Bloody Lymey

A Blog About Living with Lyme Disease

Oil Pull # 3

I have had nagging questions about oil pulling and have had a hard time finding concrete answers.

#1. WHY on an EMPTY Stomach???

— It’s thought to be less taxing on the body (WTF does that mean???)

— It is thought that OP may stimulate the gall bladder and cause pain if you do not have an empty stomach

— Uhhh …… this evening I did it not terribly long after eating and had heartburn. I almost never get heartburn. It sucks. LOL. No idea if it’s relevant or a fluke.

#2. HOW, oh HOW, does swishing oil in ones mouth help anything????
Here’s a site with GOOD answers and simply stated instructions: http://ashstray.com/health-tips/improve-health-by-oil-pullin/ This is what they write:

How does oil pulling work?

“There are many theories on how oil pulling works. I will discuss the most legitimate ones I have found:

“When the oil enters your mouth, it activates the enzymes (aka saliva) in your mouth. The swishing of the enzymes (or saliva) then assists in drawing toxins from your blood through the mucous membrane in your mouth.

“Have you ever heard that – poor mouth health may be linked to other health conditions in the body? Well if we can kill harmful bacteria and fungus in our mouths with sunflower, sesame, and several other oils (which have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties), we will not only have healthier mouths, but a healthier bodies in return!

“Oil-pulling increases bile production in the liver to help rid toxins.”

#3. Side Effects:

The “Healing Crisis” is mentioned (without using the terminology that we may know as Herxheimer).

Here’s a website that delves into it a bit: http://www.ehow.com/facts_6808142_oil-pulling-side-effects.html

Others report acne as the body tries to purge more toxins ……

And How Did Oil Pull #3 Go?

It’s ca vas bien. I am becoming more self aware and find it’s getting too much. Then I say “OHHHH , yeahhhhh.” Like the Kool Aid Man before he crashes through the pseudo brick wall — or after? And I RELAX my jaw and cheek muscles. Makes ALL the difference.

I also give myself permission to spit it out ANY time. Whether it’s one minute or twenty one minutes. I won’t make myself feel trapped.

I didn’t sneeze this time but my throat feels scratchy and raw.

Energy level is good. Damned good.

(Read Oil Pulls #1 & 2 if you wish: )

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Herx Prevention Ideas (And Detox Tips)

During an initial meeting with my specialist some years ago, she explained why I would feel worse on antibiotics – that when the Lyme Bacteria die they release neurotoxins. Feeling BAD is a sign that things are going GOOD. I embraced this. Sometimes it would occur to me to SMILE that those little $@^*#$s were DYING.

What she didn’t suggest was detoxing. Sure, she told me to take probiotics and perhaps alluded to the notion of detox by telling me to drink water.

One way that I cope with things – scary things – is to READ. So I’ve read my butt off. What ever I publish in a blog here as a “tip” is something that seems to be a “consensus” of sorts. If I see a number of articles touting the same things (without trying to SELL them or benefit from some sort of personal gain), then I figure it must have some truth.

Detox :

A good way to eliminate these toxins is through “detox.” And I don’t mean getting admitted to a facility, going to meetings and taking Librium. Additionally, we who have Lyme seem predisposed to having too many toxic heavy metals in our bodies that we have difficulty expelling. I have read a number of ways to do this:

1. Detox Bath: This has worked for ME and I’ve read the consensus on the internet. Epsom salts (no substitutes such as the fragrant “bath salts” they sell at Bath & Bodyworks.). Epsom salts can be purchased at pharmacies. Buying in bulk may be good since it’s most effective to use 1-2 cups. Bulk bags of it are sometimes to be had at gardening centers for $40.

I have read that it is good to also “oxygenate” the water with a small bottle of hydrogen peroxide and I can say I see the difference. Others suggest using fresh ginger root and tossing a chunk into the tub (like in one of those metal balls people use for loose tea or in a nylon stocking).

