May 1, 2015

Antibiotics for Lyme and What We're Doing Now

When I was diagnosed 6 years ago I knew nothing about Lyme Disease except that it was something you might get from a tick.  Before Lyme I had never bothered to learn about it because quite honestly it didn't affect me.

I suddenly found myself at the mercy of my doctor.  I willingly followed her prescribed treatment because I was way too sick to understand what I was dealing with or how to help myself.  I had always been against taking antibiotics unless I absolutely had to but here I found myself with 3 different types of antibiotics all at high doses all at the same time.

If you're taking antibiotics it's very important to supplement with a good quality multi-strain probiotic, preferably one that is refrigerated, as well as a good yeast such as Florastor.  Florastor will help prevent a Candida overgrowth.  If you are not taking these to restore your intestinal flora you'll find yourself with chronic diarrhea and pain.  Without these you put yourself at risk for C-diff which is a very serious bacterial infection in the intestines.

I'm always shocked to find that many doctors don't tell their patients to take probiotics.  They'll need to be taken at least 2 hours on either side of the antibiotics or they could interfere with them.

When I first began taking antibiotics I was filled with so much anxiety.  Anxiety about the Lyme itself, about the pain I was having and most of all whether I was going to have a horrible reaction to the medication and die.  I hated medicine that much and it scared me.

Some of my fears came to life as I experienced what's called a Herxheimer reaction.  This is when your body is overloaded with toxins from the die-off of bacterial, fungal or parasitic infections.  I'm not sure if I can put into words what I experienced during my first herx.  I felt like I had the flu, I was weak, I was lightheaded, dizzy, disoriented and my entire body was overcome with intense pain, worse than I was already having.

I had no idea this was going to happen which caused my fear to grow.  As time went by I learned ways to manage my herxes and as the bacterial load was reduced over time my herxes minimized in intensity.

During my 4 years of antibiotic therapy, my doctor rotated antibiotics in order to treat the Lyme and various co-infecions.  When she found a combination that helped more then the others I was hesitant to switch and for at least a year she allowed me to stay on that protocol until my body decided it was time to change.

Eventually we discovered that I also had Babesia which requires anti-malarial drugs because Babesia is a parasitc infection much like malaria but more difficult to treat.  I felt my absolute best on the antimalarials but after almost 2 years my liver decided it had had enough.

While I was on antibiotics & antimalarials I learned about herbal protocols for tick-borne diseases from an herbalist who was treating my oldest daughter and I read Harold Buhner's Book Healing Lyme.  This is a fascinating book, not just about Lyme but about herbal medicines and the many wonderful ways they help to support the body and kill infections.

I added some herbal products to my protocol which helped to support my body during this time as well as to help treat the infections.  Some of the herbs we used are Cat's Claw, Resveratrol, Teasel, CSA, Cryptolepis.  You can find a complete list on Buhner's Healing Lyme website.

Babesia, is very difficult to treat and relapse rates are very high.  I found that using herbs in combination with an anti-malarial helped me to feel my best but this treatment is very hard on the liver.

About a year ago I took one of my daughters to a new doctor who uses homeopathy.  Her symptoms were very severe and despite trying different combinations of antibiotics and antimalarials for over 3 years, she became worse.

Homeopathy was new to me and a year later I'm still learning how it works.  While the medications and herbs made my daughter worse she has responded incredibly well to homeopathy.

I'm overwhelmed by how this doctor has been able to help my daughter and because of his success with her our whole family made the transition to homeopathy.

Each of us are responding very differently to the treatment.  While my youngest daughter and husband are doing remarkably well using homeopathy, my other two daughters and I are having a much harder time regaining our health.  I'm sure it's just a matter of uncovering all of the many pathogens we are fighting off as well as environmental and preexisting conditions. 

It seems as if each week new pathogens are found in ticks and in other biting insects.  While testing for known pathogens is very poor there aren't any tests for the new things scientists are discovering making it almost impossible to know every infection you may have gotten.

Keeping this in mind, I'm being patient and confident that eventually we'll figure it all out and that we will feel great again.  Living with chronic fatigue and pain has taught me to be patient and trust for God's perfect will to be done whether that's complete healing or not.

Years ago when each family member was being diagnosed with chronic tick-borne infections, we made a decision that we would trust and seek God for everything.

We had read time and again how people become so desperate for healing that they spend their entire life savings and go into deep debt traveling all over the country and sometimes the world trying to find "the cure".  Many people try every treatment available and follow every new cure they hear about.

I completely understand this desperation and willingness to do whatever one can do to help themselves, their spouse or child feel better. 

Lyme disease is not covered by medical insurance which means that every treatment choice we make would be paid for out of our own pockets.  We knew we had to seek God's will for each decision in our journey and our choices of doctors, tests, and treatment. 
Each of our  Lyme & tick-borne infections present differently, each of us responds differently to the medications and even to natural therapies.  When we find that something works well for one of us it hasn't necessarily meant that it works for all of us.

For now, I'm thankful for a more natural and gentle approach to our healing, especially for my kids.  There are so many choices for treating Lyme and when it comes to a chronic infections, each person must find what works well for them.

For more information about what we're doing now visit the Alternative Medicine Center

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