Two years ago my granddaughter was sickly and slipping into the autistic spectrum. Our daughter astutely considered Lyme as a potential cause and took her to a Harvard trained doctor in New Jersey who diagnosed chronic Lyme. She had minimal tick exposure and no acute illness to suggest a recent Lyme attack. Since I was in a similar condition—chronic illness, lots of pain and various neurological hupersensitivities (terrible frequent migraine headaches, photophobia, etc.)—I decided to go to the same doctor. She drew lots of blood tests and my results came back CDC criteria positive for Lyme! No tick bite, no rash or acute arthritis, just chronic symptoms gradually getting worse. At the time I feared that I was approaching the point of becoming disabled. However, I believe in healing and wanted to do everything possible to get better!
So I started what’s called Integrative Medicine. That’s when the doctor prescribes BOTH traditional medicines, like antibiotics, and alternative medicines, which are natural remedies. When I first started, I was weak and sickly, without much reserves. My doctor treated me with multiple oral antibiotics for two months. She also used twice weekly intramuscular shots of penicillin. (Remember the Lyme bacteria is very similar to Syphilis.) The first month was especially tough. I was travelling and sometimes didn’t know where I was driving. Fortunately my wife was there helping me. Neuro Lyme typically has a lot of “brain fog” where the processor in the brain gets slowed down and real fuzzy, and often symptoms get worse during the early phase of treatment.
Next was a month of intravenous antibiotics—two grams a day of Rocephin for 30 days. This was the thing that helped me the most. I am very grateful. I got my energy back and just started to feel better with fewer headaches and less disabling hypersensitivities. (I no longer needed to wear two pairs of sunglasses.)
The final three months were all natural medicines, which I had started concurrently with the antibiotics. Things like herbal and homeopathic “drainers” (to help get rid of toxic byproducts of dying Lyme bacteria) and “killers” (natural based antibiotics). Also there were nutritional supplements to help support and rebuild my immune and neurological systems. Even intravenous vitamin C (ascorbate) and PC oil (phosphatidyl choline) were employed.
Yes, I got better, a lot better! Maybe 80% better overall, compared to the time before my health started slipping about five years earlier. More importantly I had stabilized and was out of the continual health decline. About six months later off treatment, I did have a setback—probably due to too much stress. So I got back into therapy, this time only doing the natural treatments. I did great and was able to stop them after two months. It is now over a year since I had any Lyme therapy and I am stable and happy. I still get a few headaches each month and still have to wear sunglasses, but nothing like before treatment when I was in a progressive nosedive.
I am so grateful to my GOD, my wife and family and staff, patients and friends who prayed for me! I really benefited from the healing POWER of GOD working through prayer and medicine!!
Yes, this was an expensive Journey. You see disease can only progress in the setting of a weakened immune system. So keeping it in good working order is a priority for all of us, because no one knows when that next big health assault may STRIKE. (A dear friend who is a hulk of a man and avid mountain climber, traces all of his serious health woes back to a severe lightning strike while climbing at 14,000 feet.)
My last three blogs have touched on the multifaceted appearance of Lyme Disease. There are over 200,000 new cases of acute Lyme per year in the US, according to the CDC. No one knows how many chronic Lyme sufferers there are, primarily because of ignorance and denial. The CDC and the infectious disease organization say that there is not conclusive evidence to support it. I believe chronic Lyme affects a great number of people and presents in a variety of ways. Literally any organ system can be singled out for disease progression. The skin can be involved through Morgellon’s Disease.
Most often multiple organ systems are attacked. Chronic Lyme can present with the picture of cardiac arrhythmias (atrial fibrillation, etc.), heart failure, chronic fatigue, adrenal fatigue, peripheral neuropathies of various types (including Bell’s Palsey), headaches, psychoses, movement disorders (chorea), dementia, ALS type deterioration and MS like appearance. In a prior generation doctors struggled to diagnose and help syphilitic patients who presented in much the same polymorphic ways. (You must understand that not all people who have these conditions are due to Lyme infection, but I believe a sizable number are.)
I hope this helps someone out there! In a world of corporate medicine and big pharma and ever tightening government control, it is often hard to find a caring knowledgable physician. ILADS is an organization of Lyme literate providers who can help find these contacts. Please feel free to share My Story with others.
Steven A. Smith, MD, Dermatology
Praying ALL HIS BENEFITS for You and Yours!!!