One problem I’ve had since I’ve had Lyme Disease is that I no longer sweat. I almost never get hot, but on the rare occasions I do, it is simply a dry heat. Epsom salt baths make me GUSH so it’s like an effective sauna for me. It also contains magnesium, and that’s a plus for us Lymeys. My mother (a nurse, but not a Lyme expert or nutritionist or anything) says that magnesium doesn’t absorb through the skin that effectively. Internet seems to beg to differ. I don’t know, but it makes me feel way better. It helps with the joints, muscles, and fatigue.

Sometimes it makes me feel more neurological, though – the hot baths. Sometimes I feel like a NEW WOMAN after and sometimes there’s just marginal improvement. I would recommend trying this more than once.

********Nota Bene: if you are diabetic, epsom salts may tinker with your sugar. I’m not sure the details, but PLEASE ask your DOCTOR before doing this!!!!

ALSO: If you have MS (and you may know this already), hot baths may make your symptoms WORSE, so ask a doctor first!!! ***********

SO – to recap: 1. One-Two cups of Epsom Salts 2. Soak for 20-30 minutes (if you feel too bad, then work your way up to this ideal time-frame) 3. Oxygenate the water with hydrogen peroxide – for optimal effects, dump it in after you have finished running the water and are already in the tub. 4. Ginger (I haven’t tried this and don’t know if it helps or not).

2. Sauna

This isn’t always readily accessible, and sometimes people on the internet act like we all have money to throw around on what may or may not be “snake oil.” But? Sometimes people have gym memberships and sometimes there’s a sauna. Sometimes we have friends that work at a spa or something. Sometimes places give us free one-day passes as an introductory offer. It might not be as inaccessible as it seems. Like with the epsom salt baths, the idea is to sweat (and see the above warnings).

*** Leave me a comment if you have used an infrared sauna! I’m curious about them, but have never tried. I read that the cheesy one-person ones (like a tent with arms and a headhole) are the best because it doesn’t heat the brain which can cause other problems) ********

3. Corn Silk Tea – OHHHH I know a lady who swears by this. It’s also reputed to be good for a number of other things such as ARTHRITIS [cough, we know about that!, cough], curing urinary tract infections, lowering blood pressure (mine is very low as a general rule, so this may not be for me), and flushing the body of water retention.

When I say “corn silk,” I literally mean that stringy stuff at the tips of corn on the cob. They say to take “a handful” and let it steep for 10 minutes in hot water – then drink the water. Obviously this is a rather seasonal and possibly regional remedy.

4. Detox Diets – I highly recommend the 17-Day diet, which is not touted as much as a detox diet so much as a means of losing weight. When following the program, one eats certain vegetables and fruits that flush toxins from the system. It also encourages drinking lots of water. It also encourages green tea. What I like about it is that it has a definite end date (17 days). Of course, there is another cycle of 17 days and then another – during each cycle, you are allowed to add new things such as beef and grains.

5. Milk Thistle – this supplement is reputed to support liver function and cleansing.

6. Gluatathione – our body makes this. It supports liver compounds that drive away toxins (and it supports the immune system!). There are supplements one can take and there are some LLMD’s that give this by injection. However ….. there are many foods you can eat to promote your body’s making of this. Vitamin C is one good lead.

7. Exercise – (Sigh. Who’s REALLY up to this? Well? How about a little at a time? I ride my bike – it’s low impact and has the aerobic benefits). The idea is to sweat and increase blood circulation. But …. take it easy. It might exasperate fatigue and pain. Just do a little bit. Make sure you don’t become a couch potato.

8. Eat Lots of Fiber – This is a good way to keep toxins from building up in the intestines. Poop it OUT.

9. “Fasting” – OH I’m not into this and don’t recommend it for any of us in our fragile states. But it’s an option they have out there. I believe there may be some “right” ways to do it such as “juice fasting” (tossing whole fruits in a blender) …….. but I’m not going to encourage it or describe the how-to’s.

10. “Breathing” – They say that promoting oxygenation of our systems is beneficial in detoxing. There are breathing exercises to do this and then that was the role the hydrogen peroxide played in the bath in #1. It’s simply H2O2!

