Lyme Light Stories

I'm so thrilled to be able to share my story over at lymelightstories.com

It's a quick read that goes through when I was bitten, how my tick-borne illness lead to my Lupus diagnosis, and how we found out the root cause of my autoimmune disease was Lyme. You'll find my answers to questions like...

"How long do you believe you have had Lyme/tick-borne illness?"

"What types of treatments have you tried?"

"Any advice for someone newly diagnosed with Lyme?"


I'm amazed at how Lyme Disease manifests itself in each individual so differently. We truly are unique with different needs and considerations when it comes to treatment. 

Immersing myself in the chronic illness community has lead to the wonderful gift of emotional healing as I draw encouragement and support from others. If you have Lupus, Lyme, any other chronic illness, are chronically undiagnosed, or perfectly healthy, please reach out! I'd love to chat with you :) 

Click here  to go to my Lyme Light Stories post!

Click here to go to my Lyme Light Stories post!

Lyme Don't Kill My Vibe

There have been a lot of new changes recently and yet, this is one of the first times my life has started to feel stable again. It’s really amazing to look back on the past eight months and see just how far I have come since my Lyme was triggered. And then I think about just how quickly things have improved since I started treatment only four months ago! It’s a night and day difference and has brought me to tears more than once. 

Lyme may have knocked me down for a little while, but I won't surrender. 

Lyme may have knocked me down for a little while, but I won't surrender. 

My regular pain has gone from a level 8 to a 3, my headaches are no longer daily (just weekly), my brain is functioning better, I find myself dizzy only occasionally now, and I’ve had the energy to do household chores like laundry and cooking! All with a smile on my face :) 

I’ve even been able to take the kids to appointments without Zach and got out for a playdate. I’m not taking those regular things for granted anymore. 

That being said, with a morning outing I know I need to schedule in a nap after, and I still can’t do more than one or two things a day, but it’s a huge improvement from curling up on the couch for hours in agony and being too anxious to leave the house. I’m so thankful for how far God has brought me so quickly!

For the first time, I was well enough to take the kids to visit Zach at his fire hall!

For the first time, I was well enough to take the kids to visit Zach at his fire hall!

It was really nice to get out of the house with the kids again! 

It was really nice to get out of the house with the kids again! 

Yesterday, Zach and I celebrated our 9 year wedding anniversary! I’m so thankful for him and how sensitive he’s been towards me; God knew what I needed in a husband! He’s been so patient and compassionate with me through all the years I’ve been sick but undiagnosed, and even more so since we found out about the Lupus and Lyme. I can’t publicly praise him enough for carrying me through so many rough seasons.

To celebrate, we spent the day as a family at the zoo. I was a little nervous knowing it’s typically a two hour outdoor (in the sun!) excursion but I figured it would be a good test to see how much my body can do now. I was pleasantly surprised! For the most part, my body cooperated with me and we had a wonderful time. 

I'm looking forward to this weekend when Zach and I are going to get away together for a nice dinner and a little R&R.

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I was even able to push the stroller most of the time. Zach took over when I started to fade.

I was even able to push the stroller most of the time. Zach took over when I started to fade.

I’m almost done my four week round of antibiotics and like expected, I’m feeling a little worse (nausea, headaches, that yucky feeling) but overall nothing too crazy. I’ve been detoxing A TON to keep the herxing minimal and I think that has made a world of a difference. I’m really very fortunate to have such a detox arsenal at my fingertips. I’m expecting (hoping) to start feeling a lot better once I’m finished these antibiotics! But it looks like I’ll be coming back to them intermittently in the future.
 

I’ve also been cleared to ditch the SIBO diet and go back to my Ketogenic diet - hooray! I bet you’ve never heard anyone cheer about that before! 

It’s proving difficult to get back into ketosis (seems like everything has sugar!), but I’m pushing through and trying to remember just how good my body felt in fat-burning mode. Not to mention I lost weight easily for the first time in my life (would you believe 25 lbs in those 3 months?) because the inflammation has finally started to subside. I don’t plan to follow the ketogenic diet forever, but it sure is what my body needs right now while I am sick. 
 

