The truth is that I’ve been feeling worse lately. It’s a hard truth. For most of the past 6 years, I’ve been getting better, in fits and starts. I haven’t regressed significantly at any point in time since I stopped antibiotics and started using the coil machine. So it shouldn’t surprise me that I’m having a hard time with the increase in symptoms and the reduction in my daily capacity. I remember lots of days, even years, when I got absolutely nothing done. I watched movies, listened to the radio, crocheted, talked on the phone and had an occasional visitor. Things aren’t that bad right now. I can manage to do one thing each day. But I find myself needing a lot more naps and slow time, in which I’m not creative or productive. I still prioritize the non-activities to things that I’d like to do, like working on a baby blanket. But even then, I’m pretty wiped out.
There are several contributing factors, each one of which is a necessary step in progressing towards getting the tick-borne infections completely out of my system. The first and least controversial is the change in my coiling location for Bartonella. It’s been shocking to have the Bartonella herx symptoms ramp up so much.
The next factor is the vaccinations I’ve taken so I can travel this summer to a place that doesn’t have Western hospital facilities. I’ve been questioned about this choice. If you’d asked me about it two years ago or even 8 months ago, I’d have thought it was a bad idea. After my Lyme symptoms completely disappeared, I realized that I only had dormant Lyme in my body and it needed to be activated. I would have found other ways to activate it, but the vaccinations were something I’d been wrestling with. One option was to cancel the trip. This option seems better.
The last factor is that I’m eating everything again. I know I could “feel” better, with less symptoms, if I went back on a strict diet and took lots of supplements (the ones that are still sitting in my cabinet). But that option wouldn’t help with my ultimate goal. I’m letting the symptoms and the underlying infections stay active, not targeting them with a boost to my immune system or loads of antioxidants or by getting rid of all dietary sources of inflammation. I’d like them to stay as activated as possible so that they are fully susceptible to being killed by the coil machine. Otherwise, I’m just building up stores of dormant Lyme cells to deal with in the future.
Bartonella & Kidneys
I’ve struggled with Bartonella herxes from the time I started to tackle Bartonella in 2012. Any time I increased my coiling protocol to include a new body part or increase the time on a body part I’d already started coiling, my kidneys hurt. It is a dull, cold ache that bothered me relentlessly. The constant pain made me feel even more exhausted than I was already. The persistent symptom reduced the speed with which I ramped up my coiling protocol, possibly because it was an indication that my body couldn’t detox any faster than it already was.
Until last month, when I changed the location I coiled my shoulders, I hadn’t had kidney pain as long as I took Renavive, which is marketed to dissolve kidney stone and is a good detoxifying combination pill. In fact, I was decreasing the daily dose of Renavive at that time.
All that has changed. I’ve hit upon an area where there is clearly a large load of Bartonella bacteria, which I suspect is in some kind of biofilm, one that wasn’t diminished by antibiotics or coiling nearby locations. I’m coiling the area for six minutes daily at 832 Hz on each shoulder. By the time I reached 6 minutes on each side, the kidney pain had returned full force.
My imperfect solution has been to increase the daily dose of Renavive to 2 pills, twice per day, plus dandelion root tea, lots of water, lemon juice and rest. I still have pretty bad kidney pain every day. The only effective solution I know of is going to a dry sauna and sweating for 15-20 minutes several times a week. The problem is that spending that much time in a sauna and increasing my body temperature enough to make me sweat profusely will put the Lyme right back into its dormant state. If I hadn’t already intentionally triggered the Lyme with vaccinations, I would consider going back to the sauna. However, I don’t want to go through another round of Lyme flares unnecessarily. So I’m stuck out in the cold, or at least, out of the detoxifying heat of the sauna.
The other possible solution is to reduce the amount I’m coiling my shoulders. Now that I’m writing it down, it seems like a good idea. I’d been thinking that I would be taking a step backwards by doing that. Of course, I’m anxious to get to a point where I’ve vanquished Bartonella, but that isn’t today. The day will come faster if I keep going hard, as in coiling a lot, on my shoulders. So I’ll need to consider that option if the kidney pain doesn’t subside in the near future.
