FullSizeRender-1This has been a homeschool year infused with challenges–both expected and unexpected. Life’s complications forced us to be flexible, to homeschool in ways we hadn’t planned, and to allow space for various interruptions both large and small. One such trial was receiving the news that I had Lyme disease and three of its co-infections: mycoplasma pneumonia, chlamydia pneumonia, and ehrlichiosis.

I am writing this post with the hope that people will read it and share it with anyone who might fit the Lyme profile. Thousands of American’s have lyme borrelia and don’t even know it. They are suffering a debilitating disease, taking a large amount of prescription drugs for MS, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s, depression, and so many other illnesses, when the true culprits are boring further into their muscle tissues and body systems, wreaking havoc wherever they go.

Borrelia

I want to share with you my own journey–our family’s journey–along this unexpected bend in the road.

Beginnings…

To be honest, I am not 100% certain when I contracted Lyme and the co-infections I listed above. I do know that late last spring, I awoke to something crawling in my hair, and discovered it was a tick. Was this my first encounter with the eight legged insect? Probably not. Even though I am not an avid hiker and woods-woman, we have lived in areas with deer ticks for approximately 16 years. Bambi and his family would often appear in our front lawn or back yard in Decorah.

After a myriad of blood tests in March/April of this year, what is certain is that I’ve had it for quite a while. This is known as chronic Lyme.

But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let me begin with the symptoms and stages of Lyme disease.

EARLY LYME

  • Flu-like symptoms: sore muscles, headache, neck pain, fatigue, sweats
  • Some people develop the characteristic “bulls-eye rash”. (Please be aware that MANY people with lyme never had a rash. I am one of those cases.)

I do not distinctly remember the onset of symptoms from this early phase. If I did have them, I didn’t associate them with anything other than a cold.

CHRONIC LYME

The first abnormal symptoms I actually remember having were stiff and sore joints. I remember sitting on the floor playing a game with my girls, and when I got up, my joints in my back and neck locked up. I felt like a 90 year old person in a 40 year old body. I knew that this wasn’t normal. Something was wrong. I also experienced pain in the joints of my legs and arms. Was I already experiencing severe arthritis?

The next symptoms that developed were gastrointestinal in nature. This was odd to me, because I really tried to “eat clean” as the saying goes. Every time I would eat, I would have a burning sensation in my stomach area.  The pain would grow so strong that I wondered if I was having gall bladder or pancreatic problems. I went through several tests, but everything looked fine. I even ended up being scoped, but the results didn’t really reveal a problem that would raise concern. The doctor felt that if I took Nexium for a short time, it would clear up. I went with natural remedies instead and began taking digestive enzymes and drinking apple cider vinegar each day.  This helped a great deal, but didn’t totally eliminate the problem.

Along with these other symptoms, I began developing a kind of insomnia. I could generally go to sleep, but would wake in the middle of the night and have a difficult time getting back to sleep.

Then, I began to notice changes in my menstrual cycle, and by January of this year, I wasn’t having one at all. (Nope, I wasn’t pregnant! I checked!)

The symptom that got me researching and eventually to the doctor was an irregularity in my heart beat. I was experiencing palpitations on a regular basis.

With my connections in Shaklee, I was able to conduct in-depth research into my symptoms. I watched webinars, read articles, and read the blog posts of others who had used Shaklee to help with their symptoms. It was in this research that I discovered the truth about Lyme Disease. All of a sudden, everything began to fall into place.

We had just moved to a new city, so I located a physician and made an appointment. I requested a lyme test. The test she offered to conduct was the ELISA test–which can miss over 35% of Lyme cases. I figured that the bacteria had been in my system a long time, and hoped that something would show up. She also wanted to run all sorts of auto-immune tests, and even though I was fairly certain of what was wrong with me, I agreed. A few days later, the nurse called and confirmed my suspicions. I tested positive for Lyme.

I was relieved to know that I had the correct diagnosis, but at the same time I was overwhelmed at the thought of what lie ahead. This was not going to be an easy road.

I had been reading enough to know that if I truly wanted to be healed, finding a Lyme Literate MD was of vital importance. The problem is, these doctors operate off the radar because there is so much controversy and debate in the medical community about this disease. I knew, though, that an MD who is not Lyme literate would likely not test me for co-infections. You see, when you are bitten by a tick, it will not only pass on the lyme borrelia bacteria. It can pass on dozens (some believe even hundreds) of other bacteria strains, too. If your doctor doesn’t run a panel for all the common co-infections, you can remain sick for the rest of your life. Different bacteria require different treatments. One or two rounds of doxycycline (the antibiotic often prescribed for lyme) can leave you worse off than you were when you discovered your disease.  These spirochetes are smart little pathogens that know how to hide and create biofilms. The longer they are in your body, the longer the treatment will be. I needed to be in the hands of someone whose speciality was lyme and its co-infections.

