Yesterday, I had to stop using the computer because it was making a migraine worse. By some magic (and a head massage from my husband) I woke up this morning with no pain in my head. All day, I’ve been feeling a little spot on the left side of my head throb, with mild to moderate pain that comes and goes. Still, that’s not so bad. If anything, I’m learning that bright light in a dark place (like looking at a wall with a small window in it) is potentially one of my migraine triggers.
I read a little about migraines to see if I can or should be doing something besides resting quietly and taking a shot of caffeine (Coca-cola). What I learned is that the medical research community see migraines not just as a vascular problem, but one that is mediated through the trigeminal nerve. Migraines are associated with autonomic nerve dysfunction. I guess it makes sense that I could be more susceptible to migraines while I’m doing my best to beat down Bartonella, which has been giving me symptoms of autonomic nerve dysfunction.
Anyway, this blog is really to finish logging my activities of the past two and a half weeks, continuing where I left off yesterday. Please let the pounding over my left eye stop for long enough for me to finish…
Yesterday, I mentioned an article in the most recent issue of Lyme Times. Once again, I’d like to put in a plug for membership in LymeDisease.org, as they fund research as well as support legislation that benefits people with tick-borne illnesses. The article called, “Co-Infections,” by Christine Green, MD, gave me some new insight into Babesia.
Dr. Green wrote about the symptoms of Babesia, including all the typical symptoms I’ve come to associate with it, sweats, chills, headache, and cardiac problems like rapid heart rate. It is also causes vomiting and diarrhea, other autonomic nerve dysfunctions, and POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrom). I have postulated that this infection is involved in these symptoms, but it was good to see it written down by someone who has seen thousands of patients. The kicker in the article was cell phone sign, a feeling of vibration in or on the limbs. I used to get this in my leg, only I thought of it as a pager implanted in my calf due to the size of the area affected by the sensation. I had no idea until reading this article which infection caused the symptom. All I cared was that it didn’t happen to often, and I haven’t felt it since September.
While on the subject of Babesia, it occurred to me at the start of my last menstrual cycle the night sweats I often have for one or two nights before menses begin could be a Babesia flare. Sometimes I have other symptoms of Babesia or Bartonella as well. These symptoms usually calm down in two or three days. Having read about the changes in the immune system that can happen over the course of the menstrual cycle, I realized that there might be a slight depression in my immune system that allows the chronic infections to activate. Then, over the next few days, as my immune system returns to normal, the infections are put back into a dormant state.
This led me to a new idea about coiling. I’ve generally coiled for Babesia for weeks at a time, three times a day. The schedule doesn’t leave time for coiling other infections very much while I’m doing Babesia. However, it seems that there is an opportunity to reduce the infection, even just a little bit, on the days after a big night sweat, right before my menstrual cycle begins.
I did that last week. I’m not sure if it did anything, but I think if I make a habit of coiling for Babesia for a day or two each month, I’ll continue towards my goal of zero Babesia cells left in my body.
Sometimes I think it’s pretty funny that Lyme gets top billing when it comes to tick-borne infections and that the other infections are labelled co-infections. The most disabling infection for me was Babesia. The hardest one to shake free of, the one that still causes disability in my present life, is Bartonella. Lyme has been a problem, but it certainly hasn’t been the most problematic of the tick-borne infections I’ve acquired.
With that in mind, I’m coiling for Lyme every 6 days. I tried to go as long as a week between sessions, but by the 7th day, I had mild symptoms, such as pain in my ribcage. It isn’t a disabling symptom, but why put myself through unnecessary pain? At this point, the Lyme herxes are simply a feeling of sleepiness earlier than my bedtime, and the need for a long night’s sleep (>10 hours).
I have several supplements sitting out on the counter in the kitchen. Together, they make up the recommended formula for bone building. (Note, most doctors just suggest calcium. But most holistic practitioners also suggest magnesium, vitamin K2 and vitamin D3.) I took them for a few days, but my kidneys were bothering me so much, I didn’t want to add to their stress. Once the migraines are over and my kidneys are okay, I think I’ll take the bone-building supplements again. They cost a bunch of money, so there is no reason to let them expire and be wasted. I’m sure my bones could use the help.
Other unusual consumption last week included beef, the first time I’ve eaten it since 1997. Back then, I used to feel sick when I ate beef or pork. So I stopped. I became a vegetarian the following year, once I’d had enough chicken to last a lifetime. In 2010, I added seafood back into my diet. For the past two years, I’ve had some turkey at holidays. From an environmental perspective, I still believe that eating primarily plant foods is the best we humans can do for the sustainability of the planet. At the same time, I acknowledge that our bodies benefit from some amount of animal protein (as well as B-12). So I’ve added some occasional variety to my diet.
Anyway, after 18 years, the single ounce of beef, a gift from the larger portion my husband was eating, sat like a lead weight in my belly. Although it tasted quite delicious, it doesn’t really call me to eat it again any time soon.
The other food I mistakenly consumed was a tiny bit of egg-wash on a slice of pie. I usually avoid eggs more carefully. I just forgot this time. Fortunately, the fallout was minimal: nerve pain in my hip and down my leg, nerve pain in my feet at bedtime, gas, and constipation. No nerve damage or extreme pain lasting several days, as I have experienced in the past.
The big question is whether the egg consumption (or beef consumption) was the trigger for a migraine I had last week. The migraine started the same day as my menstrual cycle, and one day after eating egg and beef. Hormonal fluctuations can trigger migraines. Yet I haven’t experienced migraines consistently with the monthly onset of menses. I have, however, consistently had headaches, though I’m not sure if they were all migraines, with consumption of egg. I guess this is a note to self for understanding the triggers of future migraines.
I’m ready to get away from the screen and do something more restful. This learning process about the infections, migraines, and other things will continue, hopefully until all the symptoms are gone and it becomes purely historical information for me as well as a resource for others.