Bloody Lymey

A Blog About Living with Lyme Disease

Whether the Weather has You Under the Weather ………

Many of us lymies concur that our joints can predict the rain, that a drop in temperature can make us feel more malaise, that humidity and such can influence our days.

I remember going to a neighboring town recently and was so stiff that walking was agonizing …… but my return to my homeland turned that around.  The neighboring town is at a slightly higher altitude, but otherwise the weather was the same.  Hmmm……..

I found an interesting article about this phenomenon if you want to check it out:  http://specialtyclinics.med.sc.edu/joint_pain.asp  (in case the link does not work:  http://specialtyclinics.med.sc.edu/joint_pain.asp)

The doctor answering the questions, Dr. James Fant, seems like an extraordinary guy with experience & an open mind.

It doesn’t have any particularly ground-breaking information, but hey!  Isn’t it good to be validated?   🙂

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Pain in the Mass.

I have been feeling good for some months.  I think four to be exact — with a hiccup of pain or digestion issues here and there.  Tonight I felt limber and good, almost taking it for granted.  I went to a neighboring town here in Massachusetts and sat in my AA meeting for 1/2 an hour, listening to the speaker.  At the break I went to get up and struggled.  My knees were grinding and screaming at me.  I struggled to get to an upright position, feeling like someone further down the line on the evolutionary model with knuckles scraping the floor.

I was a hairless ape with opposable thumbs lacking, however, the correct posture and that jumbo sized soda banned in NYC.

It was embarrassing and, truth be told, that’s the hardest thing about pain for me.  I guess I have some more work to do on pride.   In moderation it’s awesome to have some.  In excess?  Not so much.

I walked around and it got better but I was still creaky.   At the end of the meeting I had more problems still.  I gimped to the prayer circle and shuffled around after. It got a little better.  For just one second I was pissed off.  This came out of nowhere; I was blindsided.  Typically I’m used to it coming on gradually — if even throughout the night for me to unexpectedly wake up to full-fledged arthritis.

To be quite candid?  My birthday was yesterday and I walked the line with gluten and then crossed it to cake — not once but twice.  Having divorced parents led to more than one birthday cake as a child and sometimes as an adult — such was the case yesterday.  Honestly I have no regrets.

Looking on the bright side?  I met with the Rheumatologist this summer when I was feeling fine.  I see my next appointment with him coming closer, closing in from three months to two to one to two weeks to one …….. maybe this pain could see me through my appointment so he won’t doubt that there is something to what I’m saying.  Maybe the good news is he’s seen me within the context of a healthy baseline and now he can see my creaky slow self walking bowlegged into the exam room.

I drove back to my town to pick up my child.  Slowly I opened the door and gingerly swung my legs out.  Carefully grasping the door, I pulled myself up trying to show caution to my obviously compromised knees. I cautiously stepped forward …….. nothing.  No creaks.  No cricks.  No grinds.  No hot dry heated pain.  I walked slowly and surely, the thought sinking in :  “Gone.”

I walked fluidly and confidently and perplexedly to my mother’s door to pick up my son.  Nothing.

Maybe the Rheumatologist will continue to think I’m crazy after all.   [wink].

 

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The Diagnostic World Continues — Celiac Disease

I spoke with my doctor about the results of my CAT scan and they were normal.  No blood clot.  Yay.

I reiterated — as I sometimes HAVE to do — about the magnificent bloating, remedied by the 17-Day Diet.  I pointed out that my “IBS” symptoms are under control now.  I told her again that it is an elimination diet, but that I had buckled and eaten pizza this weekend with bad results.

Humorous story:  my boyfriend’s grandson’s birthday party was last weekend and they had pizza.  I had two pieces.  The kind that are cut in squares.  Small.  After the second piece, I had that derailed locomotive feeling barrel-assing through my intestines.  They had an outdoor party, but everyone came inside due to rain.  The apartment was teeming with family members, friends and their kids.  The bathroom is central.  Very central.  I clenched my butt,  trying so hard not to succumb to my digestive system’s awful impulse.  The sun came out and it was almost time for cake.  I wanted to yell, “Wow!!! Look how NICE it is OUTSIDE!!!”

Due to the outdoor stuff being wet, they had the singing and candle-blowing on the porch.  I went into the bathroom.  I couldn’t do it.  Not enough time.  I briskly walked out.   I finally made it to the bathroom during the presents-opening which came blessedly soon.  Armed with air freshener, I had a hit and run with my diarrhea.  Don’t ask me how I made it .  I don’t know.  But rest assured, my friends!  It was a pressing issue!

