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