Supplements, Etc.

For herx prevention, there are some things people recommend doing beforehand if possible.

1. Nattokinase – Before I go any further here’s some CAUTIONS –

i. It contains SOY and may be an allergen for some of us
ii. It is a BLOOD THINNER. If you are on any anti-coagulants than FORGET this. If you have any kind of a blood disorder such as hemophelia, then ask your DOCTOR first.
iii.It has large quantities of Vitamin K. If your doctor has advised to you to consume it with caution or to avoid it then …. this is one of your things to avoid!

Okay. This is extracted from a Japanese food called Natto. What it is, is a certain bacteria added to soybeans in a fermentation process (this is why straight-up soy products aren’t beneficial). It is thought to help with blood circulation and this is a key ingredient in the detox process. Nattokinase is also believed to help the immune system in other ways and may also help with Alzheimer’s, GI disorders and skin problems. Because it is a blood thinner, it is thought to help prevent strokes, hardening of the arteries, heart attacks and more.

2. Alkaselter Gold – The idea here is to alkalize the blood. Straight up Alkaseltzer doesn’t do the trick. The Gold variety isn’t so easy to find in a store, but it’s fairly rampant on line.

3. Go Easy on Supplements! – Taking too many supplements can tax the liver and will give it more to do. I know sometimes we read that _________ will cure Lyme and _________ will hinder arthritis and ____________ will give us more energy…… if you’re herxing, take it easssssy.

I’m sure there’s a lot more.

I know sometimes when I see things to “check with your doctor,” I sometimes cop an attitude. “My doctor didn’t do much for me ….. what does HE know?” Well? Medical advice isn’t always a bad thing. I’m fortunate in that I currently have a doctor who might not agree with what I do, but will help me do it “right.” I told her of the Salt Protocol and she advised me to do it “right” and not use table salt, which may have more heavy metals in it and make me worse.

Reminder – have you used an infrared sauna? I’m curious about effectiveness. Feel free to comment on this (or anything)

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Alkalize for Health – Longevity

I came across this website and I love it. It is geared toward cancer, cancer treatment, prevention ….. but I think it might benefit we lymeys.

It references the Hunza people, who it claims live to be 120 or even 140 years old!

This website does not appear to be “selling anything.” You know, sometimes we look things up and happen upon GREAT articles about supplements littered with links to places where you can buy them (which is through the author basically?)

The website speaks to:
1. Increasing immune function (including increasing Glutathione in our blood cells – a method I have heard some Lyme Literate MDs have been using in treatment)
2. Anti-inflammatory foods AND inflammatory foods
3. Alkalizing your diet (this is awesome for herxing and herx prevention)
4. Oxygenation including use of hydrogen peroxide
5. Meditation – isn’t peace of mind a great thing to have in chronic illness?

So this is my recommended read for the day !

“His days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” – Genesis 6:3 (this, too, heisted from the website!)

Here is the link:

(the link part didn’t appear to work? So here is the web address. http://www.alkalizeforhealth.net/longevity.htm If the link is not working, try copying and pasting. My apologies! )

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Olive Leaf & Lyme Disease

I have recently been reading about the medicinal benefits of olive leaf. It can be sipped as a tea or swallowed in compounded powder capsules. The common denominator for the articles I have read are:

1. Antidote for chronic fatigue
2. Antibacterial – even for Lyme disease (and for side effects, the only things cited are the Herx Reaction)
3. Antifungal (since this Lyme business has started for me some years ago, I have had a stubborn fungal infection on one foot – the toes are disgusting and the skin is leathery)
4. Antiviral (since Lyme, I have been susceptible to warts – on my feet and one on my finger)
5. Immune system boost
6. Anti-inflammatory (says it is great for arthritis)

This ALL sounds good. I found two articles that are NOT from vitamin-pushing ‘store’ websites.

This article comes from a sales site, but it seems most extensive: http://curezone.com/foods/oliveleaf.asp

Is there anyone out there who has attempted olive leaf to treat Lyme? Please contact me if you have experience – good, bad, or even the middle of the road. Thanks!

