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.

Advertisements

Helping yourself too much

Hey Jetsons fans. Remember the episode where Elroy gets a movie gig.

Well, if you don’t, here’s how it goes. Elroy gets chosen for a movie part, and Papa George is hanging around the set all day trying to help out his son, the director and anybody else who happens to be around.

But of course, George only gets in the way, messing up scene after scene. The director gets fed up, and George ends up being chased around by a variety of ferocious beasts, barely escaping with his life.

I hate to admit it, but sometimes I can be a lot like George.

That episode came to mind a while back when I was trying to ward off a cold. Like most people with Lyme, I’ve got enough microbes to handle, and I try fiercely to avoid colds and flu. But I overdo it sometimes, and my herculean efforts can get in my body’s way.

As I’ve mentioned in recent posts (maybe I’m overdoing this too), one of the Lyme bacteria’s main survival strategies is to overly boost a person’s immune system. This throws the immune out of balance and leads the person with Lyme to overreact to pollens, dust, molds, cat and dog hair, microbes, etc. and end up exhausted by the effort. And this gives the Lyme a chance to get the upper hand and make you miserable.

So I always keep in mind the need to not add to that overstimulation.

But all of a sudden my roommate is endlessly barking out coughs and making kazoo sounds with his nose, and I really don’t want that cold.

What do I do?

I dig into my supplement bag and pull out the vitamin C, the zinc, the herbal cold formula and a few other things, and I zing that virus with something every two hours. It works, as I get away with a few sniffles.

I’ve won the battle, but, unfortunately, it looks like I lost the war. One mistake was taking stuff in the middle of the night. I woke up with a stuffy nose, got up and wolfed down a few supplements. The resulting immune boost kept me awake for several hours.

I did this a couple of nights in a row, and I rose in the morning with no stuffy nose, no sore throat or other cold symptoms. But on day two I felt really tired and draggy with some of that old Lyme malaise. The kind you try to explain to the doctor and she comes back with a puzzled look. Then you say, ‘Doc, I just feel like crap.’

What it seems I had done was lose too much sleep and at the same time push my immune system out of balance by taking too many anti-cold supplements, giving the Lyme a chance to bash me over the head again. And it took several days to get back in balance.

This is just one example of how careful I have to be not to try to help myself too much. I try not to beat myself up over it because Lyme presents so many can’t win propositions. But I always have to remember not to take too many supplements and not overstimulate my body. I also have to avoid the danger of taking too much and thus drawing out more toxins than my body can handle at a given time.

So what will I do the next time my roommate’s cough sounds like something coming out of a Labrador retriever. Hmm, let’s see. How about rest and fluids?

Tasting your way to better health

Hmm. I can barely taste that zinc tablet when I suck on it. And the vitamin C crystals sure seem a lot less tangy today. Uh oh, something is thinking of zapping me with a cold.

We’ve all heard the phrase “salt to taste”. But one thing I’ve found on my journey to health is that you can also “magnesium to taste” and “calcium to taste” and “copper to taste”. Etcetera, etcetera.

Our bodies are really smart. They are always trying to help us if only we would pay attention. Take the taste buds for example. There are scores of things the body loves to give us feedback on that we generally don’t consider.

I use a powdered probiotic every morning. Some mornings it tastes really strong, other mornings not so strong, and other mornings downright weak. In the middle is what puts a smile on my face, really strong just means back off a bit tomorrow, and weak concerns me. That means something might be wrong in my gut, so I’ll toss a bit more in my glass and hope for the best.

The general rule is if tastes weak, my body could use some more of the substance in question. If it tastes really strong, I may have too much in my system, and if it’s in the middle, I’m probably in balance.

Balance. The key word. When it comes to minerals, vitamins, other nutritional supplements and just about everything else in life, balance is the body’s desire. For me, megadosing supplements doesn’t work. Too much is often as bad as too little.

The list of supplements I’ve tried where the taste test comes into play is a long one. Just about every mineral applies, as do things like B12 lozenges, colloidal silver and grapefruit seed extract.

My doctor uses this theory when she gives new patients a bit of zinc liquid to swish around in their mouths and gauge its taste, which can range from “like water” to “like dishwater”.  It’s a screening test to get an idea of their zinc level, as zinc plays a vital role in so many of the body’s important functions.

All this is not foolproof science. The body may have other reasons for judging a substance weak, strong or middling. And remember the taste test is a snapshot of a moment in time. You might put the same amount of salt on a plate of eggs at breakfast and another one at dinner and have it taste weak in the morning, and then strong in the evening.

Lyme is at least thousands of years old. If it were stupid, it would have died long ago. It’s probably a lot smarter than I am.  But then again my body is a lot smarter than I am too. So when it’s using the taste buds to try to keep me free from nasty things like colds and flu that could weaken me and give the Lyme a chance to make inroads, I’ve learned to listen very, very carefully.