I tell people who ask how to start coiling that they should go easy. We only get one body. No need to damage it more than the infections already have. If I can’t get the kidney pain under control, it looks like I need to listen to my own advice.
Meanwhile, I have other symptoms of Bartonella herxes, including all the ones listed on the previous post and tingling in my arms and legs when I wake up or when I walk any distance. I have mild headaches. I have a lot more urinary tract issues, including bladder hesitancy and abdominal pain. I’m itchy a lot and the acne on my bottom has blossomed out of control. Overall, I’m feeling worse from the Bartonella herx.
After the first few vaccines, I had a return of the heart problems I get from the Lyme infection. This time is a little different. I took a different vaccine (TdaP). I’m having a return of the joint aches, pops and pain, from my knuckles to my knees to my spine (and everything in between, including my ribs). My shoulders all the way to my jaw, especially the left side, are the worst. The pain and stiffness go away for about 24 hours after I coil, but then they reappear pretty quickly. It seems that the vaccination has diverted the resources of my immune system, leaving the Lyme to reactivate slowly and consistently.
Beyond the pain, I’ve become really tired. Tired enough that I’ll need to check for a recurrence of Babesia. Mostly, though, I’m tired from noon to 5 pm. In the morning, once I wake up, I’m okay for a few hours. In the evening, I can manage to make dinner and clean up. In the middle of the day, my best bet is to nap early, like noon or 1pm and sleep for an hour. After that I function a lot better. Nighttime has gotten longer. I’m usually in bed between 10 and 10:30pm and asleep within 20 minutes. I have somewhat interrupted sleep: more nightmares (probably Bartonella), light night sweats (also Bartonella) and full bladder (also Bartonella–oh those kidneys!). In the morning, I sleep until 8:30 or 9:30. It’s a lot of sleep. If I don’t get enough sleep, I stay groggy until I go back to sleep.
Just the sleep and fatigue is enough to make my life seem smaller. I have fewer hours a day in which to do anything at all. Then having pain on top of it just makes things worse. Besides the joint pain, I’ve got a tingling, dull ache on the entire right side of my body. Talk about distracting. My mind seems more muddled. I have a harder time making decisions. I’m more prone to saying the wrong thing (both irritating the people around me and confusing me as to why I said something I didn’t mean). I have more difficulty concentrating.
The herxes are a little stronger, generating additional spine pain and loose bowels (which are a bit of a relief from the Bartonella herx inspired constipation!).
I feel more disabled overall.
Despite the pull to avoid all inflammatory foods just to get through the next month or so, by which time I hope I’ll be past the worst of the Lyme flare and the Bartonella herx, I’m continuing to use the same dietary principles I came up with before things got worse.
I can feel the extra level of inflammation. Each day, my abdomen swells up big and hard…like it used to before I figured out my food sensitivities. My wedding ring feels tight, as do my sandals. At first, I thought my weight was catching up to me, but my weight stabilized in January without these problems. My ring and sandals fit in the morning, but both my hands and feet swell a little after breakfast. I’m sure it’s from my ultra healthy breakfast (green smoothie) which happens to contain berries, to which I am sensitive.
I think sometimes that I’m a little bit crazy, pushing the envelope enough to let myself feel worse for so much of the day these past days. I’m still eating corn and wheat, nightshade vegetables, berries and all of the things that have given me problems. I’m allowing my body to have more stress in the hopes that these things encourage the infections to come out of dormancy and stay out until I kill them off.
Some mornings, I get depressed by the increased symptoms. I feel like I’m back sliding. The thing is, I know that I had achieved a precarious balance to make the Lyme dormant. I knew the infection was still in there, just waiting for an opportunity to strike again. So I gave it that opportunity on purpose in the hopes of weakening it further. I’d rather do it on purpose on my timeline than to be expecting things to go well and be blindsided by the infections…again.
I’m trying to be zen about my reduced capacity and increased disability. I recognize that my body is stronger than it has been at any time in the past 7 years, despite my lingering cold (from March 21), and that even though I feel bad, I’m better off. In moments of weakness, I want to call it a day and sign up for the antibiotics that didn’t work before, just to have the immediate relief for a few days. That idea makes me realize what it would really mean to go backwards. Despite feeling worse, I’m continuing to make progress. And that’s what really counts.