What Is Lyme Disease?
Lyme Disease is a bacterial disease caused by a spirochetal organism called borellia burgdorferi that is carried by deer ticks. It is the second fastest growing infectious disease in the United States. The Center for Disease Control estimates that 160,000 people are infected every year, but only one out of ten people who contract the disease are properly diagnosed. On average it can take going to 13 doctors over two years to get a proper diagnosis. The picture above is a photo of the organism in the human bloodstream. The deer ticks are quite small. They can be the size of a poppy seed. The ticks secrete a substance that numbs the site at which they bite. Because of their miniscule size, and because the bite is not felt, it is easy to get bitten without knowing it. In a certain percentage of cases a rash develops at the site of the bite. This rash can take on a bull's eye pattern, but it can often be atypical. In darker skinned people the rash can look like a circular bruise. A large percentage of people infected with the disease never get the rash. Within a few weeks to a few months of getting bitten, the infected person develops flu-like symptoms and has a meningitis-like fever with a horrible headache that feels like a migraine. This fever can last up to a week. Afterwards, fatigue, mental symptoms, joint pain, and cardiovascular symptoms can set in. Some people only have localized problems in one area of the body for a long time before the disease becomes systemic and disseminates to other parts of the body. Other people can develop the disseminated form of the disease within a few months. The symptoms of Lyme disease are often misdiagnosed or mistreated. Many people who have the bacteria in their symptom may have been diagnosed with other health conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson's or a non-specific auto-immune disease. People are often misdiagnosed with mental problems as well, such as hysteria, hypochondria, panic disorder, and depression. These mental symptoms can be a way to brush off the patient's symptoms, or they can be symptoms the patient is displaying because of the infection affecting their brain.
The standard conventional treatment for Lyme disease is a course of antibiotics. Many in the medical community believe that a three to four week course of antibiotics is sufficient to clear up the disease and that any lingering symptoms are a result of "post-Lyme syndrome". Doctors with extensive experience in the treatment of Lyme disease, on the other hand, have observed that their patients who have been infected for longer than 6 weeks need longer term antibiotic therapy in order to put the disease into remission. People who have neurological symptoms and have been infected for an extended period of time often need intravenous antibiotics in order to recover. It is often hard to receive proper care for this disease in the medical system for a number of reasons. Insurance companies often deny coverage for long term antibiotic therapy. The testing for Lyme disease is fairly inaccurate at this time with many false negatives, and in the cases of positive test results, insurance companies often claim that they are false positives. The doctors who provide long term antibiotic therapy have been persecuted by the medical establishment. Many of them have had to deal with lawsuits and the threat of having their licenses revoked.
My Battle With Lyme Disease
My experience with this disease is very personal. I was lucky because I was treating a patient with Lyme disease when I came down with the disease myself. I was studying up on Lyme disease in order to figure out what would help her as I started having the symptoms myself. So from the time I got circular bruise patterns on my elbows and legs, got the horrible fever and fatigue, and started having suicidal thoughts and auditory hallucinations, I thought I had Lyme disease. But when I went to the hospital, the doctor told me that there was no way that I had Lyme Disease, she said I would be much more messed up if I had it. She told me my rash was eczema. And I guess she presumed that the rest of my symptoms were a result of mental problems. I was feeling better for a few weeks after that and chose to believe her, unfortunately. But to be on the safe side, my boyfriend and I ordered some doxycycline online for me to take if I got sick again. I did not have health insurance at the time, and I actually do not believe that having it would have made much of a difference after hearing the stories of many other Lyme sufferers.
