Thursday, June 16, 2011

What Do You Do If You Have Lyme Disease?

Not all Lyme Disease rashes look the same… here’s mine

A few years ago, I found a tick on the back of my leg.

Living in Connecticut, I knew this was a regular occurrence. I’ve pulled ticks off of myself for as long as I can remember.

What was different about this one was that it hurt a bit at the point of the bite. Most of the others never did. Anyway, I pulled it out quickly and didn’t think much about it for about 24 hours. The reason I thought about it again, was that Annmarie noticed a round, red rash around where the bite was.

This is an erythema migrans (or EM or simply a bull’s eye rash) and is a sure sign of a Lyme infection. What I did to get rid of the infection and what I recommend others to research is fairly well documented on the blog, but the other day, I received this question and I think Lyme disease is worth writing about again.

Here’s the question from John:
“I know that Kevin cured/healed himself of Lyme Disease years ago. Could he please give me the steps that he had to take to rid himself of this dreaded disease. Please do not tell me to see a trained physician, after 9 years and 36 physicians I am still fighting the horrible Lyme plague and I don’t think seeing another physician is going to do it for me. I am looking for natural treatments rather than long term antibiotics. Please help me with what ever you can to fight this Lyme bacteria. Thank you, John K.”
Alright, John, I’m going to give you my best (and keep in mind these tips apply to many different types of illness)…

The pain and frustration of disease

First off, I can tell you’re frustrated about this situation. There is nothing more painful, dizzying, annoying, painstaking or self-introspective than getting a disease (maybe a divorce or a close death in the family could be more or less.)

Your frustration with Lyme is shared by just about everyone who gets it, including myself. The health challenges I’ve had over the last few years (while I was trying to get healthier than I was!) have been acne, a massive yeast infection and Lyme. Each one has come with its own share of heartache, questioning and emotional baggage.

There are two things that I recommend you focus on throughout this ordeal – before anything else – that will dramatically increase your chances of getting better, or at least get you to feel more positive about the situation. (You may or may not already be doing these, but I have to write this for people at all levels of the process!)

The first is to know that you will find a way to get better. I’ve spoken to many owners and managers of health clinics. One thing that is shocking – but maybe not – is that these owners and managers generally have a hunch about which people the treatment will work for and which ones it won’t. Not because of their particular disease, but because of their attitude. Have an attitude that you will succeed and your chances, as airy-fairy as it sounds, of getting better do increase. This type of placebo effect has been documented in scientific literature, not just self help books.

Second, is to keep searching. It’s been 9 years and 36 doctors, right? Maybe the 37th is the right one for you. It’s frustrating, it’s overwhelming, it’s tiring, but the reality is that your quality of life is suffering.

So you have two choices:

  • One is to stop now and give up and let the disease wreck your body even more.
  • Two is to pick yourself up and keep going, keep searching, and keep trying new things.
If you fall down in the rain on the way to your car, what will you do? Stay on the ground and feel sorry for yourself while you get soaked to the bone? Or will you get up, brush yourself off and get inside the car to go where you need to go? Since you’re here, I imagine you’ve chosen #2.

Maybe seeing another physician will do it for you. I know you may not think seeing another physician will do it for you, but this might be the wrong approach. I strongly believe in mentors.

When I found the rash on my leg, I called two of my most trusted health mentors. Both gave me the same advice. Take 21 days of antibiotics. I was shocked. These doctors are well known NATURAL doctors. I did some research, found some natural resources and did the Western and natural approach. It worked. But in my case, I was diagnosed within 48 hours. Long term Lyme is a different story and long term antibiotics have serious side effects.

What I suggest, is that you keep your mind open to find a Lyme Literate MD, or LLMD. If you search around, there are message boards and websites that are completely dedicated to finding these professionals who actually know what they’re talking about – many of them take a very natural approach.

This type of mentorship, or physician-ship, is a very good way of getting yourself better. (If you’ve done this already, then let’s move on to the next point.) Have patience with a treatment. Not so much with Lyme, but in my own experience, I’ve found myself being very impatient with a particular treatment from time to time.

Using herbs for my yeast issue is a perfect example. I’d try something for a few days, still see symptoms like acne or stomach ache and decide that it wasn’t working.

At first, I never fully gave any one treatment a fair shot. It’s a natural process that people experience when they have a disease. Their personal time frame for a treatment is much shorter than it takes for the treatment to be effective.

In your case John, it may actually be the opposite. Maybe you’ve been using ineffective treatments for too long and it’s time to switch it up to something new. Either way, an introspective look at how you’re feeling, how you’re dealing with the situation and your patience levels is highly recommended.

For me, I didn’t really get rid of my yeast issues until I stuck with a protocol for a YEAR. (No sugar, lower fat, inclusion of yogurt in my diet.)

You’re only as strong as your immune system

Now I’m going to get into the stuff you’re probably looking for. Sometimes the things you maybe don’t want to hear are the most important, that’s why I put them first. In these next few sections, I’m going to give you some real, natural info on Lyme treatment. Now remember, I’m not a doctor. This is based on my own personal experience as well as that of others I’ve talked to who’ve had the disease.

