I have Lyme. I’d like to not have it anymore. I also just want cake.
I get this question a lot, phrased in various ways. I honestly don’t even want to write this. I hate answering this. I think I’d rather die, even. But let’s just rip the band-aid off and get it over with. … . .. .
Lyme disease treatments are an emotionally charged topic. I feel it’s because of the following:
Did any of this make sense?
What is about to happen next is an example of how I couldn’t be more obvious in my attempts to stall this.
Suffice it to say, I literally don’t care AT ALL to even approach a topic that could potentially step on or discount or indirectly assume one path is better than the other. This is my biggest gripe within the Lyme disease community. Naturally, our emotions are so woven into our choices and experiences with this illness and thus defensiveness, over-preaching, and at times, resentment can be seen when we go around touting how this or that got us better in the faces of those who yet are not. Add to this the often steep financial investments involved, it is just another heart string to be pulled if I sit here and say I got better doing A, while you are bleeding from your bank account and still somewhat ill doing B.
I want to make it clear that I do not look down upon any of you who have opted not to choose antibiotics. I know many of you straight up believe I am poisoning myself. I’ve gotten your messages. I am over the moon happy for anybody who has gotten their life back, no matter the method. But I needed to just make that clear. For me, just as it was/is/will be for you, this was a very personal choice and my own emotions are fairly wrapped up in it. So I hope, as I explain my choices, that I can simultaneously extend to you all the respect you deserve for your choices. I probably did not need to preface this post with as much as I did.. I’m so non-confrontational I have likely beat a dead horse even further into the ground just to make sure you all know I don’t want to step on toes. Okay I’m shutting up now.
Why I choose antibiotics… *ahem*
I was raised in a very health-conscious environment. My parents were in to lots of supplements and cleanses and healthy eating. I was rarely fed sugar. We never went to the doctor for colds or flus because my parents believed it was more important that our immune system grow strong on its own. My siblings and I were not given all of the vaccinations the other kids got. We played in dirt and raised a lot of animals and survived just fine without antibacterial soap and neosporin. In fact, I had never taken a single antibiotic from birth to Lyme except for one incident as a child when I had walking pneumonia.
Despite our herb-lovin dirt-rubbin ways, I also come from somewhat of a nerdy medical family. My mother is a registered nurse. My brother has bachelors degrees in both Biology and Pre-Med and will begin working on a PhD in Neuroscience this year. I am well enough to begin attending school again myself this year and will be working on my own degree in either Biology or Microbiology. My dream field is virology or immunology. I feel I have a fairly balanced understanding and appreciation for holistic as well as western medicine, especially their applicability in different situations. And as a side-note, shout out to all the medical doctors who sacrificed nearly a decade of their lives to their field and do much good for society. I know many of them have sizable egos, and I know the Lyme community views them with almost vehement abhorrence at times. But if I may commit my first offense in this post, I’m a bit miffed at the memes circulated on the Facebooks and the Instagrams about how us Lymies are smarter than MDs and whatnot… it bothers me. Of course a neurologist doesn’t have the full scoop on infectious disease, nor does gastroenterology or cardiology. But there are currently boxes and boxes of medical textbooks in my garage that proves we really aren’t any smarter than them. And is it fair we demand they stay up to date to the minute on new research in a field that may only briefly touch theirs when they work tirelessly 40+ hours a week serving people in the community? Perhaps none of us are at fault for the inability to diagnose issues for which little physician training is offered and in a field that is only very recently starting to open? Are you still reading this? Have you left yet? I’m so nervous please like me.
During my own search for a diagnosis, I believed I had Lyme before I could find a doctor to confirm I had Lyme. Many specialists disappointed me at the time, often to the point of tears before I could even hobble off the exam table. I have since come to completely forgive them, having a better understanding of their place and mine. So as I was searching, I began on my own instituting the dietary changes that I knew would strengthen my immune system and other important physiological processes in my body. I started a ton of supplements. I began taking anti-microbial herbs and colloidal silver and began detoxes and cleanses with juicing and binders and gentle metal chelators. I did this for months. For me, this did nothing. Well, I’m sure it did much. But where it mattered as far as my ability to function, I only continued to get worse.