I told the doctor about the instantaneous diarrhea and the subsequent bloating and fatigue.  I asked her if food sensitivities can cause nerve pain and joint pain and fatigue……. she admits it does.  She discussed elimination diets and how the key is to implement things eliminated ONE at a time to discover what I’m sensitive to, and suggested a “food diary.”  She asked if Celiac runs in my family. I told her no.

After getting off the phone, I realized I should have mentioned how my mother is on this same diet and doing fabulously and my father is on a gluten-free diet and has lost tons of weight and has more energy than I recall his having in years.  More strangely:  they’ve been divorced for 32 years and do not talk.  The fact that BOTH are doing this sort of thing is peculiar.  Maybe there’s something undiagnosed?  Even just one of them.

She asked if I wanted a Celiac test, cautioning me that there aren’t really other reliable blood tests for allergies.

So I had my blood drawn on Tuesday.  Arriving at work with another lab bandage – the white square of gauze with medical tape-, a coworker asked me what they had done now. I told her Celiac and she cringed.  I told her I sort of hoped it was positive.

“NO WHEAT?  Never?!”  She asked incredulously.

I told her how abstinence from a certain food would be easy.  These ups and downs with “Lyme” are not.  I told her Celiac would be more “treatable” and that cycles of not feeling well would be at least somewhat  easier to predict, avoid, etc.  She nodded sympathetically, but I really don’t think anyone could understand that if they don’t feel it.

I think you have to feel the disappointment in waking up tired and in pain after weeks or even days of feeling well.  The longer you feel better, the more bitter the disappointment.  Likewise, the shorter the duration, the more cheated one can feel.  I think you have to feel the balloon in your soul quickly deflate when you’ve finished a course of treatment and think you’re “fine now” only to become crippled and exhausted again.  I think you have to walk a mile enthusiastically in my shoes because you couldn’t walk that mile last week ——- with that wonder in the back of your head, wondering if you should actually enjoy this because it won’t last. I think you have to sleep on the couch for a night because you couldn’t get upstairs to your bed.  I think you have to fall asleep exhausted and wake up in the same state, wondering why you even bother trying to take a nap when it brings no relief.  I think you have to feel like your body is being impaled from within, impaled with scorching iron fireplace pokers with an electrical charge to fully understand the magnificence of the pain — an acute pain that would make you faint were it not so sporadic. I think you have to have your cupboard filled with supplements and buy JUST one more because you think “this might work this time.  This might help.”    I think you have to lumber down the aisles of the pharmacy looking for a new over the counter pain med because the last one stopped working; you have to decide whether or not to replace Motrin with Aleve or Tylenol, wondering if enough time has spanned since the last time that one stopped working.

So do I hope I have Celiac?  Yeah.  Yeah I do.  And I don’t want to be disrespectful to people with Celiac.  If you’re reading this and you have it, then wasn’t it easier to contend with once it had a name and a protocol?  I don’t necessarily WANT to forego birthday cake, pizza, cereal, and other favorites.  I don’t necessarily WANT to go to a party and find there’s nothing at all that I can eat.  I don’t WANT to go to a party to find that all I can eat is the celery and carrots on the veggie tray.  I don’t want to be invited to dinner at someone’s house and find that they are serving lasagna and nothing more.  That must be terribly awkward — and is it polite to ask someone what they’re having if you’re invited to dinner at their house?  Sure if it’s a friend or family member, then that’s cool.  What if it’s your spouse’s boss?  What if you’re going to meet your boyfriend or girlfriend’s parents for the first time and they invited you to dinner?  So I respect how hard it must be.  I imagine I would respect it a lot more if I had to avoid gluten and I would respect it a lot more if I had years of experience doing just that.

I just don’t want to feel like this anymore.  And I’m continuing to hope against hope that perhaps there is something I can do about this.  I think I’m also hoping for some validation from the medical community that I may never get.

I mean, “Chronic Lyme” does not exist, right?

I am slowly becoming prepared for how hard it must be to have Celiac Disease.  The other night was my boyfriend’s and my anniversary and we went out to dinner.  I ordered one of the few dinners there that did not involve pasta — and I don’t like fish, so that narrowed the choices as well.  There were three things I could pick from.

