lymedisease

My Story of Lyme Disease

PLEASE READ MY 6-30- 16 BLOG FIRST! This will help you gain perspective to better understand my experience with Lyme which is compiled below.

It all started in the womb for me. Those sneaky boring corkscrew shaped spirochete bacterias—very similar to the syphilis bacteria– hit me in earliest life. That’s right, NOT later in life through a tick bite.

Although controversial, transplacental transmission of Lyme is a scientific fact. For four generations. from my mother through my granddaughter, we all had the same weak, sickly, painful, multiple organ system maladies—unresponsive to the doctors’ best efforts.

My mother avoided doctors and was a silent sufferer through her adult life. But the stories through her childhood were hair raising, including times the doctors gave up on her to die in the night—and only God’s Healing Power, working through prayer, saved her young life. (Friends, this means A LOT to me as I would not have been here without healing prayer.)

I was weak and often sickly as I grew up. This affected my decision to become a doctor—so I could better understand my body, and why there was so much pain and suffering.

My daughter was much like me, only worse. I was now in medical residency and saw everything through the sharp lens of medical education. So she got the best care, but we still struggled to help her. Many times medications were not enough to relieve her terrible symptoms, and only through prayer God repeatedly healed and helped her. (In fact she became a great receiver of Divine Healing, and these experiences gave me great encouragement in praying for the sick.

Her daughter, my granddaughter, was worse yet! Inside the womb she struggled, and the doctors did weekly ultrasounds. After a difficult delivery, she immediately started having multiple organ problems, including terrible skin rashes that scared even an experienced dermatologist.

After taking her to multiple specialists in Tulsa, we went to Dallas and saw the best pediatric specialist. She received no help there either. After biopsies of her stomach showed Eosinophilic Gastritis, the only recommendation was a feeding tube with elemental (liquid, sterile) nutrition for six months, maybe longer—or possibly the rest of her life!

My daughter, her Mother, was outraged! This was totally unacceptable, but what could she do to help her daughter through this ongoing nightmare of pain, suffering and failure to thrive (due to severe food allergies to almost everything)? She did what every outraged faith filled, red-blooded Mother would do for her child—she resorted to prayer and the internet! Chatting with other concerned Mothers who had similar children, she began to try very simple diets, eliminating ALL processed foods, food additives and all known allergic foods. (Thank you Dr. Love, Tulsa Allergy Clinic, for helping us find CORN as a severely allergic substance. Turns out CORN is processed and used in every food preparation imaginable.)

After some improvement Dr. Mom landed on an elimination diet that was quite draconian. It is called GAPS—gut and physiology syndrome—developed by an Australian doctor for children with multiple severe food allergies. This was life saving for our granddaughter and life changing for all of us, as we wanted to adapt to this strange diet in order to support her. This evolved over about one year into the Weston A. Price diet which had a few more food choices.

The little girl who had been so pathetic, in such constant pain, failing to thrive, but with a big belly, was actually gaining weight and feeling better!! We were so grateful to God and to her MOM who would not take NO for an answer! But there was another demon standing in the way of complete healing —LYME DISEASE.

STAY TUNED FOR THE NEXT EDITION OF THIS REAL LIFE THRILLER—Dr Smith’s personal story of multigenerational Lyme Disease which took him through a full year of Integrative Medicine (both traditional and alternative) into full recovery!

WILL DICKEY/The Times-Union--04/30/09--Kerry Clark, professor of epidemiology and environmental health at the University of North Florida, holds a lone star tick, a species suspected of carrying Lyme Disease Thursday, April 30, 2009 in Jacksonville, Florida. (The Florida Times-Union, Will Dickey)

Lyme Disease

This is a growing problem all throughout the world. It is an infection very similar to syphilis that can be transmitted by tick bite. I plan to do some blogs following this one on various tick borne infections.

Ticks are not only bothersome pests, but they are a breeding ground for an increasing number of dangerous infections for both man and animals. Think of ticks as an open sewer. Many of these infections have skin manifestations that can give important clues to the proper diagnosis. Early diagnosis is KEY to proper treatment, which can be lifesaving. Early treatment helps prevent chronic disabling symptoms from developing later—such as chronic fatigue, arthritis, immune system disorder, heart arrhythmias, headaches and various hypersensitivities, brain fog, dementia, neuropathy, and the list goes on and on. Thus, it is vital to be aware of the multiple dangers of tick bites!

In this blog I will describe Lyme Disease which was first discovered in the 1980’s. It is so new that we consider it an emerging disease with new information still evolving. Lyme is very common with over 200,000 new infections every year in the US. All regions are affected, with the highest incidence in the northeast and northcentral states. In future blogs we will describe other tick related infections — so called coinfections, such as Bartenella, Babesia, Erlichia and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, etc.

Acute Lyme can be a violent illness with sudden onset of high fever, severe head and muscle pain, sweats and shakes. A peculiar bull’s eye type of rash occurs about 40% of the time. As the initial phase dies down, arthritis can develop in the subacute stage. But the worst part by far is what can happen in the chronic phase if proper early antibiotic treatment is not obtained, which is often lifelong. This occurs when the immune system is impaired and becomes dysfunctional. Multiple organ systems in the body are affected—heart, brain, peripheral nerves, muscles, joints, gut and skin, etc. Chronic skin sores can develop that are very bothersome and heal very slowly with scarring. New evidence now links Morgellan’s Syndrome to Chronic Lyme.

Finally, psychiatric illness can set in during latter stages of suffering. In fact chronic Lyme is so pernicious and difficult to diagnose and treat, that these patients are often suspected by doctors or even family of malingering, or worse yet, of even causing their own illness!

