Sunday, October 20, 2013

Update On My Lyme Journey

It's been quite a while since I've posted an update on my health and where I am in this Lyme journey.

So I'll get straight to it.

I still have an active Lyme infection. Even after three years of various kinds of treatment.

Long term Lyme infection = chronic Lyme Disease

This was confirmed by a Ph.D. immune researcher (Dr. N) that my doctor consulted with after I started breaking out with multiple large ring rashes on my back, chest, and abdomen during the past several months. Turns out, this is a sign of active Lyme. He said this is what happens when the body doesn't know what to do with the infection anymore; so it comes out through the skin (an organ itself).

He also told us some things we didn't know about how the Lyme infection has affected my immune system. And how this happens when the Borrelia bacteria is in the body long term and isn't sufficiently treated or diagnosed properly to begin with allowing greater dissemination. I think this is a common picture for many of us with chronic Lyme.

Dr. N says a long-term infection with the Lyme bacteria (Borrelias) confuses the immune system to such a degree; it causes it to "lose its intelligence". I'd never heard it put that way before but I can see this is true.

Specifically, he told us the Lyme infection has caused my immune system to become stuck in a dominant Th2 (T-helper) cycle, which is an auto-immune cycle. And he feels I've been stuck in this a very long time. Years. That means my Th1 side is suppressed. None of this is good because it creates a tremendous imbalance in how the immune system responds to pathogens, toxins, and allergens. One side of the immune system overacts, while the other underacts. If this goes on over time without correction; the immune system can literally burn itself out.

Interjection: I'm pretty sure God has been preserving me.

Interestingly, this explained some other issues I've had for years; like how I easily get and cannot get over certain infections including some dormant infections that have gotten reactivated chronically, particularly EBV (Epstein-Barr Virus), CMV (Cytomegalovirus), and VZV (Varicella-Zoster Virus), which can get layered in with the Lyme and other tick borne co-infections. I've had respiratory infections I've never been able to fully recover from either. Between MTHFR mutations and this severe immune dysfunction that's actually rooted in Lyme, to begin with; we now know why.

T helper (Th) cells are immune cells. These cells are neutral until a pathogen (bacteria, virus, parasite, fungus), toxin, or allergen comes along and they convert into either Th1 or Th2 cells; depending upon the threat.

Th1 cells fight viruses, cancer, yeast and intracellular bacteria (bacteria that are inside of cells and replicate like Borrelia [Lyme]).

Th2 cells fight extracellular bacteria (bacteria that do not invade cells or replicate), parasites, toxins, and allergens.

Dr. Paul Cheney, M.D. explains immune dysfunction syndromes quite well. He says when a person is Th2 activated, they no longer have the defense mechanisms to keep dormant all the things caught in their past. They cannot suppress or control them anymore. EBV, CMV, Chlamydia pneumonia, etc reactivate. Yeast also begins to appear. Go here to read more.

While I have had a few improvements, I'm still unwell. And as difficult as this all is and as sick as I still am, I can't tell you how validating it felt to finally find a doctor who understands what long-term Lyme infections do to the immune and nervous systems. FINALLY. Somebody who has a deeper understanding of what's been really happening in my body. I'm very grateful to Dr. N. for the revelation he has given my doctor and I. He has so graciously shared his time and expertise with us.

And I am grateful for my doctor too. I feel blessed to have her. She has walked with me through this for the past seven years that I've been seeing her. We've surely had many ups and downs, and over this past year, we've both known something else needed to done. As she's said, while there have been some preserving benefits in my treatments, I'm still not getting well. And that is a big problem. The fact that I was misdiagnosed for so long (16 yrs) only complicates the whole picture. For the record, it was her, my home doctor, who discovered I really have Lyme disease. That in itself was a process.

Clearly, a new protocol is in order. And I have started a new comprehensive treatment based upon Dr. N's recommendations. It's totally herbal (with ongoing homeopathic and nutritional support) and while I've used some herbal therapies in the past; this is a protocol I've never done before. I have been on it for about a month now and the biggest difference I can tell is that it's clearing up my Lyme rash. Nothing else helped with that before this.

So Dr. N. laid out a very realistic picture of what he believes my treatment must entail. How it must be comprehensive and not just focused on "killing" the Lyme bacteria, which is really difficult to do once Borrelia spirochetes invade the cells and replicate, but also addressing inflammation, damage, and dysfunction in the entire nervous system as well as other affected organs and systems. And also gaining back the control of my immune system as soon as possible.

We already knew a lot of this and have been working to accomplish these things. However, Dr. N's insight into how the Lyme infection has affected my immune system has really changed how we look at the overall picture and how we proceed with different treatment. It's like he gave us a giant missing piece to this complicated puzzle.

Our primary treatment keys:

1.) Treat the long term Lyme infection as outright as possible using Berberine as a primary herbal antibiotic. Switch to another herbal combo after 2 months. Back this up with homeopathic remedies.

2.) Reduce overall inflammation in the body, but especially in my immune and nervous systems including my brain. Dr. N says absolutely on one can fully heal or be well with high levels of inflammation in the body. Must also help repair and support the entire nervous system. This is a longer process.

3.) Correct immune dysfunction by helping restore intelligence back to the immune system. This will help with chronic viral infections as well chronic Lyme infection.

According to Dr. N, in order to be successful; we must do numbers one, two and three all simultaneously. And so we are. 

4.) Once immune and nervous systems are stronger, start working to correct other dysfunctions in the body like adrenals, thyroid, liver, etc.

Maintaining the ability to detoxify is always near the top of the list too. If one cannot detox, then one cannot heal. This is something we've been working on for awhile and continue to support.

The ultimate goal is restoring proper coherence in my body.

I'd be lying if I didn't say I felt somewhat disheartened by this. And the fact this has been going on for so long adds to that - 19 years total to be exact. However, I knew deep down that Lyme is still an issue for me. I know my body. If nothing else, this certainly speaks to the complexity and chronicity of Lyme disease. And of how stealth the Borrelia bacteria is - it's like it literally hijacks the immune system. Crazy, hardcore truth.

I know this has been rather long and honestly; I wrestled with writing it because it seems to take a lot of energy to put it all together. And I've felt really drained physically and emotionally lately. Still, I wanted and needed to write an update; if only to document it all for myself. I will try to post periodic updates as I work through this new protocol.

Please pray for my endurance. It would be much appreciated.

I've tried so many different treatments over the years, I can't even begin to tell you. And I have worked my butt off to be well. So I really hope this is will be a key. Or least a big step forward. Some days, it's just plain hard. Nevertheless, I'm still holding to my faith. He's brought me this far and I know the Lord will see me through.

Love,

~ Michelle

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

DesBio Lym Drops (Updated August 2014)

DesBio's homeopathic Lym drops (yes without the "e") have become such a helpful support in my overall Lyme treatment. It's not a cure all but I find it gives me some much needed relief; in particular it helps me when I'm having Lyme related headaches, eye sensitivity, and fevers. Not so much for fatigue.