The waitress brought us a basket of bread – warm bread – and it smelled nice and tempting but I remembered what had happened after I ate pizza – whether it was gluten intolerance or a coincidence.  That squashed the lamentations about not being able to have bread.  Next, came my salad.  Covered in croutons. I picked them off and put them on a plate, brushed their crumbs off of the top as best I could.  After finishing the salad came a BIG stomach cramp.  Trying to maintain my composure, I pressed my stomach under the napkin on my lap and tried to keep a poker face.  My eyes kept bulging and my boyfriend asked what was wrong. I told him it was a magnificent cramp.  Gas maybe?

Please no diarrhea here!

I hoped it wasn’t the croutons.  Could I be THAT sensitive?  Or is this something else? If it’s not the croutons/wheat then what now?

My dinner was Chicken Marsala with potatoes and “fresh vegetables in season.”  I was now fearing that maybe they would thicken the sauce with flour like I usually always did with my gravies and things.  Dinner was good.  No aftermath.  The fleeting cramp was threatening, but nothing came of it.

Last night we went out for ice cream.  After my wheat-free week, this seemed like a reward.  Looking at the list of  flavors, “Cookies and Cream” sprang to mind.  Nope.  Nope.  Can’t do that.

Uhh…….. Can’t have a cone.  Have to have it in Styrofoam .

The ice cream joint, ever progressive, offered “gluten free” cones.  Jim pointed this out to me, but I had read a little about Celiac and a great site suggested steering clear of substitutes at first.  The rationale is that the digestive system has some healing to do and it’s best treated with “fresh foods.”  I have chosen to adhere to that.

Whether or not I actually have Celiac, there is something wrong that appears to be tied in to food.  I so want to know what it is.

Prior to my test, I asked friends with it about what I need to do for the test.  One (a nurse) said that they measure enzymes and that the enzymes are present when someone eats gluten.  She told me that I should not abstain from it.   So? I ordered a BIG calzone from our local pizza place.   Having worked there years ago, I recalled their enormous bags of wholesale flour that read “High Gluten Flour.”  I hoped they still used it.  The calzone was delicious.  My stomach violently rumbled before I was finished, and after swallowing the last bite I had diarrhea.  It wasn’t worth it.  But, if I test positive, then this was a good last hurrah.

As someone who is in A.A., they tell me  to remember “my last drink.”  [To people who can drink socially, “drink” does not mean the last drink in literal terms — not our last martini, our last beer, or our last sip of aftershave because we had no booze in the house …… it’s to remember the last stretch of drinking, our last binge, our last evening drinking, whatever the case may be.  The intent is not to remember what it tasted like or to tempt us; it’s to remember the consequences.  In the end of an alcoholic’s drinking, the consequences are generally BAD].  At any rate, if I have Celiac then I need to remember my last “gluten.”  I need to remember the consequences.

Strangely, after living it up this weekend with gluten, my joint pain has arrived within a couple of days.  Brain fog was fairly immediate.    I was also rather pissy for a few days — and that’s not like me.  It was very hard to overcome.

I’ve been experimenting with meds.  I have been off of Zoloft [an antidepressant my primary gave me for muscle weakness/fatigue] for two months.  I have been off of low dose naltrexone for a couple of weeks.  Due to the nerve pain returning last night, I am going to make haste to get a refill on my prescription today.  Strangely, I have read that LDN is used to help manage Celiac Disease [which is an autoimmune condition and not a “food allergy.”]  Is the nerve pain tied into the diet I enjoyed a few days ago or is it a result of the lack of LDN?  I don’t know.  I’m not playing with it, though.

At any rate, the past few days have given me a new appreciation for people who have Celiac Disease — even just selecting things to eat in a restaurant.   I thought it would be easier than this.  I thought it would simply be “don’t eat bread” and “don’t eat pasta.”  Period.  It’s trickier than that. I’ve also read about people who are incredibly sensitive and have been “cross contaminated.”  Maybe a little flour sprinkled  on someone’s chicken breast because it was next to the order that was being breaded or battered?  Then there is the knee-jerk reaction to order ice cream with cookies in it.  Then there’s the croutons on salads.  Then there’s the fear that if you ask for them without croutons that they’ll put them on by mistake and try to pick them off.   Then after a couple of bad experiences — and the bad experiences can bring symptoms for days or weeks – then who can trust dining out again?

So while I said I sort of hope this is Celiac, please know that I’m not intentionally impugning the difficult lifestyle of someone with the condition.  But I am trying to think “positive.”

 

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What Now??? [Reaching a Dead End in the Diagnosis World]

Three weeks ago, I went to a Rheumatologist for the first time.  Actually?  I was feeling pretty good, and wondered if even going was a waste of time.  However, maybe it’s good for him to see I am capable of “being fine,” and he can rule out hypochondria.

