My Life On Hold
You may have detected some incongruity in my Hale & Hart work: I am promoting a healthy, herbal lifestyle and also battling Lyme disease. This new business of mine is partly motivation to make it through the "liminality" of Lyme and into full remission. Read 'til the end to see how Flower Essences played a role in my recovery so far!
What is Lyme? The acute form is simpler to explain. It is specifically an infection from the spirochetal bacterium Borrelia Burgdoferi but its bedfellows are the co-infections such as Babesia and Bartonella. The illness is named after Lyme, Connecticut, where the first people were observed to have the same confounding symptoms in 1976. It's usually contracted from a tick vector but is carried by mice, mosquitos, lice, and deer too. If you are diagnosed and treated within 6 months of infection with antibiotics for 4-6 weeks, you can be cautiously optimistic about a full recovery. However, in Canada most medical doctors will only prescribe 1-2 weeks of an antibiotic like doxycycline to wipe out the bacteria which causes major problems for thousands down the line. In the USA, approximately 470 000 contract Lyme annually.
If treatment is inadequate, it will progress into a multisystem post-sepsis infection not unlike HIV/AIDS. This is known as Chronic, Persistent or Late-Stage Lyme Disease (Syndrome), since the medical community has not yet — and perhaps never will — unanimously agree on a label, let alone on how to treat it. The Borrelia genome is intelligent and similar to syphilis; it infiltrates most organs, bones, cells and tissue in the body, including the central nervous system (brain and spine). This manifests as arthritis, constant fatigue, neuropathy, carditis and neuropsychiatric symptoms (in short). That is why it's notoriously known as the Great Impersonator because it's misdiagnosed as Lupus, CFS, Schizophrenia, Alzeimher's, MS to name a few.
The Fun Never Ends!
In length, symptoms that I have regularly after 3 tick bites are: fatigue, arthritic joints, pelvic pain, fever, chills insomnia, numbness in feet and hands, facial palsy, earaches, vision loss, optic neuritis, burning soles of feet, jaw pain, air hunger, cavities, nightmares, swollen lymph nodes, brain fog, kidney stones, dizziness, vertigo, mood swings, pins and needles *on steroids*, memory loss, lack of concentration, disorganised speech and thought, carditis, nausea, muscle aches, weakness, debility, thyroid and adrenal imbalance.
Make of it what you will. It is not a fun illness, as you feel like you are going crazy at many points in the day, and it is intractable. There is no standard treatment or diagnosis for persistent or chronic or late-stage Lyme. There is no easy chartered path and usually Lymies and their practitioners are shooting in the dark. Typical treatments range from long-term IV antibiotics to Rife Machines to Herbal Therapy to Hyperthermia Treatment and Stem Cell Injections. It takes years for most to recover, if they do, since it's not just about "killing the bugs". The bugs suppress your immune system so you have to simultaneously build your body back up (and nurture your mental/emotional health) while detoxifying the infections. Brutal eh! I have had it for over 4 years and am 75% better since I went to the ER in an ambulance passing in and out of consciousness with searing pain coursing up my spine.
Am I Crazy or Denied Treatment?
There is a chronic case of medical gaslighting or "sick shaming" going on around late-stage Lyme. Around 3/4 of Lyme patients are told by a medical professional their symptoms are "in their head". This was my experience even with organic physical changes such as arthritic degeneration and a heart murmur. It is not any individual's fault; changes are needed on a policy level to institutionalize the diagnosis and treatment of Chronic Lyme Disease.
I am having success in the last 6 months with my Lyme treatment. I have a wonderful team of specialists supporting me through IV therapy, herbal protocols, frequency therapy and pain management. By now you must recognize the emotional toll this illness takes. After experiencing PTSD symptoms on top of Lyme disease last summer, I turned to Bach Rescue Remedy to support me. Using it 1-2 times a day, I saw a tiny benefit, but when I took it 4-5 times a day for a month, my almost paralyzing PTSD reduced by half. I kept it up the next month and it is now the scaffolding to my convalescence. This transformation is why I decided to do the Level 1 Bach Practitioner Training with Sarah Brune.
The reality is most late-stage Lyme patients will not return to their old self even after years of treatment. And most do not want to. Because they eat healthier, make more conscious use of energy/time and most value life one-thousand-fold more. There is a silver lining in the Lyminal Life. For me this is becoming a Herbalist and Flower Essence Practitioner. I would have never dreamed of making this a vocation had my life not gotten rear-ended by those grisly ticks (and a Brown Recluse spider! TMI). There are tools I will share through my site and social media which got me through the blunt of these infections. I will keep the articles coming since I think it's pertinent to all!