And then it gets real . . .

It is now 6:39 p.m. on a beautiful Saturday and I am grateful to be able to function at a low level once again.  Sometimes your own posts become your best medicine!  I am so glad that I had the opportunity to explore the topic of suffering before two hellish nights.  Sigh.  Perhaps this suffering shall pass in time . . .

Low Dose Naltrexone, a compounded medication used off-label to raise a person’s pain threshold and boost the immune system of someone with an autoimmune disease, is now ruled out for me.  Just 1.75 mg taken at bedtime the past 2 nights was enough to set off violent seizure attacks!  Oh yeah, I’ve had some of these attacks more often lately, but not for 1 1/2 hours in a row with hardly a break to breathe!   The duration was much longer this morning with longer breaks in between additional episodes.  After 2 hours then 3 hours then 4 hours of sleep, “I am able to function at a low level once again.”  This saga is a bite in the shorts for sure.  I AM FRIED.

So what did I learn here?

First, it’s time for more than one-half of a day break after completing one treatment regime before beginning the next one!  Healing from a chronic illness is a process, not a race.

Second, it’s time to simplify my daily routine even more.  Cleaning the entire house every week is just not going to happen for awhile.  This is a bummer since I am paranoid about dust accumulating, since we completed the mold remediation of our home.  Maybe the dust is cleaner now?

Third, it’s time to ask for help when I need it and not just from my husband.  A few ladies have offered assistance over these past 2 years of illness and I have rarely accepted it.  Maybe I could use help with a few things during this particular time.

Fourth, I must continue keeping my mind filled with scripture, Christian music, Christian messages and uplifting images to ward off the temptations and lies of the Evil One.  I must not fall into despair.  I must not keep apologizing for the effects of an illness that are clearly out of my control.  I must live as though the Lord is creating a masterpiece from the fragments of my shattered life, picking up each piece as if it were a treasure and not another burden.  God will use this for His glory and my good.  I must hang in there for the finished work.

Fifth, I must keep writing, including the good, the bad, and the ugly.  And when I do, I will continue to leave my gentle readers with hope by the time I reach the last period.  To write has been an incredible salve for my wearied frame, my wearied mind.  My soul, well that’s already in the hands of my Savior.

I am hungry again!  But it’s more-than-time for an Epsom salt-and-baking-soda bath and a shower!  Perhaps the Beanitos chips and unsalted dry roasted whole cashews I just ate for dinner while writing this will tide me over just a little longer?  Hope so.

Seeya next time, perhaps with better news.  :J

Elle gets a real job
Elle gets a real job

Treatment Scorecard

In January of 2012 I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease by a brilliant Lyme Literate Medical Doctor (LLMD).  I had never fully recovered from an episode of viral hepatitis after kayaking in a local reservoir in October of 2011 and my LLMD went looking for answers.  The diagnosis of Lyme Disease was made.  A year later, additional testing revealed mold illness and we remediated our home from January to March of this year.  During the interim, I’ve been treating for Lyme Disease initially with antibiotics and subsequently with a Rife machine and boatloads of pharmaceutical grade supplements.  Recently Candida was added to the diagnostic profile and I further restricted my diet, started on a supplement specific for Candida.  Now for the heavy hitters from recent blogs:

Let’s see, about 2 months ago I was all excited about vasoactive intestinal peptide or VIP.  It’s used to treat Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, a complication of mold illness which presents a significant neurotoxin challenge for recovery from Lyme Disease.  Basically this means that I react to most noxious sensory stimuli very negatively.

Update:  I’m still at one nasal spray per day and am unable to increase it without tremendous fatigue.  The seizure attacks (which began in March of 2012) are of a shorter duration when present and present one less time per day.

Shortly after starting VIP, my LLMD prescribed Losartan, a blood pressure medication.  Losartan lowers TGF beta-1, a hormone that can cause chest compression-type symptoms, another complication of mold illness.  The symptoms have been a daily issue since March, interfering with sleep and causing my breathing to stop at least once per day temporarily during seizure attacks.  Frightful indeed.  My LLMD tested me for asthma and lung disease; he prescribed Albuterol, an inhaled medication.  Geez!  I’ve used the inhaler once.

