I’m counting my lucky stars, big time. My good health that began in month 4 has continued through month 5! I can hardly believe it. Although, it makes sense. My doctor and I didn’t change much in my protocol this month, only increased the dosage of the last antibiotic I was able to increase (I’m now double strength on Bactrim).
Overall, I feel really great. I mean, for a healthy regular non-Lyme human being I probably feel “pretty good”, but for someone treating late-stage Lyme, I feel like a relative Olympic qualifier!
I mean really: I sleep pretty peacefully for 6 or 7 hours in a row usually. And with the exception of the full moon, I was without any nightmares or night terrors this month. I am able to work 10, 11, even 12 hours days without any increase in my symptoms! (Now, take this with a grain of salt. I’m a weirdo – I’ve been measuring my moods on my new Spire and I only ever experience “calm” and “focus” in the office, never “tension”; so I think my ability to tolerate work is really down to the fact that this is a really emotionally enjoyable experience for me, I’m not white knuckling through anything here.) And my very favorite gain of all has been that I am now able to walk much further distances with relative ease. Every morning I walk about 1.5 miles to work, and every night I make the same trek home – up steep steep city hills. In fact, I’m averaging 9-10k steps a day measured on my Spire! And I still have energy after work and my foot commute to stroll around with each of my dogs and make a simple dinner. WOW!! I think I may even be doing more than some healthy people are these days.
I wasn’t without reminders that I’m still sick though, that’s for sure. The first was my 10-day break from doxycycline. I experienced an increase of some symptoms while off meds, and I herxed a bit for sure getting back on. That lets me know there’s plenty of bugs still being killed. The second reminder was when I tried to reduce my dependence on a muscle relaxer I’ve been taking since before my Lyme diagnosis. I dropped the Bacofen from 10mg 2x a day to just 1x a day and in crept my jaw pain, neck stiffness and muscle knots in my back. Bummer! The pain from those muscle contractions was just really super distracting and misery inducing, so I went back up to my previous dose and the symptoms are well managed again. The third reminder was during our our recent full moon, I had some increase in brain fog / word confusion symptoms as well as nightmares and fight/flight for about 18 hours – such a strange connection there. And lastly, I struggled with my health as I went through a period of kind of extreme stress. The following was ALL crammed into a single week: 1) a trip home from Mexico that was more challenging than expected (think border delays, missed flights and flight hopping home on standby) 2) my disaster of a birthday complete with emotional breakdown, 3) a couple days herxing while I got back on meds post vacation, 4) a full week’s work crammed into two 12-hour work days and 5) helping my boyfriend through his rather invasive and difficult hip surgery. Makes me tired just reading that list. I definitely saw an increase in my symptoms – particularly in pain symptoms – as I flirted with my absolute stress load breaking point. BUT each of these reminders were fairly transient states that moved along quickly, and as a whole they felt like very minor exceptions to a month that was filled almost exclusively with feeling just like my self.
I really think the only thing I’m missing from my old life at this point is the ability to exercise vigorously like I used to. I still miss weight lifting. So far my doctors have made me promise I wouldn’t even try to exercise yet, and I’ve kept my word. But I am walking just a ton, and I am hoping to try a “gentle yoga” class in December and see how that goes. This is already miles and miles and miles better than I was just a few months ago.
For completeness sake, let’s do the list I type up for every treatment recap post! I feel like it’s getting real small now.
Things I struggle with lately include:
- Poor vision – but most days I’m about 80% with my glasses on and have felt comfortable driving at night even (I’m using a Taurine supplement, 1000mg 2x a day)
- Ringing ears – nothing has dented this yet
- I still feel a little too hyper mentally most of the time; I wake up early and with a racing mind. It can be hard to get back to sleep.
- I still have a very low body temp and cold hands (noticing it more now that winter weather is here)
- NEW: I notice my lymph nodes are swollen and sore… collecting dead bug bodies?
Things I noticed less of this month:
- Stiff neck
- Numbness in my hands
- Nightmares and night terrors
- Foot pain (Bactrim is killing that Bartonella!)
- Joint pain
- Dizziness / feeling “off” when out and about
Not much changed in my treatment protocol this month, just more of the same. For those looking to compare notes, here’s a list of the things I believe are most therapeutic for me:
- I am treating Lyme and Bartonella directly with antibiotics and supplements (current abx = Bactrim, cefdinir, doxy)
- I also completed LymeStop 9 weeks ago
- I have balanced my thyroid hormones using T3 only
- I am eating a Paleo-ish diet, high alkaline, low glycemic
- I *never* ever eat dairy, eggs, gluten or sugar
- I drink ~32oz of fresh organic green vegetable juice a day
- I drink probably 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar every day mixed in water and my veggie juice
- I take detox baths ~4x per week and drink lemon water daily
- I keep VERY well hydrated and supplement my electrolytes with Nuun tablets
- I’m building up my emotional health in 3 ways:
- I’m using schema therapy to change my thought patterns around self sacrifice (people pleasing)
- I am working on expressing repressed and previously unrecognized emotions
- I’m learning to recognize and articulate my own personal boundaries
- I meditate and deliberately cultivate gratitude and calm (Spire is a new part of this for me – fun tool!)
Even the aesthetic side of Lyme things are improving. I got some new jeans that fit my new, slimmer frame (that was a HUGE confidence boost). My hair is growing back and so far it doesn’t have any bald patches or broken thin bits. I’ve been breakout free and, thanks to investment in a Clarisonic Mia 2 cleanser brush, I’ve not struggled nearly as much with dryness or scaling on my face. Heck, it’s even pretty dark out here in our Seattle winters, so I don’t have to don any dorky sunshade hats or gloves!
I just feel like I’ve gotten my groove back. I hope to continue to make some improvement as I treat Lyme & Co, but really, if I had to stay right here at this level for the rest of my life, I’d be very very pleased. You know… if it eventually could cost less than $2,000 a month to maintain…. 🙂