Back in 2011, I tested positive for Lyme disease. A Western Blot test from IGeneX showed positive bands for 18, 23-25, 31, 34, 41, 45, 66 and 83-89. By CDC standards and IGeneX standards, I had Lyme disease. I won’t go into detail about testing for Lyme via an ELISA or standard Western Blot (from what you would find at the average hospital/clinic) other than I feel IGeneX testing is more comprehensive based on thorough explanation from my LLMD’s (Lyme Literate Medical Doctors). IGeneX tests for IgM (showing active or current infection) and IgG (current infection or past exposure to Lyme) infections. In 2011, my IgM was positive and IgG was negative. For a simplified explanation of Western Blot testing, this site covers the basics.
Fast forward to today, or about a month ago. It’s been 2 1/2 years since I last tested for Lyme disease. Several doctors have stated recently that I don’t have Lyme but that my symptoms could still relate to a systemic infection. I still have swollen knees, stiff neck, swollen ankles, thumb, arthritis in all my joints, overall fatigue and weakness. Is it parasites? Bacteria rooted deep in the tubules of dead or diseased teeth? Or perhaps another type of pathogen hiding in joint tissue where free-flowing blood cannot reach? My current doctor is a Lyme specialist, and his clinical diagnosis is that I may still be fighting Borrelia burgdorferi and/or tickborne coinfections. So we decided it was time to re-test. I just got results from the new tests, again through IGeneX. Western Blot IgM was once again IGeneX and CDC positive for Lyme. This time positive bands were 18, 23-25, 43, 41 and 58 while 31, 39 and 83-93 showed an indeterminate status.
Starting in August, I began oral antibiotics along with herbs like artemisinin, supportive homeopathics, quite a few vitamin, mineral, antioxidant and gut supportive supplements. Even though I strive for a high amount of vitamins and minerals from food, I want to be careful to supply my body with nutrients that are depleted by medication. If you’re curious about what nutrients are robbed from antibiotics or other medications, I recommend reading the book, Drug Muggers by Suzy Cohen, RPh. She explains drugs and nutrient depletion in an easy-to-understand manner. It’s critical to keep up extra levels of B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, iron and beneficial bacteria because antibiotics are thieves. Additionally, I’m continuing a gluten-free diet and eliminating processed foods and sugar while eating as healthy as possible. It is encouraging to hear my doctor say that all of the non-antibiotic therapies and treatments over the past couple of years have been helpful. I agree that they have. While they may not have eliminated infection, I believe they have all been supportive.
I recommend testing for Lyme, but it’s really only a tool. Trial and error may be the only way to know what’s working or not. Especially since every person is different. I’m glad I didn’t start with antibiotics because I believe I needed the extra time to recover from previous medications and heal my gut. I have noticed since beginning oral antibiotic therapy, an increase in symptoms. And not just increased symptoms but new ones (or at least symptoms I haven’t had for years), like night sweats and chills. It’s never exciting to experience worsening of symptoms, but it’s encouraging to feel the effects from a new battle being waged on the inside.