Tuesday, March 27, 2012

"Yoo Need Protehshon"?

 Paul Serone, skeevy Paraguayan snake poacher in Anaconda (1997)

I’ll bet you never heard of the schlocky horror-action film, Anaconda. Jon Voight, who stars as the sleazy, snake-obsessed, Spanglish speaking villain, Paul Serone, is a riot as the crazy bad guy. His performance is a must-see for B-movie fans! My husband happens to do an uncanny Paul Serone impersonation. Sometimes he’ll sneak up behind me and whisper in my ear, “Yoo need protehshon?” It’s become an inside joke between the two of us and never fails to give us a good laugh. Ironically, I recently found new meaning behind this absurd question. And my response was no joke!

I love being outdoors. I love communing with nature.  I love the longer days, the blooming foliage, the scent of spring – you get the picture. But I hate what undeniably comes along with all this beauty – BUGS!  I don’t despise all bugs - just the ones that spread disease.

As far as I can remember, I have been sensitive to bug bites. When I was a baby, my arms would sometimes swell up from mosquito bites. I’ve never had severe allergic reactions to any bites, but nevertheless, it was, and still is, a big problem for me. When I was a kid, I used to spray Off liberally all over my exposed skin until I smelled like chemicals and glistened in the summer dusk. As an adult, I’ve replaced Off with Skin-So-Soft, essential oils and health store brands. These are a healthier choice and are almost as effective. Yes, Deet is powerful but it’s a neurotoxin, so I won’t use it anymore.

The point is, that if I remember to slather bug repellent on ALL my exposed skin, I’m in good shape. I’m more or less protected. But, if I were to miss a spot on my skin (let’s say the back of my thigh), and its buggy out, I will without a doubt, get bitten on this missed spot. This has happened so many times, I’ve lost count.

So, why am I making such a fuss? It is a known fact that ticks spread Lyme and other diseases. What is not known is that it is possible that Lyme disease can be spread by mosquitoes and biting flies. How do I know this? I’ll give you one guess.

Last September, my husband and I went to the shore for the weekend. We were walking to the beach and, out of no where, I was zapped on my inner thigh, by a hungry mosquito. I was completely caught off guard. I wasn’t wearing any repellent. The bite became intensely itchy and inflamed. Within two days, it spread to two inches in diameter. There was a lighter ring around the perimeter. It looked nasty. It looked like Lyme.

In the past, I’ve had many suspicious bites that were the result of being bitten by flying insects. By suspicious, I mean bites, larger than a quarter, that were irritated and spread out to almost two inches in diameter. When I was bitten before, I was already positive for Lyme, so I couldn’t tell if I was experiencing new symptoms. I remember Dr. Doolittle examining one highly unusual bite and exclaiming, “Only ticks spread Lyme. This must be a histamine reaction.”  I knew it wasn’t a tick bite(it was on the front of my thigh), but I was given a course of new antibiotics to play it safe.

Years later, I was bitten by a mosquito, while I was at an evening Little League game. The bite blew up to almost three inches in diameter. Doc Brown, who was treating me then, immediately put me on antibiotics and within one week, I was experiencing a Herxheimer (die-off) reaction. I wasn’t retested, but I knew I was re-infected.

But this time, I was in remission. I was feeling great!  And I was crossing my fingers that the bite was just a histamine reaction. So, I made an appointment with Dr. Lovejoy, who was able to see me the following week. She tested me and when she told me I was positive, I had that sinking feeling all over again.

Well, I thought, I’ll go on a course of doxycycline and I’ll be fine.  The problem was that I wasn’t feeling fine. I was feeling tired every morning and spacey 24/7.

By the time I saw Dr. Goodsoul, I was on the doxy for three weeks. He re-tested me and not only was I still positive, but the new bite re-activated my dormant Lyme. A course of antibiotics was not going to be enough. I needed to do something more radical and aggressive. 

I was in a state of shock. And to think, this was from a stupid mosquito bite!  And during the summer months, mosquitoes are everywhere!  How could I protect myself from mosquitoes in the future?  And would I have to worry about green heads or gnats, too?

I need protection, all right! I need protection from blood-sucking mosquitoes. I need protection from vampire biting flies. I need protection from viper ticks.

It’s a creature feature action-packed  monsterama outside. And I’m the bait!

But, wait a second…there is hope. (At least a 40 foot man-eating anaconda isn’t after me!) And I know  what I need to do.

I must keep a filled prescription of doxycycline at my fingertips – at all times. In hindsight, I realized that if I started the antibiotics within a few days after I was bitten, I more than likely would have nipped it in the bud.

So that’s my “protehshon”…and that’s my answer…for now.

To be continued…

Friday, March 9, 2012

Listen to Your Gut

“Use The Force, Luke…trust me.”
Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars (Episode IV:  A New Hope -1977)

Luke did indeed “listen to his gut”, used The Force, blew up the Death Star, and was honored as a hero by Princess Leia and the Rebel Alliance. He felt and believed in the words of Obi Wan Kenobi. The legendary Star Wars story may be fiction but the idea of believing and listening to a feeling “that will always be with you” is very real.

Believe it or not, “listening to your gut” can save your life!  My classic example is the Allergie-Immun drops. I had a feeling that the drops could help me and I was right.

Within one year since I started the drops, I joyfully became aware that my environmental and seasonal allergies were gone. Intolerably itchy, watery eyes, a persistent stuffy nose and sinuses,  and sinus headaches and infections from exposure to dust mites, pollen, mold, fresh mowed grass (the list goes on) since God knows when, are now a thing of the past.

The drops also helped to alleviate all my anxiety issues. As a result, I don’t freak out over – anything!  And this includes my health. I don’t feel like I have chronic health problems anymore. I can actually say that I see myself in a different light, altogether. I see myself now as a work in progress, with layers of complex issues slowly becoming resolved.  

Presently, I have no Lyme symptoms. I am in remission for the first time in 14 years. (Actually the second time, which is another mind opening story that I will share with you in a future blog.)  I may not be symptomatic, for now, but who knows what the future will bring? I’m not out of the woods, yet. I still have more layers to peel away. I still have more work to do. And, of course, I’m aware that I can easily be re-infected, so I have to be careful. I have to protect myself. What can I say, I’m just one of those lucky people who are sensitive and can pick “things” up easily.

The AI Drops and Dr. Gurevich’s therapies brought my health back. But when you’re a sensitive creature like me, and vulnerable to whatever is blowing in the wind, you realize that you needed protection – super duper protection.  My gut was telling me that bug spray wasn’t enough. My gut was telling me that I needed to find some serious multi-dimensional protection. That is protection on a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual level.

This meant one thing – I had to change. In order for me to continue my healing process, I had to change the way I thought of myself .And I knew that this wouldn’t be easy. Physical protection is a no brainer. Anyone can do that.  But the other levels. That was another story.  Dr. Gurevich could show me the way, but I had to do the work.

Luke, my intuitive Star Wars buddy, listened to the advice of Obi Wan, but it was his ultimate decision in the end to follow his gut.

 I, too, had a life changing decision to make. Could I learn a new way of thinking? Was I open to a new way of believing?  Was it possible to relearn what I had been taught all my life? Was it possible to be reprogrammed to think that I had the power to protect myself? Was it possible?

Well…what do you think?

What does your gut tell you?

“Search your feelings…”