Friday, November 2, 2012

Recent Lyme Disease Research News And Breakthroughs: Part 1

Some interesting and hopeful news has emerged out of the medical establishment over the past two years concerning breakthroughs and open doors in Lyme research. This is truly hard science and not just speculation concerning Lyme disease. Big steps forward.

I'm sure many of you are already well aware of these to some degree, as we are a very informed group. Nevertheless, I wanted to post this information for those who might not yet know or have had the opportunity to read. I also want to document some of these together in one place; if only for myself. There are clearly many past and present Lyme studies that are of importance. Of the recent studies I've found, I'm posting four of the ones I think to be quite significant. 

1.) Dr. Benjamin Luft, M.D., professor at Stony Brook University Medical Center in New York, and a team of fellow researchers, determined the genetic blueprint of 13 strains of the Lyme bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) in 2010 and posted their findings in the Journal of Bacteriology. 

The team wanted to identify why certain strains are more invasive than others, which was the motive of the study. Determining all of the Bb genome sequences will lead to understanding every characteristic of the organism, therefore advancing the foundation of better detection, treatment and prevention.

Click here to read the October 2010 article Genetic Blueprint of Bacteria Causing Lyme Disease Unraveled on Phys.org.

Click here to read the article Genetic Blueprint of Lyme Disease Uncovered posted on Stony Brook University Happenings. 

2.) Dr. Steven Schutzer, M.D., immunologist at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, uncovered biomarkers for Lyme disease symptoms that persist even after treatment. In the study, he examined samples of cerebrospinal fluid from patients with Persistent Lyme and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. After removing common proteins in the fluids, he documented different sets of proteins unique to each group. This is significant in that speculation has been removed concerning the differences between CLD and CFS.  

Click here to read Discover Magazine's January 2012 article Top 100 Stories of 2011: #90 Chronic Lyme Patients Validated. 

Click here to read the 2011 research article Distinct Cerebrospinal Fluid Proteomes Differentiate Post Treatment Lyme Disease from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome published in PLOS ONE. 

3.) Dr. Eva Sapi, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Biology and Environmental Sciences at the University of New Haven in Connecticut, just published research this past October in the Public Library of Science ONE (PLOS ONE) concerning biofilm colonies and their ability to protect Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb), the Lyme bacteria, from antibiotic therapy.

Sapi also published research in May 2011 concerning culture techniques, sensitivity of the various forms of Bb, and the persistence of infection. The study demonstrated the ability of Bb to convert from spirochete to cyst form and the development of biofilm colonies of the Lyme bacteria. 

All of this research would clearly help to explain the frequency of treatment failure as well as the persistence and reoccurance of Lyme infection months or years after treatment. 

Click here to read the October 2012 article UNH Prof Closes In On Lyme Disease Breakthrough in The New Haven Register.

Click here to read the October 2012 research article Characterization of Biofilm Formation by Borrelia burgdorferi In Vitro published in PLOS ONE.

Click here to read the original research study article Evaluation of In-Vitro Antibiotic Susceptibility of Different Morphological Forms of Borrelia burgdorferi published in the Journal of Infection and Drug Resistance in May 2011.

Click here to read the May 2011 article posted on LymeDisease.org

4.) Dr. Steven Norris, Ph.D., vice chair for research in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Texas Health Medical School, along with fellow UT researchers, developed a new technique that allowed them to test 15 times more bacterial genes than in the previous thirty years. This advanced technology is expected to lead to efficient assessment of the roles of Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) genes in the infectious cycle and development of Lyme disease. Their findings were recently posted in October in PLOS ONE.

Click here to read the October 2012 article Scientists Step Up Hunt for Bacterial Genes Tied to Lyme Disease posted on Science Daily.

Click here to read the October 2012 research article Analysis of An Ordered Comprehensive STM Mutant Library in Infectious Borrelia burgdorferi: Insights Into the Genes Required for Mouse Infectivity published in PLOS ONE.

P.S. I believe these significant breakthroughs in Lyme research will help lead to the development of successful treatments and recovery for those of us who are suffering with chronic or long term Lyme disease. I personally believe there are going to be more discoveries and breakthroughs in this  next decade that will lead to cures. I'm praying for it. And I am praying for those dedicated scientists and researchers who are diligently working towards this end. They need wisdom. They need understanding. And they need funding. Lets pray for the resources they need. And lets hold onto this hope together.

~ Michelle

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

To My Chronically Ill Friends


I know you.