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Successful Treatments / Lifestyle Changes So Far

I was thinking about things that have helped me with chronic lyme disease so far and thought I should make a list with a quick summary. It’s important to note that I don’t think any of these things are a “cure” but they are things that make me feel better for longer stretches:

1. Diet – this was the one thing pushed down my throat the most and the one thing I fought tooth and nail to not do. I was happy slugging diet soda all day in stead of water. I was content eating more breads and carbs than vegetables and fruit. I rarely ate meat and was alright with that.

One day my gut seemed very big to me. It bugged the hell out of me. I spent the next few days reflecting on what changes I was willing to make. Here I am on the 17-day diet. It includes vegetables that are renowned for their anti-inflammatory properties. I have more energy. My gut is getting smaller.

2. Reiki – I was astounded by how well this worked. I was astounded by the lasting results. I felt wonderful and calm for days on end. I have only used one practitioner (a friend of mine) so I don’t know how to find a good one. I also firmly believe the secret is to have an open mind and not go there with arms folded and a scowl, expecting it to not work.

3. Vitamin B – this is a good antidote to fatigue if lyme disease has weakened your thyroid and it’s supposed to offer support for the nervous system. Lyme disease seems to have an affinity for my nervous system – from my sometimes buzzing legs to the nerve pain to the vertigo to the numbness in my hands and feet.

4. Antibiotics – Indeed, the treatment didn’t cure me. I am not lyme free. However, I think about where I was before treatment and where I was after, and it made SUCH a difference. If you are prescribed antibiotics, follow the directions verbatim and don’t stop until your doctor agrees to. Take probiotics and eat yogurt to maintain your digestive system’s health and to prevent candida overgrowth. Drink lots of water to help flush out the neurotoxins the bacteria emit when they die off (herx reaction). Get lots of rest.

4. Salt Protocol – I will say that I first started it and hadn’t read the directions completely and didn’t take so seriously what I had read. I herxed worse on that than I did on antibiotics. I am positive there is something to this. I am currently using himalayan salt when I cook instead of just swallowing a nasty spoonful. I’m drinking water. I do feel the motion inside me that the article talks about. (Google Lyme Photos for more information. Some of it sounds extreme and perhaps it is. But it’s worth trying. I recommend trying it to the letter and not trying to adapt the protocol to what you’d prefer).

5. Mental Fitness – and this may be the most important of all. I can’t say that I accept this disease every second of every day. But my sponsor in AA has helped me to see seemingly unlikely gifts in this situation. He has reminded me to just get through today. If I start thinking about how long it’s been or how long it’s going to be, then I could drive myself nuts. I can’t think that this is “the rest of my life” or “it will get worse”. I have to enjoy today. I have to talk and get support. There are plenty of well-adjusted people with chronic illnesses and chronic pain. They’re great to reach out to, even if they don’t have lyme disease. Unfortunately, I don’t always do that.

6. Low Dose Naltrexone – this has helped me tremendously. It is a medication intended to support the immune system and suppress the auto-immune response to lyme disease. I felt so much better initially that I cried. It’s used to treat MS and a slew of auto-immune disorders. I forgot what a help it was until there was a lapse in my insurance and I was unemployed and had gone without it for a while. When I started taking it again, I noticed the difference. It is tied in to dopamine-support.

7. Zoloft – I’m not depressed, but my primary doctor thought it would help the muscle fatige and exhaustion. It did. I feel more alive. They think it’s the serotonin-support.

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17 Day Diet & Lyme Disease

Antibiotics make me bloated and the effects seem to last for months. Honestly, I’m astounded by how long it’s lasted this time. A friend of mine (who doesn’t have lyme) boasted great results after trying this new 17-day diet.

Its premise is eating certain things for 17 days and then switching it up. The author admits that the first bit of weight to come off is water. I need that!

In addition, when I’m feeling fatigued with lyme – I have atrocious carb cravings. So! I’m trying to break this cycle.

