Posts Tagged ‘castor oil packs’


Babesia relapse test

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I stopped coiling for Babesia in mid-January. I heard and read that I should expect a relapse in 3-4 months, but if I’m lucky the relapse might not happen for even longer. The idea is that Babesia has it’s own dormant form, just like the Lyme bacteria, only its life cycle isn’t seasonal.

I’ve also read and heard that Babesia is often initially dormant if there is an active Lyme infection, that the Lyme bacteria emit some kind of biochemical that keeps the Babesia from getting active. This makes sense to me from an evolutionary perspective: Lyme bacteria reproduce slowly so to keep other infections from killing the host, one defense is to put them to sleep.

(It also makes sense that when I was on antibiotics and pushed Lyme into a dormant form that the Babesia became active and created a large enough infection that the awakened Lyme couldn’t force it to become dormant again. So I had to deal with both active infections for a few years!)

As of late, maybe since the ride down to my college reunion, I’ve been extremely tired. My Lyme symptoms are flaring big time, the way they started to in February when I began coiling for Lyme for the spring season. Since fatigue was my biggest issue with Babesia, I thought I would do a quick experiment.

On Monday, I coiled for Babesia. Then I waited to see if I either got a Babesia herx or stopped feeling so tired. The Babesia herx I was expecting: killer headache, light sensitivity, nightmares, night sweats, well, it never materialized. The potential reduction in fatigue hasn’t happened either. So I’m ruling out a Babesia relapse for now.

Lyme on the move

This coiling season, I’m experiencing the Lyme symptoms differently than last autumn. They are much more linked to my menstrual cycle. Maybe 2 or 3 days after my period starts (in fact as it is winding down) I start to feel like a human being. I have some energy. My pain level is reduced. I want to do lots of things and manage to attempt and accomplish a few.

The past few months, I’ve been able to feel when I ovulate. I think it’s called mittelschmerz. That night or the next day, my breasts start to hurt and swell. Then my Lyme symptoms start to act up. The fatigue begins and gets progressively worse until my next period. Then the joint pain begins. I get achy in my spine and lower back first, followed by all the big and little joints in my torso and limbs. This is followed by muscle pain and a sense of weakness in my muscles. A day or two after that, the tingling starts in my arms and legs, along with some numbness upon waking and increased skin sensitivity all day. Sometime in all this, I start having issues with my bowels, accompanied by intermittent swelling in my abdomen and pain in my lower abdomen. Finally, my blood pressure sinks, with yet more fatigue, more sleepiness, some nausea and less ability to concentrate. All these symptoms occur together, rather than in sequence. Yuck!

The few nights before my menstrual cycle starts again, I have insomnia (like the past two nights and maybe this one). That’s when I know it’s almost time for the good part of the cycle.

I’ve read about this happening to other women with Lyme or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I’ve also experienced it in the year or two before Lyme Disease became a disabling condition for me. Only the symptoms weren’t quite so intense back then. Instead, my period itself was a horror show.

This is the part of using the coil machine that is a bit unnerving. By last December towards the end of my first coiling season, I was so excited because I felt well for at least part of most days. Now in the spring, I’m dealing with as many Lyme symptoms as I did whenever each antibiotic stopped working.

I’m taking heart from the fact that as long as the Lyme bacteria are active, they’re vulnerable to the effects of the coil machine. And I’m trying not to worry that the herxes are less obvious during these times when I already feel bad. Mostly I can tell I’m herxing because I get extra headaches and more light sensitivity after I coil my head and spine.

Bartonella coiling continues

I think the Bartonella herxing is harder on my organs than I originally realized. It was only when I stopped coiling for a few days that I realized how bright my urine is when I’m coiling for Bartonella. It is a bright, bright yellow. I drink tons of water. When I’m not doing lots of Bartonella coiling, my urine is almost clear. This is an odd development. I used a castor oil pack on my liver and spleen tonight to see if that provides extra support.

I’m wondering if all the drama with my menstrual cycle is because I’m tackling Bartonella. One of my pet theories is that it has infected my vegas nerve and irritates it during my period.

