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Treatment

How Do I Know If It Is Lyme?

December 13, 2017

How Do I Know If I Have Lyme?

(Or: What if it is not arthritis, MS, interstitial cystitis?)

Most likely it is Lyme. If you are thinking about a possible Lyme diagnosis it probably is. And if you have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, MS, or interstitial cystitis there’s a chance that the Lyme bacteria is causing it. Lots of serious, chronic diseases start because of a virus or bacteria. If your illness is caused by a Borrelia burgdorferi strain, then your treatments will only be Band-Aids for symptoms.  If you get tested and narrow the cause down to Lyme, then treating Lyme will get to the root of the problem and begin the healing process.

Many people in my town are being diagnosed with Lyme disease after years of feeling unwell and “mysterious” migrating symptoms. It is an epidemic and therefore makes sense that many people have Lyme, whether they know it or not.

In children, Lyme looks a little different. Sadly Lyme is congenital, and mothers can pass it on to babies if they do not have treatment during pregnancy. It starts out slowly and if untested and untreated, the child will just grow increasingly ill with more symptoms. It usually begins with headaches, bone pain (mistaken sometimes for growing pains), constant sore throat and ear infections, asthma, digestive issues, and/or ADD and anxiety. Some children are developmentally delayed, while others have more physical pain and low immunity.

Here’s how it started for me:

First onset symptoms: A “weird” flu or unexplained “virus” a few months, asthma, chemical sensitivities, fatigue, feeling ‘rundown’, sore throats, annual pneumonia

 

Chronic Lyme disease symptoms: Extreme fatigue, insomnia, pain, poor circulation, brain fog, tinnitus, heart palpitations, heart block, heart murmur, low BP, difficulty breathing/shortness of breath, chronic cough, stiff joints, heightened anxiety, difficulty remembering common words.

 

Diagnosis before Lyme disease: 

 

Working too hard; anxiety; IBS

 

Treatment does not always mean hundreds of thousands of dollars at a special clinic. There are means to managing the disease at home and with the help of various practitioners. It does require patience and research. Some excellent books to start with are:

Dr. Horowitz’s Why Can’t I Get Better?  His symptom checklist is thorough.

Stephen Buhner’s books on Lyme and Coinfections

Dr. William Rawls Suffered Long Enough and Unlocking Lyme

Coping

Do It Afraid

November 9, 2017

I am a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock films. North by Northwest is a favourite. To calm down after a Thanksgiving fiasco one year, it was an Alfred Hitchcock marathon we watched while eating pizza. Perhaps my love of the films blossomed because it marked a breakthrough in our marriage and coping with this disease. Strangely I get warm fuzzy feelings watching The Birds, Vertigo, Rear Window, and even Psycho because of that memory. North by Northwest has an amazing scene that is set on Mount Rushmore. As we drove up to the parking lot I felt excitement for the first time in months. I felt blessed as clouds rolled in. I felt capable of walking to see these famous carvings. Phrases from Teddy Roosevelt’s speeches and biographies came to me as I looked at his face. I recalled that Teddy Roosevelt was a sickly child. He was small and suffered from asthma, gasping for air at night. He was weak compared to other boys his age. Instead of caving in to this, he did exercises at home, slowly conditioning his body. Like me, he was riddled with fears. To prevail he simply did things afraid. He pretended he wasn’t afraid in order to overcome. I seemed to do that too. I was always scared. People said, “You are so brave. I couldn’t endure those treatments” and even, “You look so calm. You must be handling this well.”
The truth is I am often scared, silently fretting. I do not speak of these fears aloud very often. I do not allow the fears to have a voice or I would never be able to silence them. I choose to push through and do things afraid. I can convince myself that I am strong and brave. Fake it till I make it. Coinciding with the height of one scary situation was a trip to Mount Rushmore. My fears were mounting to the point of spilling out into a full blown panic attack. But looking at Teddy Roosevelt’s face carved in solid stone reminded me to press on, to do things afraid. Just because we are scared does not give us permission to quit. It was fitting to be at Mount Rushmore on July 4, to be bolstered by history and stone.