Even if you do find an LLMD (Lyme Literate Medical Doctor), you may have to travel long distances to get the treatment you need. Fortunately, there is an LLMD fairly close to us, so I am not having to fork over an airfare for each appointment. I am so grateful to God for this!

Before I go any further in my story, allow me to stop and share some of the most common symptoms of chronic lyme:

LATE/CHRONIC LYME DISEASE

If the spirochetes are not killed off within the first couple of weeks, they begin to travel to other areas of the body, hiding out in tissue. They invade heart tissue, joint tissue, and neurological systems. Patients can develop:

Fatigue

Heart palpitations

Cognitive issues: brain fog, memory loss

Neurological: tremors, shaking, ringing in the ears, dizziness

Reproductive problems: Loss or irregularity of period, low semen production, etc.

Severe joint or muscle pain

Stiffness in back, neck, and other joints

Gastro-intestinal issues: heartburn, stomach pain

Depression, anxiety, mood swings

Disruption of sleep, insomnia, waking during the night

Because many patients have co-infections, it is possible to experience other symptoms, from unexplained fevers and night sweats to sore feet when you get out of bed in the morning.

If you have been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, fibromyalgia, MS, rheumatoid arthritis, or other such auto-immune disease, read these symptoms carefully and identify the bacteria that correlates. Tick borne mycoplasmas and chlamydias can often be the culprits.

START HERE WITH THE COMPREHENSIVE…

Co-infection symptoms chart

OTHER LINKS:

SYMPTOMS IN CHILDREN:

  • Mood swings and outbursts
  • Difficulty focusing:  children can present with some ADD/ADHD or Autistic tendencies–and it is actually lyme or a co-infection
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Tremors or seizures
  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Sleep disruptions, difficulty sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Joint pain
  • Noise and light sensitivity

For more symptoms and links in children visit:

Lyme Disease in Children

You can begin to see how all of this can be very overwhelming, right? But imagine you are someone who is experiencing these symptoms and the medications aren’t working. Your quality of life is completely gone. There are patients who literally can not get out of bed in the morning. Their long term pain and discomfort leads to depression and hopelessness. This disease can completely debilitate someone for decades of their life.

In clockwise order: 1) Lyme borrelia spirochete, 2) ehrlichia 3) chlamydia pneumonia  4) babesia 5) mycoplasma bacteria 6) bartonella

It is amazing how these small pathogens can cause such major damage. Blood tests back in April revealed that I had some form of  #1, 2, 3, & 5 in my system.  These and many others like them can be transferred through one single tick bite.  This does not include the viruses that can be transmitted too—Epstein Barr being one of the most common. This was found in my system as well.

I hope that those who are reading this information for the first time can begin to see how complex this disease can be. There is not a “one treatment kills all” solution. Yes, there are antibiotics that can kill several different strains at once, but often other treatments are needed to eradicate them from the body. I have purchased three different books on naturally healing the co-infections I have. The herbal protocol for killing Lyme borrelia is different from the protocol for the chlamydia pneumonia, and yet again different for the mycoplasmas.  This is why it is imperative that a person who tested positive for Lyme must also be tested for co-infections.

Gratitude in the midst of a storm

Okay, let me shift gears now.  I want to express some gratitude. I strongly feel that I must share this, because if I don’t, I am not revealing the whole story.  I know for certain that if I had not already had the amazing scientific and medical resources provided me through my connections in Shaklee, I would be sitting here without the correct diagnosis for my symptoms. Over the past two years, I have researched articles, viewed webinars, and learned volumes about how God created our bodies to heal naturally. Because I was already on this path, I believe I had the tools necessary to find the right doctors and pursue the best path to healing.

When my LLMD was running some initial tests on our first visit, he was pleasantly surprised to see that I wasn’t manifesting many of the neurological symptoms seen in many lyme patients. As it turns out, I have been taking a very pure and concentrated form of resveratrol for a few years now, which happens to be the number one natural treatment for lyme. I wasn’t taking a high enough dose to eliminate the bacteria (I am now!), but I whole-heartedly believe that this and the other supplements I have taken on a daily basis for almost three years have kept the bacteria from damaging my body as severely as most people out there. For this, I am truly grateful.  I am grateful to God, grateful to my friend who introduced me to these life-saving nutrients, grateful for the support of my family, and so much more. When I have moments of fear, doubt, and sadness for my condition, I remember my blessings and am grateful. When I think about the fact that my own children may have this disease, too (we are running further tests), I must remember these things to stay hopeful and strong. If it were not for God and the family, friends, and Shaklee community He has provided, where would I be? I know exactly what I would be experiencing, because I have seen it first hand in family and friends who have been suffering for years with lyme and didn’t know it.

