Lyme Disease & My Story
For over thirty years of my life, I have dealt with my own health struggles, one of which has been Lyme disease. Through trial and error, I have gained control of this disease and have made it a goal to help others find effective, holistic AND traditional treatments for their own individual ailments.
For those of you who don’t know, Lyme disease is an inflammatory bacterial disease that is believed to begin with a rash and headache, as well as chills and a fever. When left untreated, it can cause joint pain and neurological problems such as Bell’s palsy. It is caused mostly by deer ticks which feed on the blood of animals and humans. These ticks harbor bacteria that can spread to its host when feeding. Truthfully, only 50% of people get a bulls eye rash and only 10% of children present with a rash.
My history with Lyme disease started in the third grade. As an active Girl Scout, it wasn’t uncommon to do tick checks on a regular basis. No one ever mentioned to check for a rash, but since most of mine were on my head under my hair, I’m not sure anyone would have seen a rash anyway.
Over the years, I developed long-lasting flus, suffered from acid reflux, and have had at least four bouts with Bell’s Palsy. I’ve had my gallbladder removed, had issues with my pregnancies, been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Sjogrens’ syndrome, and have dealt with upper and lower GI issues, pain, and dabilitating fatigue.
December 2009, I slipped in the shower, and while I didn’t fall down, I “torqued” my spine and spent months going to the chiropractor and physical therapy. This one event set off a chain reaction of events that was both my un-doing and my re-birth. Most of the things listed above were related to or aggravated the Lyme disease I didn’t know I had because each time I was tested, it came back negative—until I learned about something called Herxheimer Reaction. I knew I wanted to be tested, but my primary care doctor wouldn’t order the testing. "We don't have Lyme Disease in Georgia." he said.
My gastroenterologist agreed to order the test but referred me out to an Infectious Disease Doctor at University Hospital in Augusta. Once I had the test done, the results were faxed back to this doctor, and even with them in hand along with my vast medical history, SHE REFUSED TO MAKE THE DIAGNOSIS.
My family was forced to do what many other families across our country are forced into doing: we had to make the trip elsewhere for treatment. We ventured to North Carolina to see the LLMD there, and in October 2010, I was officially diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease, 30+ years after first contracting it. My Lyme doc was GREAT! My first appointment with her was six hours long, and when I left her office, we had a treatment plan.
Before I could start any of my treatments, I was instructed to go on a gluten and sugar-free diet to prevent any issues with yeast overgrowth. To all of our surprise, two weeks into my new diet, roughly 80% of my symptoms disappeared—the fatigue, the irritability, a good portion of the pain, the mind fog, the mood swings, sleep disturbances, gas and bloating, ALL GONE.
When this happened, we did the responsible thing by testing me for Celiac Disease and gluten allergy, both of which came back negative. Conclusion: I am gluten and sugar INTOLERANT. Staying off gluten and sugar has been my Fountain of Youth.
Through all of this, it was the revelation about gluten and sugar that impressed me the most – what I’m most passionate about – and what ultimately lead me to becoming a health coach. My symptoms, while wide-ranging, could all have been a by-product of the intolerance. The Lyme could have caused the intolerance. But people started coming out of the wood-work who also had the same type issues and who were helped by making changes in their diets. I wanted to show the world that you CAN take control over your life and health and energy. Food IS medicine, but you need to be ‘taking’ the right medicine FOR YOU. This isn’t your BFF’s diet. Even the diet you grew up eating may not be right for you.
I would do almost anything to save someone from the agony that I experienced—save you the time, money, anguish, pain, frustration, relationships, and sanity. I learned a lot along my path and I walk my talk. But it will only be worthwhile if it can be shared with others.
I am completely drug free. I’m happy, and I feel fantastic.
And that’s why I became a Certified Holistic Health Coach!
There is a great debate in the medical community regarding the testing and treatment of Lyme Disease. For more information, visit: ILADS.org