I’m hoping for a good day sometime soon. I’d like to write down my Bartonella coiling plan, my rationale for it and my coiling history. For now, it has to wait. My arms are tired. My wrists and shoulders hurt. I’ve done all the typing I can do today.



Hot in the city

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

In Queens, NYC, where I live, it was well above 90 deg F today. Tomorrow it’s supposed to hit 100. That’s hot.

Summers are usually my best months. The infections start to let off on their major activity. I get lots of blood flow to my joints. I sweat out tons of toxins. I enjoy the extended periods of natural light (even if I have to wear sunglasses in the house due to light sensitivity).

Summers were always my best time of the year. As a child, I had more energy, but maybe that’s because I wasn’t in school. As a teenager they were a welcome relief from the intense pressures of Bronx Science. I like heat.

The only difficult summer was the one right after I got knocked down with this illness and before I got diagnosed. That summer was miserable. I couldn’t move and I was really hot. I lay in pools of sweat all summer. The following summer I got an air conditioner. That’s right, I lived on the top floor of an apartment in NYC with no air conditioner for three summers.

I still keep it on a very moderate setting. When my apartment hits 86 deg F, I turn the air conditioner to 80 deg. Warm is good for me.

I sometimes feel like a reptile, when I get heated up (they use sunlight as well as ambient temperature), I can be active. Today I cleaned the kitchen a bit, I did laundry, I went for a walk, I put fans in my windows, I cooked dinner. That’s three or four days worth of activity for me. I took a 2 hour nap somewhere in there because I’m not really the energizer bunny…even at 96 deg F.


  • Babesia, chest, 5 minutes; liver, 5 minutes; ilium, 1 minute each side; knees/elbows, 1 minute
  • Candida, abdomen, 10 minutes; chest, 2 minutes; face, 2 minutes


I found myself craving kombucha today. It is so refreshing after a walk in this heat! I decided not to start brewing it until July because I’m visiting my sister for a month starting next week. Still, cold out of the fridge, it was the perfect thirst quencher.

  • homeopathic support
  • kombucha
  • juiced greens
  • skin brushing (legs only, the rest of my body was sweaty)
  • BioMat (no heat setting)

The castor oil packs are on hold for a little while. I think my body is sufficiently heated that it doesn’t make sense to try to add more.


It was another low sleep night (<7 hours). I’m wondering if it’s the heat or the Lyme Herx in a milder form than usual. (Goodness knows I was probably dealing with it as I suffered through my period.) I was sweaty, but I slept on a towel with almost nothing on, so I didn’t wake up cold and wet. Instead, I only half woke a few times and was able to go back to sleep right away.

I’m dealing with severe nausea today, again. It kinda cramped my style. I was awake and alert in the morning. I even took some glutamine powder with my breakfast shake, but I was still pretty nauseated. So I did sitting down activities; answering emails, filing bills, polishing my toe nails. The last on the list is a testament to the big reduction in nerve pain in my hands.

I had some pain today, but in each body part that hurt, it only hurt for a while. I was able to work around it for once.

I had a big heat rash on my chest and abdomen. I’ve had a low-level headache all day that’s ramping up tonight and starting in on light sensitivity.

I have urinary hesitation again. And in other toilet news, my shit smells like the end of a Lyme Herx. Only, I’m not convinced I’m all the way at the end. For several coiling sessions, there was a predictable 2 week cycle to the internal cleaning process afterwards. Now the timing seems off, but the symptoms are coming a little at a time.

I cooked long grain wild rice today. It’s my current allowable grain. I’ll see if it bothers my joints in the morning. I was rereading my post about carbohydrates and I thought, maybe if I have some, I can convince my body to pump out a little extra cholesterol…




Friday, June 3, 2011

I got my period today. It was one of the really bad ones that I was hoping I wouldn’t get anymore. The last bad one was in January.




Castor oil pack on entire abdomen


6 hours of diarrhea, cramps, hot sweats, shakes, chills, near-fainting white-outs, leg weakness, vomiting, headache and tingling limbs, all while in a semi-conscious state in which thinking and speech were nearly impossible, taking place on the toilet, in my bed, and when the bed got too far from the toilet, the bathroom floor.