My List of Lyme Symptoms
I did get sick again. I had horrible chills, sudden moving joint pains. My heart would flutter and I would get chest pains. I would get a weird pain and soreness in the front of my neck. I was beginning to feel more and more tired. The doxycycline arrived. I started taking it according to Dr. Joseph Burrascano's guidelines which I found on the Internet. It helped me to feel somewhat better. I would still have flare-ups of pain and other symptoms in different parts of my body, but they were far less severe. Only the very high dose of doxycycline that he suggested affected my symptoms. My mental symptoms got a lot better while on the doxycycline. My boyfriend could tell when I had gone too long without my antibiotics because I would start acting weird and crying and sobbing like crazy. I would talk about just wanting to end it all. He would get me my antibiotics and the bout of madness would dissipate as they hit my bloodstream. I started taking the antibiotics in June. I believe I first had the rash starting in January according to my friends. The rash spread all over my arms and legs in March. I had the horrible fever and headache at the end of April. I really began to crash in June, as I first started to take the antibiotics. Then in July my stomach just gave out on me and I could not hold down the antibiotics or anything else for two weeks. I went to the hospital and the doctors diagnosed me with drug toxicity. They said I had been cured of the Lyme disease since I had been on doxycycline for four weeks. After I came back from the hospital, I lost sixteen pounds and all my symptoms came back with a vengeance and hit what felt like every part of my body. Here are all the symptoms I had. They are all common symptoms in later stages of Lyme Disease:
Pain in rib cage
Nausea, particularly when touching breastbone area
Pressure behind eyes
Sleepy all the time
Beginning to get urinary incontinence
Soreness in front of neck
Horrible neck pain
Pain under collar bone
Painful fibrocystic breasts
Crackly joints in nearly every joint in my body
Especially crackly neck
Cold sensations and chills
Extreme sensitivity to cold, would make all other symptoms worse
Numbness and tingling in arms, legs, pubic area, tailbone, head
Loss of fine motor coordination in hands
Hypersensitive to touch all over my body
Loss of fine motor coordination
Severe pain along spinal column
Burning and itching all over my body
Rashes that looked like circular bruises all over my legs and arms
Dementia and disorientation
Shortened attention span
Painful swollen lymph nodes
Painful spastic colon
Tiny palpable cysts on all parts of my body
Insomnia and weird sleeping patterns
I knew I didn't want to be on intravenous antibiotics and my body was already toxic from the antibiotics I had taken anyway. I also knew that I would throw up anything I took orally, because I was throwing up everything except for chicken broth, lemon drinks, and soda. Besides, even when I was on the antibiotics, it felt more like I was slowing down the disease process. I could feel tender sac-like structures surrounding my joints a few hours after taking the antibiotics where it seemed as if the bacteria was hiding out. After doing more research on the internet, I found out that the bacteria can hide out in cyst form to protect itself from antibiotics or other things that make its environment hostile. I did not feel like I had been recovering. I have always dabbled with aromatherapy, and I decided that was my only course of action because the essential oils are antibacterial and can enter the bloodstream through the skin. I knew I had to make a stronger than normal formula, because herbs and aromatherapy in low doses were not even touching this illness. I did a lot of research on the Internet, and found that a lot of the oils were from herbs that were traditionally used to treat leprosy in ancient times. The bacteria that causes leprosy is different from borellia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme, but both diseases are infectious, have multi-staged processes, have ways of hiding from the immune system, and are difficult to treat. With the audacity of a desparate person seeking a desparate measure, I made up a bath formula with the oils and a massage formula for myself, not really thinking that it would do much good. I was hardly in an optimistic frame of mind with both my brain and my body giving out on me at the same time.
My Experience Treating My Lyme Disease With Essential Oils
The first few days I used the formula I made up it worked incredibly well. It took the weakness in my legs away. My swallowing ability improved tremendously. I put it on my head a lot at night, and I stopped having suicidal bouts of depression. My fatigue lifted a lot, except on days when it felt like I was having a herxheimer or die-off reaction. On those days, I would be extremely tired, and need to sleep a lot. Once I woke up, I would feel really good. After the first few days, it still worked quite well, but more slowly because I could feel cysts around my body, so I could tell the bacteria had learned to defend themselves somewhat. I was pretty obsessive-compulsive about rubbing it into any area I felt acting up on a consistent basis. Sometimes it felt as if I was chasing the bacteria around my body. I put the oil on one area, and the bacteria would go somewhere else. But I believed this was a good thing, because when the bacteria is on the move, it is exposed and can be killed. My symptoms steadily and consistently decreased over time so I knew I was getting somewhere.
I paid a lot of attention to sensations in my body. I gave myself deep-tissue type massages with the oil as I rubbed it into each part of my body that was acting up. I would pay attention to changes I felt in areas of my body when I would massage myself. I didn't use painkillers at all, because I didn't want to numb out an area where the bacteria was acting up. That way it couldn't stage a sneak attack on me. I paid attention to where there seemed to be a lot of lymph-node like structures, or where my muscles felt stringier, ropier, or more tight than usual. I looked around for areas where my circulation seemed poor and I had more bluish skin or more obvious veins and targeted them specifically. I targeted areas that felt weak. I thought of it as fighting a war with something that felt like "invasion of the body snatchers."
I suppose it was easier for me to do all of this than for other people because of the way I have been educated to think about the body. But if there was one piece of advice I would give people with this disease, it would be to really listen to what your body is telling you. It is hard to do so, especially since this disease makes you want to disconnect from your body because of the pain and the weirdness. But if you do pay attention to feedback from your body, you will trust what you are sensing. You will follow the advice that seems to ring true rather than just submit to something inappropriate from an uninformed person who is a societally appointed "expert". Don't doubt your own perceptions and persist in finding solutions for yourself.