And the new treatment I just added to my protocol is Major Autohemotherapy - MAH. It’s an IV treatment where they draw your blood, mix ozone gas into it, and then drip the product back into your veins. It’s helpful for supporting your immune system so that you can fight infections with more oomph and also oxygenates the environment so borrelia cannot survive.

I thought it would be more uncomfortable than it ended up being, it was actually pretty painless! The biggest obstacle for me was getting past the fact that I was doing this because I’m sick; it can be hard emotionally to sit through treatments and think about the fact that I actually do have Lyme. And an hour and a half is a looooong treatment! It takes a while because we also do a Myer’s drip to provide the vitamins and minerals necessary for the ozone therapy to be effective. 

Ozone gas is incorporated into my blood before putting it back into my body (you can't straight up inject ozone gas). 

Ozone gas is incorporated into my blood before putting it back into my body (you can't straight up inject ozone gas). 

This is what it looks like for the lab tech to mix ozone into the blood. It changes the colour to bright red!

Dripping with the company of my lab tech, Lauren :)

Dripping with the company of my lab tech, Lauren :)

I was actually blown away at how much better I felt the day after. I did so many little tasks and chores that I even mentioned to Zach how I felt like a regular healthy person again! It’s really exciting to see the positive changes so quickly!

In moments like these, I’m so hopeful that I will be healed through medicine. I know I just need to keep going, keep appreciating the healing process, and keep my eyes focused on what is to come. Please don’t stop praying for us!

My Lyme Protocol

Treating chronic Lyme Disease is a very complex task! There is no simple medication, diet, or anything you can do by yourself to heal. And since Lyme Disease affects each individual so differently (like neurologically causing seizures compared to organ failure like me), everyone has to be treated on an individual basis. This is why there are so many protocols (and variations of) instead of a “silver bullet” medication. 

I am so thankful to have such a wise Naturopath in Vancouver who has healed many people with Lyme Disease as well as the best Naturopathic team in Burnaby heading up all of my treatments. There is a huge arsenal to draw from so we can choose what will be the best for my body (and my children).


This is where it gets a little complicated. I want to share my current protocol with you because I believe it helps you understand me better when you have a snapshot into what my life looks like with Lyme Disease. I also hope that for other people living with chronic illness, you can see similarities and differences to what treatment you are receiving so that you can ask your own doctor what is best for you. I’ve found so much inspiration from researching what other people have done so I know that sharing is invaluable.

I'm so thankful that these treatments have been helping me to feel more like myself again. I can feel my body healing.

I'm so thankful that these treatments have been helping me to feel more like myself again. I can feel my body healing.

— — —

Detox, detox, detox! My life basically revolves around detoxing and supporting my body in the methylation pathways that it is lacking (which I found out from the 23andMe genetic test). My body has not been able to flush out toxins properly on its own so I need to help it along. I can’t emphasize enough how much better I feel since detox has become a major part of my regime! 


Diet: I focus on eating organic produce, local meat, farm eggs, and typically follow a ketogenic diet. Choosing to eat this way has helped to keep my inflammation under control while being nutrient-dense with limited exposure to pesticides and chemicals. I definitely don’t want to be adding in any more toxins!

Detox baths: Every few days, I will have a nice hot soak in the tub (at least 30min) with a bunch of epsom salt, some baking soda, and essential oils (I like lavender or frankincense) to draw out toxins.

Infrared sauna: A good sweat goes a long way. The far infrared radiation helps to eliminate toxins that are stored in your fat cells by sweating instead of burdening the liver and kidneys. I actually feel noticeably better after using the infrared sauna!

Silymarin: Also known as milk thistle, this supplement supports your liver which is charge of detoxification.

Burbur-pinella: This brain-nerve cleanse helps for neurological problems (like brain fog) as it helps your body detox and keep herxes under control. You can take extra when herxing!