I know how sick you are. I know how hard it is. I know the crazy roller coaster ride you're on. I know how getting out of bed is more than you have energy for on many days. I know you push yourself to do even the simplest of things.

I know you're investing everything you have, and even some of what you don't, to get well, feel better, and take your life back. I know you never imagined it would be like this. I know the obstacles seem insurmountable. I know people don't understand.

I know the frustration of not being heard; of being dismissed, overlooked and misunderstood. I know the discouragement of doing everything right and still seeing little to no improvement. I know the ups and downs. I know the heartbreak and disappointment you've felt. I know the struggle. I know the mess.

I believe you.

I believe what you say. I believe the unbelievable things you've been experiencing in your body. I believe how surreal it all is. I believe how very hard you work to get well. I believe how much you try to balance everything. I believe you try to be strong for your loved ones.

I believe you're caring, competent and capable. I believe your ability to persevere through such extreme hardship speaks volumes about who you are. I believe you inspire others. I believe you are making a difference. I believe your story matters. I believe you will overcome this.

I feel you.

I feel your inner struggle. I feel the burden you carry. I feel the aching and longing for change; for something lasting and better. I feel the deep seated determination you have to see this thing through.

I feel the utter disbelief and outrage at the ignorance and insensitivity within certain aspects of the medical community. I feel your growing desire to escape it. I feel your drive to educate them. I feel your compassion and empathy for others who are also sick, in pain, and struggling with their own circumstances.

I understand you.

I understand the depth of what you go through. I understand the undercurrent of emotions. I understand that you've lost so much along the way. I understand not everybody can see it.

I understand how very different life is now. I understand your uncertainty. I understand those moments of despair. I understand the limitations and how frustrating they are. I understand the loneliness. I understand the brokenness. I understand the words that are often left unspoken.

I understand the need for retreat. I understand how you want to get away but can't. I understand the times you need to be alone. I understand your silence. I really do.

I understand the need for total diversion. I understand how getting out is not necessarily about physically feeling better but about doing something just for you. I understand your desire for simple joys.

I see you.

I see your true colors. I see what you go through. I see your resiliency. I see your courage. I see the love you lavish on other people.

I see the hopes and dreams and wishes you still carry in your heart. I see the depth of wisdom and knowledge you've gleaned through the many long years of suffering. I see how you willingly share it.

I see how you take the time to listen to others, even when you aren't feeling well yourself. I see that you're going through more than anybody else really knows. I see that you're hurting.

I see how easy it would be to give up. I see how you've held on. I see how you've stood your ground. I see the deep faith that sustains you. I see, though your body is weary, just how very strong you really are.

I hear you.

I hear your cries. I hear those held back tears you shed when no one else is around. I hear your heartfelt and gut wrenching prayers. I hear your prayers for others; how you ask God to help them hold on too.

I hear your words of support and encouragement. I hear you cheering others on. I hear how you rejoice in another's health victory; how it's really a victory for all of us.

Though buried beneath the exhaustion of illness, I still hear your passion for life. I hear the inner hope with which you speak. I hear your unique expression. I hear the truth of who you are.

And you are beautiful! 

I love you, friends.

You are not alone.

~ Michelle


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Is Lyme Disease Awareness Month


May is Lyme Disease Awareness month and those of us who have Lyme Disease will be continuing to help bring greater awareness to this serious, debilitating illness during this time. Hopefully, Dr. Phil's show on Chronic Lyme, which aired last month, helped open the door to start dialoging about this more openly and began the much needed process of better education and awareness; even in the medical community.

Chronic Lyme Disease not only affects the person who has it, but their entire family as well. It takes a toil physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, relationally and financially. Lyme Disease knows no boundary. Many people are suffering from it's effects, including children.

If you don't have Lyme, perhaps you know or love somebody who does. I encourage you to acknowledge or support them in some way this month. Please share this link. Or you might consider right clicking on the photo above and saving it to post on your own blog, Facebook timeline or Twitter page. You can let others know who you are posting it for and/or that you want to help make people better aware of this disease. I so appreciate those in my life who support and encourage me; it means a great deal.

Ticks are everywhere and many entomologists are saying Lyme Disease cases may be much more prevalent this summer because of the unusually widespread warm winter we've had, which is the weather ticks are most active in. So it would benefit everyone to take the time to better inform themselves about the prevention of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases as well as the proper method of tick removal. I've listed some resource links below.

