As I near the finish line for my nutrition degree I’ve noticed that I feel different lately. Different in a good way. In the past few months I’ve been so wrapped up in spending time with family visiting and writing research papers that I haven’t had much time to think about how much my health has improved. Currently I’m taking no medication, but I am actively using a few therapies to improve what I now feel is more than just Lyme disease.

I’d like to briefly list some of the things in the past year that have helped contribute to the hope and motivation I now have for overcoming chronic Lyme disease.

prayerbandsFamily and Friends: I’m so thankful to have support. I feel like this is important with any chronic illness. There are days when you feel depressed and other days when symptoms are present but you try to ignore them and just keep moving on. My wife, family, friends and church have graciously stepped up during the down moments to lift me up with prayer, encouraging conversation, financial assistance and quite literally, physical support (last year at this time I was walking only with a cane and some help from those around me).

So many friends have reached out and surrounded me with love and kindness. This was a photo of friends and family who gathered together and made prayer bands for me (imprinted with the message: Psalm 138:3). It’s incredibly encouraging to know that others – even strangers – are praying for your healing or even just thinking of you.

Although some days when in pain you’d rather not face the world, it can help just to talk with someone. I would encourage anyone suffering with a chronic illness to seek help from others.

Education: I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to go back to school to learn how to support the body from a holistic perspective. Even without a formal education, there are so many books and resources online where you can learn how the body works. The more I’ve learned about anatomy, physiology and how the body’s organ systems are interconnected, the easier it has become to make decisions about what nutrients are necessary for optimum health.

Lyme and Coinfection Treatment: Last year at this time I began oral antibiotics and later daily IV antibiotics for a total of about 8 months. While I don’t feel there was a lot of progress during those months, I am grateful for knowledgeable Lyme doctors who helped me get through those treatments with continued nutritional and probiotic support. The one treatment that stood out above the others was with the anti-malarial drug, Mepron. During the months on this medication I experienced what I feel may have been a healing crisis. Drenching night sweats, increased pain and little sleep felt like a lifetime, but those symptoms eventually diminished. That was a clue that part of my health complications were from a coinfection like Babesia. What I learned from the experience is that pathogenic infections can be complex and it may take a lot of trial and error before finding what works. After completing several months of IV antibiotics I crafted an anti-Lyme protocol with essential oils inspired by the essential oils Lyme protocol at Faithful Wellness. I hope to write about this modified protocol in the near future.

Dental Cavitations and TMJ treatments: Previously I’ve written about multiple cavitation surgeries and how over the past year my holistic dentist found that I still had cavitations along with a locked jaw. Osteoarthritis in my temporomandibular joint only complicated things but thankfully my dentist has helped me with non-surgical options. Recent muscle testing and bioresonance scanning has shown significant improvement in the areas of my jaw where the cavitations had been present. Over the past 7 months my dentist used ozone injections to reduce the cavitation sites. Meanwhile, I’ve been using a splint along with additional ozone injections into the jaw to help repair the damaged TMJ areas and encourage jaw movement.

Anti-Parasite Protocol: Based on the Klinghardt protocol, after the IV antibiotics I underwent an anti-parasite protocol with Biltricide, Ivermectin, Pyrantel Pamoate, Albendazole and Alinia. Visible evidence in my stools (what looked like Ropeworm) was enough to call this a success. Since then I am using a blend of herbs in tincture form off and on for continued deworming.

Kidney Cleanse: This was a year full of treatments, both pharmaceutical and natural. Any protocol that causes pathogenic die-off may overtax the detoxification organs of the body. A few months ago I started to notice continuous aching around my kidneys and felt it was time to work on restoring their health. I followed a 30-day protocol based on the book, The Miracle Kidney Cleanse, by Lauren Felts. This book was a fantastic resource and includes a guideline for everything you need to get your kidneys back in shape. The meal ideas were quite tasty and the 3-day juice feast surprisingly gave both my wife and I the desire to continue juicing every now and then. Needless to say, the kidney pain I had for months before the cleanse went away completely after the 30 days and has not returned.

