As the 6 year mark since my Lyme diagnosis approaches I am amazed by the fact that this journey continues to teach me, stretch my faith, and push the limits of what I thought possible. While I tell people that I am really no better then when I started treatment which is true in a physical sense I am certainly different. I have grown in many ways and just when I think I'm done a new challenge comes my way the process continues. My journey toward better health started many years before my Lyme diagnosis. I sought things that may provide relief from my little complaints at the time but November 2008 is when I truly knew something was wrong. Unfortunately as I sit here all these years later, I fell like I am still scratching at the surface of what is going on with me. While Lyme Disease is definitely part of problem I am not sure I could give it a percentage of how much it plays into my struggles on a day to day basis. My beliefs on the whole thing continue to change the more and more I learn. Lyme Disease is a significant problem, hard to treat and can be fatal. However, as I continue to discover and now believe it is chronic dysfunction or dysregulation of the body systems that are truly the issue. A few years ago one of the top Lyme doctors renamed in MCIDS (multiple chronic infectious disease syndrome). That is a step in the right direction but I feel like if the body we functioning the way God originally designed it to function, then the infectious disease part wouldn't be such an issue. This is as far as it goes for me though. I don't have a doctorate of any type in any thing and I really have no desire to get one so I am sure this will just remain my opinion based on my own personal experience.
I came into 2016 with lots of hope but I also felt like I had a game plan. I temporarily lost that hope when I went to one of doctors appts and left feeling once again like he had idea what to do with me. I vented my feelings to my fellow Lymies was flooded with encouragement and suggestions. Bee Venom Therapy (BVT) was one of them but I am just not ready to even entertain that idea. What was I going to do? We got money back from taxes and while we were focused on paying off as much debt as we could we saved a little fun money. While the hubby and kids were plotting their fun purchases I decided to put mine towards seeing yet another doctor. I had high hopes as two of my fellow mommy friends with Lyme were seeing him with some good results. I just didn't know (and still don't) how much I can get before the money once again runs out. In any case I figured it was worth a shot.
Enter Dr. T. I must admit I have been frustrated with the fact that I didn't know about him before I flew off to the Land of Oz in Kansas 4 years ago. Much of what I had read about him sounded just like where I had been in Kansas and he is local. Saving a few grand on airfare, hotels, etc...would have been a nice addition to put towards treatment. I realize though that I was probably not ready for what Dr. T was going to tell me had I seen him before now and I certainly would have missed out on meeting some incredible people. Back to Dr. T, my friends were so excited I was going to see him. One of them even said to me that they thought I was really ready to see him since I had been committed in taking on the Whole30. If I only knew what that was going to mean.
Last week I finally had my highly anticipated 2 appts with him. I had filled out my new patient paperwork, including a checklist of over 200 symptoms, and sent in my current med/supplement list and a health history narrative. Then I found out he doesn't even look at that until after your first appt. He doesn't want any ideas in his head of what may be going on with you. I totally get that and actually really appreciate it. It reminded me of how I didn't like the firefighters to come up and talk to me when I got on scene of a fire until I had a chance to look around and use what I had learned about burn patterns and indicators to give me an idea of where the fire had started. It was harder to be objective looking at a fire when someone told me a bunch of information before I had looked at anything. Smart doc, I like it.
I guess I should back up and tell you that Dr. T is a functional medicine chiropractor. Bring on the muscle testing, zyto and other unconventional forms of testing I had come to appreciate over the years. Now because the doc knew I was friends with 2 other patients who had Lyme he added that and all the co infections into my testing. As a side note at least 2 forms of Lyme bacteria, bartonella, babesia, erlichia, a systemic bacterial infection, viruses, and at least 1 parasite all popped up. While they are something to pay attention to they are not the big concern right now. Like the Hansa Center in Kansas, the main goal is to restore the body's function as much as possible and then hopefully it will take care of most of those things it self.