I invite you to go Lyme green in honor of Lyme Disease Awareness this month. Any support is greatly appreciated. It all makes a difference.

Thanks for reading. I'll be posting more on both my blogs throughout this month.

Blessings to you and yours.

Tick-Borne Disease Alliance

International Lyme And Associated Diseases Society

Lyme Disease.org

Lyme Aware

Lyme Disease: The Perfect Storm Is Headed Our Way (Huffington Post Article by Dr. Leo Galland, M.D.)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Today, I Juiced Some Carrots

I'm working to recover from quite a significant setback, which started back in February after having a bad cold that turned into a lingering respiratory infection, which opened the door to Borrelia and some viruses becoming more active again. Ugh. One thing led to another and then another and another...

I've yet to blog about it, mostly because I've not felt well enough, but I hope to in the coming days. Right now, I am feeling somewhat better. I've had one notable improvement to speak of, otherwise; it truly is a day by day, if not at times a moment by moment, process.

I'm focusing everyday on doing whatever it takes to help aid my body in recovering from this relapse. I thought along the way I would blog as my energy allows. Perhaps this will be both informative for others and therapeutic for me. This is, and has been, a most arduous and frustrating time but I'm trying to look for the silver lining in it. Honestly, I could have cared less about any silver lining when I was feeling my worst - so deeply sick and fatigued - but little by little; one day at a time.

I started this blog to focus more on Lyme Disease and related health issues. Ironically, it seems to have gone in a direction I never foresaw coming but I don't want to let it go to waste. I want to document what I'm doing. So today, I juiced some fresh organic carrots. That's one of my big accomplishments for the day. When you're chronically ill, it's the little things.


I've been a juicer for awhile but it's taken a backseat to everything else lately. You know; triage what's most pressing, like surviving. One issue that's more problematic right now is my body being too acidic. Fresh vegetable and fruit juices are very alkaline and this is one of the things I'm doing to help. Drinking fresh squeezed lemon water and hot green tea with lemon is also very alkalizing. My diet has always been healthy, but I've been tweaking my food choices to promote more alkalinity as well. FYI - check out The Alkaline Sisters for some great info and recipes.

I'll write more another time.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Lyme Disease On The Dr. Phil Show




Been offline for awhile. Have had a setback. It's been a very difficult past couple months. Hope to blog soon about it but for now; I'm just not feeling well enough.

Part of The Dr. Phil show last Friday was about Lyme Disease. Just wanted to say thanks so much to Dr. Phil, his staff, Dr. Bhakta, Kathy, Brooke and Stephanie for opening this important door to talk about chronic Lyme and how devastating it is. It's only a drop in the bucket but I believe it is a significant first step to better education and dialog. Hope and pray they will do more follow-up shows and bring other Lyme patients and doctors on to reveal the whole gamut of LD and co-infections as well as other viable treatments and therapies.

On a side note, I was working on a new project prior to the setback...this very blog. I had hoped to have it up and running by May for Lyme Disease Awareness Month. And then this unforeseen setback. I knew if I didn't go ahead and publish it now; I might not be able to before May.

This is not quite how I wanted to introduce my new Lyme blog but so it goes. It's surely still a work in progress but welcome nonetheless. I'll continue posting health updates on The Ragamuffin Saint as well but I wanted to start this blog to focus solely on Lyme Disease and health and nutrition related topics. I look forward to your participation, comments and friendship. Hope to write an "official" welcome post in the near future when I'm feeling better. Blessings.

~ Michelle

Sunday, February 12, 2012

That Is A Friend Who Cares

Favim.com

When we honestly ask ourselves which persons in our lives mean the most to us, we often find it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness; that is a friend who cares.

Excerpt from Out of Solitude
by Henri Nouwen

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Lyme Disease Awareness Spot Running On Jumbotron At Super Bowl


Those of us who are living with (and have been for many years) Lyme Disease know first hand how devastating and debilitating it is. It is also very misunderstood. So I was elated to see that ILADS, the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, will be running a public service campaign next Sunday at the Super Bowl on a Jumbotron outside Lucas Oil Stadium to bring greater and much needed awareness to the misdiagnosis of Lyme Disease.

Go to the following link to find out more about the campaign: International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society/Jumbo Tron Campaign


According to Dr. Leo J. Shea III, Ph.D., President of the non-profit ILADS, "Lyme Disease is a silent epidemic in America. We want to alert and educate consumers about this disease, which is often misdiagnosed. Left untreated, it will become chronic and debilitating. Tick-borne illnesses compromise your immune system and the diagnosis, which is largely based on symptoms, can be illusive unless a physician is Lyme-literate."

