A Tasty Way to Kill Lyme

I certainly wasn’t expecting my Easter dinner to attack a bunch of Lyme spirochetes, but that seems to be exactly what happened.

Bear with me, because this is going to be a bit unusual. Now how, you ask, did an Easter meal have any affect on Lyme Disease? Did the chocolate bunny kick butt?

OK. Here’s my answer. It was a really nice meal – ham with baked beans, yams and broccoli. As an added touch, I drizzled about a teaspoon of maple syrup over the ham.

I would have used more, but those of us going through Lyme treatment are told to keep sugar to a minimum.

Just before bed, I noticed that my urine was extremely murky. I rarely see that, and for me it is a sign of Lyme spirochetes being attacked.

I’ll back up a bit. I’ve tried many approaches to treating Lyme, and one of those was a trial with Rife machines. For some of you this may seem even more weird, but there are scores of Lyme sufferers who have been greatly helped or even achieved remission using Rife.

In brief, a Rife machine directs an electromagnetic current at specific frequencies in the body. The Lyme bacteria, borrelia, can be found at some of these frequencies. Zap the borrelia and you kill some Lyme. You’ve got to do a lot of zapping over a long period of time to get results, but it works very well for some people.

When I did a trial with the Rife machine, something funny happened. Right afterwards, my urine was very murky. I tried the machine again a month or so later and the same thing happened. Up until that point, I’d never really noticed having really murky pee.

I didn’t further pursue Rife then, as other treatments seemed better suited to my situation. But I did make a mental note that there seemed to be a correlation between killing borrelia and murky pee.

So that brings me back to Easter 2017. Not only was my urine murky before bed, but it was even murkier when I peed in the middle of the night. “Weird,” I said to myself and went back to sleep. I didn’t think it was significant, as I put it on the list of the dozens of strange and inexplicable things that have happened to me on my Lyme journey.

Then on Easter Monday came a surprise.

I was reading the book How Can I Get Better? by famous Lyme doctor, Richard Horowitz, MD. On page 79, he lists several substances that break up Lyme biofilms and in the process kill borrelia. Biofilms are colonies of bacteria that grow in various places in humans. Dental plaque is an example.

Anyway, one of those substances on Horowitz’s list was maple syrup extract.

So it was the maple syrup!

Intrigued, I Googled maple syrup, Lyme Disease and biofilm, and I came upon a 2015 study from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. It found that maple syrup was an effective antibacterial substance, and when used along with antibiotics it could make the antibiotics more potent. The study also discovered maple syrup was an effective biofilm buster.

The McGill research was done in the lab and not on human subjects, but it is still very promising. And in recent years, more and more natural substances have been found useful for treating Lyme.

The natural sweetener Stevia has recently been shown to have powerful effects on biofilm. There are also, of course, several effective natural approaches to treating Lyme that have already been developed, such as the Buhner, Cowden, Zhang, Byron White and Beyond Balance protocols.

So the moral of this story is not that a little maple syrup is going to cure you of Lyme. It’s that there are probably many other natural things that are effective at treating Lyme. What’s needed is more research to find out just what these are and how best to integrate them into protocols. We need as many weapons as we can find in this war, and if they taste good, that’s very good indeed.

 

 

Seven easy ways to not delay your healing

I was going to compile a list of “don’ts” here, but nobody likes to be told don’t do this and don’t do that. So why don’t I make it a list of “avoids”?

We people with Lyme are usually so focused on making sure we do this and take that and see so and so that we don’t pay enough attention to what we should steer ourselves away from.

It’s all about not accidentally shooting yourself in the foot and setting yourself back.Many times what you don’t do is as important to getting well as what you actually do.

#1 – AVOID watching a lot of TV news.  People underestimate the importance of keeping their headspace positive. I’ve worked in television, so I know that TV exists primarily to sell advertising.

To help further this, many things are sensationalized and made to appear more extreme than they actually are. You may have noticed this during the recent U.S. election campaign. It appears the trend will only worsen.

A little TV news can help keep you informed, which is a good thing. A lot can get you depressed and carrying a negatively skewed view of the world in your head. Not so good.

#2 – AVOID eating (much) crappy food. In recent years, health researchers and doctors have been increasingly stressing the importance of a good diet to maintaining health. I’ve seen in my own life what an incredibly positive difference eating the right foods makes. But let’s not go overboard. Healthy food is often tasty, but unhealthy food is often really tasty. So go ahead and cheat, a bit, especially now that we’re in the holiday season.

#3 – AVOID arguing unless you have to. This might be a difficult one for the politically inclined this holiday season in the wake of the recent U.S. elections. But love has an awful lot to do with getting healthy and positive relationships generate love. Arguing has a way of tearing apart relationships, and really, what purpose does it serve 99 percent of the time? Sometimes you have to take a stand, but those times are rare.