He asked for my history, but really didn’t want to hear about my Lyme Symptoms other than the joints.  I was being very concise – and isn’t that hard to do with our crazy zigzagging symptoms that chart their way through neurology, endocrinology, digestive, cardiology and skeletal ?   Basically no system in my body has been left unharmed.

“Oh, I bet you and your doctor think you have ‘Chronic Lyme Disease.'”  This was a sentence.  NOT a question.

I calmly explained that I am not sure on what he would call it but that I was a perfectly healthy, very athletic person prior to contracting Lyme Disease.  I added that while I was diagnosed 4 years ago, my symptoms predate that by one or two years.    In my doctor’s defense, I added that she is a skeptic of the “Chronic Lyme” terminology [and I swallowed hard before saying that. It was a hard sentence to bring myself to say].

He nodded and asked about my treatment history.  He asked what, other than Ceftin, the specialist had used.  I shrugged and shook my head.  “She put me on Low Dose Naltrexone,”  I added feebly.  He asked about opiate dependency (?).  I reiterated that it was a mere 3mg.  He shook his head.  I defended it, firmly stating my nerve pain is pretty much gone while I’m on it and I NEED it.  My GOD, don’t let that man take away my LDN!!!

He asked how long I had been on Ceftin. I told him I was on clusters of treatment for it:  3 months here, 6 months there ……. “I lost count after 18 months.”  He was very vocally appalled by this. He asked the dosage and when I told him 2,000 mg, he dropped his clipboard.  He asked if I was sure ….. that they were two 500mg tablets twice per day.  He asked about a medication – I forget its name.  I said no.  “It contains quinine,”  he added.  I reiterated I had not been on it.   He knew about the preliminary Doxycycline treatment.

In the end, he ran some labs.  While the young man with the spiky hair drained my arm, I noticed a cluster of test tubes.  Fifteen in all.  I finally got the results:  all normal.   It was a short message on my voicemail.  “Everything’s okay.  No changes to your meds.”  My next appointment is in October.

The tests ran the gamut from vitamin deficiencies to medication-induced lupus and R.A.  I think the labs gave me unfair cause for optimism.  I think deep in my heart I hoped that they would find something more readily treatable.  I hoped from some deliverance from Lyme Disease.

I think deep in my heart I knew that another diagnosis would have been too easy.  I think I fantasized about some treatment existing for me that would help me be okay for the most part.  While I feared steroids being a part of the equation (they gave me prednisone before and the “irritability” promised as a side effect was more like rage), I hoped for something more than what I have now.

My diet is helping, yes , yes, yes.  But I feel like I’m on shaky ground.  How long will this last?  When will the other shoe drop?

In other news, my sister’s wedding is today.  I got my monthly visitor the day before yesterday and I’m humongously bloated.   The bridesmaid dress that fit last week following my diet (it fit when I bought it and then I ballooned and then I lost the water retention again) is very snug today and I cannot zip it myself.   I can pinch the top of it together and am hoping very strongly that later someone can get it up for me.

So, Dr. Rheumatologist, here’s another piece of the puzzle.  No one seems able to answer what’s with the water.  And I keep mentioning it.  Why does no one care?  It’s not a few ounces, it’s not a couple of pounds.  I keep cycling between slim and feeling like a sausage crammed into too small of a casing.   I keep trying to emphasize to them that it’s not a vanity thing.  It can’t be good for me!!!

But today I’m going to fixate on my baby sister on her special day.  My pity party is officially over.  I’m going to buy a shawl today or some kind of plan B (maybe a shrug or something) in the event that there is some wardrobe malfunction to thwart.  This isn’t how I envisioned the day for me, but this isn’t MY day.    And I have enough faith in my higher power to know that I’ll get what I need today.   We all will.  And maybe…. just maybe …. it will be something we’ll laugh at.  Like in thirty years.  😉

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Navigating the Diagnoses World ……. Yet Again.

Today I saw a Rheumatologist. Some things I liked, and some I did not.

I did NOT like his readily wanting to diagnose me with Fibromyalgia. I believe it exists, yes, yes. But I think it’s become a catchall for doctors who have given up on trying to diagnose someone. My BIG issue with it is this: Myalgia means MUSCLE PAIN. I do NOT have muscle pain. It seems to be the one tissue in my body that does NOT hurt. Nerves? YES. Joints? YES!!! He did the press test that I’ve had so many times before. I do not meet the criteria and he shrugged that off, mentioning that not everyone feels that pain during the test.

