Biotoxin illness not Lyme disease for me

As of yesterday and my second appointment with a biotoxin illness specialist, my hunt for healing will focus on biotoxin illness and not Lyme disease.  Perhaps you noticed awhile back that I changed the name of this blog?  Join me in finding “Hope Beyond” the challenges of today; for me this blog will always give the praise and glory to the Lord, Jesus Christ when victory comes . . .

I found a remarkable video on You Tube that summarizes mold and biotoxin illness.  Please look beyond the promo for his colleague’s book and his mentioning of “ME” or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.  I do not have ME although I understand that biotoxin illness and ME are similar, much like fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome have similar manifestations.  Now that my diagnosis is clearer, I will be largely following the treatment protocol of Dr. Richie Shoemaker at:  http://www.survivingmold.com as coached by one of his trained physicians.

See whatcha think and let me know in the comments below.  There is hope!  Just Julie

Getting there, slow but sure

That’s something my Grandma L used to say when we asked her how she was doing.  It didn’t matter if she was in the hospital recovering from a bout of shingles or adjusting to a new living situation:  she had an upbeat disposition that covered anything that wasn’t quite right in her world.

Below are a couple of treats to share with you as I slowly venture back into making macramé and leather jewelry.  This hobby is a great creative outlet and another way to connect with others when someone fancies an item from my online jewelry shop:  Trinity Jewelry by Design.  Take a look and find some new and cute wrap-style bracelets with new beaded leather bracelets on their way soon!  Click on the images for more information on each item.  :J

Handmade Boho Macramé Wrap Bracelet

Handmade Boho Macramé Wrap Bracelet

Every Day is Valentines Day Macramé Wrap Bracelet

Every Day is Valentines Day Macramé Wrap Bracelet

My Story in Brief

Here’s a brief overview of my wacky journey to date, written for another blogger.  I’m hanging tough as this time of illness continues, leaning on the Lord and witnessing His grace in my life every day.  I have so much for which to be grateful!  You too?  :J

First Name: Julie
Age:  53
Gender:  Female
Where do you live?  Fort Wayne, Indiana

When/Where do you suspect that you contracted Lyme?  My doctor suggested it as a possibility in January of 2012.  He’s a family practice physician and chiropractor.

When did you first begin to feel ill or start to notice strange symptoms?   I have had fibromyalgia since 1992 in addition to some thyroid and female/hormonal issues.  Regardless, I was the fittest I had ever been in my life when I became extremely ill with viral hepatitis in October of 2011, after kayaking in a local reservoir.  When was unable to recover as time passed, my LLMD suggested underlying Lyme and that I read about mold illness too.

What were they?  The worst symptoms included:  ongoing nausea, increased muscle pain and headaches, decreased activity tolerance, worsened ringing in my ears, back pain, lightheadedness, extreme fatigue, fractionated sleep, and genital, stomach,  and dental pain.

How many doctors did you see before reaching an accurate diagnosis?  If you start from the fibromyalgia diagnosis in 1992, the number would be around 60 including chiropractors and a naturopathic physician.  If you start with October of 2011, it would be 2:  the emergency room NP and my LLMD.

Were you misdiagnosed with anything prior to being diagnosed with Lyme? If so, what?   It’s unclear if the myriad of health issues over the past two decades are related to Lyme Disease or not.  I started treating for Lyme (first with antibiotics then a Rife machine; supplements too) after confirmation of the diagnosis from biomeridian or electro-dermal testing in January of 2012.  A year later we discovered that we had mold in our home and remediated our entire home.  I had a significant history of mold exposure in a work setting about 6 years earlier and a genetic disposition that favored mold illness more than Lyme disease.  Another year later and currently, a systemic yeast infection (level 3 of 4 levels) has taken center stage in my course of treatment.  The treatment of Candida has been as difficult as that for Lyme or mold!

What are the main symptoms that you experience currently?   Virtually every day I feel like I have the flu, experience muscle and joint pain, endure headaches/neck headaches, and battle weakness and fatigue.  The other symptoms noted above persist as well.

The WORST SYMPTOM by far is that of seizure-like episodes!  The first episode happened one month after the onset of viral hepatitis.  Then I had no episodes until I began treating for Lyme disease with the Rife machine and after the initial trial course of 5 weeks of antibiotics.  Seizure attack episodes thus began around April of 2012 and have gradually worsened since then:  generally up to 4 hours per day!  If I did not have a personal relationship with the Lord, Jesus Christ, I would not be able to endure this personal hell. 

What does your treatment regimen look like?   I can no longer tolerate virtually all of the supplements or compounded medications for Lyme or mold illness without the seizure attacks escalating into convulsions!  I have maintained an increasingly and very strict Candida and mold-free diet for the past year.  Treatment focuses on Candida (rotating anti-fungal meds. & supplements as tolerated); I am no longer able to tolerate the compounded medications of Dr. Shoemaker’s protocol for Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (www.survivingmold.com)


How much do your symptoms prevent you from living a normal life? 
My life is severely restricted to chemical/fragrance-and-mold-free environments and settings void of loud music and bright lights.  I have not attended our church in about 8 months as it is a water-damaged building.  Physical deconditioning restricts former activities including kayaking, bicycling, walking and gardening.  I am grateful for the occasional exceptions and was able to maintain some raised bed gardens this past year.  Yeah God!  Travelling is particularly difficult and severely exacerbates seizure attack episodes no matter what precautions we try!  After 30 years as an occupational therapist, including adapting my career with various events of my life, I have not been able to work in 2 years.  I miss working!

