Update Dec 2015- I have purposely not written about my Lyme treatment, because it’s an experiment and I don’t want people following my path until I have a better idea of where it leads. I will say I tried Cowden and my liver freaked out. I tried doTERRA and my liver freaked out. I tried Chinese herbs and I got worse neurologically as the blood brain barrier was opened up. I tried rife and I herxed so bad I couldn’t function. Basically the herxheimer reaction from the neurotoxin load of the dead microbes has been severe and dangerous for me at times with every antimicrobial medication I have taken as well as with Rife treatment. I have done many varieties of detox strategies with only mild benefits and at one point felt helpless to ever be able to “kill” the disease, because my body couldn’t detoxify the dead debris. Even my doctors were perplexed and felt at a loss as to what antimicrobials my body would be able to handle. My children could take a larger dose of medication than I could handle. Fortunately I was given insight and understanding as to why my body was blocked from detoxification and why my immune system was so compromised. The answer is complex and will be written in future posts, but the answer is that much of our biochemistry is affected by our beliefs and behavior patterns and ancestral blueprints beyond genetics that are passed down. And I am starting to understand that my key to healing to open my detox pathways and allow my body to kill the disease on it’s own lies by unlocking my personal puzzle in these areas and in creating a new blueprint-physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I realize that to heal from Lyme, I have to heal my heart first. My body will have it no other way.
January 2014 was a month transition and deep emotional experiences for our family. On January 2 I received a conclusive diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease, followed by the unexpected death of my amazing Father-in-Law, Brent Baxter, followed by a staph infection that was almost septic on my 1 year old son, James. Needless to say, I’m emotionally wiped out. However, through the drama of it all we were blessed with many spiritual experiences that further strengthened my testimony that there is a God in heaven who knows me, loves me, and gives me guidance and peace in my pleading moments of need. I want to focus this post on my journey with Lyme disease and the tender mercies that I’ve been given throughout this experience.
As many of you know, I’ve had a lot of health challenges in the past several years. I have found underlying factors in most of these ailments, but no real “root” cause, until recently. I received confirming blood tests that I do have Lyme disease. Fortunately, for me, my Igenex lab blood results were clear as we found actual DNA of the B. Burgdorferi bacteria in my blood as well as a low CD-57 count and elevated C4A count. Also fortunately, no active co-infections were found to be positive.
So, it’s ONLY Lyme disease. I say that half joking because on my path to diagnosing this illness we were ruling out more severe illnesses like multiple sclerosis and other diseases that I’m grateful not to have. However, chronic Lyme disease is believed to be incurable, only treatable. The other bummer is that treating Lyme is very difficult and a very lengthy process, often lasting 18 months. And the treatment is a grueling process because when you kill the Lyme bacteria, they release a neurotoxic substance that often makes the person more sick than with the Lyme disease itself. The treatment causes a bacteria “die off” response known as a Herxheimer reaction or “herxing” as it’s commonly referred to. I have already begun to experience this unfortunate reaction this month while beginning my Lyme treatment protocol.
Before I get too far into my treatment plan and the details of this disease I want to express and emphasize that I have gotten to a point in my journey where I am truly grateful for the experiences I have had as a result of this illness. Gratitude may seem like a confusing reaction to disease so I’ll explain further. When I received the news that I had Lyme I decided I needed to take a moment to say a prayer. I knew that however I would choose to react to the diagnosis would really set the stage for the emotional experiences I would have in my recovery. I decided that I had two choices: 1) be a victim or 2) choose to see the blessings that disease has brought into my life and use that energy and attitude to overcome the illness. As I knelt in prayer I had a profound realization. I saw a glimpse of my life if I had not fallen ill to Lyme disease several years ago. In that glimpse I was healthy, working, relatively happy, yet there was not much personal interest in spiritual matters. And then I realized, my husband and children were not in this vision! I then had this amazing understanding and saw how the choices I made and the experiences I had from falling ill led me to seek my spirituality/faith for strength, which led me to the church where I met my dear husband. I saw so clearly a life void of the people and experiences I treasure so dearly. In an instant I was given a new perspective of love and gratitude for the illness and for all of the lessons I’ve learned. I saw the little Lyme bacteria in my body partnering with my body to teach me many lessons- patience, faith, emotional self-management, love, charity, tolerance, etc. There has been so much learning, all from little bugs that affect how my body functions. This vision reminded of a classic Chinese proverb with a punch line that says “who’s to say what is good and what is bad?” When we feel justified in feeling like a victim it can be hard to see the other angle of a situation. I was given a blessing in this moment; it was to see my situation through the eyes of my Father in Heaven.
Although I do not enjoy being sick, I am honestly grateful for the learning and the life I have created as a result of being ill and becoming motivated to seek truth and health. And because of this gratitude and love I have for the experience I also know I can release this illness. I believe my learning from this stage of the illness is coming to a close as I choose to live with an attitude of acceptance and surrendering to “whatever is, is right”, while doing all I can to heal at the same time. I also believe that what we resist, persists. The phrase “fighting Lyme disease” does not feel right to me energetically, rather I am surrendering or letting go of the bacteria and encouraging the Lyme to bring its life cycle to a close as I say “farewell my little teachers” in love and gratitude.
