Hello, Lyme Disease

Tick

“I had heard of You by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees You.”
Job 42:5 ESV

I apologize for staying away for so long.  I’m finally ready to share what has been going on in my life. (This article was first written in January … I’ve “sat” on it for awhile and finally felt like editing and publishing it today. Hopefully this is clear, despite my ever-present brain fog. Please feel free to ask questions.)  Last autumn things were going well, and I was just getting back into the swing of things with life and with my new blog.  And I was getting better, or so I thought.

In October I was very surprised to find out I have Lyme disease.  Other than continuing fatigue and a few other niggling problems like a stiff neck, headaches, brain fog, insomnia, stiffness, occasional dizziness, sensitivities to foods/chemicals/mold, and various body pains, my overall health and blood work had improved after months of following a strict allergy elimination diet.  It is by God’s grace that I went ahead and did the Lyme blood *test, “just in case.”

When I was told, “You have Lyme disease,” everything seemed to stop for awhile.  I had heard of Lyme disease but didn’t know much about it.  My mother-in-grace had suggested several weeks earlier that I might have it, but when I looked up the symptoms, I didn’t think I qualified for that diagnosis.  And I didn’t understand how this could happen when I didn’t remember getting a tick bite or bulls eye rash.  (I’ve since found out you can also get Lyme through a mosquito bite.)  When I looked online, I must’ve found all the worse case scenarios: blindness, trouble breathing, terrible pain, devastating herxing reactions, losing use of limbs, brain damage, etc.  (These drastic symptoms are usually experienced by people who go undiagnosed for years, even decades.  If they get treatment, they usually improve and can become functioning again.) I allowed myself to be gripped by fear.  In my mind I KNOW God is in control and can be trusted.  But, at that point, I was freaking out.

Based on a misunderstanding, I began to use essential oils too much too fast.  Instead of diffusing these powerful agents fifteen minutes at a time, I was running it for hours on end.  I began to have trouble breathing and felt like a moose was sitting on my chest.  My fear escalated.  I read and tried everything I could think of to get better:  I prayed, meditated on Scripture, rested, tried to divert my mind by watching Tim Hawkins, tried to ignore it and “go on with life,” bounced on the trampoline (for a full 9 seconds until I knew that wasn’t helping), etc.  Panic was my companion (*** See below for helpful resources).  I called my doctor to make an appointment, but hearing of my chest pains they refused to see me and sent me directly to the ER.  Sigh.  I thank God for the friends who helped with our boys.  Had God forsaken us?  NO.

Honestly, I didn’t know if I was going to live or die.  I. Felt. Terrible.  I was at a point of total abandonment of my plans and complete humbling to God’s will, whatever that included.  And, I was exactly where God wanted me.

As my husband and I waited for tests to be run and reports to come back, I glanced up at the clock.  It was a detailed digital clock that looked something like this:

digital clock

What I saw took my breath away.  11:11 and 11 seconds.  Relief swept over me and I called to my husband:  “Tim!  God cares about us!  God is with us!  Look at the clock!”  Knowing my secret code with God, Tim looked at me and simply said, “And today is November 11th … 11/11.”  It changed everything.  God didn’t have to be so extremely personal in His affirmation of love for me, but He WAS and IS personal!!! God gave me a beautiful gift that day that I will always treasure in my heart.  (You will understand why this was so special to us by reading here.)

The excellent hospital staff didn’t find anything life threatening and sent me home.  I can’t sufficiently express our thanks to my in-laws for coming to help us for a few days.  I was in a waiting and uncertainty mode.  My doctor who read my Lyme test results and gave me the diagnosis doesn’t know much about Lyme, so she referred me to two Lyme experts.

Finally, the days of my appointments arrived.  To sum it all up, both doctors looked at my test results and said I probably haven’t had Lyme very long.  This is a good thing as it probably means the infections haven’t embedded themselves as deeply.  The medical doc wanted to start me on antibiotics right away, but I’ve not had good experiences with antibiotics over the years and wanted the natural treatment doctor’s opinion before making a decision.  These two women work hand in hand, and I felt so blessed that God had led us to them through a dear friend named Ella.

Several days later we met with the natural doctor, who also has Lyme herself.  She assured me that I didn’t need antibiotics and started me on a natural protocol that has proven very effective for many people.  There is no cure for Lyme, but it can be manageable with vigilant care (more about this below).

