Lyme Journey

I've been wanting to update my Lyme journey for some time now.

Since my last post on Lyme, 9 months ago, I slowed down with the protocol I listed there.  I just needed a break from months and months of drinking bitter tea all day and taking handfuls of supplements!  Also, I wanted a new baseline:  what I felt like if I did nothing.  I had good and bad days, none too severe, but none 100% (which is the goal right?).  I'm definitely doing better, but am not as good as I was before the Lyme.

At that time I was having insomnia (and had been for months).  I think it may have been a result of the herbs I was taking for the Lyme being drying and creating Yin and Blood Deficiency giving my Shen no place to reside at night.  I made a formula that was specific to my body (see a qualified Herbalist to help you with this if you are having this problem).  I no longer have insomnia and haven't for some time.  Thank goodness.  I think sleep is extremely important for healing Lyme.  I get 8 or more hours a night.

In June I began taking two homeopathic remedies (Spirochetes Detox and Homeopathic Lymes Formula) recommended by a fellow Herbalist I know through my school.  He got these remedies for me as you can only get these remedies through a licensed practitioner.  I took these for about 10 days and went into a severe herxheimer reaction.  I think this is a good thing because it is the result of die-off.  I think the homeopathics bring the Lyme out of dormancy so your immune system can fight it?  Good thing aside though, the herxing is horrible.  I had joint and muscle pain and stiffness, swollen lymph glands, minor rash ina few places, severe neck and shoulder tension, mild headache, fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, irritability, facial acne, and just overall felt bad.  Ugh.  At times, like the end of the day, the pain would get excruciating.

 Here are the blends I used in decoction:
for Herxing/Detox:
Red Clover
Dandelion Root
Red Root
I would have added Cleavers if it was growing fresh in my yard
                          as it does some times of the year.

for Tight Neck, Shoulders, and Upper Back (Tension):
Dong Quai
White Peony Root
Licorice Root
I may also have added Kudzu Root, Notopterygium, and Clematis if I had them in my apothecary.

I would stop the homeopathics and replace them with the above decoctions and feel better in a few days.  Then I would see what happened.  I kept not feeling 100% so I would return to the homeopathics thinking that they were helping with getting rid of the Lyme for good, and the cycle would repeat.

In July I posted this on my school forum where I am sharing with my fellow Herbalists:
"Now, I feel practically 100%.  I hope it's for good.  Only time will tell.  I keep realizing that I am not in pain, am not horribly fatigued, and every thing is not a trial - simple things like carrying my pocketbook.  I had been doing my best to deal with the symptoms and otherwise trying to ignore it, but it was taxing.  I was finding myself having to not be in my body to deal with the pain and discomfort, so I would just get in touch with it sporadically to see how I was doing (and it was not good).  Sometimes it screamed at me.  Anyway, that is ALL gone.  I've been Landscaping like mad and took 4 hours of (aerobic level) Bellydance on a day off and I still feel GOOD and energetic after it all.

Whew, like I said, I hope this is it.  I have learned a lot about what so many people have to deal with living with pain and/or discomfort.  I had never had anything as serious as this before.  I am thankful for this.  Also, the TCM relevant learning has been spectacular.  My symptom picture has run the gamut.

I had a feeling in my joints like they were burnt.  Not burning, but burnt, for lack of a better descriptive.  I thought it was the damage done to my joints, but now I feel like it was probably the Lyme itself.  I don't feel that now.  I've felt it almost constantly for the last 11 months, except for the one point when I had been hardcore about decoctions and supplements and felt 95% better.  But now I am thinking the Lyme was just dormant during that better phase."

Now in October, I mostly have hip joint pain and facial acne (I think this is the detoxing), but also other joint and muscle pain, and the upper back tension (the latter is something I had before the Lyme - Liver Qi Stagnation/Wind).  I did have severe shoulder joint issues before the homeopathics but have not had them since the first course.  That burnt feeling is still gone and has not come back.

Lately I have just been making decoctions specific to whatever is going on with me at the time.  I'm back to feeling 95% and planning to start up the homeopathics again.  At this point my goal is to be able to take them for a month without herxing; once I can do that, I will stop them - hopefully for good.  Otherwise, I will make decoctions specific to my particular symptom picture - easy enough to do when you have over 200 herbs in your apothecary.  Right now I am making a modified Si Wu Tang.

I've come across and read two more books.  The first highly recommends the local Teasel Root and has lots of other good info.  I have used the TCM Teasel Root:  Xu Duan, but not the local one - Dipsacus sylvetris.  I plan to harvest some and make a tincture soon.  Many feel this does a similar thing to the homeopathics and is the answer to beating Lyme...will keep you posted.  The second book is more of a biography/novel format and may be helpful to some of you to feel you are not alone in this ordeal.

Also, I continue with weekly deep tissue massage, epsom salt baths, and regular visits to the Korean saunas.

I have yet to mention diet in dealing with Lyme and must add the importance of eating organic, whole foods so your body has the nutrients it needs to heal and is not dealing with detoxing from toxins in junk food.

I also leave you with this wonderful poem:

from 'To Bless the Space Between Us, A Book of Blessings'
by John O'Donahue

For a Friend on the Arrival of Illness

Now is the time of dark invitation
Beyond a frontier you did not expect;
Abruptly, your old life seems distant.

You barely noticed how each day opened
A path through fields never questioned,
Yet expected, deep down, to hold treasure.
Now your time on earth becomes full of threat;
Before your eyes your future shrinks.

You lived absorbed in the day-to-day,
So continuous with everything around you,
That you could forget you were separate;

Now this dark companion has come between you.
Distances have opened in your eyes.
You feel that against your will
A stranger has married your heart.

Nothing before has made you
Feel so isolated and lost.

When the reverberations of shock subside in you,
May grace come to restore you to balance.
May it shape a new space in your heart
To embrace this illness as a teacher
Who has come to open your life to new worlds.

May you find in yourself
A courageous hospitality
Toward what is difficult,
Painful, and unknown.

May you learn to use this illness
As a lantern to illuminate
The new qualities that will emerge in you.

May the fragile harvesting of this slow light
Help to release whatever has become false in you.
May you trust this light to clear a path
Through all the fog of old unease and anxiety
Until you feel arising within you a tranquility
Profound enough to call the storm to stillness

May you find the wisdom to listen to your illness:
Ask it why it came. Why it chose your friendship.
Where it wants to take you. What it wants you to know.
What quality of space it wants to create in you.
What you need to learn to become more fully yourself
That your presence may shine in the world.

May you keep faith with your body,
Learning to see it as a holy sanctuary
Which can bring this night-wound gradually
Toward the healing and freedom of dawn.

May you be granted the courage and vision
To work through passivity and self-pity,
To see the beauty you can harvest
From the riches of this dark invitation.

May you learn to receive it graciously,
And promise to learn swiftly
That it may leave you newborn,
Willing to dedicate your time to birth.

1 comment:

  1. Update: I continued homeopathic protocol I spoke of above off and on as I was dealing with herxheimer reaction. When I started feeling better, I stopped. I have now had no symptoms for a month! I feel different; my joints feel different. I feel better. So it took me 16 months from onset and diagnosis, but I think I'm over it. What a relief. There were times when it was hard for me to be hopeful and hard for me to get through the day. Whew. So deeply happy and grateful - and I have gained so much compassion and understanding for others to support my Herbalism work.