#4 – AVOID believing that you’ll never get well. I remember early in my Lyme journey when I just couldn’t see how I could get better. I felt doomed. Big mistake. In his landmark book, “The Biology of Belief,” written in 2005, Dr. Bruce Lipton wrote convincingly of how a person’s beliefs play a huge role in what actually happens to them. This concept is becoming so mainstream that National Geographic just wrote a cover story on it.

The truth is that many, many Lyme patients have emerged from seemingly desperate circumstances to get fully well. Sometimes it’s a new treatment that works for you when previous ones didn’t. Sometimes it’s finding a different doctor who figures out your problem when others couldn’t. In short, there’s good reason to AVOID giving up.

#5 – AVOID pushing yourself too hard. This is especially important to remember during the holidays. One of the most valuable skills a person with Lyme can master is learning how to say no. When your energy level will allow you to do only so much, politely explain to people that this is the case, and it’s very important for you not to overdo it.

Not pushing yourself too hard also comes into play when it comes to treatment. Lyme medications can often cause serious die-off (Herxheimer) reactions, but many doctors in the field are now saying that it’s best not to promote these Herxes as a good thing to be aimed for as has often been done in the past. I believe the newer message is better. It says that Herxes are sometimes unavoidable but that you should try to avoid them.

#6 – AVOID getting down on yourself. I belong to several Lyme Facebook groups and I see a lot of people expressing their dismay at not being good enough wives or husbands or mothers or fathers or sisters or brothers or whatever.

For those who feel this way, give yourself an important gift this Christmas. Look in the mirror and repeat these words. “It’s not my fault. It’s not my fault.” You got sick with a serious illness that limits what you’re able to do. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.

#7 – AVOID focusing too much on Lyme. Fighting Lyme is such a full-time job that this one can be difficult. But it helps a lot if you can work towards having as full a life as possible with Lyme being only one component of it. Maybe try setting aside one day a week when you don’t say the L word or even think about it. Maybe Christmas day would be a good day to start.

Photo: shonna1968

The Best Thing About Lyme

I’m not one of those people who say they’re glad they’ve had Lyme. No matter how many life lessons it teaches me, I’ll always wish this miserable disease had never become part of my life.

Lyme has stolen an unbelievable number of things from me, mostly the most important things. If I could sue Borrelia, I’d ask for millions upon millions of dollars in damages.

But the truth is that having Lyme can make a person better. And I’d say the best thing about Lyme is that it gives you tremendous incentive to be the best you can be.

It’s like an athlete training for the Olympics. Every day you focus on doing exactly what you have to do as well as you can, sometimes just so you can survive. When I was really sick, I used to divide the day into three-hour blocks. The goal was to make as few mistakes as possible in each block and perform each task as well as I could.

Those things were often pretty mundane. Make sure I had three glasses of water in the morning. Do a brief series of stretches, because that’s all the exercise I could do. Make sure I took my supplements exactly as I was supposed to, and at the times I was supposed to. Check mark in box on this protocol sheet. Check mark in box on that protocol sheet.

I’m in much better health now in, so all this isn’t as intense as it once was. But I’m still not fully well, so the incentive to max out in all realms of life is still there.

Probably the most important area is simply trying to be a good person. Whether you believe in God or karma or the universe of whatever, anyone with chronic Lyme who aims for 100 percent wellness is going to need some wind at their back.

Christianity teaches that what you sow you reap, and much of karma is about what goes ’round comes ’round. I believe in this, and I badly want to be fully well, so my incentive to goodness is powerful. Let that driver in the traffic jam in front of me? Glad to. Practice random acts of kindness? With pleasure. I’m no more perfect than anyone else, but trying to do the right thing has become a habit.

When your heart’s desire is total wellness, it does wonders for your discipline. Before getting sick, I ate a lifetime’s worth of junk food. Now you’re going to have to wrestle me down and jam that crap down my throat to get me to eat it. If I feel tempted, I remember how wretched I felt, month after month after month, and my appetite for sweets quickly fades away.

Exercise? Now I see it as a privilege. For a long time, it was a struggle to walk the eight steps from my bed to the bathroom. Compared to that, going for a pleasant stroll is bliss. Are you kidding? Fresh air. Sunshine. Seeing people, animals, trees, clouds. Unbelievable! After being released from prison Lyme, you start to see the world as a small child would.

Even something like cleaning the house. For a long time, I wasn’t very good at that. But now I know a few things about microbes, and frankly, I don’t want a lot of them hanging around.

The potential downside of all this incentive is that it could lead to perfectionism. But after doing a ton of Lyme research, I know that perfectionism is a stumbling block to healing. So I remember to take it easy on myself, laugh a lot, make time for relaxation, and meditate every day. Still checking off those boxes.

So like an Olympic athlete, my habit is to maintain a laser focus on my tasks. For Olympians, everything they do right day in and day out is one step closer to a medal podium. For Lyme patients like myself, the steps are much smaller but they lead to an even bigger goal – getting back a better life than you had before Lyme entered your life.