I also crave diet soda. I’m trying to break this cycle, too.

Antibiotics mess with the digestive system (killing good bacteria as well as bad bacteria) and even though I’ve been off of them since November, I can’t seem to feel “regular.” I’m wondering if I have IBS. Another theory I have (and it can’t be proven medically) is a Candida overgrowth. This can happen in the intestines.

Starving candida of carbs is a good remedy, so if this is a problem for me then this diet might help. If this is a problem indeed then there is a Herx Reaction with that, too! I did a lot of reading and it looks like it sucks.

Yet another reason for me to give this a whirl is that my specialist has been after me to try a low-glycerine diet …. this is fairly low glycerine.

Annnnnnd another reason is that the book has been written by a doctor and he talks about the benefits to the thyroid (proteins are helpful and to be honest, I’ve never been much of a meat eater…. and some of the foods are rich in B vitamins that help support thyroid function AND the nervous system). Lyme disease caused my hypothyroidism, so this ties in.

Another reason I want to do this is because with the salt protocol, they recommend more vegetables. The cleansing effect of the vegetables and drinking more water is said to mimimize the herx reaction. This diet is keeping me in “line.” It’s giving me structure. Left to my own devices, I’ll have more veggies “tomorrow.” And left to my own devices, I’ll drink more water “tomorrow.”

So far I feel strange. I’m urinating tons – this is good. I feel a bit headachey and lethargic but not in the lyme way. It’s more of a carb and caffeine-deprived way. My heart seems to beat a little faster – not in a palpitations/scary kind of way, but in a way that makes me feel more alive.

Coffee is permissible – black and can be sweetened with Truvia. (Truvia is a “natural” sweetener, made from rebiana, “the best tasting part of the stevia leaf” along with Erythritol, a natural sweetener found in fruits like grapes and pears. Soooo …. it’s not a chemical created in a lab. It’s all natural and it’s not sugar. ) Frankly, in my black coffee it’s not too bad. It’s not fantastic, but it’s not insufferable.

I’m not going to give away the book for free, but I’ll say that for the first cycle I am to:

1. Eat lean proteins such as chicken breast, eggs (no more than 2/day), and turkey. Some fish are okay, but I don’t like fish.
2. Eat two low-sugar fruits/day. The book furnishes you with a list.
3. Drink 8 glasses of water/day.
4. Unlimited servings of “cleansing vegetables” (listed in the book).
5. 2 servings of probiotics – sugarless yogurt, etc. or supplements.
6. Green tea (I despise green tea but found some by Lipton that have fruit flavors and they’re rather palatable).

Coffee and tea are allowed – no sugar and no milk.

There is such a thing as “probiotic” milk that is allowed. I haven’t seen it anywhere yet, but it’s just as well. I don’t want to dump too much money into this until I’m sure I’ll stick with it.

I have been unemployed since the middle of June and start my new job tomorrow. Tomorrow is mostly paper work and then the real work starts Tuesday. If I’m not functioning up to snuff (too headachey and tired), then I might stop this. That would suck since I’m fired up and determined to see it through. But …. I have to be on my toes for a new job.

My first intent was to “lose a few pounds.” But after reading the book, I see how this diet may benefit my lyme symptoms and the post treatment stress I’ve been having.

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Baking Soda: Sodium Bicarbonate

I read that a recommendation for the herx reaction is Alka Seltzer Gold. It’s thought that its having an alkalizing impact on the blood is good for herx.

Meanwhile, I’ve become recently aware that I don’t sweat as much as I ought to. Or perhaps my body heat doesn’t rise as much as it ought to. No matter the reason, on hot and humid days I am often dry as a bone …. maybe a couple of droplets where my hairline and forehead converge.

I did a lot of reading and found that baking soda is a good remedy for this. There were people with hypohidrosis who also had acid reflux. They used baking soda for the reflux and found that they started to sweat a bit more.

I read more and more about baking soda. It is touted as an answer to cancer. Supposedly, it alkalizes the blood and this remedies blood vessel constriction. This helps oxygen circulate through the blood stream. Cancer doesn’t fare as well in oxygenated blood.