Update:  It’s now a month later and gratefully the chest compression, pain, and restricted breathing episodes are relieved at least 65%.    The addition of this second medication may be why I am not able to titrate up the VIP yet.  In Dr. Shoemaker’s protocol for mold illness (reference: the TGF beta-1 level should be treated first.

The most recent setback was a flare up of a persistent urinary tract infection and possible interstitial cystitis.  By the grace of God, this time a specific bacterium was found in the culture:  citrobacter feundii.  This bug is common in those who are immunosuppressed.  Yeah that’s me.  With a CD-57 of 17 (supposed to be above 160) denoting severe Lyme Disease, it makes sense.  I don’t like it though!  The treatment is typically from a class of antibiotics that I have not been able to tolerate.  In March this meant three straight days of intermittent seizure attacks.  No thanks.  I am not going there again!  Turns out that the LLMD prescribed one of those same types of drugs and the pharmacy did not catch it either.  In the back page of a computer file was a notation that got missed . . . By the grace of God I caught it and got my 40 cents back as I returned the bad boys.

Update:  My LLMD prescribes Doxycycline.  Now those of you familiar with Lyme Disease know that “Doxy” is the drug used for treatment when people first get bitten by a tick.  Sometimes it’s used at the beginning of a chronic Lyme antibiotic protocol or pulsed in rotation with other medicines.  I had never used Doxy.  Whoa.  I was scared!  What kind of herxheimer reaction would follow?  (Herxing is like a detox reaction when on a cleanse protocol.)  I’ve read that Doxy can trigger every kind of symptom under the sun.  I’ve also read that it’s going for $400 or more around the country.  At the time of this writing I am 5 1/2 hours after the first dose and I am feeling better.  The UTI symptoms are subsiding already.  The cost was cheap at my local pharmacy.  Whew!  One dose down and nineteen to go!

The last update is a minor one:  my response to noxious mosquito bites.  I seem to be a magnet for mosquitos, day and night, getting bitten through my clothing and in any spot not doused in DEET-laden bug spray!  Fifteen mosquito bites this past Saturday set off 36 hours of seizure attacks and sickness including Father’s Day.  Bad timing.  Oh well.  Nothing would soothe the inflamed bites either.

Update:  Monday my LLMD office recommended some Rife programs for Lyme and a specific co-infection called Bartonella.  Within a few minutes of running just 90 seconds of each program, the itching subsided.  Praise the Lord!  They returned later but were diminished overall and this occurred in less time than I had noted using various over-the-counter remedies/baking soda.  Yeah God.

I think I’m only going to go outside during the daytime when it’s cooler and I’m covered.  Besides, photosensitivity is a severe side effect of Doxycycline so I better stay out of the sun for the next 10 days!

Sure has been a crazy Spring and Summer so far.  Well actually the whole year has been insane!  I gotta tell ya that I am actually very encouraged this day so I hope that you will be as well.  Seems like the worst setbacks have always given way to the best insights and new directions.  I haven’t a clue why the Lord has allowed this crazy journey in my life.  My husband is a saint!  I do know that the breaks in the illness are very precious times between me and Steve.  I do know that I find myself grateful for smaller and smaller miracles that I might have missed if my life was “normal.”  I have already seen that my experience can benefit others as I have benefitted from theirs too.  I love to blog and make jewelry and had never done either before.  I have finally made some close friends here in Indiana.  And in the end, it is clearer than ever before that the promises of the Lord Jesus Christ bring more hope than any temporal experience in our days.   (Reference:  Psalm33)

Sure, Lyme Disease and all the rest are a drag.  So is the State of the US government!  We are all stewards of our experiences (good and bad), our time, our resources, our talents, our opportunities.  We can waste them, idolize them, or let them distract us from the eternal things that really give meaning to life.  “Whatcha gonna do with it?” is the bigger question really.  Well?