When I first began to suspect I had chronic Lyme disease, I devoured every bit of information I could on the topic: how people were successfully treating it, how to properly test for it, every symptom that might be related… I became a little obsessive, but I was determined to get better. After years of clean eating, I was still struggling with excessive fatigue, occasional migraines and joint pain, and obvious symptoms of chronic infection.
I’m not 100% better yet, but I would consider myself in recovery from chronic Lyme, and truthfully, all it took were a few simple changes to help me start feeling better in no time at all… even as I’ve relaxed on my diet and began enjoying more foods again.
Here’s how I’m kicking chronic Lyme disease.
First, what is “chronic” Lyme disease?
While many doctors won’t admit that chronic Lyme exists, those of us who have had it for a long time, know this is a falsehood that causes many people to suffer unnecessarily. I originally contracted Lyme when I was a kid, but didn’t know anything about it until about two years ago when I began reading about chronic Lyme and realized that all of my symptoms fit:
- joint pain (that started when I was only 14)
- frequent migraines
- chronic fatigue
- digestive problems
- food intolerances
Of course, if we’re talking about an acute case of Lyme disease, the symptoms will be a little different, and may strike as a common flu. Frequently, sufferers will have fever, headache, and joint pain that is sometimes accompanied by a “bulls eye” rash (though it should be noted that not all cases of Lyme disease present with this tell-tale rash).
In the case of acute Lyme, doctors will most often prescribe a short course of antibiotics and tell the patient they’ll be fine. Unfortunately, inadequate or absence of treatment leads to chronic Lyme.
Testing for chronic Lyme
As I began my research about chronic Lyme, one topic led me down a rabbit hole of a mystifying, controversial topic: testing. The CDC recommended test is called a western blot, and it’s what most doctors will run. It is not very sensitive or reliable.
You can find a more reliable test from many labs, including IGeneX, Medical Diagnostics, and Immunosciences. Getting insurance to cover the test is yet another hiccup, but sometimes insurance will cover the test or reimburse you.
Once I had my test run through Medical Diagnostics, I took my test to an MD who specializes in treating chronic Lyme. Thankfully, she had some tricks up her sleeve for me.
My protocol for kicking chronic Lyme
Since going to a holistic dentist and a functional medicine doctor almost six months ago, I’ve felt better than ever. I’ve got stamina to get through the day, keeping my house tidy and homeschooling my kids. Here’s what I did:
#1- I had my amalgam removed.
I had just one mercury filling, but after reading about how they can cause fatigue, migraines, and more, I knew I wanted to get that sucker out of my mouth. I made sure to use a holistic dentist who took precautions for removing the amalgam carefully, protecting me from the mercury with protective equipment and procedures.
It was following this procedure that I began to feel better. Want to know more about my experience? Read: What is holistic dentistry?.
#2- I infused my body with vitamin C.
At the suggestion of my doctor, I began doing vitamin C “flushes.” Once a week, I take a teaspoon of vitamin C powder every 15 minutes until it flushes my bowels. I follow with a coffee enema to clear everything out and usually experience great energy after.
When I remember, I take maintenance doses of vitamin C through the week between flushes. Even one teaspoon in the morning helps, but ideally, I take several, spread out throughout the day.
My doctor recommended a specific type of vitamin C, as natural, food-based vitamin C is not potent enough to cause flushing. Get my doctor-recommended vitamin C here.
#3- I supported my detoxification system.
You may or may not have heard of glutathione, the body’s “master antioxidant,” but it’s become quite the buzzword for the health-obsessed lately. That’s because it’s one of the body’s primary detoxification components.
Our bodies make glutathione on their own, but many of our bodies don’t make a sufficient amount to help our bodies properly detox. As a result, toxins build up and chronic conditions set in.
A glutathione prescription has been helpful in beating my symptoms of chronic Lyme, as I have felt much better since I started using it.
There are lots of different types of glutathione on the market, but the key is finding one that can be easily absorbed by your body like lyposomal glutathione or nano-particle glutathione. Even better, if you have a functional medicine or even an open-minded doctor, ask for a prescription for glutathione suppositories. I have to get them from a special pharmacy and pay out of pocket.
#4- I healed my immune system with nutrition.
Though I’ve been able to loosen up on my diet in recent months, it was imperative that I began healing my body, my gut, and my immune system through nutrition.
I like doing the GAPS intro diet for quick and effective healing, and feel best when I stick with a gluten and mostly grain-free diet free of refined sugars and processed foods. However, I can easily become too devoted to diet and forget to enjoy life and food… at which point, the stress of eating “perfectly” becomes a problem. Choosing joy is essential, no matter what I eat.
Which leads me to my final step:
#5- I stopped thinking I was “sick.”
Several months ago, I learned that I had become way too obsessive about health and food. I had become legalistic about every bite that went into my mouth and felt guilty any time I indulged, convinced I would later pay a hefty price for my indiscretion.
This negative association with certain foods ensured that my body did not tolerate them. Now, I try to not think of any foods as “bad” and make conscious choices to indulge without guilt. I’m able to do this because I’ve spent time healing my gut, but no matter where you’re at in your food journey, the more you learn to savor and enjoy food, regardless of how strict your diet needs to be, the better your digestion will be and the better you will feel.
Aside from learning to relax and enjoy my food, I stopped over analyzing every symptom I had. Surprisingly, when I stopped obsessing over symptoms, many of them went away. I might still occasionally experience joint pain, headaches, or fatigue, but I don’t worry about them or let them slow me down the way they used to. I simply accept that I’m on a journey, count my blessings that I’m doing better than ever before, then resolve to take care of my body to continue feeling better.
I suffered for years from chronic Lyme, making only minimal improvements for what felt like a lot of effort. These recent changes have finally begun to help me live a fuller, more energetic life, with minimal effort.
I’ve been happy to have such major improvements in a short period of time just by trying a few new things. By supporting my body and immune system, and re-evaluating my thought patterns, I am finally kicking chronic Lyme to the curb.