For those who are interested, this is what I am taking:

1.  Monolaurin and Bio-Fibrin – This was recommended both by my medical doctor and natural practitioner.  It has a high success rate as it powerfully thins bio-films to you can actually get at the bacteria.  The coconut extract breaks through the bacteria cell walls killing them.  They also have a product that helps with detoxing the die-off.  You can read about the protocol here.
2.  Takuna – You can find out more about these powerful anti-microbial drops here.
(update as of 2/18/15 – I’m finished with Takuna and am now taking Futureplex Bacterotox drops)
3.  Resveratrol – This actually tastes yummy!
4.  Detox – Epsom salt baths, foot soaks, and infrared sauna
5.  Supplements – Vitamin D, B, milk thistle (liver, gall bladder), curcumin (turmeric), adrenal support, glutathione, magnesium.
6. To help with Adrenal Fatigue, I am following Dr. Christianson’s Adrenal Reset Diet protocol.  (Special thanks to my neighbor Jane for lending me her sun lamp!)
7. For herxing I have some homeopathic drops that greatly help, as well as sarsaparilla root capsules.

I’ve worked my way up to full dose.  One Sunday recently I was able to play the piano again for the entire church service for the first time in months (in October I couldn’t even stand for the singing and last summer I could barely play because of my arthritic fingers).  It is a joy that I don’t take for granted.  Yet, another Sunday I was so exhausted after playing I had to go lie down during the sermon.  I never know if it’s going to be a “good” day or a “bad” day.  Most days my worst symptoms are fatigue and brain fog.  A couple of times I have been laid flat by herxing (a negative physical response when you cannot get rid of the dying infection fast enough).  Depression lurks around the corner, especially if I indulge in sugar or chocolate.  It is difficult for me to drive in the dark, and I can’t multitask like I used to.  It is overwhelming to be around a lot of noise and flashing light.  Talking with people is exhausting even though I need and love the fellowship.

On Monday I felt the best I’ve felt in I don’t know how long.  Praise the Lord!  Then the past two days I’ve been dragging again.  Praise the Lord!  We need to praise Him in all things.  Sometimes this is a sacrifice of praise – and oh how He treasures it!!

Here are a few of the blessings:

  • the love and prayers of family and friends
  • watching God lovingly provide for our needs (including wisdom)
  • the only natural treatment expert in our state is ten minutes from my in-laws’ home
  • being able to add back in many foods
  • having a diagnosis and being able to work toward better health
  • becoming aware for the first time how widespread chronic pain is
  • increased compassion (our boys are learning this, too)
  • the opportunity to learn more about the complexity of the human body God created
  • receiving good medical treatment
  • complete surrender and rededication to God
  • the development of closer and stronger family bonds
  • not taking health for granted and appreciating the simple things in life
  • repenting of a complaining heart and learning contentment
  • being a living testimony of God’s faithful care
  • meeting people I probably never would have met otherwise
  • learning to be still and how to relax
  • discovering that my value doesn’t depend on what I can do for God, and that He can use me at my very weakest more than He could use me if I were doing 101 things for Him in my own strength
  • being forced to prioritize and humbling myself to ask for help
  • recognizing the frailty of all that is seen and increased faith in the reality of things that are unseen
  • experiencing the peace and joy that comes from God alone

And, of course, I have a unique opportunity to proclaim God’s power and provision.  Trials are not fun, but they are a necessary part of making us who God wants us to be.  Some say He only allows trials as a result of the fallen world we created by our own rebellion against God (through Adam and Eve).  But, there is evidence that God designs specific trials for specific people, promising to go through it all with us, for our good and His glory.  We are told to expect trials in this life and we are encouraged to know they serve a very useful purpose – Psalm 23:4, Romans 5:1-5Romans 8:18-252 Corinthians 1:3-5, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, James 1:2-12, I Peter 4:12-13.

Some websites will tell you that Lyme is quickly taken care of by a round of antibiotics (one month to three months … I have a friend who was on antibiotics off and on for five years for her Lyme).  If you catch it immediately after the bite, it can be eradicated.  But, generally it is a life-long fight.  Most resources will tell you there is no known cure for Lyme disease, because the spirochetes like to hide deep within tissues, muscles, blood and bones, so it is impossible to know if “we got’em all.”   It is also usually a collection of several infections that are administered through that dreaded insect bite.   Some are more deadly than Lyme!  Lyme disease is called the great imitator because many diseases are falsely diagnosed – actually being Lyme, like: Fibromyalgia, MS, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Chronic Fatigue, ALS, etc.