A century ago Syphilis had a very similar presentation, before an easy diagnostic test and a sure fire treatment (penicillin) were discovered. Interestingly both the bacterias that cause Lyme and Syphilis are related forms called spirochetes. Spirochetes are great imitators, because they invade so many organs in the body and can evade detection and eradication by sophisticated mechanisms such as biofilms, L-forms and cysts. Lyme Disease is still an emerging medical condition. Most doctors don’t know much about it. Even specialists are under informed—especially about Chronic Lyme. To get a more “Lyme Literate” viewpoint, watch the documentary UNDER OUR SKIN, and its’ sequel, on U-tube. You will be shocked at the degree of suffering that is often disregarded by the medical profession.

ACTION POINTS

1. Get a Tick Lifter. This handy device is the best way to remove a tick after it’s embedded. Simple and safe. This can also be found under Tick Remover Pro-Tick Remedy.

2. Watch yourself and your loved ones carefully and frequently after outdoor excursions. Be thorough in your search for ticks. They can be as small as a pin head. They can crawl into crevices.

3. Get the ticks off EARLY! Within 12 hours is advisable to minimize risk of infection. However, if symptoms occur even with short exposure, see a doctor for therapy.

4. Finally, if you are a Chronic Lyme sufferer, there are a few “Lyme Literate” doctors that may be able to help, even in the worst cases. The International Lyme and related Diseases Society — ILADS — may be able to help locate knowledgable practitioners.

COMING SOON!

Dr Smith’s own personal story of his Chronic Lyme suffering and his miraculous outcome.

 

 

Steven A. Smith, MD, Dermatology

Psalms 103 Healing Prayers

herpes

Herpes Infections – Overview

Let’s start by summarizing what we’ve already covered about these common viral infections of the skin.

Herpes Simplex Type 1. Usually on the face. Transmitted by casual skin to skin contact. A cluster of sensitive small blisters/pustules. Frequently referred to as cold sores or fever blisters. Recurrent episodes in some people. Respond well to oral Acyclovir (Rx).

Herpes Simplex Type 2. Usually on the genitals. Transmitted most often by sexual contact. A cluster of sensitive small blisters or pustules. Recurrent episodes in some people. Responds well to oral Acyclovir (Rx). ANOTHER COMMON LOCATION is a recurring sensitive sore on the buttocks. This is also very common and responds well to oral Acyclovir (Rx).

Herpes Varicella/Zoster. The Chickenpox virus can remain dormant in the body for years after the initial outbreak. Reactivation usually only occurs once and is called shingles or Zoster. This is a sensitive blistering/pustular eruption in a unique distribution: in a narrow band on only one side of the body or face. This also responds well to oral Acyclovir, but requires twice the dosage of Herpes Simplex infections. Finally, immunization is available for children (Chickenpox) and for adults over 50 y.o. (Shingles). But remember, these are NOT 100% effective at prevention. The shingles shot is only 50% effective—so don’t be lulled to sleep. Still see your doctor EARLY—within the first three days of symptoms, in order to benefit the most from oral Acyclovir (Rx). Earlier intervention also helps prevent and/or minimize the most common complication—Post Herpetic Neuralgia. This is the feared nerve pain that can linger for months after the infection is healed.

EPSTEIN BARR VIRUS (EBV)

This type of Herpes virus infects 90% of us sometime in life. Most of us are asymptomatic when we get the virus, although sometimes it causes Infectious Mononucleosis ( Mono). Extreme fatigue, sore throat, fever, lymph node swelling characterize this illness. It can mimic strep throat, but it lasts longer and can be diagnosed with a simple blood test (heterophile). Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment, only supportive—rest, nutrients—trying to build up the immune system. If it is allowed to smolder in the body for years with a weak immune system, it can lead to blood and immune failure, Lymphoma and even death. However, most healthy people handle this infection very well, often not realizing they were infected.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV)

This common viral infection is like EBV in that most healthy people don’t even know that they have it. However, it can cause birth defects if the mother gets it during pregnancy. No good therapy exists during pregnancy, although gamma globulin and antiviral medications are sometimes used. Other groups that can get serious CMV infections are the immunocompromised, like HIV+ and organtransplant or cancer patients. For these ganciclovir and other antiviral medications are helpful.

HHV-6

Roseola Infantum is a very common rash of infancy which is caused by this virus. Fever precedes the red rash which rapidly comes on after the fever is gone. This Herpes virus, like the others above, can go dormant and cause problems later in life if immune weakening occurs due to cancer, HIV or the use of immune suppressing drugs used in organ transplant and in severe autoimmune diseases such as Lupus.

Kaposi’s Sarcoma Virus (HHV 8)

This is another common viral infection that most healthy individuals never know that they have. It is much more common in the Mediterenean and Sub Sahara Africa countries. However, if immune compromise occurs—especially in HIV+, this virus can cause vascular (red) growths in the skin and/or mouth. This is Kaposi’s Sarcoma, a potentially fatal cancer.

WHAT SHOULD WE DO TO PROTECT OUR HEALTH?

Prevention is always the first step. If you feel that you may have been exposed to a virus, focus on good hygiene with frequent hand washing, as well as safe prophylactic sexual practices. Then see a doctor and get testing and/or treatment early in the process.

I hope this has been helpful and hopeful!

Remember, Healing Prayer is often the most helpful part!!

Steven A. Smith, MD, Dermatology

Psalms 103 Healing Prayers for You and Yours!!!

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