Another fantastic thing that ILADS is doing is the LymeWall. Check it out; these are the true faces of Lyme Disease. And sadly, some of these precious faces belong to children. If you're reading this and didn't know that children can get Lyme Disease too, I will tell you that it can and has been passed transplacentally during pregnancy to babies. I have a friend whose youngest child contracted Lyme from her during her pregnancy. She didn't know she had it at the time. He's been a sick little fella. If that isn't a stout eye-opener; I don't know what is.

It is my desire to help bring the much due and needed awareness to this disease. I was misdiagnosed for years with MS (Multiple Sclerosis), Transverse Myelitis (likely true secondary to Lyme and/or viruses), Post-viral Demyelinating Syndrome (also likely true), CFIDS (Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome; which is perhaps secondary) and Chronic Mono (which is true but isn't the root; its secondary) among a few others. We found out in 2010 that I really have Chronic Lyme Disease; the true root of this illness of 18 years.

I've written before that I have wondered many times what my life would be like had we found this out sooner. But, after much contemplation and prayer, I know it is a futile pursuit that I must, and do, yield to my faith in Christ. I still have hope for healing for all of us. I still have hope for a better future.

I plan on writing more this year to bring greater awareness and understanding to Chronic Lyme Disease and it's co-infections and how profoundly it affects ones life. It's time.

So what about it my Lyme friends? Should we add our pics to the mix on the LymeWall? Maybe some of you already have. I'm contemplating it. Nevertheless, I think it's great that ILADS, Open Eye Pictures and Burgess Communications are stepping up to the plate like they are. Kudos to them! And kudos to us who keep fighting this Lyme fight daily with integrity, perseverance and guts!

Love to you all.

Copyright © 2012 Michelle Holderman

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Hot Tea, Hot Compresses And Hot Ligaments: My Winter Health Update

Right now, I'm spending time focusing on what my body is most in need of. I'm more concentrated on what I can do at home to help aid this healing process. It is truly a full time job. And while I've been doing many of these for a number of years, focusing on them more makes me realize just how helpful they really are. Call it intentional focusing.

Here's what I find the most beneficial and even necessary in many regards:
  • Warm castor oil compresses on my liver (and sometimes spleen)
  • Epsom Salt and aromatherapy baths
  • Dry skin brushing
  • Stretching 
  • Standing; bearing weight
  • Bouncing on my physio or Swiss ball to help with lymph movement
  • Deep breathing exercises 
  • Eating whole, healthy organic foods (always)
  • Healthy alkaline smoothies and juices
  • Resting as often as needed throughout the day (there's usually no other choice)
  • Drinking hot teas (Green, Lemon, Ginger, Pu erh, Tulsi, Gotu Kola, etc.)
  • Drinking a lot of pure water
  • Spending time outside in sunshine and fresh air
  • Listening to soothing music
  • Praying and meditating on God's Word 

Naturopathic Medicine, Homeopathic Medicine, Chiropractic, Massage Therapy and other bodywork (Crainosacral Therapy, Myofascial Release and Reflexology) are vital aspects of my health regimen. Yet I believe what I do everyday at home is equally as vital. I know it is.

DOCTORS UPDATE:

I did come home with some new information from my last doctor's appointment over a week ago.

After a solid year of treatment, Lyme is still in my body. And it's still in my nervous system. We all know when Lyme is in the body chronically; it goes everywhere - organs, tissues, cells. It respects no boundary. As a friend of mine says, "It's a wicked stealth bacteria." For those who have regularly followed my blog, you know I've been breaking since last September from my Lyme treatment. Specifically, the part of treatment targeted at the strains of Borrelia as well as some co-infections. However, when Dr. P muscle tests me about going back on that part of the treatment protocol; my body emphatically says no. My biggest question regarding this is why? If the Lyme is still in my body, then why doesn't it want more of the Lyme treatment?

She believes this indicates that part of the treatment has done its job of pulling out Lyme particles from deep within my cells, tissues and organs and brought them to the forefront. And now we must support my immune system so it can do its job of cleaning it up; if you will.

Enter new immune support, MycoSurge (a liquid blend of 12 immune modulating mushrooms). I've only been on it a week so far but I'm really excited about seeing how it will help my immune function. We'll see how it goes.