Again this is not a stand alone treatment for chronic Lyme but rather a supportive therapy. Taking several drops three times a day yields the best results. But of course, each day is different and the benefits can last longer than others. So I take more drops at certain times than others. Some days, Lym is like a little miracle for me.

The point of all this being it helps to bring about some relief. And when you're suffering with a Lyme headache, ear pressure/fullness, sensitivity to light, fever or aching muscles and joints; any relief is welcome.

The deeper I go into treating my long term Lyme infection, the more I find I need this Lym homeopathic support. I honestly cannot be without these drops some days. When I don't take it, I suffer more; especially with headaches and light sensitivity. So I take it daily. Its as simple as that.

This is also great to have on hand for tick bites as you can apply drops directly to the site.

DesBio, short for Deseret Biologicals, makes many homeopathic, nutritional and botanical medicines. On a side note, they also make what are called Series Therapy kits for many different kinds of bacteria, viruses, etc. And they make one for Borrelia burgdorferi as well (which also includes Babesia). I treated with two of the different Borrelia Series Therapies (Basic and 1M) for over a year and it helped with certain things more than others. The biggest difference it made for me was in totally stopping a Lyme-related arrhythmia I had for two years prior to that time. My doctor and I didn't know Borrelia was at the root of the arrhythmia until it totally subsided after I started these potent homeopathic series therapies. That alone was huge!

I personally respond very well to homeopathic medicine. Certainly different things work for different people and I believe everyone has to do whatever works best for them. So anytime I find something that helps me in a significant way, I like to share it. And in sharing my own experience, I always hope it might be of help to someone else. If you've used Lym or any other DesBio products for Lyme disease, I'd love to hear if and how it's helped.

FYI: there are a few places online you can find this but otherwise; DesBio products are usually sold through healthcare professionals.

In love and hope,

~Michelle


*UPDATE - August 2014*

Desbio has recently changed LYM to Lyme Plus. The major difference is the adding of Babesia microti and Ehrlichia (thus the "Plus"), which makes this more comprehensive but is still different from the Series Therapies. I think it's a great formula to add as an aid to any Lyme disease treatment because many of us have Babesia and/or Ehrlichia infections as well. But remember; different things work for different people.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Where Does The Time Go? by The Innocence Mission


Every now and then, I like to share some music on My Lyme Symphony because it's such a big part of my life. And I also share it because I think adding some heartfelt musical expression to this Lyme journey is absolutely necessary.

The Innocence Mission has become one of my most favorite bands in the last few years. Their unique alternative and ambient folk rock melodies deeply touch my heart. They capture both the profound and simple moments of life through their beautiful poetic lyrics and musicianship. Their songs are intimate, moving, inspirational, and thought-provoking. And they're often metaphorical, containing a deeper message beyond what one first hears. They sing about things we can all relate to; things like grief, joy, nature, love, faith, loss, friendship and life in general. That's one thing I really love about their music. The band primarily centers around husband and wife singer/songwriters, Don and Karen Peris. Although he isn't in this video, Mike Bitts is also a member. Birds of My Neighborhood, My Room In The TreesBefriended and Christ Is My Hope are my favorite IM albums.

Sometimes, when I'm in need of some personal TLC, I'll fix myself a hot cuppa Jasmine green tea and put on some music by The Innocence Mission. It's very soothing. Just does something for my heart. So with that thought in mind, I hope you'll enjoy this acoustic version of "Where Does The Time Go?"

Blessings.
~Michelle

Where Does The Time Go?

We will walk on a hill
Red hats and blue coats, and everything still.
Snow will cover until
We can't tell the sky from the ground.
Where are the buildings, the old wounds of mine?
Did I ever once cry?

(Chorus)
Waiting for you to arrive.
Where does the time go?
Where does the time go?
Where does the time go?
Where does the time go?

Friends have moved away.
One tree has come down, another one flowers and sways.
Miri was lost for five days.
From upstate at school one friend writes,
Everything is changing while the day sky stays blue.
Changing around him, and me without you.

(Chorus)

Balconies and flights
Of wooden stairs down to the water at low tide.
I'll carry you and we will walk in the light.

(Chorus)
Waiting for you to arrive.
Where does the time go?
Where does the time go?
Where does the time go?
Where does the time go?

[Karen Peris]

Saturday, August 10, 2013

H.O.P.E.


 1. Hope [ho'hp] transitive verb: 
a) to desire with expectation of obtainment;
b) to expect with confidence: trust; rely

2. Hope [ho'hp] noun:
a) desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment; expectation of success 
b) the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best
c) someone or something on which hopes are centered
(Dictionary.com and Merriam-Webster)

Hope doesn't necessarily exist apart from struggle. In fact, there's usually a battle raging. What hope does is to remind us there is the possibility of something better. Hope speaks a continual, "Don't quit." It 's that ever present whisper in our hearts that says, "It's not over. You can do this." It's the proverbial Rocky music in our ears. 

And there is a greater hope as well. Romans 5 hope. Colossians 1 hope. It's the ultimate hope in my life. It's what keeps me going in this long, difficult journey.

~ Michelle

"While there is life there is hope - and while there is hope there is life." 
- E.E. Holmes

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Long and Winding Road of Chronic Lyme Disease

I had a few better days last week.

Now, I'm not feeling well. Again.

Many of my other Lyme friends are struggling a great deal these days too. Is it the universal time for Borrelia spirochetes to divide and replicate?? Is something else flaring up? Perhaps other long standing co-infections that need attention? Or are our bodies just worn out from the constant fighting of pathogens and continual repair efforts? It's all so taxing.

Of course we know the constant state of flux we're in. This disease complex is so crazy up and down; I feel like a battered yo-yo. A yo-yo that’s been wildly flung every which way but loose for almost twenty years.

Or better yet it’s like the roller coaster ride that never lets you get off. It yanks you away through frenzied highs and lows, dips and drops, and sudden turns that thrash you about from side to side. Oh sure, it slows down ever so often but it never fully stops. Both the relief and the frustration of it all is in the downhill coasting. You're really moving. You've got momentum going for you. But soon enough, you hit the long climb back uphill. Again.

This speaks so well to the struggles of living with this disease. It can be very discouraging.

We work hard to get well, often finding something that helps for a period of time. But then it seems we find ourselves repeating this same process over and over again. And over and over again we can find ourselves back at zero.

It's this repetitive process of working so hard and long for little gain that can be so draining and disheartening. It's the constant daily doing that can leave us weary. And many of us have been "doing" for a lot of years. Treatment regimens, supportive home therapies, juicing, specialized diets, food preparation, doctors appointments, therapy appointments, ongoing research. Believe it or not, that doesn't leave much time left in the day. Working to recover from this debilitating chronic illness is a full time job. And it can be quite exhausting when you're already running on empty.