Parsley: This extract helps to open up detox channels.

Methylcobalamin: I have been self-injecting this methylated form of B12 (because my body is unable to make that conversion properly) as well as oral supplementation to help support my nervous system (brain) function and combat the chronic fatigue.

Methylfolate (5-mtfh) with Niacin (B3): My body also does not convert folic acid into methyl folate properly. 5-mtfh has been described as the gas in my engine and I can take niacin as needed to act as the breaks if I get symptoms of over-methylation (headache, anxiety, joint pain, rash, irritability, agitation…)

Myer’s Cocktail: I’m still receiving IV treatments to help my body absorb vitamins and minerals more effectively while I am healing.

I never thought I'd look forward to an IV! The Myer's cocktail has been a game changer for me.

I never thought I'd look forward to an IV! The Myer's cocktail has been a game changer for me.

— — —

I’ve mentioned before that Lyme pain is serious pain. I’ve especially suffered with extreme back/spine pain and muscle spasms, headaches/migraines, and nerve pain in my feet. I’m a big fan of this list of holistic forms of treatment because they don’t add more chemicals for my body to detox.

Acupuncture: This has been a recent addition to my protocol and it is already helping significantly. I used to receive acupuncture when I was in University and I think that is what kept my Lyme under control at that time in my life. 

Chiropractor: Making sure my body is aligned is one of the only things that helps with my back pain and headaches.

Deep Blue Rub: I apply this DoTerra essential oil cream to my back, neck, and shoulders when I am in pain. The first time I used it, it took my pain level from an 8 down to a 4 in about 15 minutes!

CBD oil: Dr. E Murakami (MD) has been researching the benefits of hemp CBD oil (legal in BC where I am without a prescription) for Lyme patients. Not only is CBD oil amazing for pain management, anxiety, cancer, and seizures, but it has also been found to kill borrelia spirochetes and break through biofilm. In case you just missed that, CBD oil has been found to have antibiotic-like properties that KILLS LYME. No wonder Dr. Murakami is called “BC’s Lyme Saviour”. This oil has been the most significant for me with pain; I had a migraine disappear 10 minutes after a dose.

Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN): This prescription immunomodulator is great for decreasing pain and inflammation. Used often for autoimmune disorders (like Lupus!, RA, MS, Crohn’s, Hashimotos), neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, autism, and pain conditions (like fibromyalgia or chronic migraines).

Neural Injections: We’re going to inject some of my scars (like my big c-section scar from Brooklyn’s birth) to help break up interference fields that cause problems like disautonomia, reset the action potentials for my nervous system, and clear out scar tissue where borrelia likes to accumulate.

— — —

While many of my efforts are to control symptoms, we’re starting to fight back now as well. Not only am I battling borrelia, but also other (less significant) opportunistic infections, and small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). BUT PRAISE BE TO GOD that all of my Lyme co-infection tests came back negative!!!! This is a HUGE blessing. 

Serrapeptase: To kill spirochetes (the active form of borrelia), you have to first poke holes in their biofilm. The biofilm is like a coating the bacteria uses to hide and protect itself. I’ll take this about 20 min before the “killing” tinctures.

Samento + Banderol: These are herbal antimicrobials that I’m using to kill Lyme. And just because they’re herbal doesn’t mean they’re weak — I’ve only been increasing my dosage by 1 drop a day (each) with the flexibility to scale back if I start to herx.

Rifaximin with Biogest, HCl, and LDN: What’s a doctors appointment if I don’t come away with a new diagnosis added to the list? I wasn’t surprised to learn that I have SIBO but I am so happy that I’ll be able to treat it right away! After a couple of weeks of treatment, I’ll work on healing my gut with GI Revive and a low FODMAP diet (yeah you read that right, another diet…).  
Typically, bacteria are not supposed to hang out in the small intestine (they should be in the large intestine!) and when they get lost, it creates havoc with your ability to absorb nutrients properly, can lead to leaky gut, and causes discomfort and bloating.