With Lyme, if you can right your immune system, your chances of getting better are dramatically increased. My theory (just a theory, but doesn’t need a whooping amount of science to back it up!) is that Lyme can only infect a weak immune system. I had been bitten by ticks my whole life. I lived in Connecticut. Why didn’t I get the infection before?

There are two possibilities:
  • First is that I had been bitten by dozens and dozens of ticks that weren’t infected by spirochetes (the Lyme bacteria.)
  • Second is that my immune system previously was strong enough to fight off the infection at the point of the bite.
Both could be correct, but let’s say the second one is for my explanation here.

During the time I was bit by the tick, my health was declining. I had done some experiments with superfoods (chocolate) and had wrecked my adrenals. My muscles were cramping when I exercised, I was tired all the time and unable to get out of bed, I was even concerned that I had some serious disease, since I had never felt so awful in my life.

All these are signs that my immune system, as well as other systems were wrecked. It was during this time that I was bit by the tick. So what does this mean? The focus for combating Lyme needs to be on two levels:
  • First, you do need to kill the bacteria.
  • But, second, and maybe most importantly, you need to boost your immune system.
Of course, boosting the immune system can help kill the bacteria, but with Lyme – because it is such a sneaky and insidious disease – doing both increases your chances of getting better faster.

How do you treat Lyme naturally?

Like I said, my situation was different that yours, but I can point you to two invaluable resources for natural Lyme treatment. When I first found out I had Lyme, I went to and ordered every book there was on Lyme disease. At the time, 4 years ago, there were only about 6-7 books on the subject.

When they were delivered to the house, I opened them up one by one, only to find that 5 of them basically said – summarized – “we know what Lyme is, but don’t know how to treat it.” Pretty disheartening. What was promising, is that two did have some interesting information. These are the two that I recommend to anyone who asks a question similar to the one that I’m answering here.

First up is Healing Lyme, by Stephen Buhner. (The full title is this: Healing Lyme: Natural Healing and Prevention of Lyme Borreliosis and Its Coinfections.) This book is a fantastic resource of herbs that have been shown to either boost the immune system or help kill bacteria or viruses. It’s a book that anyone with Lyme (or interested in boosting the immune system) should carry around with them at all times. Using the techniques in the book is not a guarantee that you’ll get better, but it certainly gives you a little more confidence. It did for me. I used a combination of the herbs and supplements that were recommended in the book which included una de gato, andrographis, camu camu, minerals, B vitmains, and echinacea. This approach may or may not work for you, so I strongly recommend you get the book, read it and work together with a practitioner who knows about the herbs recommended.

The second book is The Top 10 Lyme Disease Treatments, by Bryan Rosner. Mr. Rosner is simply an independent researcher on Lyme that became one while he finding an effective treatment for himself. In his book, he explains 10 different natural (and Western) treatments that have shown to be promising to treat Lyme. I like the layout of the book, because it doesn’t profess one treatment is more effective than the other, it just gives honest details about the research behind each treatment and how to do each one.

Some people believe that a combination of treatments from this book, or herbs as well, may be the best way to boost your immune system enough to eventually fight off the spirochetes that are ravaging your body. I happen to believe this as well. Brian also has a website that you can look into as well which is here.

Things to keep in mind

A lot of people who I talk to are raw foodists who want to get rid of Lyme with just diet. While this may be possible, I want to caution you about this approach. First off, the raw food diet is not a long term solution for everyone. I can’t say this strongly enough. Believe me when I say this…There are many myths and untruths in the raw food world. I’ve seen them first hand as Annmarie and I traveled around the country for 2 years. What you see on the Internet is very different than what you see in person.

Second, since it takes significant resources in terms of minerals, vitamin D, B vitamins and more to fight the infection, and since you’re immune system can already be weakened (likely causing gut imbalances), your digestion may be compromised. If this is the case, the raw food diet may leave you even more depleted. This doesn’t mean that you can’t eat high raw, or maybe even a complete raw food diet, what it means is that there are multiple factors to consider – not just raw food or not.

Where does this leave us?

For Lyme, if you see a tick bite and get a rash, get antibiotics. I know it’s against “Renegade Health” type advice, but this is an acute infection that can be brutally destructive to your health. While I was looking for natural treatments for Lyme (and had just started to take the antibiotics), Annmarie went to a health food store looking for andrographis. She asked the owner behind the counter for the herb.

Since it’s not too popular of an herb, he asked what she was using it for. She told him that I had Lyme and wanted to try some herbs. Immediately, he held out his hand which was uncontrollably shaking. He looked at Annmarie and said, please have him see a doctor first. He explained that he wished he had never started with a natural approach and no the disease had caused irreversible nerve damage.

When Annmarie relayed this to me, it definitely made me think I was doing the right thing by starting my treatment the way I was. On the other hand (for you, John) since this is a long term experience, invest in these two books immediately. Read them. Start to boost your immune system and find a Lyme Literate MD who can help guide you along the way.

I hope that helps and please keep us updated!

I want to know your thoughts: If you’ve been ill, what thoughts helped you heal?

Live Awesome!

To see the 50 or so comments on Kev's blog, click here.

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