There is a whole school of people who drink small amounts of baking soda in water each day, trying to reap the benefits of a better blood pH.

It is also reputed to assist people with internal candida overgrowth. I’ve long suspected this to be a problem for me after spending soooo many months on heavy doses of antibiotics. In this way, it is also supposed to help people with bloating. (And I’m getting pretty bloated from the salt, but I was a bit bloated already …. I’m hoping it will relieve what ever the initial problem was/is).

I have started doing it. I can’t say I’ve experienced a parting of the heavens in the past three days, but …. I am sweating a tiny bit more.

Should you give it a try, remember that too much baking soda can kill you! Use it in moderation. “Less is more.” Not “more is more.”

For alkalizing the blood, you should do:

1/4 teaspoon in 1/2 a glass of water – once in the morning and once before bedtime.

(*NB: This is baking SODA NOT baking POWDER*)

For more info, here are a couple of interesting links:

http://www.earthclinic.com/Remedies/alkalizing_formulas.html

And the one RE cancer:

http://www.bamboo-delight.com/download/Cure_Cancer_with_Baking_Soda.htm

(*There were several websites with this kind of information. Most sound kind of angry and paranoid about big pharmaceutical companies hiding this information, but …. it’s interesting nonetheless*)

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I’ve Got SOME Nerve ….

And that nerve is jolting me into agony. Nerve pain is something I haven’t had too much of (thankfully) in three years. I’ve had jolts here and there with an occasional jab.

Well …. let me back up. I’ve had it in my arms and legs periodically. It hurts like a bitch, but I can handle it for some reason. Therefore, I take it for granted. I don’t dwell on it. It’s actually getting to be forgettable.

When it’s in the pressure points behind my ears, I have visions. It hurts so bad that I know I would faint from it …. except that it’s a stabbing and intermittent pain. Honestly, two seconds more and I would faint. I see black dots when it comes and I forget myself. It hurts so badly that it makes my heart skip a beat. I breathe fast or I stop breathing – one extreme or the other.

If it hurt a little less, I’d probably yell. It seems to hurt so much that it’s almost fascinating. It hurts so much that it’s strangely quieting. I stare, fascinated by the pain, clutching my neck, my middle finger or index finger digging into the depression behind my ear where it stems from.

It feels like being stabbed with a hot poker with an electrical charge and it makes the muscle in the side of my throat tense and then that hurts and feels tender for some time after. Sometimes it travels into the side of my jaw.

If I could pick and choose, I’d choose this over muscle weakness and fatigue. I can keep going. It’s hard not to let it show when it happens and whoever is with me invariably stops and looks alarmed and says, “What’s wrong?”

I don’t like this. I feel like an old lady, bellyaching about my health. I guess you can’t possibly realize how important your health is until something’s wrong with it.

I remember old people telling me to be grateful for my health and I’d smile politely and nod like a preprogrammed robot. It was in my actions to agree, but not in my heart. I had no idea. How very right they were.

Years ago, a doctor suggested Lyrica (?) for the nerve pain. I passed on it because of the potential for side effects …. I think they involved fatigue, things that would exasperate my other lyme symptoms (and the ones that bother me most).

I can separate my spirit, my mood, from the pain. No matter how bad it is. But the fatigue …. my very soul gets fatigued when my body does. It’s hard to feel peppy and happy when I’m swathed in sleepiness. When I’m exhausted I am apt to confuse apathy with contentment. And that’s the best I can do.

Maybe it’s the salt. I read that when you start the salt protocol, that the body may go a bit haywire. Maybe it’s the onset of herx? Maybe it’s incidental and this would be happening anyway? I’m having a bit of a flare-up anyway.

I’m going to stick with the salt protocol this time. I’m going to try. I’m fearing migraines. I can’t begin to tell you how sodium free I have been for my entire life (even before doctors and the FDA and the powers-that-be encouraged it). I just have an aversion to salt. I am not into the taste. I don’t like the way it feels. My body seems to rebel against it.