Plaquenil: I’m really fortunate to have been taking this prescription to manage my Lupus activity because it also acts as a cyst-buster for Lyme! Two birds, one stone.

Azithromycin, Ceftin, and Nystatin: After 2 weeks of SIBO treatment and a break week, I’ll be getting started on antibiotics to treat the borrelia. 

CBD oil: Breaks through biofilm and kills spirochetes!

— — —

It’s a lot, I know. And after doing all of these things for a while, I likely still won't be healed, but I hope to be feeling a heck of a lot better! And there’s still time in the future for heavy metals testing and ozone therapy (Major Autohemotherapy - MAH). In the meantime, I will continue to fight as hard as I possibly can to do everything in my power to restore my body. Every day feels like such a fight, and it brings me down often. But in my weakness, God can be strong.


A friend texted me an encouraging verse the other day and it brought tears to my eyes because even in this storm, this horrible season of seemingly endless suffering, I still feel God’s presence. I know God is right here with us, he loves us, and he wants to heal us. I have seen Jesus heal people in the Bible and I know we will one day be healed too (even if we have to wait for heaven to be restored). I have a supernatural sense of peace in his plan for our lives and his perfect timing. I am so thankful for that. Praise God for his mercy in our lives.

“But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise, 
for he has been good to me.”
- Psalms 13:5-6

Beginning to Bloom

Thank you for being so patient with me while waiting for an update! Typically when I’m more quiet, things are a little harder and I tend to bury my head in the sand a bit like an ostrich. While it has been a very difficult season and I've been in survival mode most of the time, I'm now noticing glimpses that pieces of my old self are beginning to re-bloom in little moments. I hope that this update will allow you to pray for me more specifically. 


Family Test Results
Last time I posted, I shared that Zach and Brooklyn sent their blood to Germany for the Armin Labs T-cell test to see if they have active Lyme Disease infections as well. I’ve learned in research that borrelia is (like any other blood disease) sexually transmitted as well as able to pass through the placenta and breast milk. So we expected both of their results to come back positive. HOWEVER, while Brooklyn’s results show quite a significant active infection, Zach’s test came back negative!

My heart breaks for Brooklyn and yet I’m overjoyed for Zach. I am so thankful that he doesn’t have Lyme Disease and will be able to continue taking care of us and working hard without any threat of a flare up. And while I am devastated about my little girl (she only just turned two!), I am so thankful for the knowledge so that we can begin to treat her now. 

It is my understanding that some doctors wait for children to show symptoms before treating, and others like to treat children before puberty hormonal changes. My Naturopath recommends treating the child before hormones come into play because at that time it gets much more difficult to keep symptoms under control. 

Unfortunately, Brooklyn has started to show some symptoms about a month ago after our family recovered from a little cold. Since then, she has suffered from some pretty severe insomnia, lethargy, and general malaise. There’s no denying I have a sick little girl. 

We have since tested Caleb through Armin Labs as well (which you may have seen if you follow my instagram account). Unfortunately, his test results have also come back positive for an active borrelia infection. I can feel the sorrow in the pit of my stomach. 

Caleb post-blood draw for his Lyme Disease test. Drawing blood from a 7 month old is no easy task!

Caleb post-blood draw for his Lyme Disease test. Drawing blood from a 7 month old is no easy task!


The Candida Treatment
We knew that I had out of control systemic candida overgrowth so that was one of the first things we started to treat (see post here). This was a tough month to say the least, mostly because of the diet, but I made it through to the other side and have since transitioned to a ketogenic diet. I figured that since cutting out sugar (including fruit!), I was already in ketosis so I may as well keep myself there since I’ve seen so many benefits for people that are dealing with any type of illness. I feel much better overall now, but I don’t think I’m quite out of the woods here yet. 

As soon as my candida treatment finished, some symptoms did return and I wonder if there is an underlying issue I still have to deal with before the candida can really be under control. My instincts tell me I need to do a heavy metals test but since I’m unable to do that while breastfeeding, I’ll just have to wait. If I do end up being treated for heavy metals, I would prefer to do that before going back to work post maternity leave!