Many have asked me when I got sick. I’m not sure exactly but I know for at least 6 years I’ve been ill with Lyme. And 10 years ago I had a mysterious illness that lasted several months after being in South America so it could have even been present then. It doesn’t really matter, I have had it for awhile. I don’t remember getting bit by a tick, but I have seen them around me and on others at various points in my life while camping and hiking. It is hypothesized that over 50% of people do not even get rashes when bit by the tick. And they can be the size of a poppy seed so it’s hard to know when I got the disease.
It has affected me in various ways. For many years I have had many digestive issues and allergies to foods. I have also battled chronic mono and fatigue on and off. I have had issues with sleep and mood and had terrible insomnia at times as well as anxiety issues. My illness really flared up after the birth of James. I have had pain in my back that has literally caused me to need to sleep on the floor for the past year and a half, insomnia, excessive fatigue, ache in my bones, uncoordinated fine motor movements, speech issues, headaches, neurological changes in my extremities, sound and light hyper-sensitivity among other symptoms. Yep, it hasn’t been fun and it definitely hasn’t been an easy ride juggling Lyme disease with two very active and intense children. However, I have committed most of my spare time the past several years to learning about health and mind management to cope with the various symptoms. My friends joke that I should have an honorary naturopathic medicine degree. I have sought out peace and understanding from energetic medicine and my spirituality. I have learned many “tools” to cope with insomnia, anxiety, mood issues, fatigue, etc. I have eaten gluten and dairy free for over 10 years and now have an extremely healthy diet. In this past year I’ve really focused on the ideas of thought-choice and how we really are the creator of our reality. In other words I have not wasted time all of these years being sick, I’ve spent this time learning about health, spirituality and incorporating many tools into my lifestyle. And now I get to put all of this learning into real practice as I overcome this illness. I believe that, like most illnesses, Lyme is very much an energetic as well as a physical illness and that my immune system will function much better if my attitude is one of peace, confidence, and faith in my body’s ability to heal.
The big question however is HOW to treat chronic Lyme. Most doctors use long term antibiotics in combination with herbal medicine. The treatment can last 6-18months and isn’t always successful. I have some unfortunate allergies to many of the commonly used antibiotics for Lyme, and I also have genetic issues with metabolizing most medications generally so I’ve been a bit nervous about this part of the recovery. I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do for treatment but I am hoping to avoid antibiotic use if I can. My doctor would prefer me to add the antibiotics onto some version of the Cowden Protocol, but my intuition is telling me to avoid the antibiotics, at least for now. I’ve been on the herbal program for 1 month and have had a TON of liver pain, so much so that we had to do IV therapy to help with my liver already. That’s just another reason I feel the antibiotics would be too much for my body right now. One interesting coincidence is that I started using the doTERRA essential oils a couple months before I knew I had Lyme and noticed a reduction in the neurological/cognitive symptoms. It happens that I was using some of the same oils doTERRA recommends for their Lyme treatment protocol (frankinscense, onGuard). So I have decided to try their oils along with the herbal route recommended by my naturopathic doctor.
The primary “medicine” however that I will be taking will be working on my visualization, meditation, and prayers to allow for true healing to take place. I know that my body will follow my spirit and as my spirit feels peace, truth, and love my body will naturally feel better. I will take the medications necessary to support my body but I see them as only support, not the main player in healing Lyme. I truly feel that Lyme, like most diseases, feeds on fear and feelings of victim-hood, powerlessness, blame, and guilt. I admit I’ve had some of those patterns of emotions in my past, but they have been changing, and will continue to change as I learn to fully manifest who I am meant to be and learn to more fully radiate love and kindness to others.
So stay tuned to my journey and my insights a long the way. I haven’t blogged much this past year, mostly because I didn’t know what my illness was and I didn’t want to spend time on speculation discussions. I am hoping to have a great story to tell, although I am realistic that the recovery part may be bumpy as well. I am excited to see if the natural healing process will be adequate for overcoming Lyme despite the odds of success with those methods. For others who are on the path of healing Lyme I hope to share my knowledge and experiences with you as well.
I thought I’d end with sharing some of the things I’ve learned and done BECAUSE of the choices I made during this illness. As I think of the blessings it reminds me to always try and see life’s challenges from a different perspective. God sometimes allows things that we love to be taken away only to make space for an even greater joy in our life that we wouldn’t experience otherwise. I know a great healing of my heart has occurred towards my family because of being humbled by illness. I also see now the miracle it was that I had two babies in under two years while sick with Lyme. I’ve made some amazing friends who have become my family, I’ve joined a wonderful church, I’ve traveled to new places, I met my husband, I’ve learned about energy medicine, diet, and various healing modalities. Because I was too weak to hike and be active, I learned to sew, draw, do art, took writing classes, learned to cook amazing healthy foods, and learned the art of being still and knowing God.
Below are just a collection of a few of the experiences I’ve had as a result of illness. These photos give me such joy and yet some of those moments were filled with so much frustration b/c I felt so unwell. However, now I see a greater purpose in these moments. They were all part of a beautiful path that led to my “now”. I wouldn’t change a thing.