Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Lyme Will Be A-Changin'

Sung to Bob Dylan’s, The Times They are A-Changin’

“Come gather ‘round people, wherever you roam
There are ways to mend your achin’ bones
It ain’t easy, if you think your alone
But if your life is worth savin’
Believe you can heal, believe that it’s real
And the Lyme will be a-changin’.”

Bryan Rosner, http://www.lymebook.com/,  is an investigative  medical journalist who has an extensive knowledge of Lyme. All of his books are intelligent, informative and must read for anyone who has or knows someone who has Lyme. One book, When Antibiotics Fail: Lyme Disease and Rife Machines, is a fascinating book about the alternative treatment of rife therapy.  

After reading Bryan’s book, I was convinced that I was the perfect candidate for rife therapy. A friend of mine, who was also diagnosed with Lyme, and I split the cost of an analog rife machine.  Our machine looked like it came from a B science fiction movie. It was white, about the size of a large bread box, and weighed about 25 pounds. It had knobs in the front and two plasma tubes inside that were filled with gas. The front tube was filled with xenon gas and the back tube contained helium. When turned on, the lights from the tube would arc and give off a high pitched sound.

The rife machine worked by producing electronic frequencies that would penetrate the body and zap the targeted microorganism. When the targeted bacteria, virus or fungi was hit by this frequency, it would vibrate to death or disablement. “It’s similar to when an opera singer hits the right pitch and shatters a glass.” ( When Antibiotics Fail: Lyme Disease and Rife Machines, copyright 2004 by Bryan Rosner) The particular wave frequency the rife machine delivers is specifically for microorganisms, so it can’t harm you.

So, we began to rife. We did this on our own without a doctor’s guide.  We had the complete list of all the frequencies for the pathogens and diseases. That was our guide. We rotated between the Lyme, candida, Epstein-Barr virus frequencies and so on. And, like antibiotics, we were experiencing that “Herxheimer reaction”. The toxins from the targeted bacteria made our symptoms worse. So, we had to stop for awhile until our symptoms subsided.  But we were getting impatient. Months went by and we just weren’t seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

My friend stopped rifing and started an innovative therapy known as the Marshall Protocol. The Marshall Protocol,, has improved my friend’s health and he is now a leading advocate for the protocol.

 I still felt rifing was beneficial and helping me. I felt I was going in the right direction. I wasn’t ready to give up on it yet. But I needed guidance. I needed to find a doctor who was open to alternative therapies.

Dr. Lovejoy was that doctor. Dr. Lovejoy was a holistic chiropractor and therapist who believed in the Eastern philosophy of healing the mind, body and spirit. She also used lab, blood work and other Western methods for treating her patients. She uncovered allergies I never knew I had, (like corn, cow’s milk and gluten) and what supplements my body responded positively to. She also treated me for emotional problems that I was unaware of, and what treatments would be the most effective.

One of the ways she tested me was by muscle testing. Muscle testing – also known as  applied kinesiology, is a form of  diagnosing a problem or priority in the body.  Kinesiology, or the study of muscles or body movement, has been around since the 1940’s. Originally, manual muscle testing was used to “evaluate muscle function and strength, and to assess the extent of an injury.” Then in 1964, and American chiropractor, George Goodheart (that’s his real name!), “founded what has become known as applied kinesiology when he linked oriental ideas about energy flow in the body with western techniques of muscle testing.” (thefreedictionary.com)

I would lie down and raise one arm straight out. The doctor would touch a point on my body that is related to that muscle, then push down on my arm(or leg) for a strong or weak response. If I couldn’t resist her pressure, then “an imbalance is suspected in the related organ, gland or body part. This diagnostic technique uses muscles to find the cause of a problem, and is based on traditional Chinese medicine and its idea that the body had common energy meridians, or channels, for both organs and muscles.

Muscle testing is not common in the United States. It is practiced mostly by a specialized group of chiropractors and other health practitioners. It is more widely accepted and used as a diagnostic procedure in Europe.

I was fascinated by how Dr. Lovejoy performed this unusual type of testing. I’ve never experienced anything like it before. I felt I was in good hands, literally! Dr. Lovejoy was highly recommended to me and I trusted her.

