Digestion and it’s Impact on Lyme: Part 2

Digestion Metabolism Lyme Disease

It’s been ages, I know, but I’ve finally written Digestion and it’s Impact on Lyme: Part 2.  I’m going to provide some real solutions here, but of course, I am also going to (try to) explain further on why digestion is such a big deal. In Part 1, I talked about the general mechanics and functions of the digestive system. Here, I want to talk specifically about why digestion matters when you are living with Lyme Disease.

I can think of 4 reasons why digestion matters when you have Lyme: (more…)

Digestion and it’s Impact on Lyme: Part 1

Digestion Metabolism Lyme Disease

Digestion and it’s Impact on Lyme: Part 1

This is a blog about Lyme Disease, so why do I stress so much importance on digestion? Gut symptoms are common in people with Lyme Disease. In fact, gut issues are common in people with all sorts of illnesses. When we look at the body as an interconnected world, we can understand why.

Here are just a few ways the digestive system affects other bodily systems:

  • The intestinal lining has a layer of immune cells, which keeps foreign pathogens (ingested along with food) out of our bloodstreams.
  • Digestive enzymes and stomach acids defend against pathogens.
  • Digestive enzymes break down foods.
  • The digestive system absorbs nutrients from broken down foods needed for hormone synthesis, neurotransmitter synthesis, for growth, repair and maintenance of organs.

This article will give you an introductory understanding of the digestive system, its components and how it works. (more…)

The Functional Medicine Approach To Lyme Disease

The Functional Medicine Approach To Lyme Disease

I’ve dealt with Lyme, with remittent symptoms, and long periods of peaceful remission for many years now. Even during peaceful remission, I’ve dealt with fear: fear that the turmoil would all come flooding back into my life after every late night, every flu, every stressful thought.

But I deal, and I have chosen to deal often without the use of allopathy, that is, the use of pharmacological drugs that suppress symptoms.

I do have some regrets in life, but opting for a slower more holistic approach to recovery is not one of them. I will explain to you why I prefer functional medicine (which aims to optimize the entire body) over allopathic medicine (which aims to suppress single symptoms separately), but first I would like to make a point to emphasize that I am not opposed to allopathy.

To Bear Some Symptoms Is Akin To Martyrdom.

Allopathic medicine has its place.  Excruciating pain is the most obvious example. How does one carry on with their day in excruciation? The amount of meditative practice required to deal with some levels of pain is not something many of us have undertaken (I sure haven’t).

And sleep: how do we heal any aspects of our health/sanity/life when our sleep is broken and short-lived, leaving every inch and cell of us fatigued? A medication that suppresses insomnia may come with its potential side effects, but maybe the risks of its side effects are worth the gains that come with sleeping a full 8 hours. Maybe, even though sleeping pills are allopathic, they have holistic properties in that they treat the cause of poor energy (sleeplessness). The zenith of allopathic medicine is when they secondarily treat causes of our ill health and not just single symptoms.

My concern is that many of our doctors want to pump us full to the brim of pharma – not to treat the causes of our symptoms but to treat the symptoms themselves. How long can we mask our ill health with anti-depressants, pain-killers, ant-acids and NSAIDs before the mask crumbles? And then what: do we up our dosages, or withdraw from the medications we have become so accustom to only to find that our symptoms are worse than ever? What if we find ourselves dependent on drugs that we are not meant to be on for life?

The Holistic Approach

The holistic approach recognizes that every aspect of the body is interconnected. It questions whether hypothyroidism is caused by a true thyroid condition or if the cause goes back further; to an immune reaction to something attacking the endocrine system perhaps. It questions whether you are anemic due to a true blood deficiency or if the cause goes back further; perhaps to a pernicious gut that does not absorb B12 properly – a nutrient vital in maintaining normal iron levels. Perhaps.

The holistic approach stops to investigate before giving a patient thyroid medications to treat the thyroid, or iron injections to treat the anemia. It goes beyond Lyme Disease and treats so much more than the bacterial infection, because it sees that weaknesses anywhere in the body will make the allopathic treatment of Lyme Disease less successful. It sees that antibiotics may effectively kill bacteria, but that our detoxification pathways and lymphatic systems need to be healthy and robust enough to get rid of the dead bacterial debris. It also sees that you may live a long life, and that if you have patience with and confidence in your body – taking holistic steps rather than trying to tweak every core process in your body with handfuls of addictive medications – you can heal.

