My Personal Health Story
A month after our second child was born, I was rear ended in a car accident and soon after that, my body lost all control as the swelling of systemic inflammation took over. I had done everything in my power to stay flare free from pregnancy to the birth of my son - I ate a paleo diet to keep inflammation down, exercised, slept well - but you just can’t control a crash. The physical trauma was too much.
The days that followed were filled with fear as I prayed that my autoimmune disease, Lupus, wouldn’t flare. Unfortunately, my worst fears were lived out and I began to experience even worse symptoms than I ever imagined. I began having such intense pain all over my body that I couldn’t hold or even nurse my newborn much of the time. It was heartbreaking to have to stay in bed with migraine headaches as my toddler begged to see me. I experienced pain that I never knew existed, anxiety for the first time in my life, and an irrational fear of leaving the house because doing anything was completely overwhelming. I lost my ability to communicate because I couldn’t process what people were saying to me and I couldn’t remember our conversation long enough to respond. My body started failing me and I would collapse in the kitchen, couldn’t walk without shooting nerve pain in my feet, or I would have to lay down to keep from fainting. I suffered severe nausea and felt so ill that I could barely move let alone take care of my children on my own and do basic household chores; I needed help with everything. I developed multiple food allergies and became extremely sensitive to auditory and visual stimulation. But the worst was the chronic fatigue; it was the disoriented tired you feel when startled awake at 3am except all the time. And I didn’t feel better after resting or a full night sleep.
"I needed help with everything."
Working with my Naturopath, we looked at what could be the root cause of my Lupus so that we could get these symptoms under control. We did a chronic infections panel, and that’s when borrelia showed up. We followed up with a T-cell test through Armin Labs in Germany (Elispot and CD57) which showed current cellular activity against borrelia - an active infection. I had Lyme Disease.
I heaved a great sigh full of mixed emotions - relief that we knew the cause and could begin treatment, but also sorrow at the extremely difficult journey I now had ahead of me.
Later that evening, I experienced a flash back to my early tween years, when I was only about 12 years old, and I developed a large bullseye rash on my thigh. This was it. This was when I was infected. It became so clear all of a sudden. At the time, I was told it was an allergic reaction to a spider bite and if it was a tick or a spider, I will never know. But I do know that it was when my life became hard.
"You can't help what happens to you, but you can help how you respond."
I always wondered why I needed more sleep than everyone else, why my spine hurt to the touch, why I had such severe circulation problems, and why I often felt ill and had mystery illness episodes that were never explained. Growing up, I could tell that normal life was more difficult for me than everyone else but I didn’t understand why, so I would pray for God to remove the thorn from my side and keep working my hardest to do my best. My motto became “you can’t help what happens to you, but you can help how you respond”. I knew things weren’t working well in my body, but I decided to keep pushing through and keep looking for joy in what I was able to do.
I attribute my ability to keep the Lyme at bay during this time in my life to God’s grace and His prompting for me to try acupuncture. About a year after I stopped acupuncture treatments, I experienced one-week onset congestive heart failure. Out of nowhere, me, a seemingly “healthy” 25 year old all of a sudden dying. I spent almost 2 weeks in the hospital where much of my stay was in the CICU (cardiac intensive care unit) because of the severity of my condition. My heart became too weak to beat on its own and fluid built up around my heart sac so there was no more room to beat which lead me to a code blue (resuscitation was required). The doctors suspected an infection and told me they tested me for everything (I’m now skeptical if Lyme was on that list) and that results came back that I had an autoimmune disease called Lupus where my body attacks my own tissues.
Based on the testing criteria that I am positive for, I believe that I truly do have Lupus (it’s not necessarily a mis-diagnosis), but I also don’t think I would’ve ever developed it if it weren’t for Lyme. You see, what borrelia does is essentially hide from your body inside of your cells and in your tissues. The bacteria is even able to shut down your body’s ability to see them floating around in plain sight! The immune system can sense that something is wrong - it just can’t see it- so it starts dropping bombs to try to fight it off. Unfortunately, this is autoimmunity. This is why so many people with Lyme Disease also have autoimmune diseases like Lupus, MS, ALS, and Parkinson’s. Knowing this, I am confident that when my Lyme is healed, there will be no more triggers for my Lupus and I will be considered in remission.
"When my Lyme is healed, there will be no more triggers for my Lupus and I will be considered in remission."
Once it was confirmed that I had Lyme Disease (with miraculously no co-infections), I was able to begin a personal treatment protocol with a Naturopath who specializes with Lyme. The things that I have found most helpful have been genetic testing to see where I need to support detox pathways, using the infrared sauna, acupuncture treatments, CBD oil (kills Lyme and busts biofilm), a ketogenic diet, herbal antimicrobials, short term rounds of antibiotics, Myer’s IV treatments, and Major Auto Hemotherapy (ozone) IV treatments. I am so fortunate to be taking prescription Plaquenil for my Lupus as it also acts as a cyst-buster for Lyme. Two birds, one stone!
I have found it very rewarding to experience such a drastic improvement to my symptoms in only five months of Lyme treatment! Not only that, my children have improved since they have started treatment as well. In case you weren’t aware, Lyme and co-infections are capable of being sexually transmitted and can cross from an infected mother to her fetus through the placenta. Thus, both of my children were born with congenital Lyme. We decided to begin treating them immediately because my two year old was already starting to present symptoms and once hormones become involved as a teen, the disease is much more difficult to treat and is essentially managed until adulthood.
Through all of this I have stuck to my motto of “you can’t help what happens to you, but you can help how you respond”. I’m not sure why God had this path set before me and chose to reveal my infection in the intricately woven way that He did, but I have complete trust that He has not abandoned me through it. I can cling to the hope that I will be healed, even if I need to wait until Heaven for my body to be restored. I have learned that happiness depends on what is happening around you, but true joy is an internal response to God’s grace in your life. So as long and hard as this race of endurance is, I will choose joy.