He did talk about Drug-Induced Lupus. Have you heard of this? There are three drugs that have higher instances of causing this:
1. Quinidine
2. Hydralazine
3. Procainamide

However, there are “at least 100” that can cause this. Among them are long-term use of antibiotics. The Rheumatologist was floored when he heard I was on them for as long as I was and he dropped his clipboard when I told him the milligrams.

“More than EIGHTEEN MONTHS?” He blinked in disbelief. “That’s common in India! But in a First World Country?” [He is from India].

My problem with the Lupus talk is the fact that I don’t get rashes. That was part of my f**kin’ problem in the FIRST place! NO RASH. Therefore NO LYME TEST.

But? I like that he is thorough and thinking of everything – everything inside and outside the box.

I’ve read more about Drug-Induced Lupus and it seems the symptoms are a pinch different (?) than Systemic Lupus. Here’s info from the Lupus Foundation of America:  http://www.lupus.org/webmodules/webarticlesnet/templates/new_newsroom.aspx?articleid=377&zoneid=8

They took 15 vials of blood from me today. I stared at the lab orders and tried to take it all in and memorize it. Nahhh. I just know there are tests for indicating Sjogren’s and RA, then Lupus. I LOVE that he is thorough.

He asked for my medical history, focusing me on when the joint issues started. I tried to take him through the Lyme issues beginning with hypothyroidism and progressing to neurological. He rushed me through that a bit. I got to the joint stuff and he asked me what my diagnosis looked like and why I was referred to a specialist. He seemed to be stuck on my initial tests being negative. He ultimately said something about “belief systems” and how “chronic lyme is a part of your beliefs system…. is it not? And your doctor’s?” I shook my head and told him I am keeping an open mind.

Yeah. I B.S.’ed him a little. I am done with being dismissed just because I don’t believe my Lyme Disease has been entirely eradicated. Yeah. I was on Ceftin for months and months and months. If it was to work, wouldn’t it have worked in the first place? Maybe it did SOMETHING. Maybe it simply kept pace with their freakin’ replication. And now I’m off of it.

I told him about my Herx reaction when I took antibiotics for strep last year. He nodded and stared at me. Then he asked if I was ever given ____________ for Lyme. I forget the name. Black something? Blackin-something? I said no. He asked if I was sure. I told him very firmly that I had Doxy to start and all that came after that was Ceftin. He said, “Hmmmm. No? It has quinine in it.” I said no, but did tell him I use tonic water for nerve pain – and that it WORKS.

He kept asking if I have an opiate addiction and was perplexed by Low Dose Naltrexone. I explained it is LOW DOSE. I explained I needed it for my nerve pain. That it WORKS.

He seemed to possess one of those airs of the doctor who does NOT like lay people knowing more than he does. I did not explain the Low Dose Naltrexone or its function. Now that I think of it, I don’t know how well I conducted myself in there. I felt like I had to be a bit loose the first time. Have to get to know him.

So 15 vials of blood. I felt very woozy after! He said to call in 7-10 days about the labs and my next appointment is in November. I told him about the 17-day diet and how well I’m doing – except my HANDS and I had to work in south county today so the driving/steering was painful and I had to pry my hands open after [typing isn’t bothering me but handwriting is intolerable]. He said for now we will not treat me with anything. If I’m doing alright then we won’t rock the boat. Agreed.

An interesting aside with the 17-Day diet. Last night I had the tiniest bit of spaghetti – my first carbohydrate in 20 days. I was exhausted. The fatigue hit me and I fell stone-cold asleep on the couch. Felt a bit foggy today: gradually the fog lifted in layers. Maybe I do have a food allergy/sensitivity of some kind.

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17 Day Diet Take Two: Day 10 – and Info about Leaky Gut Syndrome

I have not update my progress in a while. So here I am!

I have lost 12 lbs. Six pounds were in the first two days, so I’m trying not to think of timelines and feeling discouraged by the daily ounces I’ve been losing.

The other day at work, the elevator was broken. I work on the 5th floor. Miracle of miracles: I could do the stairs!!! Toward the end of the day, I had to back down some of the stairs because my knees were rebelling, but for the most part I was up to it. I probably did the 5 flights of stairs FOUR or FIVE times.

I mowed the lawn the other day, and if you’re a regular reader you may be aware that I have done this before. Well? This time it didn’t feel so much like work and I did not have to uncurl my hands afterward.