Detoxification: As another component to successful healing, detoxification of the filtering organs such as the kidneys, liver, lungs and skin are also just as important as getting the right nutrients and removing pathogenic organisms. Lymphatic drainage massage, far-infrared saunas, coffee enemas, liver flush, skin brushing, herbal support with supplements, teas and tinctures (raw dandelion greens, lemons, milk thistle and dandelion root are my favorites) were some of the therapies I used this past year. One in particular, the dreaded coffee enema, which I had heard from others to be such a great tool for detoxification, was something I never wanted to attempt until this video from The Tick Slayer made it sound so easy. And it was! So easy, that I’ve added this to a weekly regimen. It’s one of the few therapies where I can instantly feel more energy and symptom relief immediately afterward.

Interestingly, coffee enemas were listed in the Merck Manual until 1977 when they were removed to save space. The 1920s pharmaceutical movement also shifted focus in medicine and caused people to lose interest in coffee enemas. The main reason they are beneficial is that they help clean the liver and gallbladder by increasing peristaltic action in the colon, encourage the bile ducts to empty and stimulate glutathione-S-transferase in the liver which helps the function of liver detox pathways. And since the coffee enema is low volume and stays in the sigmoid colon, the caffeine only makes it’s way into the entero-hapatic cirulation system [1]. So even those sensitive to drinking caffeine should not experience the same types of symptoms from a coffee enema.

Bioresonance Scanning: After my visits with Dr. Simon Yu 2 years ago, I became interested in his method for testing meridians, or pathways of energy flow through the body. He used an electronic device to measure energy flow through acupuncture points called Acupuncture Meridian Assessment (AMA) to find imbalances in different parts of the body. More recently some practitioners have started using a biocommunication device called ZYTO which has some similarities to AMA. While it it is not used to diagnose or treat disease, I have found it helpful as a guide to discover some of the more difficult imbalances in my body. A recent scan verified my imbalances due to Lyme but also discovered some possible problems with heavy metals. I’ve since started a 90 day protocol using a gentle method for eliminating toxic metals using a product called HMD. Since heavy metals like mercury, lead, cadmium and aluminum can be damaging to cells in the body I feel that a mild cleanse using HMD can only help to remove the total stress load from my body.

Exercise, Chiropractic Adjustments and Physical Therapy: In just the last few weeks, I’ve found considerable pain relief by getting chiropractic adjustments and physical therapy for both my TMJ issues and knees. One of the reasons I felt there has been so much pain in and around my jaw was due to poor posture and tightness in the muscles surrounding the jaw and neck. With massage to relax the lateral pterygoid muscles near the TMJ area and surrounding muscles my jaw has been able to open wider with much less pain.

Six years of atrophy from lack of exercise has also shown to be a contributing factor to the way I normally hold my head. In just a few weeks I’ve noticed less pain in my neck and feel stronger from isometric exercises and stretching. During those past six years I had been hesitant to do much exercise for fear of increased injury and limited movement from knee inflammation. I’m thankful to have a therapist and chiropractor who understand my limitations and have helped me find exercises that focus on strengthening my weak areas. The key has been to find ways to do isometric movements that build muscle around the back, shoulders and neck to reduce the amount of work for the TMJ-related muscles. Other isometric exercises that have been helpful strengthen my legs and core without putting pressure on the knees or strain other weak areas.

As I learn more about chronic illnesses like Lyme disease or inflammatory autoimmune arthritis, I feel it’s best to work with multiple practitioners to target every weak area in the body. By first finding a good holistic health practitioner, integrative or functional medicine doctor you may be able to figure out what parts of the body are under the most stress. As you reduce the total load of imbalance in the body, you may notice that you start to feel better. I realize everyone may respond differently to various treatments, but hopefully this may give you some ideas to explore if you have a chronic illness like Lyme disease.

1: Krohn, J., & Taylor, F. (2000). Natural detoxification: [a practical encyclopedia: the complete guide to clearing your body of toxins] (2nd ed., rev. & expanded.). Hartley & Marks Publishers.