On another note, Dr. P is still concerned about my liver. This is based on labs, muscle-testing and my symptoms. She believes the Lyme has damaged the nerves that feed my liver. I feel viruses are also playing a role in assaulting my liver cells; namely Epstein-Barr and CMV. She believes having a healthy, optimal functioning liver means better health overall. And I agree. This is a major focus for us. We're also using MycoSurge as a new liver support as well.

Still seeing my chiropractor, too. We had to stop the visceral adjustments; they were way too much for me. My liver couldn't keep up with the load of toxins being dumped after each adjustment. So Dr. R tried a new, less invasive technique right before Christmas - The Logan Technique. I had never heard of it. Basically, he holds light pressure for several minutes on the Sacrotuberous ligament, which is located at the back of the pelvis on each side. Literally, they run right up each buttock. These ligaments anchor the sacrum to the bones of the pelvis. As I understand it, this technique is said to realign the pelvis and reduce tension on the spine. This relaxes muscles of the low back and pelvis and balances the spine itself, which would have an affect on the peripheral nervous system and influence the organs those nerves feed. Let me say this: something happened after the first time he did this that was shocking and pleasantly unexpected by me.

I had a contracture in my right knee several years that took me a long, painful time to work through in physical therapy. It's 85-90 percent better. No one would probably notice it at first but I cannot straighten my right leg completely. To put it another way, my right leg is a little shorter than my left.

After Dr. R did this Logan Technique, I came home and laid down to rest and noticed my right knee felt really weird. I mean something felt very odd. And then it hit me; the back of my right knee was touching the bed. That hasn't happened in years. My leg was completely straight! In all honesty, it felt too long. Like out of proportion long. Normal is weird when you've not had it in a very long time.

Unfortunately, it didn't stay that way. After a day and a half; it went back to the way it was. But how amazing that I was able to straighten my leg completely after all these years, if only for a couple days!!! And after only one treatment! Very profound. My right hamstring has been aching off/on a great deal since. I view this as positive. Like we are awakening things or restimulating them. Stay tuned for more on this. If that happened after only one treatment; what might happen after several more?

I haven't been back to my chiropractor yet but I'm anxious to tell him what took place and excited to see what will happen after another treatment. I hope and pray my leg will straighten permanently. This is one of the most exciting things that's happened to me physically in awhile.

As far as how I'm feeling goes...
  1. I don't feel quite as inflamed since being on the Lyme protocol. Despite eating a healthy, whole organic diet for many years, despite being on antivirals and every known supplement to man, inflammation was still such a major issue for me until I started on a treatment for Lyme. Truly, Lyme is an inflammatory disease. 
  2. I'm not running fevers as frequently. 
  3. Fatigue is always present on some level but I must say; overall it is more moderate in intensity as compared to the many years of severe and debilitating fatigue I've endured. That is definitely a blessing beyond words!! I still have days that I have to contend with the deeper, debilitating fatigue but it's not a daily occurrence now. I often wonder how I ever survived when it was? I can actually take a shower and not be totally wiped out. I can make my own smoothies and juice. Small steps.
  4. I do believe Cataplex B (Standard Process) is helping my energy too. And I can tell it is helping to better support my nervous system as I've had a decrease in burning, numbness and tingling since being on it. Good stuff.
  5. My liver is still problematic. Spleen is somewhat better but because it and the liver share common blood vessels; one often affects the other. There are times my liver seems to be functioning better and other times; I can tell it is very sluggish and congested. Sometimes, it just aches as does my spleen. However, the warm castor oil compresses help very much. In fact, the constant puffiness over the front of my liver has gone down since doing the compresses. And my body had actually formed visible blood vessels there, the big puffy kind, which Dr. P was really concerned about. GONE. The only thing I've done differently is the castor oil compresses. She told me to continue doing them indefinitely.
  6. I still have days I don't feel well at all. I sill get wiped out at times. But I'm so thankful I'm not running fevers as often and that I'm having some better energy. Hallelujah! Or as Tyler Perry says, "Hallelujer!"
Any positive, lasting change is very encouraging after so many years of ups and downs, trial and error, crashed expectations, disappointments, misdiagnosis, etc, etc, etc.

I We could write a novel, huh?

Lyme disease is deeply taxing in every way. It requires perseverance. It requires resources. It requires a support system. And, in my opinion, it requires supernatural help from the Lord.

I will overcome this.

I will beat chronic Lyme disease with continued perseverance and especially with God's help.

I will. Watch me.

Copyright © 2012 Michelle Holderman