This is why I am writing this blog post. Knowledge is power.

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the symptoms listed in the links above, please take action and find a lyme literate doctor. The following links will get you on the right track to finding the right MD.

ILADS Physician Referral

Lymenet.org

While I am giving out links, here are a few more….

THESE SITES LED ME TO THE PROTOCOLS I AM TAKING DAILY UNTIL I AM HEALED:

A Mom’s Testimonial & Natural Protocol for Lyme (She is actually a biologist and is very knowledgable about how these bacteria operate).  She lists the symptoms and a specific protocol of supplements. I am following this myself. I take these supplements daily, and am gluten free. If you would like links to this protocol, and these supplements, please comment below and I will send them your way. Or, send me a private message on my Facebook page.

Stephen Buhner’s Site

  • I am following Stephen Buhner’s herbal protocols for my lyme and co-infections, along with my Shaklee protocols, and treatments my LLMD is suggesting/prescribing.

Dr. Rawls

  • Dr Rawls is an OBGYN turned LLMD. He suffered from fibromyalgia for years before discovering that he had lyme and its mycoplasma co-infection. There is a wealth of information on his site.
  • I am using some of Dr. Rawls’ products to follow Buhner’s protocol, along with Shaklee products that contain these herbs.

Lyme Disease.org

  • This is a great site for finding out general information about the disease, its symptoms, and treatments.

John Drulle MD: There are links to the best lyme disease sites here for you, so you don’t have to do a lot of searching.

WEBINAR:

Webinar on Lyme Disease and Treatments

After I viewed this webinar, I called and made an appointment to see a doctor.

BOOKS:

These are the books I have in my own library and would highly recommend:

If you have any questions, or want more information, please leave a message for me and I will respond ASAP.  I’m here to help and to share the life-giving information I have been given.

And for all of you out there suffering, you are not alone and there is hope for healing!

To be completely honest, when I initially began treatment, I felt worse. I had a pretty severe Herxheimer reaction that was rather frightening. But today, after following these protocols for about a month and a half, I can testify to the fact that:

  • I am sleeping through the night without waking
  • I have the energy to clean my house, do the laundry, cook meals, and run errands
  • I started yoga classes and can make it through them
  • Have less stiffness in my joints
  • Had my first monthly cycle in several months

I know I still have months of treatment to go, and may have some setbacks along the way, but I have hope! You or someone you love can too!

I pray that this post will reach thousands, and give people the knowledge they need to take the next steps…

Lyme Awareness Month

Love,

Kristin

P. S. For prevention of Lyme, doctors and herbalists suggest:

  • applying a DEET free insect repellent to your clothes and skin
  • eat lots of garlic
  • take a quality astragalus root product daily. Check with your physician about children’s dosing
  • after working in the yard, do a thorough check for ticks or bites
  • check your kids–even when they have played in your back yard!
  • check your pets regularly

If you know you have been bitten by a tick, DO NOT WAIT. Get treatment immediately. Scientists are predicting that 2017 will be a year where Lyme disease will be on the rise. Be in the know and be prepared!

Here are a couple of maps:

These two maps show how the number of lyme infected ticks has grown significantly.

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/01/lyme-disease-carrying-ticks-are-now-half-all-us-counties

Projected Map for 2017 (Projected number of dogs infected)

https://www.lymedisease.org/clemson-tick-map/

FOR TESTING

If your ELISA test comes back negative, demand a Western Blot AND CD57 panel. LabCorp is one of the companies that will run better and more conclusive tests. Even though no test is perfect, Lyme will usually show up in this combo of tests. Again, if an LLMD runs tests and finds tick borne co-infections, that is a sign the Lyme is there too.

6 Comments on “When Disease Comes Home

  1. ACK! Kristin, I feel like you’re describing my symptoms to a T (especially the join pain!) . . . and yet I read this and feel so overwhelmed. I don’t have all of the symptoms, but enough to make me concerned. I’m looking to see where there might be a Lyme doctor around here. Thanks so much for sharing your story!!!

    Like

    • Kelly you are so welcome. Glad you read it. I hope that it ISN’T Lyme for you, but if you have any more questions about the steps to take next, we can talk/message.

      Like

    • Kelly, I just included a few more pieces of information at the end of the post–dealing with testing and prevention. Hopefully that will give a little more guidance.

      Like

  2. Kristin, I am so sorry you are going through this!!! I am going to pass this on. I think you are going to help so many people with all the details of your story. You and your precious family will be in my prayers. Love you!

    Like

    • Cathy that is my sincere hope! That many many people learn the truth and get tested or help a loved one who is struggling. Thanks so much for your prayers!

      Like

      • I also passed this on specifically to a high school friend of mine who has been treated for RA for probably 8 years. She is going to check with her doctor. I will let you know if something comes from it. Thanks again!

        Like

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