I noticed the oil seemed to be most effective when I got a very specific taste in my mouth when I used it. The massage oil was good for doing targeted treatments on problem areas, while taking a hot essential oil bath would help my whole system, and I would often feel symptoms free for a few hours when I was at my sickest, and for whole days at a time as I steadily got better. Using the massage oil on my head every night before going to bed helped clear all my mental symptoms and my migraine headaches. I would take a hot essential oil bath every morning for forty minutes at a temperature of 102-104 degrees.
The massage formula is pretty strong so I used it sparingly but consistently through the day. At night I would rub it in all over and then get under the covers to go to sleep.
You can find the massage formula and the bath formula on the products page of this site. For people on antibiotics, I would suggest using mainly the bath formula. You can use the massage formula sparingly like you would perfume, instead of the liberal way in which I used it.
Cysts and Enlarged Lymph Nodes
After doing this routine for a month and I was getting close to being symptom free, and I definitely wasn't before I started this routine. The essential oils are anti-bacterial and detoxifying. They also boost your immune system. This regimen I utilized helped the weakness in my limbs, the shooting pains all over my body, the awful headache under my skull, the depression, the suicidal thoughts, etc. All of that is beginning to feel like ancient history now, thank God. The only persistent symptom was the cysts and the enlarged lymph nodes, so I started taking bay laurel hydrosol internally at the beginning of October. I immediately started herxing again, and I would say that the cysts and my swollen lymph nodes are 80 percent gone compared to before the time I started taking the bay hydrosol. You can find the bay hydrosol on the products page of this web site. It is safe to use in all circumstances except in people with cancer in the lymph nodes.
One thing I have noticed is that the cysts will dissolve through the application of heat. But this can be painful, because you can really feel them as they come out of their cyst form and begin to die off. They don't go without a fight. I used an infrared heat lamp on different parts of my body when there was a flare up in any area, or if I felt a lot of lymph node-like stuff under my skin- which seemed to be the cysts. If I put heat on the area long enough, I would get a burning sensation, then a tingling like all the spirochetes were getting active, and then the burning would go away. After that, when I felt the area, the lymph-node like structures would be gone. I knew these were not lymph nodes because (sorry to be grossly descriptive) I seemed to be able to pop them if I try. The tissue in the area would almost feel like popped bubble wrap afterwards.
Other Suggestions and Observations about Lyme Disease
I also take 2000 mg of Vitamin C regularly now, to keep my body alkaline. Bacteria prefer an acidic environment. I didn't do that when I was on the doxycycline because Vitamin C and doxycyline can cause problems when used together. If you are on doxycycline, you can eat a more alkaline diet to attain the same result.
Another thing which really seemed to affect me, especially when I was really sick with the disease is cold. That is why a lot of people with Lyme disease feel sick when they go into air conditioned buildings, especially grocery stores. The bacteria prefers a low body temperature, and gravitates to colder parts of the body. It is important to keep yourself as warm as possible to create a less hospitable environment for the disease. Bundle up. Use heating pads, hot water bottles, saunas, hot tubs, facial steams, exercise, ginger tea, or whatever you want, but get yourself heated up frequently. That can help a lot.
Another thing that helps is improving blood circulation. This improves oxygenation of your body tissues. The lyme bacteria prefers a low oxygen environment, so anything that improves circulation and a higher oxygen content in your body can help. Heat, exercise, and ginger tea will all improve circulation. Massage and acupuncture are also good for this. I notice that areas where the Lyme disease is active in my body often look bluish or greenish, as if there is not enough circulation getting to the area. When the pain goes away or the area gets better, that bluish look also goes away. Massage and acupuncture are particularly good at getting the bacteria out where antibiotic substances can kill them.
If you get acupuncture or go to a physical therapist, do not let them use a TENS unit on you, as it can cause a lot of pain and trigger symptoms in people with Lyme disease, because the bacteria seems to be affected by electrical stimulation. The bacteria also seems to get stirred up around electromagnetic fields so it is good to minimize your exposure to them while you have Lyme disease.
Holistic Approaches to Infectious Diseases
Because of my own personal battle with Lyme Disease and because of the numerous patients I have seen with Hepatitis C, I have become particularly interested in chronic infectious diseases. If you suffer from a debilitating infectious disease, there is information here which may benefit you on your quest for greater health. There are also supplements in our product line which may be beneficial for you. If you have another chronic disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus erythematosus, or multiple sclerosis, it is possible that you also may have an infection, and some of these supplements may be beneficial for you. Here are links to information at the Institute for Molecular Medicine concerning the possibility that many of the auto-immune diseases we see today are the result of chronic infectious processes. After viewing these links, please use the "back" button on your browser to come back and explore this site.
http://www.immed.org/illness/autoimmune ... earch.html
http://www.immed.org/illness/infectious ... earch.html
http://www.immed.org/illness/gulfwar_il ... earch.html
http://www.immed.org/illness/fatigue_il ... earch.html