Treatment

Milk Thistle

October 31, 2017

Milk thistle seeds contain silymarin, which provides a gentle, yet effective detox mostly by supporting the liver. In my experience, and many others I have interviewed, milk thistle has not caused a healing crisis, herx, or negative side effects. From measurably reducing liver enzymes to relieving neurotoxicity, to alleviating jaundice to easing digestive disorders, this powerful herb can be of significant support.

Milk thistle will not only help “cleanse,” but will also cause new tissue to grow, thereby restoring a damaged liver. It is considered an important treatment for liver disease. Studies reveal improvements in patients suffering from hepatitis, fatty liver, and cirrhosis when milk thistle is prescribed.

In the chronic illness community, liver damage and toxicity are common problems. Milk thistle is proving to bring the most effective, safe, and affordable means of supporting the liver and spleen, while aiding detox and digestion.

I have myself experienced success while taking milk thistle capsules. Once jaundiced, with spiking liver enzymes, I now have a fully functioning liver and bile flow from the consistent use of this wonderful herb.

Unlike yucca or glutathione pushes, which are great for some but cause neurotoxicity and pain in many, milk thistle does not create side effects while opening detox pathways and interrupting cytokine cascades. It does not interfere with other drugs and herbs. Of course, this opinion is based on my experience and research. Speak with your naturopath or TCM doctor about including milk thistle in your treatment plan. Do some of your own research and readings to determine if milk thistle is something you should try.

Coping, Photos

Rise Again

October 20, 2017

It seems most bleak in the earliest morning; the darkness tries to settle into my soul just before the sun rises. Thankfully I never give in to it, that depth of despair. For like the sun, hope rises anew every morning. Shining, reflecting, providing a new day, a new perspective. Even if nothing has changed, somehow it is different and I can begin again. So rise again like the sun: gently, slowly, and then with splendour. You are valuable, you are loved, you are here. Face the day with your face towards the sun. Let it reflect off of you, let it warm your heart. Let it help grow the seeds that were planted deep in you in the beginning. Nourish them. Protect them. Feed them. Grow your hope. Grow your purpose. No matter what is happening to you. No matter what has come before, today is a new day. And new every morning is the Song of Love being sung over you.

Coping

Dig Deeper

October 6, 2017

Sometimes our dreams or plans blow away and scatter. Watching them go, especially before fruition, is how many felt this week when the intense windy snowstorm “attacked” and blew away the beautiful, colourful fall foliage. Not many complained about the cold or the snow; but the wind was upsetting. The reaction and results of the short-lived blast helped me comprehend what I’ve been feeling lately but couldn’t put into words or fully grasp. I’ve had to let go of some big dreams and lofty goals, not of my choosing or because I changed my mind, but because they were forced from my hand. My fist was pried open and I watched these ideals scatter and blow away. Like the storm this week, a blasting wind blew away some beautiful, colourful goals I had for myself. As the summer says goodbye I say farewell to these goals, without anger or suffering, because I realize now there was nothing of the Divine in my plans. I charged ahead. I wanted control. I thought I knew best. The “storm” blew these expectations away, stripped me bare like the trees’ branches. And stripped down, my life became peaceful and joyous and simple. And after all the turmoil of recent years, simple is welcome! My life is full of quiet mystery and love. I only suffer when chasing after things that aren’t meant for me. I am only angered when pushing myself too hard and being unable to keep up with others. But when I let these expectations go and ask for wisdom and leading, it comes. And with it joy and contentment and a new song. I will rest and recover and reflect through the dormant winter period and when my body is ready, turn over a new leaf. I can begin again and so can you. You can start over. Even if it is the tenth or eleventh time. After all, we live in a cycle like the trees. Our leaves bud, bloom, thrive, change, then let go, only for the cycle to repeat. It’s not the end. It’s not sad. It’s really another time to begin. After you grieve a disappointment (either a loss, a relapse, a heartache) reflect, rest, and recover, you can start anew with purpose. And, like me, you may find your purpose is to do less and live more quietly and to go totally against the current trend of “busy” and “crazy.” Go deep down to the roots when making plans and goals, don’t seek ideals externally. We only suffer when we desire, especially desiring things not suited for us at this time.