I know what you might be thinking: I don’t know what you’ve been through. I really don’t. I know what I’ve been through has been near physically and emotionally unbearable. Sometimes I didn’t want to fight and on my weakest days, I would take pain-killers, or burrow into a depression, or take actions that were not going to help long-term, but that I simply needed to take in that moment of weakness. But for the most part, the treatments I did always had a purpose beyond making my suffering fleetingly disappear.

This approach has helped me tremendously, because the buildup of my body, though slow, is real. I don’t crash instantaneously when I stop taking a medication for a day. I don’t wake up one day and think “what happened?” Rather, I see subtle signs that my health is deteriorating and take steps to bring it back up to par before it gets hard to manage. I must admit, it’s not always this easy; sometimes I let stress consume me, which I believe is just as much of an addictive crux as allopathy. And sometimes, now that I do not suffer from daily pains, I now take pain-killers once a month for cramps. It’s strange to think of how tough I was at the pinnacle of my suffering and how soft I can become when life is easy.

This is all the more reason to take a holistic approach to your health: you will feel your body tell you it’s in pain. Allopathic medications often mask your body’s pains, sometimes to the point where you feel disconnected to your body, and terrified of any bodily sensations. That level of dissociation from a bruised up body can be a relief, but I’m afraid that it also makes it a scary place to ever visit again.

I don’t like “returning” to my body after long periods of dissociation. I know exactly how it feels to dissociate for a while, eventually relaxing into my body only to find out that “God, I am so tired, jittery, and un-alive.” It can be a creepy reunion. But I love it when I rebuild that connection to my body, to feel its pains and strengths and be comfortable in it. I don’t want to mask my problems; I want to connect my body and mind holistically, accept that I have work to do and do the work. The pay offs are much more rewarding.

I’m not trying to get all Buddha on you. Rather the opposite. In the next few weeks, new articles on ItsNotJustLyme.com will cover the main physiological core processes that interconnect. They will discuss basic anatomy and physiology, which would have bored me once in my life, but now, fascinate me and help me maintain genuine health and remission. From digestion, to metabolism, to detoxification to immunity, to cellular communications and even your musculoskeletal structure, these coming articles will help you understand your how your body functions – with Lyme and without it. I hope they will encourage you to dwell in your body and treat it with holistic care.

The Functional Medicine Approach To Lyme Disease By System:

Digestion Part 1

The Ultimate Rant On Lyme Disease

The Ultimate Rant About Lyme Disease
The Ultimate Rant About Lyme

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My colleague, Joey Lott, and I have a private forum where members give us all-embracing feedback on our book draft. The book we intend to write will demonstrate the obstacles and approaches to recovering from Lyme, touching on each angle of its controversy, and as we continue to get feedback, I’ve realized two things:

One: that we need to make room for a section on healthy skepticism and encourage research without encouraging solid self-diagnoses.

And two: that I need to personalize my writing, even dare express my opinions because, apparently, people want to know them.

I’ve written plenty about the pros and cons of long term antibiotic usage for Lyme and co, for example, here and here, and I’ve even made it clear that I opted to not take antibiotics for my illness – and still my readers are not sure what my opinion about antibiotics is! It kind of blows my mind that I can write so much about one subject without making my conclusions known. I don’t know if it’s a good thing or bad thing but apparently it is a thing.

I’ll attempt to do both here. My first real “opinion piece.” No textbooks harmed in the making of this article. (more…)

I’m In Remission! Now What?

I’m In Remission! Now What? 

Hold your horses.

Take it slow. Don’t forget about how sick you were. You just started to feel good. Hold off on the tequila shots and first consider your exit strategy.

Not Knowing Where To Stop

Everyone has different treatment plans, and different levels of luck I might add. The amount of time it takes to reach remission can take anywhere from a month to years to a lifetime. And you’d be shocked at how quickly some people get better on the cheaper more simple protocols and how others attack their infections with every resource they’ve got to see zero improvements. (more…)

Lyme: Not Knowing Who To Trust Part 2

Not Knowing Who To Trust Part 1 received a lot of positive feedback. It went over the ebbs and flows of trust and distrust that we have in ourselves and our doctors to pinpoint what on earth is happening to our bodies when we’re sick. Lyme: Not Knowing Who To Trust Part 2 is a follow up to that, and it’s aim is to help you become a better researcher and ultimately a super awesome advocate for your own health.