I did my Lyme research. I poured over published studies and available medical journals. I did not study treatments as much as on the bacteria itself. How it survived, how it would hide, how it would cleverly defend itself with daunting intelligence against the attempts of my immune system to eradicate it. I researched how it interacted with other bacteria and parasites to form strongholds and how it would drill deep into tissue where my immune system could not follow. Then, with my new understanding, I began researching treatments. I wanted to know my enemy first, and then choose how I wanted to fight it based on my knowledge of where and how I could exploit it. Obviously, I chose antibiotics. Here’s another bullet list.
There is much yet to be researched on biofilms and their role in the persisting of this disease. We know that co-infections will hide under these films with Borrelia, even Babesia will. We know few things can penetrate them. We know for certain the immune system can’t. We know that the illusion of remission can happen when we scare everything into biofilms. I believe much is yet to be discovered about biofilms that will help patients recover fully from this illness in ways we currently aren’t.
Knowing the crucial role biofilms played, I wanted a doctor who incorporated heavy use of biofilm busters in his protocol and not just that, but one who knew how to use them most effectively. In the same breath, believing that the best fit for me was antibiotics, I wanted a doctor who knew how to administer various antibiotics and anti-parasitics in combination with biofilm busters with precision. This is what led me to my current doctor, at great sacrifice to me and my family due to the distance between us. I regret none of it.
Many have asked me if I have tried more holistic measures such as hyperbaric, peroxide drips, vitamin drips such as Myer’s cocktails and such. My answer is always the same. I believe in the benefits of many of these therapies. But in my personal circumstances, I believed the antibiotic and supplement protocols my current LLMD prescribes me come first. I needed to lower my bacterial load first. If I may use an analogy, I felt like holistic therapies (which by nature, are more designed to help the body heal and strengthen) would be like trying to rebuild a home from fire damage while the fire is still raging. I do not believe holistic measures alone would have gotten me to where I am today. That being said, I absolutely incorporated nutritional and supplement supports to urge my natural systems on the path back towards healing. As for more aggressive (and also expensive) holistic therapies, I fully intend to maintain my remission with occasional use when the day comes. For now, I do not want to overwhelm my body with multiple therapies.
For further explanation, and perhaps to put it a bit more bluntly, I look at and treat my Lyme as I mentioned before, a super bug. I wouldn’t feel comfortable treating MRSA holistically, or Tuberculosis, or Malaria, or Bubonic plague or any of these illnesses caused by serious business bacteria. Lyme won’t kill me as fast as these bugs will, obviously. But Lyme will eventually kill if left unchecked. It may be Alzheimers, or MS, or Parkinsons, or Lupus, or ALS. But it will stem from unchecked Lyme. I stress this is my personal opinion, and again I stress I fully respect your opinions if they differ. That’s the beauty of a free world.
I know a lot of people have a really bad taste in their mouth over antibiotics for Lyme. We don’t like to use them long term, it’s true. And I also believe few doctors, even LLMDs, know how to properly use them to get people to remission. Did you know Tuberculosis requires at least a year on antibiotics? We don’t talk about this, because the CDC recognizes it as a necessary and successful treatment. Perhaps because Lyme patients don’t die immediately, therein lies the time to have controversy. I know the herxheimer effects from antibiotics are brutal. Again, my personal opinion, anything that kills Lyme is. They are bacteria that constantly ooze a known neurotoxin. You kill that bacteria, its cell contents rupture and bleed into your surrounding tissues. That’s a little bomb of neurotoxin (Bbtox1) going off suddenly. It takes the body a while to clean that up, and then even longer to repair that damage after. It’s not a pretty process. I understand completely why so many don’t want anything to do with antibiotics. But again, my belief, the simple nature of the bacteria requires some suffering paid by the host as it dies. It’s difficult for many to accept this – no matter the treatment method. I also understand the many concerns over gut health. It’s a sacrifice I’ve felt willing to take in my circumstances.
Hopefully this wasn’t too long. And hopefully I did a fair job of explaining myself. Again, I receive this request a lot and felt it an appropriate and fair question. And hopefully I haven’t made too many enemies among the ride-or-die holistic crowds, because really, we don’t have to be separated. I’m one of you too. I’m taking ashwaganda right now, even. See? I’m gonna put Maca powder in my morning smoothie in a bit. I’m gonna stain my fingers green as I pop a handful of chlorella tabs in my mouth after. I may just do some lymphatic drainage after that. Just don’t ask me to give up my antibiotics yet.
I feel like some of you are judging me now. It’s probably just me. No? Yes? No?!