Oh yes, and I had night sweats. And I had the usual severe pain in my hands and feet the whole time.

Then attempting to drink water only to be nauseated. The rest of the day has been attempted rest and attempted food while feeling my pulse in different parts of my body. Heart pounding too hard and too fast. Crying when I think about anything. About to try the castor oil pack…

Having this happen once sucks. Having it happen multiple times a year (between 2 and 12) for 20 years is just downright depressing.



Different kinds of tired

Monday, May 2, 2011

I spent another day in bed. I tried to get up for yoga. I even showered, but I was too tired and achy to walk there (nevermind the class itself).

There is a special thing that happens to people with strange multi-system chronic illnesses, like Lyme disease, chronic fatigue and others. We start to learn about many physical sensations that most people aren’t even aware are possible. Then we learn about the different ways we can feel tired or nauseated, or have a headache.

So I’m tired today. This is the kind of tired I get when I’ve been doing things for too many days in a row and crashing at night. My muscles feel funny (not quite an ache, but a noticeable sensation). I want to lie down and rest. I’m not really sleepy, but I’m too tired to think of all the things I could be doing.

There are other kinds of tired. When I’ve done too much physical activity, the next day I feel like gravity has increased, like I can’t pick up my arm or leg or head because it’s too heavy.

There is the Babesia tired, which makes me feel like I’m going to melt into the furniture. Then if I try to sit up or stand up, my heart pounds hard and rapidly. But when I’m lying down, my mind is hyperactive, and I’m dying to get up and do something.

There is the tired I get when my blood pressure is low. Then I feel like I urgently need to lie down because when I’m standing, I’m nauseated and my chest feels tight, like I can’t breathe even though I can. This kind of tired is usually accompanied by thirst and a desire for salt.

Then there is Herx tired. This one is similar to Babesia tired, but often involves a headache and sleepiness, in addition to the heart problems and racing mind.

There are many ways to feel tired. Today I practiced one of them.


I’m increasing my time on Babesia, from now on my chest and my liver will be coiled the same amount.

  • Babesia, chest, 3 minutes; liver, 3 minutes
  • Candida, abdomen, 10 minutes


Today is a slow day on the detox front. My stomach is bothering me, so it is hard to drink all my detoxifying liquids.

Tonight I finished the bottle of Renalin, a homeopathic formula for the kidneys.

  • homeopathic support
  • lime water
  • skin brushing
  • BioMat
  • castor oil pack on abdomen


Last night, I had 2 big night sweats. This morning I put the BioMat on level 3 for an hour and had another big sweat.

My urine this morning smelled like turkey soup. I think it is from the Lyme coiling two Mondays ago.

I was tired all day. I was pretty achy, too. Then I had specific pain in my lower abdomen (not sure which organ system) and sharp pain in my lower back, especially on the right side. My arms fell asleep and woke to pins and needles at around noontime.

My headaches have been mild so far today, with minimal but noticeable floaters, and an earache in both ears until late afternoon. My jaw joint has been cracking on the left side.

This evening I had another gas attack in my upper and lower GI tract. I ate differently than yesterday, but only foods that don’t bother me. Both days, the gas attacks came on an empty stomach. And they hurt. I’m hoping a castor oil pack across my whole abdomen will address the issue.

I’m  heading to bed early tonight.



Chronic Fatigue and Nuts

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Before I got diagnosed with Lyme disease, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia by one doctor who referred me to a specialist who diagnosed me with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). The latter one disagreed with the fibromyalgia diagnosis because some of the points that hurt one day didn’t hurt the next.

But I digress. Once I had this diagnosis, I got mad. I clearly had many of the symptoms of CFS, but I had a whole host of neurological and joint problems not covered by the diagnosis. Plus, it is a syndrome, which means a collection of symptoms, not a disease meaning that the doctors don’t really know what’s causing the problem. The difference is that with a syndrome, the only treatment is to alleviate symptoms. With a disease, in many cases, one can attack the cause.