7 Myths That Can Steal Lyme Recoveries

Sorting out truth and myth is itself one of the keys to overcoming Lyme disease. And it’s not easy to do because considering how prevalent the disease is, the medical community hasn’t given it the research priority it deserves.

So a lot of my myth busting comes from many hours of reading the information that does exist and from personal experience.

Myth #1 – There’s no such thing as chronic Lyme disease. The grandaddy of the myths. My experience is that I received a clinical diagnosis of Lyme and received lengthy treatments of both antibiotics and antibiotic herbs for Lyme. More than a year after that, I tested positive for Lyme and several co-infections. That’s not iron-clad proof, but it sure looks a lot like chronic Lyme. Scores of others have similar tales.

Some doctors still hold to the “no such thing” mantra, while others have accepted recent science that shows Lyme bacteria can persist after treatment. So maybe we can call it “persistent Lyme” and stop  arguing about it and have everyone place their attention on dealing with the problem.

Myth #2 – Long-term antibiotics don’t work for persistent Lyme. A recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine said that three months of antibiotics were not effective in treating Lyme in patients with lingering symptoms. Other major studies done in past years show mixed results. Some say long-term antibiotics do help, some say they don’t.

From information gathered from books, articles, and interviews by leading Lyme doctors and from reading testimonials, it seems the truth is that long-term antibiotics can, and often do, work. There are also many instances when they don’t work. It seems to depend on many factors, such as the practitioner’s skill in choosing the antibiotics, the patient’s compliance, and the patient’s willingness to work on many other things such as diet optimization and detoxification.

Myth #3 – Herbs don’t work for persistent Lyme. Shortly after I got sick, a naturopathic doctor told me “Herbs don’t work.” Well, I think he was wrong. After much study into the matter, and after using  a lot of herbs myself, I’d say herbs do work for many people, but they have to be extremely high-quality herbs, chosen by expert herbalists, and, preferably, administered by expert practitioners. Fortunately, the Lyme community has access to the Cowden, Buhner, Zhang  and Jernigan herbal protocols, along with other outstanding herbal products from Byron White, Beyond Balance and many others.

Myth #4 – It costs too much to eat a healthy diet. It’s probably true that crappy food is usually cheaper than healthy food, but with a bit of time and effort, good food can be found at a good price.

Health experts agree that vegetables are the centrepiece of eating well, and many people have the option of growing their own. Finding a local farmer’s market or a good fruit and vegetable store  are other good ideas. Fortunately, many of the vegetables best suited to Lyme patients, like garlic, onions, broccoli, and cabbage, are cheap. I eat three  veggies with my evening meal and they cost about a quarter a serving.

The two pieces of fruit I eat daily cost a bit more than that, but they too are cheap if you shop around and pick out specials. I also choose the smallest pieces of fruit in the bin, which reduces cost and sugar intake. I further save money by snacking on sunflower and pumpkin seeds, which cost about 25 cents a handful (note: all prices mentioned in this post are in Canadian dollars).

Choosing organic food is optimal, but that often is too expensive for many people. Still, keep an eye out for specials. I’ve often seen organic produce on sale that costs less than the same store’s conventional produce.

Myth #5 – It costs too much to use natural cleaning and personal care products. Reducing your toxic load is a key factor in fighting Lyme. Most commercial  cleaning and personal care brands contain many toxins, so it makes sense to look for natural alternatives. The Environmental Working Group’s website, ewg.org, is a good place to find substitutes.

But can you afford them? Probably yes. I made the switch, and it costs me roughly $100 a year. To do that, I needed to shop around a bit. Doing this, I’ve found it much cheaper to buy supplies at supermarkets, which have bulk buying power, rather than at health food stores. Also, I’m fortunate to be near stores which sell the Nature Clean line of products, which I find to be reasonably priced, effective and truly green.

Myth #6 – Gluten free is unaffordable. Many Lyme practitioners tell patients they need to eat gluten free in order to get well. Then the patients go to the supermarket and see the prices on foods marked gluten free. That makes them feel about as sick to their stomach as the gluten itself might make them feel. The answer to this dilemma? Eat basic foods that don’t have gluten in them. There are lots of them, such as vegetables, fruits, fresh meats, fish, and nuts and seeds. I find I can eat my fill of these sorts of foods for about $10 a day.

Myth #7 –  Some people are too far gone to ever recover from Lyme. Let’s just say I believe in miracles. I’m one of those people everyone had counted out. I had been housebound, spending about 22 hours a day in bed, for seven years. During that time, it would be a good week when I could talk on the phone for 20 minutes and watch TV for half an hour (that’s over the span of the entire week). I wrote about how I emerged from that hole in a post back in March called “5 things that got me out of Lyme hell”. The moral of that story is never, ever, give up. You never know when something totally unexpected will happen to lift you out of the pit.

Graphic: Nevit Dilmen

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.