And then there are the losses that accumulate along the way. Some are big, some are small, and some fall anywhere in between. Physical losses are particularly difficult but then so are the loss of jobs, friends, livelihoods, dreams. There are different kinds of losses for different people. Nevertheless, loss is apart of this illness to some degree for all of us.

It's been my experience that not everybody can hear the truth of my struggle, which by the way, expressing my struggles doesn't mean I’ve lost hope or given up on my faith. If anything, this fight has taught me how to hold on, press in and persevere even more.

The truth is, not everybody can get in the dirt with you. Not everybody can be in it with you for the long haul. This is true for many things in life. And it's most certainly true in the long and winding road of chronic Lyme disease. But thank God for those rare and priceless jewels who can!

It's sometimes more than most people can bear. And I'm not blaming anyone for that because it's often more than we can bear a lot of times, too. Still, it can leave us feeling alone and misunderstood. The truth is this whole thing is really messy and absolutely changes everything. There is no part of life that isn't affected.

Clearly, everyone has to go on about the business of living. People have responsibilities. They have to work, go to school, pay bills, and take care of their families. And everyone should be able to relax and enjoy vacation and down time every now and then.

We want these things too. But many of us have to do them on top of being very ill, if we can even still do them at all. We want to be able to live our lives free from sickness, exhaustion, pain, debility and limitation. We want to have the health and energy to do extraordinary things and make a difference. Mostly we just want it so we can simply go about the business of living our lives too.

All of this is a truth that seldom gets fully understood by those who are on the outside looking in. I've said this many times before and I'm saying it again; no one can fully understand that which they've never fully experienced for themselves.

It is also truth that I personally believe God works in and through our circumstances; that He has His purposes and they are redemptive and restorative in nature; that He considers the many and not just the few. And that understanding His perspective and timing is important.

We should not dismiss, overlook or underestimate this about the Lord.

Still, the journey is difficult. And I don't always understand. I don't understand why so many of us, including children, suffer so much with an insidious disease that wrecks such havoc on our bodies and is so heartbreaking for our loved ones. I don't always understand why this truth is so adamantly denied, opposed and made light of. And I don't understand why some people cannot get the proper treatment they need and are deserving of. 

However, this is also where my belief in godly justice comes in. The truth cannot remain hidden forever. Justice will not always be denied. The powers that be will one day be held accountable. The whole truth will be revealed for what it really is. And justice will be duly served. One day. My prayer is for it to be soon. 

I also know we've all been pained by more loss lately in the Lyme community.

Last week, like many of you, I went on Facebook and saw that another fellow Lyme Warrior had died; a young, beautiful, beloved mother and friend to so many. I didn't personally know her but in that moment, the gravity of it all really struck me and I just sat there and wept.  

I wept for her and her daughter; for the rest of her family and friends. I wept for everyone I know that has Lyme. I wept for everyone I don't know who has Lyme. And I wept for me.

It was heartbreaking, gut wrenching and cleansing; all at the same time.

I know many of you were deeply affected as well. I could almost feel our collective grief. 

Sometimes I think only our tears can really speak the truth of our hearts. And our struggles. So let the tears fall. Let them be our voice. Let them express what our words cannot.

And let's keep on loving and supporting one another. Let's keep working to make something beautiful out of all this suffering.

With Love and Compassion,

~ Michelle

Photo Source

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Hard Science On Lyme: Trials and Tribulations of Getting Borrelia Biofilms Accepted for Publication

Dr. Alan MacDonald, MD, shares an insightful, albeit frustrating article today on the blog, Hard Science On Lyme at LymeDisease.org. It goes along with my previous post of Dr. MacDonald's video interview on the biology of Lyme disease in which he discusses many things Lyme, including the role biofilms play in chronic Borrelia infections.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, as we in the Lyme community well know, Dr. MacDonald and Dr. Eva Sapi are audaciously leading the way in establishing the solid science of Lyme borreliosis. Eventually, the powers that be will have to acknowledge the truth of what they are scientifically proving.

I can't think of a more fitting quote right now than this one by Author Schopenhauer: "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. And third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

Thanks to LymeDisease.org for posting this article and always advocating for the truth of Lyme disease. The intro and link to the blog are below. ~ Michelle

In this guest blog, pathologist Alan MacDonald describes the struggle to publish the discovery of Borrelia biofilms and what the existence of these biofilms means for chronicity and treatment. Click here to read the full article.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Biology of Lyme Disease: An Expert's Perspective



I wanted to share a portion of this informative interview (May 2013) with Dr. Alan MacDonald, MD, clinical pathologist and researcher, who explains the microbiology of Lyme (Borrelia spirochetes) disease and the connection he has found in his many years of research to degenerative neurological diseases including most notably, Alzheimer's disease.

He begins by explaining some of his medical background and training and how he became interested in studying and researching spirochetal diseases, first with Syphilis (Treponema pallidum), and then more specifically Lyme disease (Borreliosis).

Of note is an interesting case study regarding a German physician who had Alzheimer's disease. Dr. MacDonald and his team found high antibody levels of three different strains of Lyme spirochetes in his spinal fluid as well as Lyme spirochetes in his brain.

He also stated he was able to grow Lyme spirochetes from four Alzheimer's brains in his work with culturing brain tissues through the George Glenner Alzheimer's Brain Bank at the University of California at San Diego.

He discusses biofilms, DNA changes and mutations of the Borrelia bacteria. During the last ten minutes, he eloquently explains the reasons why Lyme testing methods are flawed here in the USA. As many of us with Lyme already know, standard labs only test for one strain of Borrelia when testing for Lyme infection, while there are about 100 different genotypes of Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) alone and many other species of Borrelia bacteria as well, i.e. B. afzelli, B. andersonii, B. microti, B. miyamotoi, etc.

Dr. MacDonald is a true pioneer in Lyme research and his vast knowledge of Lyme disease biology is over-the-top excellent. He's done most of his work at Harvard and in his own basement. He's best known and beloved in the Lyme community for his role in the Lyme documentary, Under Our Skin.

He stated at the filming of this interview that he now collaborates with Dr. Eva Sapi, Ph.D, in her ongoing Lyme research at the University of New Haven, while also continuing his research in Alzheimer's and Lyme Neuroborreliosis. Two great scientific minds for sure!

I am of the opinion that Dr. MacDonald has laid a solid foundation of research for the role Lyme spirochetes can play in many neurological diseases, including MS and ALS. Instead of calling Lyme "The Great Imitator" perhaps it should more fittingly be called, The True Root of Many Disease Processes.

This video is just under thirty minutes. It's clearly worth watching if you have Lyme or someone you love does. I found it very interesting and enlightening. Also it will prompt you to go directly to YouTube to watch.