At the end of a day I sometimes feel very sleepy, but it is the kind of sleepy one feels after having worked and not the Lyme-caliber fatigue. My headaches are gone. My tongue is now PINK and not white (an indicator of internal candida). On occasion I have had a little jab of nerve pain. Another improvement is my menstrual cycle. It is less heavy and clotty [TMI? Sorry!] I have cramps again, which is bad news in its own right, but a spin of normalcy on anything I do is GOOD.

In six days I am scheduled to see the rheumatologist and I do not have much to report. My singular symptom – that’s worsening – is floaters. The computer screen looks like it’s pulsating and moving with “molecules” and squiggly lines. I don’t know if this is some sort of herx reaction? [PS. Forgive me if there are typos in here or little grammatical hiccups — I am relying on the red squiggly underlines to tip me off because it’s difficult to read lately ]

What I’m wondering is if I have a food sensitivity as well. I have read a lot of about Leaky Gut Syndrome, happening upon the condition by accident during my research. If you’re wondering what “leaky gut syndrome” is, it’s damage to the intestinal lining. How does this tie into Lyme Disease?

Some Leading Causes of Leaky Gut:
1. Lots of antibiotics
2. Lots of NSAID medications such as Naproxen or Ibuprofen
3. Caffeine

Lots of us lymies are “guilty” of that. Don’t we sometimes get carried away with the caffeine when we’re in a big bout of fatigue? Don’t we take pain medications for our joint pain and other malaise? Antibiotics go without saying. I, myself, lost count after 18 months (3 months here, 6 months there).

When the lining of the intestines are in good working order, they have little gaps in the cells that permit vitamins and nutrition to seep through into our blood stream. When they are damaged, the cellular gaps expand and other things can get through such as food particles and gut bacteria – both good and bad.

Symptoms are often confused with food allergies, MS, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and skin conditions.

Leaky Gut Symptoms:

1. Bloating
2. Gas & cramps
3. Abdominal pain
4. Joint pain
5. Neurological symptoms
6. Food sensitivities
7. Acne
8. Fatigue
9. Brain Fog
10. Constipation
11. Heartburn
12. Gum Disease
13. Depression
14. Autoimmune Deficiency
15. ADD
16. Dermatitis such as Eczema and Psoriasis
17. Headaches and migraines
18. Systemic Candida (nail fungus, etc.)
19. Colitis
20. Celiac Disease
21. Thyroid conditions
22. Crohn’s Disease
23. Arthritis

Here’s one article about it: [if link fails, try to copy and paste this: http://www.leakygutsymptoms.com/%5D

Notice that the symptoms increase in severity?

I have read many articles about it and the consensus seems to be:

1. The symptoms – and that they increase in severity
2. Treatment – Addresses the CAUSE of the intestinal permeability. Often it has to do with nutrition. This is like an elimination diet so that the intestines may heal. This is a good resource: [links sometimes fail me! If this doesn’t work, copy and paste: http://www.liverdoctor.com/liver-problems/leaky-gut ]
3. The medical community seems divided over the authenticity of the existence of Leaky Gut, so treatment usually falls on the patient or the Holistic / Natural Medicine community

I am mentioning this because if you are new to Lyme Disease and are on antibiotics then you may want to consider going on a cleansing diet to prevent this happening to you. If you take lots of antibiotics and eat lots of refined foods, sugars, yeast, wheat, et al, you are feeding the bacteria you are trying to kill and also making a happier home for yeast inside your gut. Make sure you consume plenty of probiotics, and try to consume ones with MANY different cultures not limiting yourself to the typical acidophilus.

What Made Me Happen Upon Leaky Gut?

Well? I was at work with a client the other day and my mouth became very dry. I could not get something to drink that very moment so I grabbed a couple of mints on my desk. The mints came from our Health Insurance company in a package with their logo so there was no list of ingredients and such. I suspected they may have sugar, but they’re the size of baby aspirin and I was THIRSTY. It brought me relief but I almost promptly became bloated. My stomach, by the end of the day, was rather distended. The mint was certainly the trigger.

I googled “mints and bloating” and came to find Sorbitol is a common ingredient that many are sensitive to and that it causes bloating. Here is an article if it interests you: And here’s a copy and paste option for you: http://www.foodintolerances.com.au/food-intolerances-sorbitol.aspx

Reading about it over and over, I came to find the term “leaky gut syndrome” attached. That led me on another tangent.

