new tomorrow.
I truly believe the power of true restorative healing is for everyone. The life of indentured servitude to Big Pharma is yesteryear's paradigm... a dying decaying model of sickcare for which no human soul should ever settle..... and the best part is....... you don't!!!
To wellness...... the original state of the body.