Love and Blessings,
~ Michelle

P.S. If you're interested in reading more about the microbiology of Lyme, Borrelia bacteria, or how it affects the immune system and other cells, consider reading The Complexities of Lyme Disease by Thomas Grier, MS, which is also excellent. Click here to read Part 1 or find the whole series listed in my blog archive under March and April 2013.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

iSpot Lyme: New Generation of Testing From NeuroScience, Inc.

NeuroScience, Inc recently anounced the release of a new, and suppossedly more sensitive, Lyme test called iSpot Lyme (TM).

NeuroScience states that iSpot Lyme has a sensitivity of 84% and specificity of 94% for the detection of Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb); making it an excellent complement to the current two-tiered antibody method of testing.

"The iSpot Lyme detects a cellular immune response against Lyme antigens, which appears earlier in the disease process (2 weeks) than the antibody response detected by the traditional Western Blot test (4-6 weeks). More importantly, iSpot Lyme can even detect antigen-specfic T cell response in seronegative patients" (iSpot Lyme: A New Approach to Lyme Disease Testing - The NEI Connection).

If this pans out, perhaps it will be the start of a new direction in better testing methods that will be more accurate and more widely available (being the standard and not the exception). And maybe it will lead to effectively testing for other strains of Borellia as well. That is much needed also. 

I've had good experiences in the past with other types of testing through NeuroScience (Pharmasan Labs). I think they hold a high standard in neurotransmitter testing. Perhaps they'll become a new high standard in accurate Lyme testing too. Let's hope so.

To read more about this new testing method check out iSpot Lyme: A New Approach to Lyme Disease Testing on The NEI Connection blog.

For more detailed information read the White Paper and download the PDF iSpot Lyme (TM): A New Generation of Lyme Disease Testing

When peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from a B. burgdorferi-infected patient are exposed to B. burgdorferi protein antigens (A) B. burgdorferi-specific T cells are activated and secrete small proteins called cytokines (B) T cells that are not specific for B. burgdorferi do not become activated. iSpot Lyme (TM) measures the cytokine IFN-gamma secreted by the patient's T cells. Cytokine proteins (IFN-gamma) are captured near the cells that secreted them and are then detected using a color reagent (C).

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Real Heroes: A Tribute To Lyme Warriors

There is a turning point for everyone. 
A place where courage overtakes fear.
A place where adversity reveals true heart and character.  

It is here, within the smoky haze of battle, that real heroes begin to arise, something stirring within them, fighting a fight they never asked for but pushing through nonetheless.

Wounded and weary from the prolonged fight, they wear their scars like service medals;
marking severe afflictions and commemorating hard fought victories. 

They do not stand alone but rather band together, supporting and holding each other up
along the way, not wanting to leave any behind.

But the battle takes some. 

Still they journey on; for the time demands it.
They will not forget. Nor will they lay the torch down. 

 Perseverance surges through their exhausted bodies.
Wisdom and experience holds them upright.
And they war with an intensity that marks their call. 

Humble. 
Compassionate.
Tenacious.
Resolute.

They step forward for this fight. 
Praying for the strength to overcome.
And they'll keep working until they get it right.

Pressing on in fortitude they take charge.
Believing the impossible to be possible, they change the atmosphere.

Now truth is bearing down,
revealing what could not be seen before.

And then they emerge...as the real heroes they truly are.


I've written this in tribute of all my fellow Lyme Warriors. I know the battle is hard. I know you're weary. And I also know you're stronger than you realize. You make a difference. You inspire and encourage. And you are some of the gutsiest, most kindhearted people I have the honor of knowing. Thank you for your friendships and support. You are heroes everyday.

Keep on keeping on. Change is coming.

With much love, gratitude, and respect. ~ Michelle

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Lyme Disease Awareness Month


It's May and that means Lyme disease awareness month. Lyme is caused by the spirochetal bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) that is transmitted through the bite of an infected tick. Therefore Lyme is primarily a tick-borne infection and ticks can potentially affect anyone. However, it can possibly be transmitted through infected mosquitoes, fleas and other insects as well. 

Lyme disease is not to be taken lightly. If left untreated or not treated sufficiently, Borrelia can disseminate throughout the body damaging cells, organs and tissues. It is a multi-system disease, meaning it affects many systems in the body. Late stage Lyme can greatly affect the heart, joints and muscles, as well as the nervous (central and peripheral) and immune systems. It has been documented that the Bb bacteria can invade the brain within the first 48-72 hours of infection. Lyme disease is also known as "the great imitator" because it can mimic so many other diseases and illnesses. So accurate diagnosis is paramount. 

Remember ticks also often carry other serious pathogens such as Bartonella (Cat Scratch Fever), Babesia, Ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Relapsing Fever, Q Fever, Tularemia and Powassan virus. This speaks of the more common picture of Lyme disease today, which is chronic relasping and includes multiple co-infections, such as those listed above, as well as viruses, parasites and fungals. This is more appropriately termed the Lyme disease complex. I'll be writing more about this throughout the month, as well as the life stages of ticks and how to recognize and remove them properly. 

We are now entering the season that ticks are most active (mid-Spring to Fall). So please be mindful to check yourself, your kids and your pets for ticks after being outdoors. And don't forget to check those inconspicuous places like belly buttons, underarms, in and behind ears, between toes, and groan areas. 

Educate yourself. Please see What Is Lyme Disease? for more detailed information about risk factors, safety precautions and the symptoms and stages of Lyme. Please see Resources for a list of helpful websites, blogs and books related to Lyme, co-infections and other relevant health issues. You might also want to consider reading The Complexities of Lyme Disease series by Thomas Grier, M.S. Part 1 can be found here or the entire series is listed in my blog archive (March and April 2013).

~ Michelle 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Complexities of Lyme Disease (Part 4): Lyme Receptors

This is Part 4 in the series The Complexities of Lyme Disease by Thomas Grier, M.S. Click here to read Part 1. Here to read Part 2. And here to read Part 3.

Lyme Receptors 

It now appears that there are specific receptors in the Lyme spirochete to attach to endothelial
cells, N-Acetyl-glucasamine, B-cells, glial cells, nerves, and neurons.

The way our immune system is supposed to work is that it recognizes foreign invaders as being different from self and it attacks the infection. Unfortunately, the immune system sometimes attacks our own cells. This is called autoimmune disease. If a foreign invader has a chemical structure similar to our own tissue antigens, our bodies sometimes make antibodies against our own tissues. In people with Lyme disease, scientists have discovered auto-antibodies against our own tissues including:
  • Nerve Cells (Axons)
  • Cardiolipin 
  • Myelin (also seen in MS)
  • Myelin Basic Protein (also seen in MS)
  • Neurons (brain cells)
When the immune system finds a foreign invader, it tags that invader in a number of ways. A cell called the macrophage can engulf the bacteria and then communicate to other immune cells the exact description of the bacteria. Another cell might mark the cell with an antibody, which attracts killer T-cells. Some types of T-cells communicate to other cells what to attack and regulates the immune assault. But sometimes the body can produce a type of antibody that doesn't attack or help. A blocking antibody will attach and coat the intruder but it won’t fix *compliment and it shields the bacteria from further immune recognition. In Lyme we have seen quantities of IgG4 blocking antibody such as is seen in some parasitic infections (Tom Schwann RML 92 LDF Conference).

