Is Chronic Lyme Curable?

The question on my Facebook group this past Sunday morning was “When you have chronic Lyme Disease, is it possible to cure at 100 per cent?”

Quickly, someone wrote “No.” I disagreed, so I posted “I believe the answer is yes.” The first poster shot back with “Well, you’re wrong,” and someone added one of those ha-ha-ha options on the Like button, just to rub that in.

It seemed like an innocent question at first, but now I could see there was a long, emotional argument taking shape.

The last time I checked, 93 people had weighed in. There were a few main camps – no, yes, and remission is possible but not cure.

My position didn’t fit into any of those categories. I further explained that because there is no 100 per cent accurate test for Lyme, there is no way of knowing if someone is cured or not. This is why I said, “I believe the answer is yes,” rather than saying yes.

How you look at this debate depends on how you define cure in the sense of the question asked. I took cure in this instance to mean that a person is fully well and no longer has Lyme in his or her body.

I’ve done a lot of Lyme research and read articles by and listened to podcasts featuring many Lyme-literate medical doctors (LLMDs), and the majority disagree with me.  Most LLMDs I’ve heard answer by saying they think remission for people with chronic Lyme is very possible, but that being fully cured isn’t possible. Still, I’ve heard some LLMDs say they think being fully cured is possible.

I agree with them because that while getting fully well from chronic Lyme can be incredibly difficult, many people have done just that. Are those people in remission or are they cured with the Lyme being fully eradicated from their body? Again, we have no way of knowing because the testing isn’t perfect.

Some of the patients who say they believe Lyme is curable talk about various modalities they feel got them well. Some point to Rife machines, some to Bee Venom therapy, some to Chinese medicine, some to other treatments. But no one can say for sure they were or weren’t cured.

This is where belief comes in. While I would be very happy if I achieved full remission and fell short of cure, my goal is to be cured from chronic Lyme, to become fully well, and to have Lyme fully eradicated from my body. Because there is no way to prove if this is possible or impossible, I choose to believe it is possible.

One of the reasons I choose to believe this rests on recent scientific research pointing to the power of belief. Probably the best known work in this area, Dr. Bruce Lipton’s book, The Biology of Belief, describes how believing in something can lead to the creation of beneficial brain chemicals that foster well-being and healing.

Obviously there is no cure right now for chronic Lyme in the sense of a treatment that will guarantee that Lyme can be eradicated from a person’s body. But what I think is possible is that if a person incorporates treatments that work for them, lives a lifestyle that strongly promotes healing, physically, mentally and spiritually, and works through any spiritual or emotional blockages that may be hampering their immune system, then they would be the ones most likely to have a shot at being 100 per cent free of chronic Lyme.

Some would say I’m mistaken in giving myself false hope. Hope is a precious thing for those of us with chronic Lyme and not something to be taken lightly. I spent seven years practically housebound, only occasionally well enough to get out for a very short and very slow walk. Most people had written me off. My own mother once referred to me as an invalid. But I chose to retain hope I could get well.

I’m not fully well but I’m way better now and functioning at a fairly high level. If I’d given up hope I might not be alive today.

Still, I understand why many people with chronic Lyme don’t want to get their hopes up. After trying and failing treatment after treatment, going year after year feeling wretched, and having their hopes dashed time after time, they understandably want to guard against false hope. I get it. I’ve been there.

Maybe I’m wrong in believing that it’s possible to be 100 per cent cured from chronic Lyme. Maybe my hope is false hope. But I’d much rather have false hope than no hope at all.

 

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LDI: Success! A Case Study

I hadn’t had night sweats like this for years. The kind where you wake up several times with a T-shirt so soaked you have to change it.

I’m still not sure what happened, probably me getting overly aggressive using antimicrobials to treat Lyme disease. But suddenly one morning I felt like I had the flu – feverish, racing pulse, no energy, sore throat, muscle soreness and that profuse sweating.

