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Measures of progress

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

I’ve just returned from a trip to visit my family in Williamsburg, Virginia. I had a fun and fabulous time. Despite some physical challenges, I was able to participate in almost all the activities. I used what I have learned to my advantage and have returned without a big crash (at least so far…).

Lyme Flare Mitigation

The biggest issue I had was a Lyme flare, one that I was treating with the coil machine before I left. I was hoping that I had gotten it more or less under control before I left, but that hope was dashed within a few days. The Lyme flare included a lot more arthritis and joint pain than I’ve had in quite a while. In particular, my knuckles were painful enough that I was perpetually aware of them. They were swollen enough that my wedding ring couldn’t even get close to the thickest part of the middle knuckle on my ring finger. My ribs hurt each time I ate wheat or sugar, which were not completely avoidable unless I wanted to return to the Christmases of years past when I had to prepare separate food for every meal. I had other joint pain, as well as the bursitis in my left heel that started in October.

My goal was to limit the Lyme flare to joint symptoms and prevent it from becoming pain all over my body, insomnia, increased food sensitivities, headaches, fatigue, etc. I was diligent. I started by beefing up my supplement intake. I took my usual supplements: DIM, milk thistle, chanka piedra and vitamin D. I added in some NAC, which I brought along, just in case the cough I was dealing with when I left started to get worse. I purchased Sulforaphane Glucosinolate, a very strong anti-oxidant derived from broccoli, which I used to take all the time, especially to reduce my symptoms. I doubled up on turmeric to keep the swelling down in my joints, turmeric I’d brought with me to treat my ankle. I had two supplements with me for the chest cold, which I wanted to get rid of to reduce the stress on my immune system. One was an antiviral, reishi, a mushroom extract that also helped boost my immune system, and the other was an herbal cough syrup made from cherry tree bark, which I took until the cough stopped. For detoxing, I took concentrated artichoke derivative and I drank dandelion root tea daily. Finally, I took Advil, morning and night, to combat both the pain in my joints and the bursitis in my heel. I took so many pills and potions, enough that my niece commented on my “yucky vitamins” every morning.

I convinced myself to get into a steaming bath tub 3 or 4 times for epsom salt and sea salt baths. Each of the baths calmed down the inflammation and pain in my joints for two or three days. I got hold of some kombucha, which also seemed to calm my joints. I kept my head and neck warm until the weather got unseasonable hot (80 deg F), wearing a hat 24 hours a day. And I was strict about getting into bed at 9:30 each night, even if I didn’t go to sleep right away.

In other words, I made my body a priority. All this attention paid off. I was able to be active with my niece and nephew every day. I had just enough energy left over to help my parents with their computers and other low energy, high stress chores. Some of the days, I had energy to help my sister, but not every day. I had a lot of fun despite the physical pain.

Visiting Jamestown with my niece, nephew and two of my cousin's children.

Visiting Jamestown with my niece, nephew and two of my cousin’s children.

Progress of Sorts

In the past, I often crashed after a week or two of the more intense life my sister and her family lead. This time, I started out already having problems, but somehow made it through without crashing for 18 days there, and two days back. (I may still crash. Sometimes I come home and it takes a few days to slow down from the hyper-stimulation.) Even more exciting, I was able to prevent the Lyme flare from moving beyond my joints into other systems. The Bartonella, which never left, was still active, mostly with digestive problems and abdominal swelling. But the Bartonella didn’t get worse while I was away.

When I got off the plane Monday night, I had a terrible tension headache which lasted until the middle of the day Tuesday. Yet, somehow, it seemed that I had dodged a bullet. Previous Lyme flares have triggered Babesia flares. So far, I haven’t had a migraine, night sweats or the fatigue that makes me need to lie down. I’ve got my fingers crossed that I won’t end up there now that I’ve started coiling again.

Yesterday (Tuesday), I coiled my whole body for Lyme. The only herx symptoms were urgent bowels and sleepiness. Not bad. Meanwhile, my hands felt much better after 5 minutes of coiling them. The arthritis isn’t gone, but the difference one session made is astonishing. My whole body feels like I’ve turned down the volume on pain and discomfort. Today, I’m coiling my entire body for Bartonella. I’m hoping that begins to turn things around as well.

I’ve been coiling for nearly five years. There are times when I feel acutely aware that I’m not at the end. This has been a long road, with much progress in my strength, endurance and energy. Yet I have been faced countless setbacks, flares, and relapses as I go deeper and deeper into the infections. This trip has been a confirmation, of sorts, that the progress I’ve made has been real and systemic. Instead of going from a few symptoms to a much worse series of systemic problems, I was able to hold back the infection with a few supplements. That never worked for more than a few days in the past. I can tell this progress is real.

2016

Although I do my annual Coiling For Lyme and health progress reports in February, when I started coiling in 2011, I have a few thoughts heading into 2016. This is the year I want to stop coiling. I want to get to the end. If there is a next step, I want to take it this year.

I have some other goals. I’d like to strengthen my ankle and heal the bursitis in my left heel so that I can get physically active again. I’d like to finally lose the weight I gained two years ago when I took vitex. I’d like to go back to building my bone density. I’d like to get to the bottom of the Bartonella infection and finally experience a remission (or get rid of it completely!).

If I determine that I’m healthy enough, I’d like to take the steps necessary to become a parent. That idea remains conditional. But the trip to see my niece and nephew allowed me to see that even with some symptoms, I was able to be completely involved with the children. In the past, I was never able to handle being with them if I was symptomatic.

Now that I’m hitting the five year mark, I’d like to get in touch with the few research groups that are studying chronic Lyme Disease and share with them what I’ve learned using the coil machine. I’ll have to get over the feeling that I’m not credible because I use a technique that hasn’t been formally studied by mainstream biomedical researchers. I have valuable information that they cannot get using other methods of study, and I have every desire to make it possible for other people to get well faster and more completely than I have.

There is much to do in 2016. I’m glad to be alive and well enough to go after my dreams and goals. I wish the same for you.

Happy New Year!

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