The 10 for 6 Diet & Gluten-Free
I started the 10 for 6 diet back in February as a way to help decrease overall inflammation (I was swelling up like a balloon!) because these foods were triggering a gluten-like antibody response in my body. Not long ago, one of my specialists was giving me a hard time again about being gluten-free, saying that I didn’t need to be because I’m not Celiac. I told her taking the Celiac test didn’t matter to me because I know I feel better gluten-free so I’m going to continue this way. She wanted to prove to me that I wasn’t Celiac so she gave me a lab requisition for a blood test. Since I’ve been gluten free for almost 4 years, I knew that it probably wouldn’t show up on the blood test without exposure so I decided to take the test with a grain of salt — even if it’s negative, I would still stay gluten-free. 

But wouldn’t you know it, that test came back positive for Celiac Disease! I couldn’t help but laugh. Okay, add this disease to the rest in the pile! 

Because I’m now Celiac, I figured that little exposures to gluten (like using the same barbecue that had someone’s gluten-containing seasoning or sauce) have been creating allergic reactions in my body. So hopefully now that I’m even more strict about cross-contamination, the other cross-reactive foods I was sensitive to won’t bother me anymore. 

I was going a bit crazy after the strict Candida diet and I was dying for an egg. You know, the easy over, sweet runny yolk, all over your sausage and avocado kind? Yum. So with my doctor’s blessing, I decided to reintroduce eggs after four months (instead of six - yes, I caved), and see how I felt. 

You guys, I am so happy to say that I did not notice any negative effects from eggs. Hooray! Now, the eggs very well could be still causing an immuno-response, but I think the risk in this case is well worth my sanity. I’m leaving lots of time in between reintroducing the new foods to gauge any reactions and since then, I’ve also reintroduced with success sesame (so I can eat hummus again!) and goat cheese. The next one I want to try is potatoes.

Starting Lyme Treatment
I’ll dive into my Lyme Treatment plan with a full post soon, but in the meantime I’m happy to share that overall I’m feeling much better since receiving some medicinal support. There are times when I feel like I’m starting to get my brain back and I can do simple things like cook dinner about half the time now. That being said, this continues to be an extremely difficult season where I’m still collapsing on occasion, battling significant pain (especially in my back), headaches/migraines, and chronic fatigue (the kind that doesn’t get better with rest). 

Recently, with the June full moon, I was completely wrecked and had a 10 day infection headache (similar to a migraine). I could feel the borrelia more active in my body and it felt like they were drilling into my muscles and joints as they buried back down. The night of the full moon, I experienced a pain I never knew existed before. I honestly don’t know how I stayed conscious through it. If Zach wasn’t such an amazing man helping me through it, I would’ve been in an ambulance on my way to the hospital for morphine. (This is coming from the girl that had a heart pic line removed without medication and gave birth to two children — Lyme pain is serious pain.)

I learned since then that the borrelia life cycle follows the cycle of the full moon and the bacteria re-emerge every 28-30 days to reproduce before burrowing back into muscles and joints. This leads to the debilitating headaches, nausea, pain, and exhaustion so many people with Lyme Disease experience especially around the time of the full moon. I believe that because the moon has a gravitational pull (remember that it controls the tides?!), that the bacteria are sensitive to the gravitational and electromagnetic changes, and use it as a signal to reproduce. 

Thankfully, I have a whole new detox arsenal that I can draw from when I start to feel especially unwell. I’ll share these tips as well as what I’m doing now to fight back against Lyme - you can check back or subscribe to be emailed when I post :)

 

Thank you so much for journeying with me in this season. I appreciate all of your texts, emails, and phone calls. It’s encouraging to know that there are people who love me enough to blanket me in prayer and take time to lift me up emotionally and practically. I have met some wonderful people online who are in the same boat and I’ve been surprised at just how many people are suffering in a similar way — diagnosed or not. We’re in this together!