But I’m going to try to stick with this. I have to get rid of these bugs in me. I have to have my body back. I am not even 40 yet and I feel like I’m 100 on some days. Not today. Today I feel like a “pushing 40” with nerve pain.

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Herx Reaction & Lyme Treatment

You’re feeling BAD. Sore knees, nerve pain, headaches, fatigue, muscle weakness, dizziness, malaise …. all of it. You can hardly move.

Then you’re TREATED for it! With dull optimism, you gimp into the pharmacy and get the ‘script. You get home and take one. The next day, you take another, then later you take another …..And … you feel worse. You didn’t think it was possible, but your body hit rock bottom and grabbed a shovel and kept digging.

So you want to stop the antibiotics. You want to stop whatever protocol you’re on. Don’t you? Of course you do.

*** And if you’re on antibiotics, it might be wise to ensure this is not an allergic reaction. If your symptoms are out of control, then go to the ER to make sure this isn’t serious. ****

And if it’s not an allergy… then ….

What is happening is a GOOD thing. That extra pain. That comatose-caliber exhaustion. That inflammation. That weakness. That “wanna curl up into a ball and DIE” feeling. It’s called the Jarisch- Herxheimer Reaction, and sometimes simply the Herxheimer Reaction, shortened to the peppier nickname “Herx.”

Lyme is caused by a spirochetal bacteria. Another such bacteria is syphillis. In the 1800’s, two separate dermatologists noted syphillis patients getting worse before they got better. The bacteria releases toxins and the human body can’t detoxify quickly enough, hence an autoimmune response, hence lots of pain (inflammation) and exhaustion.

The bacteria that causes lyme disease can mask their own antigens and our immune systems don’t always detect it. Once it does detect it, the inflammation starts and the pain and fatigue start because the immune system has been alerted and is now fighting the infection. The bacteria then alters its antigens and is disguised again.

The Herx reaction may be worsened when the bacteria reproduce – there are growth spurts every 3-4 weeks (sometimes 6 weeks). A long course of treatment may result in several Herx reactions, and may be spread out during the replication.

It is also important to continue treatment before, during and after the Herx reaction (and not everyone gets them, particularly if the disease hasn’t progressed far enough and the patient isn’t as inundated with spirochetes). Many people have lyme relapses because they don’t finish their antibiotics. Many more may have chronic lyme disease because of not finishing their protocols.

I know there have been times I’ve taken breaks from my antibiotics. I just went off the salt protocol because my Herx reaction was overwhelming.

How long a Herx reaction lasts seems to follow with how long you’ve been sick, how sick you are, how ingrained the bacteria is in you, etc. It can last for a few hours, a few days or a few weeks [gulp].

There are things we can do to get through the Herx Reaction:

1. WATER , water, water – I’m guilty as HELL of not drinking enough. I love diet soda. I love coffee. Water just makes me pee and it seems like it doesn’t sustain the moisture in my mouth the way carbonated things do. But this is the key in EVERY article I’ve read and in EVERY person I’ve spoken to about the subject. If you do nothing else, do this. And make sure it’s 2-3 quarts/day during treatment.

2. Epsom Salts – toss this in a bath. The bath will make you feel better, even if marginally, and the salts will help extract toxins from your skin

3. Milk Thistle – this is a supplement that supports liver function

4. Peppermint Oil – this is reputed to quel nausea and to help with headaches. Sniffing it helps.

5. Peppermint Tea – see above

6. Nattokinnase – a supplement that is reputed to help cleanse the blood (*Note – it’s made with soy. Don’t take it if you’re allergic*)

7. Vegetables – dark, leafy greens are supposed to be the best and most antimicrobial

8. Fruits – makes your liver’s job easier than eating junk food and lots of chemicals

9. Cut back on sugar – mehhhh. They say that Borrelia burgdorferi LOVE feasting on sugar … hmmmm. I don’t even want to think I make them happy.