My goal is to get as well as I can, so I can be as functional as possible.  God and I take one day at a time.  I hope people will understand that I may not be able to say yes to many extra opportunities for awhile.  I’ve cut back on my time online as it is quite draining.  Most days it is an accomplishment just to get the dishes washed and have food on the table.  We’ve added 2 DVD classes to help with our homeschooling.  I’ve learned how to make jewelry, which is both relaxing and something fun I can do without too much effort. We are pursuing having my eight amalgam fillings replaced as we believe this may be part off the process of getting rid of heavy metal poisoning so that my system can concentrate of getting rid of the Lyme.  I am very thankful for each day and the strength God provides!  I know God can heal me if He wants to, so I trust Him to do what is best for us.  My deepest desire is that God will be honored through this!

If you have Lyme or know someone with Lyme, I would love to hear your comments below.  What has God been teaching you through your journey?  What are your struggles? What treatments have you found to be helpful for you?  Because of Jesus we have a bright future!  God is faithful.  Thank You, God!

Joyfully His,

Sara

Psalm 73:26 – “My flesh and my heart fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.”

 * If you suspect you may have Lyme, the most reliable tests are done through IGeneX.

Helpful Resources

VIDEOS

1.  LymeLight – The Story of a professional freeskier, Angeli VanLannan, with Lyme
2.  About Lyme and why the government and most doctors avoid it.
3.  TV star battles Lyme
4.  Under Our Skin documentary
5.  Under our Skin, Emergence review (sequel, 2014)
6.  Hope for chronic Lyme
7.  Alternatives to antibiotics

ARTICLES

1.  Finding a Lyme literate doctor in your area
2.  Lyme is the “Great Imitator,” misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia, depression, M.S., Chronic Fatigue, ALS, Rheumatoid Arthritis, etc.
3.  Hope for chronic Lyme
4.  Lyme information
5.  Essential Oils Treatment: Raindrop Massage Technique

BOOKS

1.  Insights Into Lyme Disease Treatment: 13 Lyme Literate Health Care Practitioners Share Their Healing Strategies by Connie Strasheim
2.  Freedom From Lyme Disease: New Treatments for a Complete Recovery by Bryan Rosner
3.  Why Can’t I Get Better?  by Richard Horowitz, MD
4.  The Lyme Disease Solution by Kenneth B. Singleton, MD
5.  Healing Lyme: Natural Healing and Prevention of Lyme by Stephen Herrod Buhner
6.  The Lyme Diet: Nutritional Strategies for Healing From Lyme Disease by Nicola McFadzean, ND
7.  Recipes for Repair, A Lyme Disease Cookbook, by Kenneth B. Singleton, MD, MPH
8.  When Antibiotics Fail: Lyme Disease and Rife Machines, with Critical Evaluation of Leading Alternative Therapies by Bryan Rosner
9.  *** Saving the BEST for last, I highly recommend Quieting a Noisy Soul for anxiety and panic attacks.  Excellent material!  I can’t say enough good about it.

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What to Do When Your World Stops

This Sunday I am at home, wishing I could be at church.  It’s been another challenging week, bringing more pieces of my health puzzle together (more on that later).  This morning my mom sent me a link to a very encouraging message, which led me to another.

If you, too, are home sick today … or you are presently facing some other trials, these brief messages (less than 10 minutes each) will help lift your heart and give you direction.  Please feel free to share your comments below, including prayer requests.

Pressure Points – In this message, Pastor Kramer gives uplifting truth and hope to remember when (not if) we face trails.

When Your World Stops – This message is about how to keep going when you feel like your world is ripped out from under you.

Is God Calling You to Full Time Christian Service?

Honestly, I never felt called or led by God to be a pastor’s wife.  Both of my sisters married pastors, and before I went to college my parents sweetly told me never to feel pressured to follow their path – the most important thing was to follow God’s leading for my life.

Most of the time when I was growing up I believed God was leading me to be a missionary overseas.  I would pepper visiting missionaries with questions.  I even got to the point where I practically told God, “I AM going to be a missionary, no matter what You think” (yikes).  Finally, He got me to a point where I said, “YOUR will be done” (whew).

