This post title would be cuter with an apostrophe-S, but FYI, it’s “Lyme,” not “Lyme’s.”
This is one of many facts I’ve learned about the disease since discovering that I have it.
The best we can tell, I contracted it three years ago. I wasn’t aware of the tick bite until I woke up with a large, hot circle on my thigh, which grew to a diameter of eight inches in a week’s time.
By the time I saw a doctor, it was fading, but he prescribed low-dose, mild antibiotics, “just to be safe, rather than sorry.”
This was the first in a series of “sorry” mistakes and misunderstandings (both mine and my doctors’) that allowed my Lyme to progress from Stage 1 to Stage 2, and Stage 2 to Stage 3 — a.k.a. late-stage Lyme Disease. In most cases, late-stage equals chronic.
Over the last three years my overall physical health has gone from decent to sub-par. Sometime last year I started complaining to Tim that “I just never feel good anymore.” I couldn’t put my finger on any one malady, but I also knew this was not about hypochondria. My body just wasn’t my friend. I went from one discomfort to another, and each week I seemed to have less energy than the week before.
By spring 2015, I was living in enemy territory. My body was an obstacle I needed to overcome, rather than a tool used to live life. Fatigue, migraines, joint pain and swelling, brain fog, numb extremities, and night sweats had become routine, but not acceptable. I’d had enough.
Up until then I’d taken my doctors’ word that I didn’t have Lyme, but a friend urged me to dig deeper. One night I did a little research, just to rule it out. It didn’t take long to realize neither of the doctors I’d seen were Lyme-literate.
There is, in fact, an International Lyme and Associated Disease Society for this very reason, and through them I was able to find a Lyme-literate MD. I also discovered that treatment for chronic Lyme is tricky and highly controversial. Some say it’s incurable. Some say it can only be cured with long-term, high-dose antibiotics. Some say it has to be attacked on a cellular level, through nutrient-dense foods and homeopathic remedies.
Most Lyme-literate MDs utilize a combination of heavy antibiotics and supplements, but the antibiotics scared me. I’m uber sensitive to all medications. If it has a side effect, I’ll experience it. Even amoxicillin destroys my stomach. How would I respond, especially in my weakened state, to multiple orals and weekly IV antibiotics for six months?
After careful research, and weighing every option, I opted to see a naturopathic doctor with an impressive history of successful Lyme treatment. After various tests and a comprehensive review of my health and symptoms, she confirmed my Lyme and added a diagnosis of two tick-borne co-infections, likely from the same bite.
Fighting Green with Greens
Her regimen is entirely food- and plant-based. One element is supplementation to combat the Lyme and help repair damaged organs (mainly thyroid and liver). The other is elimination of inflammation-causing foods, and heavy consumption of healing foods. That means my diet includes:
- NO sugar or sweeteners
- NO grains
- NO corn
- NO processed dairy
- NO nightshade plants
- LOADS of leafy greens
I won’t say it’s been fun, but there’s no denying the short-term effects. My energy, while not high, is consistent again. I’ve had minimal joint swelling, only one headache (a record this year!), no night sweats, and even my rosacea has cooled down.
For the first time in too long, I have hope that healing is possible. Only time will tell, and that time will likely stretch to many months, but I’m better than I was yesterday, and there was a time I didn’t believe that was possible.
Have you suffered Lyme, or been close to someone who has? How did they seek healing? Did it work?