10. Cut back on caffeine – MEHHHH! I don’t want to. They say that they get what we get and this makes them more active. It may also aggravate some of the symptoms. Mehhhhhh! Who can cut back on caffeine when they’re exhausted?! I guess if the pain is great enough, I will.

11. Benadryl – they say this is good if you get a rash. I’ve read it can be helpful even if you don’t have a rash! However, if you’re prone to feeling tired on Benadryl then you might find it exasperates the symptoms of the Herx Reaction

12. Alka Seltzer Gold – they say this can bring more alkaline to your blood and may be beneficial

Armed with this new information I’ve researched (and relayed to you), I’m going to try the salt and vitamin c protocol again!

*** By all means, stick to your treatment. Follow medical advice. Don’t stop doing something if it’s clearly working! Loved ones are going to HATE seeing you doing badly. They are going to wring their hands in despair and they are going to want to FIX this for you. They might recommend you stop treatment. Keep your eye on the ball. Remember they are good intentioned. Also remember that there is a deplorable infection in your body and it’s dying. Keep doing what you’re doing. Have a funeral for the little varmints. Do something funny. Visualize their die-off. Revel in it. ***

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Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired

In AA many people say they became “sick and tired of being sick and tired” and at that point they got help for their alcoholism.

With my lyme disease, I’ve reached that breaking point. Today. I stopped the salt protocol and decided to clear my system out and start it over again …. more gradually.

I felt wayyy better without the salt. A touch more energy. A touch more strength. A lot less pain. That lasted a day or two.

Today I’m exhausted. I can hardly move. I slept for 12 hours soundly. I remember back when I was “normal” (Pre-lyme) and how sleeping for a long period would make me feel a little rattled inside, more tired, a bit headachey ….

This long duration of sleep has done nothing but given me a respite from being tired. I woke up feeling just as tired as when I went to sleep.

I’m sick and tired of trudging around through life. I’m sick and tired of not living. I’m sick and tired of asking my son to be patient and understanding with me when he wants me to take him out somewhere or to go in the back yard and play.

I’m sick and tired of being cocooned in this impenetrable fog. I’m sick and tired of not having a thing in the world to clear the fog – a pot of coffee doesn’t touch it. I’m sick and tired of having to muster up the strength and stamina to do a simple errand such as going to the grocery store. I’m sick and tired of wishing my house was neater and tidier instead of being able to do much about it.

I’m sick and tired of laundry festering wet in the washer because I can’t bring myself to go downstairs and switch it over; likewise, I’m sick of running it through a second time so it doesn’t smell “cellary.”

I’m sick and tired of the medical community rubbing their hands and saying “this is the best we can do.”

I’m sick and tired of people asking if I’m just depressed. I’m sick and tired of people asking if “something is bothering me” like that is the root cause of my exhaustion and pain. I am sick and tired of that “depression hurts” commercial that has made everyone armchair psychiatrists. I’m sick and tired of people looking at me and determining I’m healthy because I’m not pale and skinny or otherwise sickly looking.

I’m sick and tired of the stiff neck. I’m sick and tired of my joints predicting the weather. I’m sick and tired of OPTIMISM and actually thinking this might go away some day. I’m sick and tired of thinking tomorrow will definitely be different and then being disappointed. I’m sick and tired of life happening around me and not being able to include myself in it or interact with it.

I am so sick and tired. I am SO sick and tired. Sunday night I am starting that salt & c treatment. I have ideas of how to better cope with the herx reaction, the “die-off”, and my body being inundated with neurotoxins that will make me sicker. It’s this reaction that keeps people from being med-compliant or protocol-compliant.

I’m going to kick this thing’s ass. If I could conjure lyme disease into some kind of physical entity outside of my body, I would strangle it with my bare hands today. I’m exhausted, but I’m sure a huge dose of unstoppable adrenaline would kick in. I’ve had enough.

I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. And this is good. If I can make this feeling last, I’ll kick its ass. Years ago there was a punk song, “Anger is an Energy.” It sure is. It sure is. And that’s all the energy I’ve got. I’m going to kick this thing into outerspace. I’m done.

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