What do you like to do in your free time and how is this different than before you were sick?   As tolerated, I blog in the middle of the night at:  http://www.justjuliewrites.com on topics incorporating my faith in God and hoping to encourage others with my story of recovery from chronic illness.  I am grateful to have published an eBook this past October entitled:  Hope Beyond Lyme:  The First Year   In August of 2012, I started making macramé hemp jewelry to keep myself sane; today I am grateful to offer jewelry from two missionary organizations helping families at risk.  A donation will be made to Ianna House (a residence for persons with Lyme Disease) for all Lyme disease awareness items purchased at:  Trinity Jewelry by Design.


What do you want people to know about Lyme?   
Examine carefully and journal your symptoms (response to treatment, etc.), do online research especially at http://www.ilads.org including vector-borne co-infections, join online Lyme forums, do  IGenex testing (www.igenex.com), find an experienced Lyme AND mold literate physician (s), and consider several treatment options as you begin this long journey to healing.

What are you most thankful to have gained, or what important lessons have you learned, from your experience with Lyme?   I don’t know how anyone can recover from this difficult illness without two things:  1) the love, care, and support of other people in your life and 2) faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ who loves you, sees your suffering, grieves with you, and will carry you through the ups and downs of this difficult journey.  He is our true source of hope!  When struggling with hours of seizures at night, He meets me there every time and comforts my weary heart, my weary soul, my weary frame.  Sharing my faith with you is my reassurance that this experience won’t be wasted!  I welcome your thoughts and would love to meet you, Gentle Reader, through my blog (www.justjuliewrites.com) or on Facebook at:  Hope Beyond Lyme.  Take care, Julie

Her Color is Lyme

I am pleased to share with the Gentle Readers of New Hope Beyond Lyme, a second guest blog interview!

Introducing:  Jennifer Steidl, a WordPress blogger from the State of Washington I met after we “liked” each others blogs a few times!  What interested me in reading Jennifer’s story is her devastating exposure to mold biotoxins as a child then her battle with several other serious illnesses including Lyme disease.  What kept me coming back was her gentle way of communicating her experiences and her faith in the Lord.  Please check out her blog at:  http://www.jeanvieve7.wordpress.com/ for more of her story.

And now let the interview begin:

1.  Tell us about your life before Lyme and the development of mold biotoxin illness.

It is actually hard to recall life before illness, we moved into a mold filled house when I was 11 so my (our) health deteriorated after that point. It started with fatigue, sinus infections, and various other symptoms. It took years to discover the problem was mold. We lived in the house 6 years, and after moving out our health started to get better for a time before auto-immune symptoms started to make themselves known.

2.  What role does your faith in God have in your recovery process?

It has been the essential element. I had times when I felt so terrible physically, and was so depressed I think I would have given up all hope if it weren’t for God. And knowing (even if it was only deep down at my core) that He had a plan and a purpose for me brought me through the darkness. I trusted that He led me to a team of doctors that knew what they were doing, and He would not have done so if it were not for the purpose of healing.

3.  How can I keep from blaming God or others for my illness or the things that are going wrong in my life?

I can honestly say I have never blamed God for years of struggles and illness. Been frustrated, angry, depressed, desperate, confused…yes, but not angry at God. I am not being arrogant at all, but rather I had to resort to what I knew was true of God; His character, and the way He works. I am a weak feeble-minded human being and I have doubted these truths many times….but somehow not at my very core. Dive deeply into His Word, pray fervently and honestly, don’t be afraid to ask Him why you are going through these struggles, He will reveal it to you in time. Be open to learning whatever He has to teach you during this time, and what He has given you to teach others.

4.  What are your favorite verses of scripture or Bible stories these days?

  • A Couple of my favorites:  Hosea 6:1-3 “Come, let us return to the LORD. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. “He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, That we may live before Him. “So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD. His going  forth is as certain as the dawn; And He will come to us like the rain, Like the spring rain watering the earth.”
  • 1 Peter 1:6-7 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

5.  What works the best for you with the difficult symptoms of Lyme and mold treatment?

It has changed over time depending what stage of treatment I am in, but one thing that has made the biggest difference in energy and weight loss has been Cholestyramine. It is used to rid the body of toxins that the liver alone can’t deal with, especially mold toxins.

6.  What 2-3 things do you look forward to the most when you are well?

In some ways it is still scary to hope too much (the fear of not getting to do what I want to do), but that is something I am slowly getting past. On a small scale I would love to really get back to biking. I have a goal of riding 50 miles in one day. Also I would love to get back to yoga. On a large scale I have always desperately wanted to travel, with New Zealand being my number one destination.

7.  Is there anything else you would like to share with the Gentle Readers viewing this blog post?

I hope with all my heart you have a good doctor or team of doctors that really know how to treat Lyme, it’s co-infections, and especially the secondary illnesses that accompany it; heavy metals, candida, parasites….If you do know that what you are feeling now is temporary, and it gets worse before it gets better. You can make it through. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor/s the tough questions. Do lots of research and know your illness as best you can. Reach out to others both to learn and be learned from.

Don’t let yourself battle this alone. I think this is one of the top struggles of Lymies because so few people are able to understand what you are going through. But be honest about your physical and emotional struggles with those who love you, don’t try and do it by yourself. No matter how terrible you feel at this moment, allow yourself to accept that you are in a privileged place (crazy I know). But God is drawing you closer, so let yourself be drawn into His arms of grace. There is abundantly more for you at this moment in Christ because all else has been taken away, hold onto it, embrace it, don’t let this moment pass you by.

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Thank you for sharing your story, your heart, and your hope today Jennifer.  I pray that the Lord will bless you on your journey and see your through to complete healing and wholeness.  Take care lady, :J