[* Note: Compliment is a term used for a series of 18 + digestive proteins that are only activated by signals from our immune system, such as compliment fixing antibodies that attach to foreign antigens.]

In order for the immune system to make an attacking antibody, the immune system must first find an antigen which it can attack. Unfortunately, as seen by freeze fracture electron microscope, photographs of the Lyme bacteria show that most of the antigens are on the inside of the inner membrane and not on the outside. This makes the bacteria less visible to the immune system and more difficult to attack.

The most intriguing fact about Borrelia spirochetes is their well documented ability to change the shape of their surface antigens when they are attacked by the human immune system. When this occurs, it takes several weeks for the immune system to produce new antibodies. During this time the infection continues to divide and hide. It appears that Borrelia are able to change their surface antigens many times and can do it quickly.

Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) correlates with the enhancement of Toll-like 
recpetor 2 (TLR2) expression by microglia 

In one study by Dr. Andrew Pachner, M.D., he infected mice with a single strain of Borrelia burgdorferi. After several weeks he was able to isolate two slightly different forms of the bacteria. The bacteria from the bloodstream was attacked and killed by the mouse’s immune sera, but the bacteria isolated from the mouse’s brain was unaffected by the immune sera. The bacteria isolated from the mouse’s brain had a new set of surface antigens.

It appears that contact with the CNS caused the bacteria to change its appearance. Since the brain is isolated from the immune system, and is an immune privileged site, the bacteria became its own separate strain.

This means: Infections of the bloodstream may be different from the infections that are sequestered in the brain. While we continue to have active immunity in the bloodstream, the brain has no immune defenses except for circulating antibodies. So if those circulating antibodies are ineffective to attack the bacteria in the brain; then the brain is left without any defenses and the infection goes unabated.

Another peculiar observation of this bacteria is seen inside the bacteria. When the genetic control mechanisms of this bacteria are inhibited with antibiotics known as DNA Gyrase Inhibitors (ciprofloxin), the bacteria start to produce bacterio-phage.

A phage is a virus that specifically attacks bacteria. In this case there are two distinct forms. This means the Lyme bacteria at one time was attacked by viruses, it was able to suppress them, but the DNA to make the phage is still incorporated within the DNA of the bacteria. Perhaps activation of this phage could one day be beneficial to treating chronic Lyme patients?

The Complexities of Lyme Disease ( A Microbiology Tutorial) by Thomas Grier, M.S.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Never Stop Believing


Even though the days can be long and difficult;
Even though our bodies are still exhausted and unwell;
Even though we may feel alone and forgotten;
Even though this journey seems to be unending;

Never stop believing for something better.
Never give up on your dreams. 
Never let go of your faith.
Miracles do happen.

I'm thinking of you today, my friends.
And praying hope stays alive and well in your hearts.
Remember, you are not alone.

In love and friendship,
~ Michelle

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Complexities of Lyme Disease (Part 3): When Lyme Bacteria Infects the Brain

This is Part 3 of the series, The Complexities of Lyme Disease by Thomas Grier, M.S. Click here to read Part 1 and here to read Part 2. Part 4 is soon to come.  ~ Michelle

When Lyme Bacteria Infects The Brain:

As we have previously discussed, the pathogen that causes Lyme disease is a highly motile spirochete within the Borrelia family of bacteria. This is the same group of bacteria that cause Relapsing Fevers in Africa and around the world. Like other Relapsing Fever bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme bacteria) has both an affinity for the brain and a mechanism to penetrate into it.

While Lyme may be a bit more subtle upon penetrating the brain, its silent but insidious invasion may be the reason that brain involvement can and is often overlooked by physicians for months or even years in neurological Lyme patients.

In the case of Lyme disease, every animal model to date shows that the Lyme spirochete can go from the site of the bite of an infected tick to the brain in just a few days. While we know this bacteria can breakdown individual cell membranes and capillaries, its entrance into the brain is too pronounced for such a localized effect.

When the Lyme bacteria enters the human body, we react by producing several immune regulatory substances known as cytokines and lymphokines. Several of these act in concert to break down the blood-brain barrier (eg. IL-6, Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha, IL-1, Transforming Growth Factor-beta, etc.). In addition to affecting the blood brain barrier, these cytokines can make us feel ill and give us fevers.

Since the brain has no immune system, it prevents infection by limiting what can enter the brain. The capillary bed that surrounds the brain is so tight that not even white blood cells are allowed to enter. Many drugs can’t enter either making treatment of the brain especially hard.

For the first ten days of a Lyme infection, the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is virtually non existent. This not only allows the Lyme bacteria to get in but also immune cells that can cause inflammation of the brain.

Note: The breakdown of BBB was shown to occur by tagging WBCs, albumin, and other substances known not to cross the BBB with radioactive iodine. The CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) of mice was tested and then they were infected with Bb (Borrelia burgdorferi). The CSF was then retested everyday after for several weeks. The result? No cross over of iodine was present in the control group but 100% crossover was in the infected group for 10 days. The infection had the same result on the BBB as if you were injecting the radioactive iodine directly into the brain.

Once the Lyme bacteria enter the brain, they continue to divide and become entrenched within the brain's tissues and cells. Borrelia burgdorferi are directly neurotoxic upon contact with neruons and also have a negative effect on glial cells trying to repair brain injury. This in turn further increases permeability of the blood-brain barrier, allowing even more blood borne agents to enter the brain. The immune system responds to the new flood of internal bacterial antigens and produces more inflammatory cytokines. The result can cause brain edema or encephalitis, intracrainal pressure, and focal areas of demyelination.

Also when the human brain becomes inflamed due to infection with the Lyme bacteria, cells called macrophages respond by releasing a neuro-toxin called quinolinic acid. This toxin is also elevated in Parkinson’s Disease, MS and ALS. What quinolinic acid does is to stimulate neurons to repeatedly depolarize. If this goes on unabated, it eventually causes the neurons to demyelinate and die. Basically, people with elevated quinolinic acid have short term memory problems.

This means: If we think of our brain cells like telephone lines, we can visualize the problem. If all of the lines coming in are busy we can’t learn anything. If all of the lines going out are busy, we can’t recall any memories. Our thinking process becomes impaired.

A second impairment to clear thinking that Lymies can experience is the restriction of proper circulation within the blood vessels inside the brain. Using an instrument called the Single Photon Emission Computerized Tomography scanner (SPECT scans), we are able to visualize the blood flow throughout the human brain in 3-D detail. What was seen in the brains of chronic neurological Lyme patients was an abnormal “Swiss-Cheese” pattern of blood flow. The cortical or thinking region of the brain was being deprived of good circulation, while the occipital (eyesight) regions had an increase flow. This could help explain why most Lyme patients complain of poor concentration and overly sensitive eyes.