Symptoms continued for just over a week, until, fortunately, it came time for my LDI (Low Dose Immunotherapy) treatment. The night I took the LDI dose, my  sweating reduced dramatically, and over the next couple of days the other symptoms disappeared.

So what the heck happened?

Well, it looks as if LDI worked just the way it is supposed to work.

For those of you not familiar with it, LDI has been around for several years now for the treatment of Lyme and other conditions. Patients are given extremely low dose antigens (we’re talking one part per one hundred millionth and less) of deadened pathogens or other substances and this process is supposed to prod the immune system to produce a more measured response and thus reduce or eliminate symptoms.

I’ve been doing LDI for three years and I can tell you it doesn’t always happen that way. The trick is getting the dose just right. Too strong can mean increased symptoms, sometimes causing serious problems, while too weak often produces no benefits.

This was my 22nd LDI treatment, and for the most part it has helped keep my immune system in balance and has been a key player in helping me slowly get a lot better. But while it has been a good treatment for me, it hasn’t produced the miraculous results some people have enjoyed.

This time my doctor seems to have nailed it with her dosing choice. Those who do LDI might be curious to know what that was (18C for the Lyme mix and 10C for the yeast mix. The C is a standard measure of homeopathic dosing.) From what I understand, that is a fairly weak dose for Lyme and a fairly normal dose for yeast.

So, once again, what the heck happened?

I think it started with my attempt to follow Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt’s retroviral protocol. I have followed Dr. Klinghardt’s work closely and consider him a brilliant Lyme doctor, so I paid attention when he recently said treating retroviruses was a key to overcoming Lyme.

I slowly started taking supplements from the protocol, such as broccoli sprouts, selenium, nettles, bitter melon and cistus tea.

I’m pretty sure it was the cistus tea that caused the reaction. It is known as a strong antimicrobial and it was the last retroviral supplement I took before the flare-up hit.

I didn’t expect anything to happen because I’d taken it many times before, but anyone with Lyme and co-infections is aware that you never know what is going to cause a die-off (aka Jarish-Herxheimer or herx) reaction.

Fighting Lyme is a war and those of us waging it have lots of land mines inside of us in the form of hidden microbes. Take the right (or wrong) antimicrobial at the right (or wrong) time and it can interact with that land mine and Boom! you’re lying on the couch wondering what hit you.

For me, a herx usually lasts a day or so and I haven’t had a severe one in a long while. Not so this time. One day turned into nine and the sweat just kept on coming.

That’s another problem with chronic Lyme. Sometimes when your immune system gets ramped up, it doesn’t calm down once the microbe that started the fuss has been dealt with. This can be dangerous, as an out of control immune system can produce out of control inflammation and other symptoms and has the potential to turn a one-day herx into a relapse.

This is where I feel LDI is most valuable. It can calm an out of control immune system, shut down symptoms and stop a negative spiral.

I think that’s what happened this time. Just how it managed the trick I’m not sure.

It was almost as if my immune system changed the channel. When it saw the LDI antigens, it was like it let go of its death grip on whatever it had latched on to and shifted to working on the Lyme and yeast mixes.

Whatever the case, I went from feeling less well than usual to feeling well in about a day’s time. That didn’t cure me, but it was a considerable relief. Any time you start going in the wrong direction in your fight with chronic Lyme it provokes a lot of stress and worry.

When it first came out, many people hoped LDI would be a breakthrough treatment for a wide swath of chronic Lyme patients. But while it hasn’t produced remissions for as many people as hoped, it is now generally seen as a helpful adjunct treatment for most patients who use it. In fact, I’ve heard it recently described that way by both my own doctor, and by noted Lyme doctor Neil Nathan.

“Helpful adjunct treatment” would accurately sum up my LDI experience,  but that’s nothing to dismiss. Anything that works against Lyme is highly valuable. And after my latest LDI experience I would add the word “very” to helpful adjunct treatment.