Zooming ahead … my husband and I both graduated from Bible college.  Yet, we are not in full-time Christian service.

  • Did we waste money and time on our Bible college education?
  • Was it all for nothing?
  • Are we disobeying God?
  • Do we please God less because we are “electrical engineer” and “stay-at-home-homeschooling-mom” instead of “Rev.” and “Mrs. Pastor”?

It couldn’t be further from the truth!  God in His wisdom led us to Bible college, and then He led us to be Full-Time Christians.  In our church and in our community God opens up opportunities all the time to share His good gifts with others.  We are far from perfect about following up on all of His opportunities, but with His strength He is using us and we are constantly in awe of His provision!

God doesn’t call each of His children into the same field.  Where would we be if all believers were pastors and pastors wives?  Where would the body of Christ – the foot, the eyes, the knees be, to fulfill the callings of the local church in our communities (I Corinthians 12)?  He wisely places us in the position He knows will benefit from the talents He’s given us most effectively.

 

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-13 NKJV

 

When Tim was attending Bible college, seeking God’s will for his life, his pastor took him aside privately and told him that he was confident that God wasn’t leading him to be a pastor.  Was Tim willing and open to be one?  Yes!  But, God used his pastor, who knew his personality and heart well, to give him loving, specific counsel.  Following Bible college, Tim pursued his (God given) interests in math, radio systems and computers, attending community college and then a state university.  The education he learned there, especially learning how to work through the tests of faith and how to face the bombardment against God’s Word, has been priceless.  I can’t tell you how many times God has opened doors for Tim (who pushed on the door of missions by taking a college Missionary Apprentice Program to France) in his engineering field to answer difficult questions about life, death, God, creation, family, etc.  Tim’s Greek and doctrinal training from Bible college days helps in his teaching/music ministry at church, as well as on a daily basis enriching his personal Bible study and walk with God.  God didn’t call him to be a pastor, but God is using him every day!

Before we were married, I taught for three years in a Christian school.  Many of my students were from Ukraine, as well and Pakistan and India.  One of my Indian students and her brother came to know Christ in our Christian school.  A few years later their mom trusted Christ and has shared the gospel with family and friends around the world – many who are coming to know Christ personally!  Praise the Lord!

A couple years ago we hosted a Muslim exchange student from the Philippines, and a Christian young lady from Ghana.  Talk about a mission field!  We are part of a church that is blessed with many students from all over the world attending a state university.  God has brought the world to us.  We are missionaries in our mid-western city – God’s place for us.

Our backgrounds come together to greatly help us in our most important mission field of all: our sons.
Most every day the boys and I pray for Daddy as he goes to his mission field at work, and for God to help us be a light for Jesus in our mission field: our neighborhood, and people we come into contact with at doctors offices, grocery stores, restaurants, parks, etc.  Just today my oldest son wanted to give a gospel tract to some friends of ours who were visiting.  Our mission field is very real!

Pastors and their wives, missionaries, missionary wives … these dear men and women have a sacred calling from God that is different from all else.  As shepherds leading us, as they follow the Good Shepherd, they have unique responsibilities, challenges, sacrifices, and rewards.  We must be committed to loving them (in word and deed!), praying for them, and supporting them.  But, if God didn’t call us to those ministries, we would be sinning against Him by disobeying His lead in our lives.  God’s will is the best place to be.

Perhaps, some time in the future, Tim and I might become missionaries.  We’ve talked about the possibility that after his retirement from his engineering mission field, God may call us to serve in areas of Bible translation (he’s continued using his Greek and enjoys learning Hebrew in his spare time), teaching, technical help, music, etc. on foreign and domestic mission fields.  Until then, we will walk with God daily on the mission field of His calling.  He knows best, and we are confident He will lead us every step of the way!

 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV



Summary:  We each need to seek God’s individual leading, through His Word and the guidance of godly counselors.  He will, in time, impress us through His Spirit in the way we must go.  No fear of missing the boat!  Walk with Him today, every day, and He will faithfully guide to the next step.  Churches need godly pastors and their wives, as well as godly laymen and laywomen.

What about you?  Are you a Full Time Christian, where God has called you to be?  God will provide all the strength and resources we need to fulfill His calling.  Best of all, He promises to be with us every step of the way!

 

“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Ephesians 4:1-5 NKJV