Learning to embrace Lyme.
Updated: Sep 12, 2020
Being faced with a chronic illness has been one of the largest learning experiences of my life. I began having hormonal issues in my late twenties, but just assumed it had to do with the stress (and lack of sleep) that came along with raising a child with autism. Fast forward a few years and those issues morphed into chronic mood and sleep problems. I had been seeing alternative practitioners for years. (Literally. Nearly a dozen in three states). Chiropractors, naturopaths, an acupuncturist, massage therapist, iridologist, MD's....holy beans!
I knew I had an adrenal issue and that it was affecting my hormones and sleep. I was "the good client." The one who is so tired of feeling the way they do, they are SUPER motivated and very compliant. But no matter what tests we ran, how many supplements I was asked to take (up to 50 pills a day- SERIOUSLY) or what I ate (I had done gluten free, dairy free, grain free and was paleo at that point) I always seemed to have a little progress or slowing of symptom progression and then end up in the same place, or a bit worse, than when I began.
The real concern developed when I began to have joint pain and memory lapse. I would misuse words or have trouble thinking of the right one. It wasn't ever once in a while, it was daily. I was forgetting things at the store, missing birthdays and misplacing things. My activity level decreased a lot. I stopped going for four-wheeler rides, not wanting people to have to wait for me or end the ride early. I assumed I was dealing with food intolerances and further restricted my diet. That helped a bit with the pain, but none of the other symptoms.
When I developed tingling in my hands and started dropping things, we knew it was serious. The numbness spread to my face and that prompted a doctor's visit. I was told my symptoms were consistent with MS and it was suggested that I have a spinal tap to look for pathology in the fluid. I decided to go another route. I went to a clinic with live blood microscopy and was given a diagnosis of active Lyme with malabsorption. I thought the diagnosis would give us a direction. We knew what we were dealing with now. But it ended up being the same game under a different name. Rubber stamp protocols and dozens of different "expert opinions" on how to cure Lyme. 18 months, and three different treatments later, the Lyme was dormant, but only down by 15%. I was seriously depressed.
Losing my Mom to cancer at the age of 56 and recovering our son from autism using nutritional interventions had a big influence on our health decisions. We weren't making the progress we hoped for so I had to start looking at things differently.
I had been bitten by a tick at age 6 and never manifested symptoms of active Lyme before. My son was born "normal" and manifested autistic behaviors later as well. We all have cancer cells in our bodies that stay managed when we are healthy and only become problematic when they over grow into a tumor. If your body can manage cancer, why couldn't mine manage the Lyme? What had occurred in my immune system that allowed it to become active and spread?
In the course of my research, I discovered The Nutritional Therapy Association. After reading their philosophy on "Bio-individual nutrition," I knew I needed to take their course. I decided there would be no more protocols or rigid diets, but that I would simply listen to my body and apply what I was learning. The results were incredible! When I went to visit my practitioner, everything was improving, without exception. The viral load was down 36% in six months. To quote him, "You're doing better than some of our clients on stem cells!"
I still have quite the health journey ahead of me, but finding a non-invasive method of getting in touch with what my body was asking for has been absolutely priceless. It is now my mission to reach out to others and give them the same tools I so desperately needed to begin healing. I am currently in a place where I can say Lyme disease has been a blessing. It forced me to see that I was not truly caring for my body or fully aware of what was causing stress. It's a beautiful thing to be able to look back and be grateful. Not only for the help I received, but for the hope I can now offer to others.