Trusting Your Research

Even after you have learned to ~trust yourself and ~divide autonomy over your health with your well-meaning cute lil’ 80 year old doctor, there is another problem: no one really knows how to treat Lyme Disease!

The sad reality is that even successful Lyme literate doctors have not had success with many-to-most of their patients. Each individual is different, and even if the protocol to a cure was written in stone, it wouldn’t help every complex case of Lyme Disease.

Lyme Disease is unexplored territory. Some of us have general practitioners who don’t know much about Lyme, while some of us see Lyme specialists. Either way I think it’s important to do independent research and learn about your disease. Like I said earlier, relying on “that one thing” or any one doctor can be practically, emotionally and financially hazardous. You may be seeing a Lyme expert, but no one will do customary research for your case like you can.

That is, if you do your research effectively. (more…)

Lyme: Not Knowing Who To Trust Part 1

7 lessons from BetterHealthGuy

Lyme: Not Knowing Who To Trust Part 1

It’s typical for Lyme patients to lose trust: in themselves, in their doctors, and ultimately, in the belief that there is anyone out there who actually knows how to cure Lyme Disease. Here’s a typical path to distrust we take:

One, In Ourselves

It’s not uncommon for diagnoses of chronic illnesses to take months or even years. “What’s wrong with me?” is usually where the self-doubt begins. In that time, a lot of doctors try and succeed at convincing their patients that they are just depressed. If one doctor after another keep telling you “it’s all in your head,” you’re probably going to start wondering if you can trust your own ole’ self. Sadly, a lot of us are forced to ask ourselves, “Am I crazy?” before we finally get a diagnosis and sign of some sort that, no, we are not.

Two, In Our Doctors

Losing trust in the medical system tends to follow next. How can we trust the doctors that overlooked Lyme Disease as a possible reason for our years of suffering? Once we find doctors that are “Lyme literate,” some of us often feel like we’ve found a savior, later to realize their treatments cost of thousands without helping – and sometimes even harming us further. “Should I be herxing for this long?” is a question we might ask our doctors at this point, and if they say we should, then we might follow this question up with, “What if my doctor would rather me stay sick so that I keep buying antibiotics off of her/him?” Questioning doctors and medical institutions is basically a rite of passage in the Lyme community.

Three, In The Research (more…)

If You Have Lyme, You Don’t Need Adverse Drug Reactions, Too

Herxing, poppin’ pills that interact with each other, and not knowing when to back off on the antibiotics: these are just some of a Lymies everyday problems!

Herxing

A Herxheimer reaction – better known as a herx – is a detoxification reaction to a treatment. Let’s say a treatment is working: this means that the infection is dying off. It also means that you are now left with dead bacteria in your system. When using substances or treatments that kill infections, we sometimes do not detoxify the dead debris as quickly as we kill the infection. In theory, a herx can occur from this backed up detoxification, and flu-like symptoms will follow for a few days or weeks. Some herx-like symptoms include body pains, sweating or chills, nausea and fatigue. (more…)

How A Chronic Illness Can Impact A Relationship

 

How A Chronic Illness Can Impact A Relationship

Lyme isn’t your burden alone. Everyone close to you will be affected. Here are just a few obstacles that you and your relationships can go through when you have Lyme or any chronic illness.

Not Knowing How You’re Relationships Will Evolve

Oh yes, love.

BFF’s for life.

Relationships are complicated enough for healthy people. A chronic illness can impact a relationship day in and day out.

We can’t walk away from our own physical debilities, but our loved ones can if they so choose. There is a fear that being sick will break our relationships apart, or prevent us from starting new ones. I’ve read enough relationship psychology to recognize that fear is a part of healthy relationships, too. And I’ve lived at least long enough to figure out that no one can predict the future. Obstacles can strengthen relationships and yes, they can break them. The beauty of being sick is that it makes us extra grateful for those that choose to stand by us, and grateful, too, to see the wrong people walk away.

This section will putter through a few issues with Lyme’s impact on relationships. (more…)