Through muscle testing, Dr. Lovejoy found that the toxic heavy metal, mercury, was causing big problems for me. I needed to have my metal fillings (amalgams) removed. (Doc Brown had tested me for heavy metals, but the tests always came back negative.)So she recommended a holistic dentist who knew how to properly remove the fillings.  (I had four altogether), and suggested I start a heavy metal chelating therapy as soon as my amalgams were removed.

The holistic dentist gave me literature on different self-healing alternative treatments. One of them was oil-pulling.

Oil-pulling is an old Aryuvedic method of healing consisting of swishing a few spoonfuls of cold-pressed sunflower seed oil in your mouth for about ten minutes and then spitting it out. It supposedly pulls toxins out of your body through your salivary glands. It is a common practice in India.

There are websites about oil-pulling. It doesn’t give much information but I thought I would give it a try. I knew no one else who was doing it. Dr. Lovejoy vaguely heard of it. As you know by now, I was open to anything that could help me. So, I started oil-pulling.

Even though Dr. Lovejoy was helping me a lot, I got to a point where I needed a break. I was seeing doctors consistently for years and I felt my health was on the up swing. I really believed I could manage my own for awhile. My sore throats were gone. My energy was returning and my guts felt better. I wanted to see where the oil-pulling would get me.

I was also preoccupied with the health of my son, Zack. Zack had started this new holistic therapy that I had heard about on Lymenet. It was from Germany and it turned out to be a godsend. 

This therapy would eventually put my son and me into remission.

To be continued….

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Lyme State of Mind

(Sung to the tune of New York State of Mind by Billy Joel)

“Some folks like to get away, take a holiday, guess they’re feelin’ good,
Wish I could swap my body with Carrie Underwood’s,
I’m just always sick and tired, and worryin’ all the time,
I’m in a Lyme state of mind.”

Are you in a Lyme state of mind? You know, like feeling like you can never return to a state of wellness or well-being. Feelin’ out of it.  Feelin’ sick and depressed? Feelin’ crappy all the time?

Well, that was me! That was my song. “Being sick and tired and worryin’ all the time”. And I considered myself lucky. I knew why I was sick. I knew I had Lyme and it was obviously chronic.

My story is very similar to many others in my boat. In the spring of 1996, I found this huge bulls-eye rash on my chest. Thinking it was a spider bite, I just treated the bite with anti-itch cream. I didn’t feel the need to see a doctor. A month later, I’m doing the dishes after dinner and all of a sudden I can’t stand anymore – I was completely exhausted. I stumbled up the stairs to my bedroom and collapsed on my bed. I woke up the following morning with aches, chills, sweats, dizziness, and weirdly enough, still exhausted. I thought I had a doozy of a virus that I caught from one of my kids. My symptoms subsided within three days and I went on my merry way, or so I thought. It never occurred to me that I could have had Lyme disease.

One month later, my symptoms came back and that’s when it hit me – I had Lyme and I needed to see a doctor. So I went to a GP, was tested by an in network lab, was given amoxicillin and went on my merry way again.  My test results came back positive which was no surprise to me. I felt spacey, tired, woozy and achy everyday. The amoxicillin wasn’t alleviating my symptoms. My merry days disappeared. I had entered into a chronic state. I needed to see a doctor who knew how to treat chronic Lyme.

I’m gonna be honest, I wasn’t happy with my first LLMD (Lyme Literate Medical Doctor). For almost a year, Dr. Dolittle(that’s right, this doctor did little!), prescribed me course after course of antibiotics. After each course, the dr. would send my blood to a private lab that specialized in Lyme.  My lab results were always negative. I’d go off the antibiotics and within months (or less), I would relapse. At this point, I stopped eating sugar. Sugar and high carbohydrate foods made my symptoms worse. And with every relapse, I’d get new symptoms along with the old ones. My woozy feeling mushroomed into a quasi hangover that would come and go. I had Bell’s Palsy a few times. I was tired and achy, had constant brain fog, chronic sinus and ear problems, a never ending sore throat, and digestive issues.  Dr. Dolittle suggested I take probiotics to balance to intestinal flora, but didn’t tell me which were the most effective and when to take them. So, as a result, I developed  candida, which is an overgrowth of yeast in my intestinal tract.  I was put on Diflucan for a month and at this point. I decided to look for another doctor.