The Complexities of Lyme Disease (A Microbiology Tutorial) by Thomas Grier, M.S.
Neurocascade Events and Lyme by Thomas Grier, M.S.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Complexities of Lyme Disease (Part 2): Motility of the Lyme Bacteria

This is Part 2 of the series The Complexities of Lyme Disease by Thomas Grier, M.S. Click here to read Part 1. I'll post Part 3 next week.  ~ Michelle

Motility of the Lyme Bacteria: 

How does the Lyme bacteria travel from the bloodstream to other tissues? While we have known for a long time that the Lyme spirochetes can show up in the brain, eyes, joints, skin, spleen, liver, GI tract, bladder, and other organs, we didn't understand the mechanism by which it could travel through capillaries, and cell membranes. Then Dr. Mark Klempner, M.D. presented at the 1996 LDF International Lyme Conference an interesting paper that gave us part of the answer.

Many researchers have observed that the Lyme spirochete attaches to the human cells tip first. It then wiggles and squirms until it enters the cell. What Dr. Klempner showed was that when the spirochete attached to the human host cell, it caused that cell to release digestive enzymes that would dissolve the cell and allow the spirochete to go where ever it pleases. This is very economic to the bacteria to use our own cell’s enzymes against us, because it does not need to carry the genes and enzymes around when it travels.

Dr. Klempner also showed that the spirochete could enter cells such as the human fibroblast cell (the skin cell that makes scar tissue) and hide. Here the pathogen was protected from the immune system and could thrive without assault. More importantly when these Bb-fibroblast cultures were incubated with Rocephin (ceftriaxone), two thirds of the cultures still gave rise to live spirochetes after two weeks and in later experiments for more than 30 days.

If we can’t kill it in a test tube at these high concentrations of Rocephin in four weeks, how can we hope to kill it in the human body?

This means: The infection can enter the best tissue that is optimal for its survival. Once it gains an intracellular position, it may evade the immune system and antibiotic therapy by remaining sequestered away from these hostile environs.

Another interesting observation about this bacteria is how it interacts with our body’s immune system.

Dr. David Dorward of the NIH Rocky Mountain Laboratories showed that when healthy normal human B-cells were placed in a culture with live Borrelia burgdorferi, it was only a matter of moments before the spirochetes started to attach and penetrate the antibody producing white blood cells. Once inside the cell, the bacteria should be killed by a process wherein B-cell lysosomal enzymes dissolve the bacteria. But this does not happen. Instead, the bacteria actually thrive and eventually destroy the lymphocyte.

What is much more disconcerting is that by using a time lapse video camera, the spirochete can be seen to enter the B-cell and exit a short distance later. But when it exits it appears to be wearing the membrane of the B-cell. The live motile bacteria then swims about unharmed in the sea of B-cells because by wearing the cloak of its enemy, it goes undetected. This stealth type camouflage will prevent antibodies from attaching to it; it prevents the compliment enzymes in the blood from finding and destroying it; and it eludes the scavenger while blood cells such as macrophages and killer T-cells that normally hunt and destroy foreign pathogens.

This means: We have a highly evolved bacteria that is highly mobile, can dissolve any tissue it desires so it can find immune privileged sites, and can camouflage itself from our own immune system by wearing the membrane of the very cells that are supposed to track it down and kill it. This bacteria seems to have evolved a sophisticated defense mechanism to avoid our immune system.

Lyme bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi spirochete) in human blood

The Complexities of Lyme Disease (A Microbiology Tutorial) By Thomas Grier, M.S.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Complexities Of Lyme Disease (Part 1): The Structure of the Lyme Bacteria

I recently came across this fantastic excerpt written by Lyme researcher and lecturer, Thomas Grier, M.S., who was misdiagnosed with MS for years when in fact; he had chronic relapsing Lyme disease. Sounds familiar to many of us, I know. He is now the Executive Director of Pathology Studies at MIBDEC (Minnesota Insect-Borne Disease Education Counsel), a non-profit organization. He has a background in microbiology and immunology and continues to do research in both the Lyme and MS communities. 

The article is so long that I'm breaking it into parts and using excepts that might not be as well known or understood. I personally found it extremely interesting and while I already knew some of the basic information; it truly helped me to better understand the complexities of Borrelia (Bb) and it's effect on and within the human body. I felt the need share it.

Perhaps some of you are familiar with Grier and/or his work. I had previously read his personal story a couple years ago but never knew he had written the manual (Lyme Disease Survival Manual) this excerpt is taken from. 

I'll post Part 2 in a week or so but I've included a link to the full article at the end of this post for those who want to read it in it's entirety now.    ~ Michelle


Excerpts from The Complexities of Lyme Disease 
by Thomas Grier, M.S.

Why is Lyme disease such a mystery? Why does it mimic so many other diseases? Why is it so difficult to detect? The reasons come from the microbiology of the bacteria that causes Lyme. This paper will look at the biology of this bacteria and the consequences of the organism’s unique microbiology on human victims.

Lyme disease is caused by a spiral shaped bacterium known as a spirochete. Diseases that are caused by spirochetes are notorious for being relapsing in nature, difficult to detect, and great imitators of other diseases. Syphilis, Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever, and Leptospirosis are other examples of spirochetal diseases. Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi, named after the man who isolated it from a Deer Tick in 1981, Dr. Willy Burgdorfer. The following is a tutorial to help explain away the mysteries of this bacteria, and why it causes so much controversy between patients and the medical community.

The Structure of the Lyme Bacteria:

The structure of the Lyme spirochete is unlike any other bacteria that has ever been studied before. It is one of the largest of the spirochetes (0.25 microns x 50 microns). It is as long as a fine human hair is thick. Borrelia burgdorferi is a highly motile bacteria. It can swim extremely efficiently through both blood and tissue because of internal propulsion. It's propelled by an internal arrangement of flagella, bundled together, that runs the length of the bacteria from tip to tip.

Like other Borrelia bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) has a three layer cell wall which helps determine the spiral shape of the bacteria. What makes this bacteria different from other species is that it also has a clear gel-like coat of glyco-proteins which surround the bacteria. This extra layer is sometimes called the Slime Layer or S-layer.

This means: This extra layer of glyco-proteins (exaggerated in thickness here) may act like a stealthy coat of armor that protects and hides the bacteria from the immune system. The human immune system uses proteins that are on the surface of the bacteria as markers, and sends attacking antibodies and killer T-cells to those markers called outer surface protein antigens (OSP antigens). This nearly invisible layer is rarely seen in washed cultures but can be seen regularly in tissue biopsies.

The Lyme bacteria is also different from other bacteria in its arrangement of DNA.