Now I have met with Dr. T for a about 4 hours and put another few hours into reading and researching and I still don't fully understand everything. You really need to a be a geneticist or super science geek to get some of these results so just know I am trying to paraphrase what we discovered and put in understandable terms as much as possible. (Translation=I'll probably get it wrong) Here goes nothing. Detox pathways is something a lot of Lyme people focus on. I've considered doing this testing (23 and me) but I just didn't feel like it was one of my issues. Everyone I knew that had detox issues or a genetic defect in these pathways couldn't tolerate antibiotics (like one dose would almost kill them) and would get no relief or even get worse from things like the sauna and Epsom salt baths. I did five or six antibiotics at one time and used the sauna or took baths all the time. Didn't seem to bother me to much. I was excited though that we would be looking at some of these issues during the testing and thought well at least I can check it off my list. Ya well my pathways had something else to say and they are actually quite a mess. There are actually pathways that deal with all sorts of things and I seem to have issues in all of them. Detox, toxin metabolism, inflammation, neurochemical, energy production, steroids hormones and immune pathways. This is all leading to serious histamine and inflammation problem causing almost my entire system to lose it's freaking mind. When it comes to organ issues my pancreas is showing as the biggest issue. Many things seem to test back to inflammation and pancreas. Dr. T asked is I have a family history of diabetes (which I do) and told me I am headed that direction if we don't get this figured out. Other organs showing issues are: heart, brain, 4 sinuses, both ears, lungs, ascending and descending colon, ovaries, joints, spleen, gallbladder, liver, kidneys and adrenals. I also have a problem with certain barriers in the body having "holes" which allow things to pass through them which should not happen. The most common one is leaky gut. Food particles and such from your gut can pass the barrier and end up in your blood stream when they shouldn't be. I have similar issue with both the lungs and brain. Speaking of the brain I have an issue with oxygen brain which can cause short term memory loss, word aphasia, and word slurring all which I have experienced but mostly the memory loss. My parasympathetic nervous system which deals with things like rest and digestion is decreased while my sympathetic nervous system which deals with our fight or flight response is increased. So basically don't have enough braking power for the amount of gas my body is being given. It is confused with trying to go and stop at the same time. I have issues with heavy metals and EMF's (cell phones, wi-fi,etc...my body actually craves emfs thinking it can use it for energy) and trace minerals.
To help start fixing these issues I have started on some new supplements and been given a new diet. I am also doing a therapy that has to do with polarity of the body and trying to put my body in resting state from all of the EMFs. I'll see the doctor again in a few weeks and may start with some adjustments and other therapies. Interestingly enough Dr. T sees our regular chiro, Dr.S (whom we love) and vice versa. There was some discussion about trying to get Dr. S to come to an appointment so they can see me together and help get some things figured out.
As for the diet, I thought the Whole30 was tough. but I look forward to the day I can just do the that. I have confirmed after a 30 day round and a 41 day round of the Whole30 that sugar does affect my pain level. Unfortunately the cravings never went away and there is some speculation that the cravings may be related to my pancreas problems. I now have a combo of the Whole30, a low histamine diet, and a few other things my body doesn't like at the moment. In a nutshell I can't have:
alcohol, grains, dairy, added sugar in any form, legumes, chicken, pork, fish (unless it is extremely fresh), berries, bananas, melon, COFFEE, avocado, citrus, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, spinach, sweet potatoes, any nuts, baking soda/powder (whats the point of those without anything else) and any artificial anything (again no point with everything else I can't have). The doctor tried to be nice and tell me things I could have like bok choy, dandelion greens, chard, etc., which are all things I have never even bought let alone try to cook. So unless I win the lottery and can hire a chef to help me out I have a feeling this is going to be a rough go for a little bit. There is no time limit on this right now so it's this until...I lucked out and with one of my supplements I could have eggs and sulphur veggies (cabbage, broccoli) which were originally on the list of no's because I have a sulphur problem as well. I guess I will found out what I am really made of.
Lots of praying going on though this process. While I have typically prayed for help trusting and giving up control in the past I find myself praying more for wisdom now. I really like Dr. T and so much of what he said made sense to me. If my body is really having problems detoxing toxic substances or metabolising things so they can be used or eliminated then it makes sense to me that many of my medications and supplements in the past probably didn't do much since my body can't process them correctly. Having to trust that if this is where I am supposed to be then God will provide the finances, It continues to be a journey full of trials and tribulations, but also one full of faith and hope. While I left Dr. T's office feeling like a walking disaster there was beauty in the feeling of hope that I can still regain my health and the large part of my life that has been lost to being sick. I've got a little more than a year to get this figured out because I have big plans to start my 40's in much better place than I've spent my 30's!