My next LLMD was somewhat of a medical detective. Doc Brown ( yeah, think Back to the Future!) was an investigative doctor that was the king of testing. If you had it, Doc Brown would find it. And boy oh boy, I had it all! Not only was I positive for Lyme, but I was also positive for three co-infections. I had candida in my intestinal tract and in my blood! I had Epstein-Barr virus, and other viruses. I had other bacteria that I could hardly pronounce, like Chlamydia pneumonia. I also had chemical sensitivities and food and environmental allergies. (I had allergies before I came down with Lyme disease, but since I was diagnosed it seemed like they had gotten worse). All I can say was that I was a mess!

Doc’s game plan was to treat me aggressively with antibiotics and other medicines, improve my immune system and hope that someday I would be in a complete state of remission. Chronic Lyme, he explained, could never be completely cured. See, Lyme or Borrelia burgdorferi, is a spirochete bacteria that could drill into dense tissue with the potential of causing a myriad of health problems. If caught in the early stage, Lyme is easier to eradicate with a course of antibiotics. But Lyme is a “smart” bacteria. The spirochete can actually change into other forms. Some of these other forms, like the cell wall deficient L-form and bio films, are the main cause of chronic Lyme. These forms are antibiotic resistant, hard to treat and the main cause of relapsing symptoms.

So, for the next 9 years or so, I took cocktails of different antibiotics and drugs for the Lyme and co-infections.   Each time I started a new course of antibiotics, the “die off” or toxins from the targeted bacteria, made my symptoms worse. This was known as a “Herxheimer” reaction. It seemed like my life was a symptomatic roller coaster for awhile. One day, I would feel upbeat. The next day I would feel lousy.

  I took a slew of supplements to support my immune system and the appropriate probiotics for my gut. Within this time frame, my co-infections finally tested in the normal range.  My candida in the blood finally tested normal.  (That took 3 years!) But I still had everything else.  So I went on IV antibiotics for the Lyme. I had to have a port surgically inserted just below my right clavicle. I had to see the doctor weekly so that he could flush out the port, take my blood to check my liver and organ functions and check my progress. I was first administered IV Claforan. I had an allergic reaction to it and had to stop that after 2 weeks. Then I was on about 3 months of IV Zithromax followed by almost 2 months of IV Rocefin.

I hated being on IV. Hated it!  I had no energy. I was super spacey. I was depressed. I felt and looked like the walking dead. I finally stopped the Rocefin when I developed painful bladder infections that wouldn’t go away. So for the next year, I was on short courses of antibiotics for the bladder infections.

It was about this time that I started to look for alternative treatments. I didn’t want to be on and off antibiotics for the rest of my life. If I had stayed on this path, that would have been my future. But for now, my personal health was put on hold. My son, Zack, was showing the vague yet tell-tale signs of late stage Lyme disease.

Zack loved to play soccer. He was on the freshman team and enjoyed his first year at the high school. Late October, he was stricken with what seemed like a nasty intestinal bug. He was sick for almost a week and complained about how tired he was. The following month he got sick again, with the similar symptoms. Within a month, he began to have sleep problems, he had anxiety, he couldn’t focus in school and he had no energy. He would come home from school and fall asleep.

Of course, I took him to see Doc Brown. And Doc tested him for Lyme. He was positive. He was also positive for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, one co-infection and the bacteria, mycoplasma pneumonia. You get the picture! So, Zack was put on Doxycyline for the RMSF. It took almost a year for the RMSF to test in the normal range. Of course, he was still positive for Lyme. Doc Brown had suggested starting antibiotic IV therapy.  I remember that gut-wrenching feeling as I looked at my son while we were sitting in the doctor’s office.  I kept on asking myself, “Is he going to have the same fate as me? Will he be on and off antibiotics his whole life? Will he always be sick? Or, is there another way? Is there another option? Was there a way out of this chronic state of Lyme? Was there a way?”

All I knew was that it was time for me to go in a different direction. It was time for me to change my tune. I had to find another way out of this Lyme state of mind.

To be cont…