So here I am. Perhaps it is leaky gut. Perhaps it is not. But I am DEFINITELY doing better physically on this diet. Mentally too. Emotionally too. I highly recommend it!

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Oil Pulling – 2nd Time …..

So after my first episode with pulling and the initial gagging reflex, I had the gall to do it AGAIN.

I noticed two things:

1.  I sneezed a lot after both instances — I didn’t make a correlation between sneezing and oil pulling the first time, but it certainly is strange that I have been sneezeless all day and then suddenly two sneezing fits followed two sole episodes of oil pulling?  Hmmmmmm.

2.  My knees ached for maybe 1/2 an hour after.  I just mean ACHED.  I could still go up and down stairs.  It didn’t interfere with my STRUT.  Just an achy feeling.

3.  Phlegm.  Not hordes of it.  Just a little.  I find myself coughing productively as if the coconut oil is an expectorant.

 

The three above things immediately followed oil pulling and are isolated, limited to these “pulls.”

 

As for the tooth-whitening I mentioned in the first blog about this …… ahhhh.  Not yet.  Not yet.  The first time was an optical illusion from the lighting in my downstairs bathroom, not corroborated by other mirrors and lighting situations.

My sandals are loose on me.  I’m wondering if it lifted some subtle edema I had going on …….. or it could be the new thyroid med.  Water retention is sometimes blamed on poor thyroid function .

Energy is GOOD today. DAMNED good. I waited for my son’s bus from camp to drop him off and I was aware of what a beautiful day it was. 80-degrees F. Mild breeze. I felt the warm sunlight on my skin and the breeze grazing me. I savored it. The mental clarity made bounds of gratitude possible. I felt so good, I felt a growing constriction in my throat and the threat of tears. Honest to God, I never felt so good. (*Note – if you didn’t read the entry prior to this, then please be aware I changed thyroid meds — from Levothyroxine to Armour and am not sure if the uptick in feel-good has to do with the coconut oil so much as the thyroid meds or if it’s a combination. Just want to represent everything fairly*)

So I’ll try it a 3rd time.  Maybe I’ll actually stick with this!

Here’s Oil Pulling – 1st Time:

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Apple Cider Vinegar! AKA ACV and More Alphabet Soup ….

This may seem like it has a slant toward women initially and monthly stuff, but bear with me! It pertains to everyone!

Prior to my “riding the crimson wave” this month, I got EXTREMELY bloated — and honestly, my monthlies have not been the same since acquiring Lyme. I took Midol. NUTTIN’. I bought diuretics at the pharmacy. NUTTIN’. I did an epsom salt hot bath and sweated 1/2 an ounce.

Finally? I figured it’ll be better after the fact. It wasn’t.

In desperation, I looked up home remedies for bloating on Google. An overwhelming result was Apple Cider Vinegar. The consensus seemed to be to drink 2 Tablespoons in an 8 oz glass of water ….. some suggest 3X/day while others said once. I did that and ate a banana (another remedy I read about for absorbing sodium), and peed magnificently the next day.

But there was more. My face went from being puffy and pale to leaner and a little pinker. My energy was far better. I didn’t crave sugar. My joints were a teensy bit creaky, but this is GOOD. I did it again the next day. I urinated magnificently again — thundering yellow waterfall! (OK, probably TMI!) My energy remained better. I felt kind of normal – still do!

I googled other uses for A.C.V. Did you know:

1. It’s used for arthritis?
2. It’s used to treat fatigue?
3. It’s used to treat heartburn?
4. It’s used for weight loss — partly flushing water, partly appetite suppressant?
5. It’s used for I.B.S.?
6. It’s used for yeast infections?
7. It’s used for wart removal?
8. It’s used to improve hair texture — making it more lustrous and smooth?
9. It’s used, too, for everything from diabetes and hot flashes to lowering high blood pressure and relieving Gout symptoms?

Wow. That’s a LOT. It made me wonder WHY.

Not All A.C.V. is Created Equal:

Ever notice when you buy vinegar, some are cloudy while some may be colored but possess a sparkling clarity while some others have clots and floaters? I guess you want the most stagnant, nastiest-looking one possible. This possesses something the others don’t: “the mother.” “The Mother” is rich in antioxidants, mineral content, probiotics, nutrients, etc. It also has cancer-fighting phytochemicals. ACV also contains soluble fiber that binds to cancer-causing agents in the colon and flushing them.

This “mother” also contains pectin, which lowers cholesterol.

