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.

Why I Won’t Ever Have Plastic Surgery

Recently I saw a news flash about a celebrity who turned up at a public event looking completely different than the way she used to look.  I was curious and clicked on the link … WHAT?!  I looked at the pictures provided, and it’s true.  I do not recognize her.  Although I don’t know her personally and am not a fan, I felt so sad.  It was like she had died and some stranger had taken her place.  People will never again get to enjoy her beautiful crinkly eyes and refreshing smile, the way God made her.  One commenter even went as far as to say, “RIP, Renee.”

I’m just three years younger than Renee and I am feeling the effects of aging.  Just in the past couple months I’ve notice a decline in my appearance, brought on partly by the effects of my health challenges (I was diagnosed with auto-immune disease Hashimoto’s and possibly Pernicious Anemia).  This week when I saw the results of our family pictures close up, I hardly recognized myself.  Sure I’ve lost 20 lbs., but what happened to my face?!  I have hopes that as my body heals I will regain some of my appearance.  But, the clock is ticking and time marches on.  Truth: aging cannot be avoided.

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Our photographer, Jenn, is a lovely lady who shared this encouragement with me.  It was too good not to share with you.

“Aging and or illness can be so bittersweet.  I am getting wrinkles and grey hair.  Sometimes I struggle with that … wasn’t I just 22 like yesterday?  Two of my friends died recently, and though they were privileged to open their eyes in eternity with Jesus, they never had the opportunity to get wrinkles and grow old with their husbands.  So count your fatigue and auto immune diseases as privileged way to witness to others who struggle and may need a wiser woman to walk the path with.  Your boys will be better men and husbands bc they will understand how to be more compassionate to women.  And as hard as it is, we know God is good at letting us witness His glory through our trials.”

Thank you, Jenn.  God is so good, and aging and death were not part of His original creation.  The dastardly decline began when man rejected God in Eden. Yet, God graciously redeems aging for beautiful things and has already won the victory over death at Calvary and the empty tomb!

The most beautiful women I know are aging gracefully because they love and trust God, and I am thankful for their example.  I want to be attractive for God, with His beauty shining through my weakness.   When we are united with God, we are truly beautiful! And I hope if Renee doesn’t know it already, that she will soon find out how dearly God loves her.

 *   *   *   *

“The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.” Psalm 92:12-15 ESV

“The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.” Proverbs 20:29 ESV

“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30 ESV

“Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb; even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.” Isaiah 46:3-4 ESV

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16 ESV

“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” Philippians 3:20-21 ESV

Saturday Fun Supper Ideas (AIP)

Saturday evening used to be party time at our house.  We would pull out the air popper and make glorious bowls of buttery popcorn!  We would slice apples and make caramel dip out of blocks of cream cheese.  Ahhh.  What to do?!?  Yesterday we came up with some fun foods and a fun way to eat them. Tim had set up his grandpa’s electric train in the play room, so we sat around the choo-choo with our platters and toothpicks in hand.  We had a jolly little supper together!


Ingredients

1 1/2 lb. antibiotic-free bacon

3 black plantains

Olives (can/jar from refrigerator)

Sea Salt (I like Selina brand – very nutritious and helpful for exhausted adrenals.  I found Selina grey sea salt for just $1.99 per pound at our new Fresh Market this week!)

 

Instructions

1.)  I fried the bacon in my new electric skillet (it makes it so much easier, because it’s square.)  I put the bacon on a plate and covered it with a paper towel.  Normally I would’ve put it in the oven on “warm” but I felt too lazy to go to that much work.

2.)  With the skillet still medium hot, I added the sliced plantains.  I let them cook for a few minutes until they were gloriously browned and ready to flip for an even tanning.  They soaked up most of that glorious bacon fat.  Sizzle-sizzle YUM!  We like that caramelized gooiness, with just a touch of crispy/chewy on the outside.

3.) Open the can/jar of olives and rinse, placing on a paper towel to dry.  If you’re feeling creative, set the olives in the shape of a smiley face or heart.  Put it all on a tray with your favorite sea salt shaker (and lots of love) and take ‘er to the party room.  And WALAA, we had supper!

Obviously this isn’t rocket science.  But it was big to us.  Since we are new to this lifestyle, it is important to retain the fun.  Eating the plantain with toothpicks was fun, and fingers worked great for the bacon.  And who can possibly resist putting black olives on fingers as finger puppets?

 

What are your new fun foods?  Please do share in the comments below! 🙂

 

Coconut Indian Chicken Spaghetti (AIP – Crockpot)

I miss Indian food.  So, I am coming up with my own variations!  This flavorful recipe hit the spot for me, and I hope it will for you, too.  It serves a family of 6, with leftovers if little people are involved.

 

Ingredients

Spaghetti squash

8-10 chicken thighs (boneless)

1 can full fat coconut milk

Sprinkles to taste of: ginger, coriander, cumin seed, and salt.

Optional: bag of frozen cauliflower

Instructions

1.) Bake the spaghetti squash at 350 degrees until cooked – about 45 – 60 minutes. (You can bake this ahead of time, putting the cooked squash into a pan with cover and refrigerating until you’re ready to rewarm it.)

2.) Place chicken (and cauliflower, if you wish) in a square pan (no need to grease).  Combine coconut milk with spices and pour over chicken.   Cover with foil – place in a 350 oven for 1 1/2 hours, OR place in a crockpot on low for 6 hours, high for 3 hours.  Stir halfway through and toward the end break it up into smaller pieces (will fall apart by itself).  I like to uncover and broil it at the end, but that’s just me.

3.) About 30 minutes before serving, put the cooked spaghetti squash pan in the oven to warm (if you cooked it ahead of time).

4.)  Serve the chicken gravy over the spaghetti squash – delish!  (Don’t forget to add the love!) 🙂

Tuna “Noodle” Casserole (AIP)

When eating the auto-immune protocol way, I never take delicious food for granted.  Today I thank God for giving me a fantastic idea for lunch.  It actually tasted like tuna noodle casserole from my former food life.  This is enough for four people and is a great way to use leftover cabbage, squash and lard.


Ingredients
Bacon grease (3 Tbsp)
1/4 cup leftover squash (any kind)
2 cans tuna, drained
About 5 cups of leftover purple cabbage (chopped into strips and cooked until slightly limp in a bit of olive oil)  cold from the frig
Onion salt to taste

Instructions
1.)  Leave leftover bacon grease in the pan after breakfast.
2.) At lunch reheat the lard, add in cans of tuna (drained) and crumbled up squash. Stir it around a bit until slightly browned and crisp.
3.)  Add cooked cabbage “noodles”  cold from the frig.
4.) Top with onion salt and love!  Enjoy!