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Where is the infection?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Back in early autumn, just as I was too scared to start my first coiling season in earnest, I spoke to a friend of mine about where and how much to coil. Like me, she was pretty sure she knew where her infection was based on her symptoms. I’m certain that the bulk of my Lyme infection is in my lower back, in my sacrum and bottom few vertebrae as well as the surrounding tissue. I could tell from my symptoms (neurological pain shooting down my legs as well as pain in my lower back).

During the conversation, she said she had worked on her area of infection for a long time (2 seasons) but that there were still residual symptoms. She realized that she had to coil everywhere to fully eradicate the infection, not just in the obvious places.

I took her experience to heart. I coil my lower back for Lyme for about 8 minutes a week. Every other body part gets three minutes. It has helped tremendously to do it this way.

Applying the lesson

Now I’m working on Bartonella. My spidey-senses tell me that the infection is in my head, neck and upper torso. The evidence I’m working with is that

  1. When I first got sick in 2001 (long before it stopped my life short), right after the flu/fever went away, I started having problems with my hands and wrists. The problem moved up into my arms, neck and shoulders. All of this was neurological pain along with inflammation of then unknown cause.
  2. The next problem was with my heart followed by a huge reaction in my vagus nerve to my menstrual cycle. My best guess is that the Bartonella attacked my vagus nerve. That set of symptoms hasn’t completely disappeared with all the treatments to calm my hormones.
  3. My hormones got out of whack (think Pituitary-Thyroid-Adrenal axis), worst symptoms during my menstrual cycle, less intense the rest of the month. The actual symptoms included low blood pressure, constantly feeling cold, and weight gain that turned out to be polycystic ovary syndrome (aka insulin resistance).

I’ve been treating the Bartonella for a while, specifically in my abdomen (adrenal glands) and chest (upper part of coil by my thyroid gland). The symptoms are slowly diminishing. I’ve also done a full cycle of Babesia treatment which helped reduce the stress on my heart (and reduced the frequency and intensity of the low blood pressure episodes).

So I’m still thinking about Bartonella. I look at my evidence and admit that my observations are not strong enough to be sure that the Bartonella is where I say it is. So there is one more piece: when I coil my upper spine or the back of my head for Bartonella, I get much bigger herxes than when I coil anywhere else. (They are as big as when I started coiling my abdomen and chest for Bartonella last year). Better evidence, but not conclusive.

There is one concept I return to: sometimes you just know before you can prove it. There is a study that Malcolm Gladwell wrote about in his book “Blink” in which people played a game that they didn’t know the rules for. After a surprisingly small number of times, their bodies reacted to losing cards (sweating, etc) but they claimed not to know what was going on. After more rounds, they started to play better (make winning choices) even though they claimed not to know the rules. Then something like 10 times as many rounds after they started sweating, they stopped the game to explain the rules.

So I think my body has know for a long time about this infection and has even brought it to a certain level of my consciousness even though I have no test, no biopsy, no definitive proof that I know where the infection is strongest.

I still have to coil my whole body for Bartonella, but I know that I need to do extra on my abdomen, my chest, my upper back and the back of my head (pituitary gland).

Coiling

This week, I coiled my entire body for Lyme in 4 sessions (Sunday, Monday, Thursday, Friday).

For Bartonella, I coiled the way I did on Sunday every day until Thursday. Today I added in another minute on the back of my head, so it goes as follows:

  • top of head 1 minute
  • back of head 2 minutes
  • upper spine 2 minutes
  • middle spine 1 minute
  • lower spine 1 minute
  • chest 2 minutes
  • abdomen 5 minutes

Detox

I’ve been outside in the sunshine a little bit more. It definitely makes me feel much better to be outside, whether I walking a bit or sitting at the beach.

I’ve been brushing my skin most days, drinking a cup of kombucha most days, drinking lemon water most days, taking diatomaceous earth 2 days on and 2 days off. Antioxidants every day.

I had a rolfing session on Monday. It hurt as promised. It also made me herx way more. The rolfer worked on my lower back and my upper back/neck regions (as well as my feet and calves), the two main regions of infection. It brought enough extra blood flow that my eyes got itchy during the session. I’ve been herxing all week partly from the rolfing (and partly from the additional Bartonella coiling).

Today I dragged myself to a yoga class and did half the poses and rested the other half of the time. I’m trying to keep my bones in mind, but the fatigue is killing me.

Body

Since I’ve started coiling the back of my head and my upper back more for Bartonella, my pain level has gone up dramatically. I’m walking less. I’m aching more. My attention level, for everything, has gone down. My irritation level has gone up.

All my muscles have been hurting. My joints have been stiff. My back hurts a lot. I’ve had a severe headache every day this week lasting over and hour at high intensity and additional time at medium-high intensity.

My intestines have been a mess with loose stools all week.

Yesterday everything came to a head. I never showered or got dressed. I moved from the sleeping bed to the bed I lie on when I coil to the pad on the floor in the living room. I was too messed up to do anything more. I didn’t want to talk. I slept a bunch and whined a little…Except that I had to fill out a social security form in the middle of my headache. (It was harder and took longer because I was so ill when I started out.) I napped again after that. By evening, I was able to focus enough to watch tv. Otherwise the day was a wipeout.

This morning I woke up with a cough. This could be PMS (strange, I know) because it is accompanied by sore, swollen breasts, mild abdominal cramps, and a few days left on the calendar until my next menstrual cycle begins.

On the one hand, I feel like I do almost nothing each day, get nothing done. On the other hand, I feel wiped out so much of the time, like I’m doing too much. That’s the curse of Lyme Disease.

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