ANY ACV:

What all of the vinegars have in common – no matter the cut, clarity or …… no …. wait …. content, cloudiness/clarity – is that they all balance the body’s PH balance. It makes us more alkaline and more acidic, naturally neutralizing whatever our imbalance is. This is good for the common COLD. It is good for the IMMUNE SYSTEM — and boy, couldn’t we use that? ACV is reputed to be antimicrobial (antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral….. just a bunch of beautiful ANTI!)

Many “recipes” or “prescriptions” recommend pairing it with honey. I haven’t tried this yet (and still have my Manuka Honey to get into next month, after my labs).

Me:

Personally, I simply grabbed the one I had — the pretty clear one, Big Y brand. This has been relieving my bloating. It’s energized me substantially. My joints are better. My sleep cycle even seems better. The lymier I am, the fewer dreams I have – or at least my recollection of them is absent. I’m dreaming again and I wake up feeling more rested. I think this may be tied into the fatigue.

For a broad range of uses, go to: http://www.apple-cider-vinegar-benefits.com/home-remedies.html

I hope this helps.

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Artificial Sweetener Disease – ASD

As an avid Diet Pepsi drinker, people have sent me many articles through the years that expressed concern about my compulsive caffeine consumption and about my aspartame consumption. This one hit it home and I found it purely by accident:

(If the link doesn’t work then copy and paste this: http://www.examiner.com/article/artificial-sweetener-disease-a-grave-cause-for-concern)

Symptoms of this disease go something like this:

* Migraines and recurring headaches
* Anxiety
* Depression
* Arthritis flare ups
* Muscle pain
* Chronic fatigue
* Fibromyalgia
* Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
* Crohn’s disease
* Acid reflux
* Buzzing/ringing in the ears
* Central nervous system disorders such as nervous twitches and abnormal reflexes in muscle tissue

Another article describes “Aspartame Side Effects”:

(*If this doesn’t work, copy and paste: http://www.sweetpoison.com/aspartame-side-effects.html)

What scares me is that …… this looks like my symptoms. Now I’m not disputing that I had Lyme Disease (and probably still have it since I herx when treated whether by salt protocol or by pills). What I’m thinking is that I drank diet soda for years without incident. I’m wondering if having Lyme made me more susceptible to this. During my stint on the 17-day diet, I was asymptomatic. Honest to God. It was an anti-inflammatory diet but I was also abstaining from diet soda to meet their water protocol (if you drink one can it’s considered negative one water so you must drink two waters to take its place …… that can add up).

I’ve been wanting to go on the diet again since I’m inexplicably puffing out again. But I have labs coming up next month and am reluctant to have them stick me when I’m at my ‘best.” Not that I want to keep myself down …… if that makes sense. You may also be wondering why I haven’t gone back on it if I was doing so well. Well? I guess there’s a bit of denial. I enjoy my diet soda tremendously and want to find a way to have my diet soda and drink it, too.

Do many of you consume lots of aspartame? Do you mix it in your coffee or chew sugarless gum …. does it take other forms for you?

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What a Mow.

The damp weather was crippling me for a week. Everything meant to bend HURT. Fingers. Wrists. Elbows. Hips. Knees. Ankles. Toes. Neck. Shoulders. Then it dried up and warmed up. Now it’s been drizzling again for days. But? No pain.

During a break in the weather, I mowed the yard. I haven’t done this in years.

I used to love to mow, savoring the smells of freshly mowed grass and feeling a peculiar satisfaction seeing the “lines” and neat rows of shorn lawn. But then I couldn’t be counted on to do it anymore for my mom. Then I rented and didn’t need to – and mom still had her go-to guy. Now my honey usually does it. But he’s been working a LOT lately and he made a passing comment about being able to do it “Wednesday” and hoping the weather would hold out. So while he was out, I took it upon myself.

Remembering the old days, I was surprised that I wasn’t effortlessly zipping around the yard anymore. I never thought of this as “work” except to find the time in my busy schedule to do it. In fact, I was surprised by the notion that I really needed my whole body to push the mower – my hands, wrists, arms, legs, back, thighs, stomach ……… but it felt good. REALLY good.

It felt delightful that my body was up to it. It was also awesome to know I was contributing to the household and making things that much easier for my boyfriend. My boyfriend came home earlier than I thought and I was headed to the front yard to finish up. He kept asking if I was sure I was up to it. I sure was. I SURE was. And he was gentlemanly enough to let me do it. This was the highlight of my week. It’s incredible what small achievements can do.

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