I started to do a lot of research on CFS. I bought several books. I looked on the internet. (That was a bad idea at first because the information was so disorganized when I wasn’t yet sure what I was looking for.) I read the books. One of them suggested a few key websites. Those helped me get further information, including a place to find doctors who seek the underlying causes of CFS, such as exposure to environmental and man-made toxins, heavy metal poisoning, and a variety of infections and parasites. I sought out one of these doctors. He figured out I have Lyme disease.

All the reading was useful. Months later, after I got started on a diet that didn’t include the food allergens, I would occasionally get food allergy type reactions that lasted for a few weeks. Then it would go away. Then it would come back. I remembered reading about food allergies and CFS, so I decided to investigate.

I found a few lists of common and less common allergens, many of which I had been tested for. Then I ran across a paragraph (I can’t remember if it was in a book or on a website) that talked about allergies to the skin on nuts, particularly almonds.

I thought about it. It made some sense to me. I had shifted to eating a lot more nuts to replace the calories I stopped getting from grains. (I avoid grains for a different reason, to be explained on another day). I would buy a few bags of nuts, then open one bag and eat it till I finished. Then I would open another bag.

Still, the part of me trained in science decided to put this theory to the test. I made sure not to eat almonds for at least two weeks. My abdomen calmed down, mostly. Then I ate a lot of almonds over a few days. Blam! My abdomen was terribly swollen. I went through all the symptoms I described yesterday about how I react to food allergens.

I did a second test after I recovered in which I ate blanched almonds (almonds without skins). No reaction.

I determined that I was allergic to almond skins.

There is a second moral to this story: it is useful for people with Lyme and other tick-borne diseases to read books targeted at people with CFS and fibromyalgia. In part, I think that many of these people have misdiagnosed tick-borne illnesses. Since they got swept up into other categories that have patient movements behind them, there is a lot of patient generated and patient focused information. The books talked about food, detoxification, how to deal with Candida/yeast infections from antibiotics and other causes, different exercise routines, how to ask family and friends for support and a whole host of other useful stuff.

(See also my posts on food allergies and my problem with eggs.)

Reduced Allergic Reaction

Sometimes I have reasons to be grateful. My food allergies are much less severe. I had the first seven symptoms I described yesterday. Today, I had a mild headache all day, but it never got to the point of distraction. I was tired but not terribly so. The lump in my throat was big enough to notice but small enough to not be distracting. I didn’t get diarrhea. My lower abdomen was protruding, but the swelling was much less than expected. Food tasted a bit off this morning, but by lunchtime I was fine. My main allergy-related complaint is that my jaw bone hurt and the jaw muscles/joints are extremely tight.

Who knows? Maybe water and the castor oil pack helped. Maybe I’ve reduced the load of Bartonella and Candida in my intestines enough to make a difference. Maybe it’s some other reason I don’t see right now.


It’s time for Lyme. I did another session on my back. I bumped it up 15 seconds past the last session on my back. (I’ve done longer on my abdomen without a problem, but I get a bigger Herx on my back. I think it’s because the bacteria live in and around my spine.)

  • Lyme, lower back, 2 minutes 45 seconds
  • Candida, abdomen, 10 minutes

My immediate reaction to coiling for Lyme tonight is the lump in my throat got bigger, my headache got worse and I had mild heart palpitations. Break out the magnesium citrate!


The next test of the BioMat was to try sleeping on level 2. (Levels 1 & 2 and the no heat setting are the only ones recommended for sleeping or for lying on for more than 2 hours.) I liked the way it felt. It was warmer, but not uncomfortably so. Level 2 hasn’t made me sweat on it’s own. When I woke up with my night sweat, I was still warm (not cold and wet) but not overheated.

  • homeopathic support
  • kombucha
  • juiced greens
  • skin brushing
  • BioMat/infrared heat (3 hours sleeping on level 2, 1 hour today on level 2)
  • castor oil pack on abdomen


Beyond the mild allergy symptoms, today was pretty good. Last night, I had one big night sweat. I had floaters in my eyes. I had mild to moderate muscle pain, especially in my arms and neck. My left shoulder popped and crunched a lot. By the evening, my knees were achy. All in all, I’m doing alright.