Most bacteria have distinct chromosomes that are found floating around inside the cytoplasm. When the bacteria starts to divide it forms a new cell wall in the middle and begins to split in two. The chromosomes also divide and the new copies of the chromosomes enter the new cell. The arrangement of DNA within Borrelia burgdorferi however; is radically different from other bacteria. It is arranged along the inside of the inner membrane of the cell. It looks something like a net embedded just underneath the skin of the bacteria.

This means: We really don’t understand the mechanisms of how Bb regulates its genetic material during its division. The bacterial DNA is uniformly embedded inside the inner membrane of the Bb bacteria like nylon stocking.

Another unique feature to Borrelia burgdorferi are Blebs. This bacteria replicates specific genes and inserts them into its own cell wall and then pinches off that part of its cell membrane and sends the Bleb into the host. Why it does this we don’t know? But we do know that these blebs can irritate our immune system.

Dr. Claude Garon of Rocky Mountain Laboratories has shown that there is a precise mechanism that regulates the ratio of the different types of blebs that are shed. In other bacteria the appearance of blebs often means the bacteria can share genetic information between themselves. We don’t know if this is possible with Borrelia species.

There have been reports of a granular form of Borrelia, which can grow to full size, fully autonomous spirochetes, and can reproduce. These granules are so small that they can be filtered and separated from live adult spirochetes by means of a micro-pore filter. The granular/spore form of Borrelia burgdorferi is still being debated. (Stealth Pathogens Lida Mattman Ph.D 66, Phillips/Mattman 98, Preac-Mursic)

The division time of Borrelia burgdorferi is very long. Most other pathogens such as Streptococcus or Staphylococcus, only take 20 minutes to double. The doubling time of Borrelia burgdorferi is usually estimated to be 12-24 hours. Since most antibiotics are cell wall agent inhibitors, they can only kill bacteria when the bacteria begins to divide and form new cell walls.

This means: Since most antibiotics can only kill bacteria when they are dividing, a slow doubling time means less lethal exposure to antibiotics. Most bacteria are killed in 10-14 days of antibiotic. To get the same amount of lethal exposure during new cell wall formation of a Lyme spirochete, the antibiotic would have to be present 24 hours a day for 1 year and six months!

If a bacteria is in a non-metabolic state (dormant) no antibiotic is effective. To be lethal the antibiotic must be absorbed and processed through the bacteria’s metabolic machinery and cause a disruption of metabolism.

Unlike antiseptics, antibiotics don’t kill on contact. If there are any dormant bacteria hidden in sequestered sites, then regardless of the length of treatment, antibiotics can fail until the bacteria become metabolically active (The Forgotten Plague see reference to Tuberculosis).

Like other spirochetes, such as those that cause Syphilis, the Lyme spirochete can remain in the human body for years in a non-metabolic state. We know this because patients with ACA rash for years are often culture positive when the skin is biopsied and cultured. Non-metabolic bacteria is essentially suspended animation. The bacteria does not metabolize in this state. Antibiotics are not absorbed or effective. When the conditions are right, those bacteria that survive can seed back into the blood stream and initiate a relapse. It is a beautiful and patient survival mechanism.

This means: Just because a person is symptom free for long lengths of time doesn't mean they aren't infected. It may simply be a matter of time before the re-emergence of the sequestered non-metabolic bacteria. Whereas viral infections often impart a lifelong immunity and may suppress subsequent relapses or reinfections, Lyme, like other bacterial infections, does not impart an active immunity for a long period of time. People are often reinfected with Lyme. A relapse of symptoms could actually be thought of as a reinfection or a reseeding of infection from immune privileged sites.

The Lyme spirochete has a sequence of surface antigens it can choose to express or not express. There are more than two dozen species of Relapsing Fever Borrelia bacteria which have been clearly identified. We are now beginning to see a similar diversity within the Lyme spirochete family as well. Polymorphism, which is the ability of the bacteria to change it's structural identity, makes recognition and identification more difficult. It is like a criminal putting on a new disguise after every time he has committed a new crime.

While there are four generally accepted genospecies of Lyme disease - Borrelia burgdorferi, Borrelia afzellii, Borrelia garinii, and Borrelia lonstarrii - there are hundreds of identified strains of the first three species. Borrelia spirochetes are polymorphic because they have built in genetic mechanisms to vary their antigens.

This means: Just as the immune system recognizes the bacteria and tries to kill it; the bacteria changes its clothes and fools the immune system and survives a little longer. Soon the bacteria finds safer areas of the body to hide in and the immune system stops looking for it. But another aspect of polymorphism is that once the cell changes, it may become even more lethal to some cells. For example, when Borrelia burgdorferi was introduced into the mouse via the blood stream, the bacteria traveled to the brain. But the bacteria recovered from the brain was more adapted to the brain and could no longer be killed from antibodies in the bloodstream. Polymorphism is a clever way to survive and may offer reasons for multiple symptoms.

The Complexities of Lyme Disease (A Microbiology Tutorial) By Thomas Grier, M.S.

Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) bacteria (spirochetes) magnified using dark-field microscopy

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Bring Me Sunshine By The Jive Aces

Thought I'd share something inspiring and lighthearted for the weekend. Bless you, friends.
Hope this adds a little sunshine to your day :)
~Michelle
 


 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Oral Spirochetosis, Lyme, and Other Chronic Diseases

I believe the book, The Stealth Killer: Is Oral Spirochetosis the Missing Link in the Dental and Heart Disease Labyrinth? is very relevant and important not only for those of us with Lyme, but for everyone. It's definitely informative and seriously worth the read in my opinion. Dr. William Nordquist, DMD, connects a big dot between spirochetes and many chronic diseases, including periodontal, cardiovascular, and neurological diseases.


Many of my major health problems began after having oral surgery in 1994. I did have an optic neuritis prior in 1992 but the etiology could never be fully explained. The reason for the surgery was to remove an abscessed portion of bone from my maxilla (which interestingly was on the same side as the neuritis). Actually, there was more bone abscessed than the surgeon could initially tell from my x-rays. Of course he later discovered this fact during the actual surgery. Afterwards, I felt very ill. In fact, my recovery did not go well at all.

I tried returning to work two weeks later but ended up taking a medical leave of absence for over two months because I was just too exhausted, sick, and debilitated. I couldn't physically function.

After several rounds of labs it was believed I had developed mono (Epstein-Barr) following the surgery, which was true. This was thought to be the sole reason for my feeling so badly and that I would recover in time. Little did I know; it was only the beginning.

I've never felt the same since.

And I've had so many questions.

Nineteen years later, I still have many questions. Yet I began digging even deeper after discovering chronic Lyme was at the root of my illness a few years ago (of course we all know the complicating problem with undiagnosed or misdiagnosed Lyme disease is that it becomes chronic or persistent Lyme with multiple co-infections. And that's not even taking into account the weakening or damaging of cells, organs and systems that occurs through the many taxing months and years of untreated chronic infections and inflammation).

