I received the first shot of Moderna’s covid vaccine on April 24. It turns out I was excited, giddy even, to get vaccinated. I went in with lots of hopes, like flying across the country to see my family, and getting rid of the post-acute covid symptoms that have plagued me. I was ready for things to be a bit iffy with my tick-borne infections, and I had a plan to deal with them.
The vaccine itself pinched for a moment. My arm got sore pretty soon. The soreness increased for the rest of the day and the next day. By the second day after, it was calming down. By the night of the third day after, the tenderness was gone. That wasn’t so bad. I was tired, sleepy even, after the vaccine. However, I’d had a very busy day, trying to prepare easy-to-heat meals and getting the last few things done that were due for the next two weeks. I was actually ready for a nap before I got vaccinated. I remained fatigued the next day, indulging in three naps, and still was ready for bed by eight o’clock. I would say that was it for the vaccine itself.
My immune response was more complicated than that. The closest thing I can come to explaining it is that my immune system was stirred up. The Lyme infection went wild two days after the vaccine. I woke up with every joint hurting, popping, and making cracking noises. My nervous system was also feeling it, mostly with excess sensitivity, pain, and tingling along my ulnar nerves on both sides. I chose not to use any herbal remedies, but to stick exclusively to coiling. My reasoning is that the coil machine frequencies target the live/active microbes only. Herbs, while primarily antimicrobial, also have an anti-inflammatory effect. With the vaccine, I wanted to let my body go through its inflammatory functions as part of building a robust immune response.
Another few days later, I had a migraine. The joint problems were not resolving. My heart started bothering me. I had light night sweats and disturbing dreams. After another few days, these symptoms resolved, but I had a non-migraine headache and diarrhea. I knew for sure that Lyme, Bartonella, and Babesia were in play. What I couldn’t tell was whether any symptoms were attributable to my immune system finding pockets of covid viruses that have been hanging around since last April, after the acute bout of illness had passed. I suppose there is no way to find that out.
For the second and third weeks after the shot, the most difficult symptom was fatigue. All I wanted to do was lie around, alternating between bed and the couch. I read some books I’d read before, entertainment without the need for intense concentration. (I highly recommend The Murderbot Diaries series by Martha Wells, having now read through the first five books multiple times and starting in on the sixth book for the second time this week.) One night I missed my coiling session and had a big sweat. It was ugly. The tick-borne symptoms got worse for a few days. With lots of coiling (adding in a midday round of coiling for Bartonella) and a few herbs on week 3, I was getting more functional. I had some good days, and some days where I was okay for part of the day, mixed in with more days of required rest.
Now, on the fourth week, as I get ready for the next shot, I’m still suffering from fatigue, nerve pain, and diarrhea. At this point, I think the diarrhea is from Lyme herxes, as the infection seems to be rebounding from each coiling session. It’s like there is a storm in my body. The best I can do is prevent myself from getting flooded with symptoms and to hold the infections at their current level. It seems impossible to get them to go dormant before the next shot.
The second shot will be a little trickier. I’m expecting a bigger immune response after the vaccine, which will then allow the tick-borne infections to gain a bit more of a foothold. So the next shot may require a significant Lyme recovery time, maybe another month or more.
Lyme Awareness Month
May is Lyme Awareness Month. I was hoping to take part in the prevention education, as well as the political push for better diagnosis and treatment. But I don’t have much energy for that right now. Instead, I’m reading Chronic: The Hidden Cause of the Autoimmune Pandemic and How to Get Healthy Again by Dr. Steven Phillips and Dana Parish. I recommend it for a variety of reasons. First, it is another doctor with a different take on how to get well. Dr. Phillips’s version of pulsing therapy is not what I’ve tried before (and I’m trying now to make a Bartonella plan for my next attempt at disulfiram). Second, as I was reading, I thought of several friends and acquaintances who have chronic “autoimmune” diseases that, to me, have seemed like Lyme or other tick-borne infections, but who have reassured me that they don’t because their rheumatologists have told them so. I wonder if they would think differently if they read the evidence for infectious agents causing their troubles (and the pre-Lyme era evidence from the 1940s regarding spirochetes and multiple sclerosis). I even thought of two other friends with mysterious ailments that I didn’t think of as possibly having an infectious agent as a cause, but whose symptoms are described in the book. I have to talk to them and recommend both the book and seeing a doctor who is ILADS trained. Finally, it gives me context for my belief (stemming primarily from carefully tracking my symptoms over time) that I remain infected, even after all this treatment.
I have no idea if Dr. Phillips’s pulsing treatment would have gotten me more functional earlier on, or gotten me functional again after my big relapse in 2016 while I was taking the Alfons Ven remedies. I still haven’t recovered to the energy level I had in the first few months of 2016 in the five years since then. The closest I came was my second round of disulfiram, but that was marred by the new persistent symptoms (and persistent immune system stress) of the covid infection. So, once again, I am trying to find my way back towards a life where I’m not tired all the time. The best I functioned and felt was after five years of coiling almost daily. The place I got stuck was Bartonella. I am now five years out from that time, having used antibiotics and tried disulfiram (where I got stuck with Bartonella (once again) overwhelming me). The thing is, I have a picture in my mind, a memory of those few months, when I was active every day, I was writing and going for long walks, and I was able to imagine my life not controlled, not curtailed even, by the chronic infections. I now know it is possible to reach that level without having to eradicate the tick-borne infections. I want to find my way there again. (And if I can eradicate an infection or two, well that would be even better…)
Categories: healing process