I got my period today. I knew it was coming from the calendar. Happily, the cramps started the same day as my period (not a week in advance) and were fairly mild. I was tired for a bit in the middle of the day and needed to lie down for an hour in the early evening. I’ve had butterfingers on and off all day, but I can concentrate enough to compensate. What a difference from what I used to go through. This is the reason I’m doing the castor oil pack on my whole abdomen, not just my liver.

Good Stuff

I spent the afternoon with my dad and his former coworker. (Dad retired 13 years ago.) The two of them talked about 30 years of working together, all the intrigue, interesting people, big projects…the works. My father has an amazing memory for names and faces and foolishness. He also has a big mouth, and at the appropriate moments, he goads people into doing the right thing by saying something that can be interpreted either as an insult or a compliment, depending on how you look at it. When he tells those stories, he gets me laughing.



Allergic Reaction

Friday, April 1, 2011

Ironically, as I’ve been writing about the foods I avoid because I’m allergic to them or because they give me a neurological reaction, I accidentally ate something this evening which was contaminated with corn starch.

Contaminated might be the wrong word. It was an intentional ingredient (on the part of the chef) of which I wasn’t aware.

This gives me the perfect opportunity to give a current description of my reaction to food allergens.

  1. It starts with a little gas. Putrid, smelly, gas.
  2. I get a bit of a headache (which I didn’t have already, for once).
  3. My jaw joints start to feel very tense.
  4. My jaw bone hurts along with my bottom teeth.
  5. My abdomen (which had gone down a lot) swells up.
  6. The lump in my throat (which was finally gone) reappeared in a large version.
  7. I start getting spacey, with difficulty concentrating or finishing what I’m doing.

That’s what happened so far. If this is like the allergic reactions of the past, I’ll have diarrhea or loose stools all day tomorrow. My upper teeth will hurt. Things might taste funny. My stomach might be queasy. The headache will probably keep getting worse until everything is out of my system.

I met another Lyme disease combatant who said that we avoid food that causes reactions the way dogs avoid invisible fences. No one else knows it’s there, it only affects us. But we know exactly where the boundaries are to avoid pain.

I’ve read a lot about food allergies in people with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. It was helpful in convincing me to get tested for food allergies. The problem is that I haven’t found any good remedies for the occasions when one accidentally consumes allergenic foods.

My remedies, if you can call them that, are to drink plenty of water–to dilute the effect, to help clean out quickly and to prevent dehydration from diarrhea. Tonight, since I’m doing a castor oil pack anyway, my remedy is to do it on my whole abdomen. I think I’ve done this before. I can’t remember if it helped.


Today is a co-infection treatment day. I’m hoping that the Herxes from this treatment are milder than the past few that have the longer coiling times.

  • Bartonella, abdomen, 4 minutes 15 seconds
  • Babesia, chest, 1 minute
  • Candida, abdomen, 10 minutes

Since I still feel chest compression when I coil for Babesia, I find I’m taking magnesium citrate immediately after every session.


I’m still working with the BioMat. This morning, due to the distress of a furry, orange friend, I woke up before 6am. I was very hot and slightly damp, so I decided to use the BioMat while I tried, successfully, to sleep for a few more hours. I used the negative-ion only setting. It cooled me off initially. Then, while I was sleeping, I heated up again and the crystals in the mat trapped the heat and gave it back to me in a pleasant way similar to the wool pad I sleep on in my bed.

  • homeopathic support
  • kombucha
  • juiced greens
  • skin brushing
  • BioMat/infrared heat (last night, 2 hours sleeping on level 1, morning 3 hours sleeping on ion only setting)
  • castor oil pack on abdomen


Last night, I had one night sweat, shirt changing level. Then I was overheated for a while afterwards and each time I woke up to a crying kitty. (He didn’t like having the apartment cleaned or the human visitors yesterday.)

This morning, waking up on the BioMat, I didn’t feel that bad, especially considering the rain outside. Once I was up, my back hurt for a while, but it was tolerable. I had no apetite for at least an hour. When it returned, I was hungry all day.

The two most prominent symptoms were an earache in my right ear and pain in both knees when I was standing or walking. I had other aches and pains: left jaw popping, left shoulder pain with crunching noises, neck pain, pain in my fingers–especially but not exclusively the knuckles, pain in my left hip socket, extremely dry skin, floaters in my vision.