Were oral spirochetes responsible for the abscess in my jaw?

Was Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb), the Lyme bacteria, already present in my system before the surgery? Or other vector-borne bacteria or viruses for that matter?

Did the invasiveness of that initial surgery (I had two other subsequent surgeries a few years later due to complications but that's for another time) suppress my immune function, which in turn allowed the release of spirochetes more systemically?

I have my own thoughts about all of this. I've found some solid answers along the way but I also have my arrived-at-answers too. You know, piecing together certain parts of this health puzzle yourself and arriving at the most apparent answer. Sound familiar?

And then there are those questions that still remain. And perhaps they'll always remain. I'm not sure I'll ever find complete answers for them. Sound familiar too?

According to Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, M.D., Ph.D., one of the many presentations of Borrelia, as well as Babesia and Bartonella (two other tick-borne bacteria), can be "non-healing infections of the jaw bone, devitalized teeth, and dental pain."

The more I've researched, the more I've discovered that Borrelia (Lyme) spirochetes, among many things, like bone. A lot. Particularly bones of the jaw and hip. They seem to have an affinity for it. I've heard through the grapevine, if you will, some stories of others with Lyme disease who also had bone infections (osteomyelitis) of the jaw and/or hip. I directly heard a woman tell the story of her mother who had spirochetes eat through the head of her femur to such a degree; she had to have a hip replacement. And then the spirochetes began eating through the plastic part of the implant. Crazy!

This is what led me to find Dr. Nordquist's book, The Stealth Killer. Of course, it is written from a dental viewpoint but that's precisely the point. Among many things, he discusses how all spirochetes, including oral spirochetes and Borrelia, the causative agent of Lyme, share similar, if not identical, survival strategies. Very interesting, don't you think?

When I first started reading it, my mouth dropped open. No pun intended. It spoke to me on so many levels because of the previous dental and jaw bone infections I'd had, as well as a heart arrhythmia I developed several years later. The arrhythmia continually grew worse over the course of a two year period and we had no idea then what was causing it.

In the meantime, Lyme came into the picture. Long story, but once I started on a Lyme treatment (specifically beginning with Borrelia Remedy Series Therapies from Desbio); the arrhythmia totally subsided. It took about three months for my rhythm to completley correct itself but it surely did. That's when my doctor and I both knew the Borrelia bacteria had gotten into my heart tissue and was the source of this mysterious arrhythmia.

Dr. Nordquist has also co-written another relevant book that I've yet to read but plan to, The Silent Saboteurs: Unmasking Our Own Oral Spirochetes as the Key to Saving Trillions in Health Care Costs.

On a side note, Dr. David Jernigan, DC, wrote an interesting article entitled, Are You Harboring Bacteria in Your Teeth? that bears witness to this discussion. Beyond daily brushing and flossing, he recommends using a Waterpik Waterflosser Ultra with purified water and a cap full of Thieves Mouthwash, the highly anti-bacterial/anti-viral/anti-fungal essential oil blend, to eliminate many bacteria in the mouth including Borrelia. This I have tried and like.

Dr. Douglas Martin, DDS, recommends brushing with baking soda and using a Waterpik with Dakin's solution (1 part Clorox to 20 parts water) to eradicate spirochetes, an oral care regimen advocated by Dr. Jurgen Slots, Ph.D., head of the Periodontics program at the University of Southern California. Click here to read more. While I often use baking soda to brush, I've never tired the Dakin's solution. Anybody?

I share all this because I absolutely believe that spirochetes have played a role in my health problems from the beginning. I know there are many who've had similar experiences. And this isn't only a Lyme disease issue. I wonder how many people with Alzheimer's or arteriosclerosis or congestive heart failure or MS or gingivitis actually have a problem with spirochetes of some kind?

Believe me, I clearly know and understand there are usually many factors that play a role in the development of chronic illness. But I also believe there are key triggers involved in the process, including spirochetes. Knowing they have the ability to evade detection by the immune system and still cause major havoc in the body unbeknownst to the average person, including many doctors, is what makes me want to share this even more. I'd say stealth is a spot on description.

I sincerely hope and pray the dental and medical fields will awaken more to this truth. And perhaps in doing so, more lives can be spared the tremendous suffering, debilitation, and loss that comes with pathogenic spirochetal infections like Borrelia, including oral spirochetes.

I'm certainly not advocating living in fear. That is no way to live. I won't. One has to choose to live in hope because despite all the difficulty, suffering, and uncertainty; there is always hope for something better. And there are those wonderful doctors, researchers, scientists, and advocates who are diligently working for this very thing - something better. You and I are working for something better too; a better life for ourselves, for our loved ones, and for the next generation.

I have to keep hoping and believing. Let's hope and believe together.

~ Michelle

P.S. If any of you have had similar experiences that you want to share, I'd love to hear about them.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Beyond Lyme Disease - New Approach To Healing Lyme By Connie Strasheim



In this video, Connie Strasheim shares some brief insights from her new book, Beyond Lyme Disease: Healing The Underlying Cause of Chronic Illness in People with Borreliosis and Co-Infections

While I've not read the entire book yet, I have found many of her points to be quite valid. I agree there can be many issues (even pre-Lyme) that are playing a role in hindering our overall healing process. Things like opportunistic infections (viruses such as Epstein-Barr, CMV, Varicella-Zoster, mosquito-borne viruses, etc.; bacteria such as Mycoplasma, Strep, MRSA, Salmonella, etc.; fungals such as Candida, Aspergillus, Trichothecene and other mycotoxins or molds), any unknown tick borne co-infections (Bartonella, Babesia, Erlichia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, etc.) adrenal and thyroid fatigue or insufficiency, nutrient deficiencies, physical and/or emotional traumas, and heavy metal toxicities. 

I have found many of these, including vector borne co-infections, viruses, bacteria, adrenal fatigue and trauma, are certainly issues for me as I'm quite sure they are for many with chronic Lyme as well as other chronic illnesses. As we've all come to learn; it's never just Lyme.

On a side note, many of us also have genetic mutations that interfere with or block methylation cycle pathways. This is a serious issue that affects detoxification, immune function, energy production, inflammation control, etc. The key is finding out whether one has any variations of such mutations (MTHFR, CBS, COMT, MTRR, etc) and then properly addressing them. You cannot heal if you cannot detox.

My two cents: I think it's certainly worth considering this read especially if you have chronic Lyme disease and have been in treatment for a long period of time without seeing much improvement. Which, unfortunately, is or has been many of us. Some of the above mentioned issues could be playing a role and blocking progress. Truth is, chronic Lyme is not easy to heal. And the healing process certainly looks different for each of us because we're all biologically different. However, correcting any unknown issue(s) could be the very key to expediting healing and recovery for any one of us. Although it can feel like more work, I think it's all worth looking into.

In love and hope,

~ Michelle