LINK TO INTERVIEW
For an interview Dr. Kristy Fassler, ND and I did for the show, “Don’t Dis My Ability."
(This interview gets cut off at the 47-minute mark, but it still has good info.)
My diagnosis with Lyme Disease in 2010 led me on an incredible healing journey. As it turned out what I learned would come in very handy when my husband, Mark Tucker, was diagnosed with Lyme Disease in 2012.
Because our symptoms were somewhat different I think it worthwhile to describe how they manifested for each of us.
In my case, the symptoms were very subtle. It was only in hindsight, when I began to educated myself about the disease and beginning to heal, that I understood how it was impacting me.
I had actually gone to see Dr. Kristy Fassler, ND, for other health concerns. I was surprised when in the course of our conversation she said, “Some of what you describe can also be symptomatic of Lyme Disease. I’d like to do a blood test, just to eliminate the possibility.”
“Of course,” I said, knowing it would come back negative. It came back “sort of” positive. (Lyme tests are notoriously inaccurate, and one can have the disease and still test negative. Mine came back with two positives, one undetermined, and two negatives.)
My very subtle symptoms were:
• A sudden loss of energy. Around 5:00 pm, my energy would just flush away, as if somebody had pulled the plug on it. I found myself going to bed earlier and earlier, even if I was visiting away from home.
• Once in bed I couldn’t sleep. I was tired, but my nerves were zippy, my legs twitchy.
• Irritability. I had no patience with anyone or anything.
• Memory problems. I couldn’t remember something for five minutes. I had to write everything down.
• Brain fog. Solving jigsaw puzzles (a favorite winter pastime) became next to impossible. Sudoku, likewise.
• Sound hypersensitivity. I am already sound-sensitive and carry earplugs to the movies and restaurants. But it became so bad that the fan on my co-worker’s computer (which was a little loud) drove me up the wall.
My treatment was multi-faceted. It began with prescription antibiotics (along with an anti-fungal and powerful probiotics to repopulate my gut flora). A food sensitivity test eliminated coffee and sugar. Exercise helped sweat out the spirochetes as they died, and produced some good endorphins for helping my mood. Eventually I left off antibiotics and moved onto some powerful herbals that killed the Lyme in both its cyst and loose forms. Currently I take no remedies for the Lyme, but continue to take good care of myself as I learned to do in my year of healing.
Mark’s symptoms were as subtle as mine with one exception. One knee swelled up for no reason. These days if you go to the doctor’s with a swollen joint that hasn’t been injured, they test for Lyme Disease. His test came back with five positives. Mark’s symptoms were:
• Swollen knee without an injury.
• Joint pain.
• Digestion problems, lack of appetite. He sometimes didn’t want to eat because he knew he’d feel so bad afterward. (He describes it as “gurgling stomach and feeling uncomfortable.”)
• Memory problems. He sometimes couldn’t remember simple things like people’s names or something he had just read.
• Tingling in his fingers.
• When laying down in bed, a leg would twitch.
Because I had been successfully treated for Lyme, I knew he needed to see Dr. Fassler as soon as possible. At that time, his mind was so messed up I had to be very insistent that he go to his first appointment (and he did listen). While he was willing to go “eventually,” he thought he’d wait and see. I knew that Lyme spirochetes get everywhere in the body, including the brain (which is why we end up with memory and cognitive problems), and he was not in his right mind.
Mark’s treatment was similar but different. He, too, took antibiotics (but a different type from mine), along with an antifungal and probiotic. His supplements and herbal antibiotic were also different from mine. (When you see a naturopath the treatment will fit the individual. There is no one-size-fits-all.)
Mark’s food sensitivity test results were more challenging. We had to eliminate: tomatoes, sesame seeds, garlic, wheat, wheat gluten, and egg yolks, among other things I can’t recall now. It was rather restricted for awhile but, as soon as we eliminated them from the menu his digestion immediately improved. (I use the term “we,” since, as the cook, his restrictions amounted to my restrictions.)
As I write this (September 2013) we are both in better shape now than we have been in years. We both receive unexpected compliments from friends and family about how well we are looking (which makes me realize how bad it must have been!).
We eat what we want now although, once you start eating food that actually nourishes you, you tend to keep at it. There’s nothing like feeling well! (Hint: the crock pot/slow cooker is a life-saver. You can prepare healthy, delicious meals in the morning, and go about your business while it cooks. It’s nurturing in more ways than one!)
The road to healing is a long one but, with proper treatment, you can get better. If you are a Lyme sufferer, or are plagued with mysterious symptoms, please consult a Lyme literate doctor. These are the doctors who will be willing to work with you long-term, rather than give you three weeks worth of doxycycline—but only if you test positive—and send you to specialists for those other plaguing symptoms.
If you are a Lyme sufferer, here are some useful links for dealing with this sneaky thief.
Guided Imagery for Lyme