If this was a Lyme disease coiling day, I would go for it. The Herxes from the co-infection treatments seem to die down in about 48 hours, just in time to do them again.

The pimple on my cheek has become a monster. I just want it to die down already!

Then we have all the problems from the food allergies tonight added on to the existing problems of the day. My headache is a lot worse than when I started typing. I think that’s a sign that it’s time to call it quits.




Saturday, March 19, 2011

Here’s something I never thought I’d share with anyone (except maybe my sister): Detoxing makes my sweat stink really badly.

This isn’t an everyday phenomenon. It occurs when something is really on its way out. Today stank–speaking of my armpits. Usually this happens for a day or two and then disappears until I’m working out another Herx. If memory serves me, this happens at the end of a Herx, then I start to feel more tired, then I start to feel much better.

The other things that sometimes generate unusual odors (though not terribly unpleasant) are urine and feces. No joke. My armpits also have a special odor, not quite like normal stinky sweat from excessive exercise or heat. The urine sometimes smells like turkey soup. Unusual but not unpleasant.

Enough said.


I’m continuing to coil for Lyme in my hips. Today, I did both sides because both sides were hurting, the left more than the right. Something unexpected happened. I had a pain shoot down the outside of each leg, along the nerve bundle, while I was coiling the respective hip. I used to have extreme pain all down the outside of my legs, something I haven’t experienced in at least 6 months. Today the pain only lasted 3 minutes on each side–the duration of the coiling session. But the area remained sensitive all night.

My hands and feet hurt a lot. I couldn’t do the contortion to get my feet by the coil when I was doing Bartonella, but I did think of coiling my hands two minutes into it.

  • Bartonella, abdomen, 4 minutes, simultaneously with 2 minutes on my hands
  • Lyme, hips, 3 minutes each side
  • Candida, abdomen, 10 minutes

I’m not totally done with this last Lyme Herx, but it is rapidly fading. All day, I’ve been thinking on and off about coiling for Babesia tomorrow (maybe 15 or 30 seconds). The thoughts start when I’m skin brushing and get to two vertebrae in my back that are perpetually sore. We’ll see if killing some Babesia gets my heart back on track. (And tackles the headaches and the fatigue…)


Last night, as I was doing the castor oil pack, my liver started to hurt. I don’t know if this is good or bad. So I laid off it for a day.

I’ve also gotten better at remembering to turn on the BioMat anytime I lie down to rest (or talk on the phone or watch a movie or read). So I’m gaining some time on it.

  • homeopathic support
  • kombucha
  • juiced greens
  • skin brushing
  • infrared heat (2 sessions for a total of 3 hours, medium setting)


I’m having disturbing dreams again. At some point I’ll be bold enough to share the details, but not yet. They leave me feeling muddled and upset when I wake up.

As if that weren’t enough, I had bilateral rib pain, as well as pain in my hands and feet, while I was in bed trying to convince myself to get up. I was pretty achy, though not as bad as yesterday. When I got up, I discovered I was having a sweat during that last dream (shirt change required upon rising).

I’ve been taking Maca for 9 days now. It seems to help me wake up earlier and get up faster in the morning. I still feel like I need to nap later in the day (and often do) and I can’t settle down at night, but it has started to do its first trick.

Once I was up for the morning, I had a lot of upper back pain. It’s been around for most of the day. I had a sharp pain in the ribs on my left side to go with breakfast.

I’ve had a headache on and off all day, getting worse when I change position, see bright light and again at night. At night, eye pain gets added to the mix.

During the day, I got a sharp pain in my stomach that lasted less than a minute, but was intense enough to make me double over for a few seconds. Strange, but gone.

I’m continuing to have joint pain in my hands, wrists, shoulders and knees. I have nerve pain (see Coiling) down the outside of my legs. And I remain tired. Also, I keep having earaches and a sore throat and a feeling like I have something stuck in my throat.

Really, it’s a wonder I get anything done these days.

Still, the weather is nice. When I was walking outside, I enjoyed some sunshine and a pleasant breeze.