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Monday, October 10, 2011

Healing from Lyme Disease 1. Antibiotics, Colloidal Silver

My Experience with Antibiotics

I was fortunate, in 2000, to find an ILADS  doctor in Switzerland who would treat long-term with antibiotics. She began conservatively, prescribing doxycycline, 200 mg a day. I responded strongly to this dosage, and remained at this relatively low dosage throughout treatment. Doxycycline is considered relatively safe as far as antibiotics go, because it is absorbed directly in the stomach, rather than in the intestine, where antibiotics damage the intestinal flora. My doctor was pleased that I responded so well to doxycycline (meaning, I had acute healing responses), and she kept me on it for the next ten months.
 
This link to the use of doxycyline is interesting, as it represents the standard, CDC approach of short-term treatment, and the assumption they go on, that one can treat Lyme disease much like other infections, with one to two weeks of antibiotics. Compare this to what actually worked for me.

"A 2003 study suggested that a 10-day regimen of doxycycline was sufficient for curing most cases. The duration is a matter of some debate, since many physicians are concerned about persistent symptoms and so prescribe the antibiotic for 20 days. Whether prescribing antibiotics for longer periods of time adds any benefit, however, is uncertain. For example, according to the same 2003 study, extending the duration to 20 days did not prevent persistent Lyme symptoms any more effectively than the 10-day regimen."


I soon began to "herx," and that can be very frightening and difficult to deal with. However, Lyme patients learn that they can't avoid it, and that they have to "herx their way back to health." If all goes well, each healing crisis is one step closer to recovery.

For an understanding of the herx, see Under Our Skin now available on hulu.com. A few of these patients allowed themselves to be filmed while herxing.

Briefly, a herx is a temporary increase in disease symptoms as a result of the die-off of pathogens such as bacteria or fungii. When being attacked by antibiotics, the Lyme spirochete bacteria produce powerful toxins and neuro-toxins to poison the host and defend themselves. At the same time, their dead cellular bodies float in massive numbers throughout the body, triggering autoimmune inflammatory reactions such as pain in the nerves and joints, and mind-fog, hallucination or seizure in the brain.

In treating Lyme disease, the herx reaction commonly occurs in four week intervals. This has been observed so consistently by patients and doctors that it is a taken as a "given" in the dynamic of treating Lyme disease.

There are many possible explanations for the cyclical nature of the herx, none of them completely satisfactory. It is known that when the bacteria are attacked, they evacuate the parts of the body where blood easily circulates and go deep into the body's denser tissues. They hide within cells, within connective tissue, and even within bone. They change their shape to avoid detection. They join together into colonies and surround themselves with a protective gel (a bio-film) that antibiotics cannot penetrate. They  separate parts of their DNA into tiny cysts, from which they emerge later when antibiotic use has stopped and it is "safe to come out." Even if all active bacteria are killed,  cysts survive and months or years later, break out to form a new population of bacteria. 

It is easy to understand why Lyme disease is so difficult to heal, and why it often requires months to years to overcome it. The only hard thing to understand is why the CDC does not admit the necessary complexity and length of treatment in the face of the evidence.

The most convincing argument I have heard for the cycle of herx is that the bacteria may have to leave their hiding places to feed and reproduce about once a month, at which time they  come into the line of fire of the antibiotics or other antimicrobial.

My Lyme doctor explained that over the course of treatment, the antibiotics penetrate more deeply into the body and into the bone. From month to month, they reach into new "layers" and kill off bacteria hiding there.

In my case, the herx first showed as pain in the peripheral nerves and under the skin. I experienced pin-prick pains all over the body (actually, some of them felt more like ice-pick pains, very deep, and long lasting) and I also lost the coordination of my legs (the nerves were affected) and my extremities were sometimes numb.

Then the herx went deeper, into the joints, with knee and hip pain. I  would sit for hours in a recliner while videos of light comedy ran on tv, and would pass in and out of consciousness as surges of toxins hit my brain, and pain throbbed in my joints.

Then the herx moved into the brain. Lyme patients say that when the herx hits them in the brain, they  go through extreme anxiety and depression, as well as loss of cognitive abilities. Sometimes, they hallucinate and are in a completely different world. One of the women in my support group landed in a mental hospital, and was fortunate because a doctor there recognized her illness as possible Lyme disease. In my case, I lay as if dead on the couch. My mind felt like a block of concrete, unable to go anywhere... not into thought, prayer, meditation, memory, or emotion. This continued for two or three days, each day worse. 

When having a herx of any kind, it is difficult to keep the faith that this extreme experience is actually a necessary part of healing, rather than simply the illness getting worse. Bottom line: herxing is scary.

In the film, Under Our Skin, we see one woman going through seizures as she herxes. At the end of the film, after months and months of torturous treatment she is well. She had to go through absolute horror to get well, herxing her way to health. What a bizarre disease and healing process!

Finally, my herxes grew shorter and less acute, and my doctor said I could now  "pulse" the antibiotic, being sure that I was taking it during the time when I expected to herx. Each herx was  shorter and less intense. After ten months on doxycycline, I felt better. I wanted to stop treatment, and my doctor agreed.

I was very fortunate that I responded so well to oral doxycycline.

Colloidal Silver

During the next expected herx period, I did still feel some pain in my lower legs, so I decided to try colloidal silver. Many Lyme patients say that it helps them. Rather than buying expensive products from the store, however, I ordered a top grade "generator" that I could use at home to make quarts of quality colloidal silver. I took a small dosage every day for the next few months, and finally felt I had beat the Lyme. This was late 2001.

Lyme disease however cannot be cured. It goes into remission when the bacteria (and co-infections) are beat down in numbers to the point where one's own immune system can deal with them. But it can and will break out again if the immune system is weakened.


It is helpful to have something at hand to give one's body some help, and all wise Lyme patients have one or another antimicrobial ready to use at the first sign of relapse.

For the next three years, I would rely on colloidal silver, using it briefly whenever I felt Lyme symptoms such as pin prick pain or numbness. Each time, the overt symptoms disappeared. But Lyme was affecting me in less obvious ways.

In the spring of 2002 I developed bursitis--a painful condition in the right shoulder (the same shoulder where I'd had the tick bite in 2000). I saw a physical therapist, did  exercises and so on, but the condition did not improve.

It happened that I'd promised to play the guitar and accompany some musicians on a recording, but I developed a very bad cold a few days before. I reached for colloidal silver, which is often used to reduce the duration of a cold. Because I needed a strong healing boost, I drank down an entire quart on the evening before we recorded the music. My right arm was very busy of course, strumming the guitar (as it had been during several rehearsals.) Perhaps the colloidal silver and good blood circulation to the shoulder combined to help. The day following the recording, all the pain in my shoulder was gone--and it hasn't returned.

I have to suspect that what I'd thought was bursitis was actually an inflammation caused by Lyme bacteria that had settled into that area (the closest joint to the initial tick bite).

Now, people with Lyme disease become expert at understanding where they are in their healing cycles. They learn to tell the difference between normal fatigue after a hard day of activity from debilitating fatigue due to the illness or a healing crisis. They become expert in telling if therapy is working, by seeing if it makes them herx. .

Online, you can read many reports from the FDA and Quackwatch, saying that colloidal silver is bogus. But I believe the experiences of people with Lyme disease who report improvement using colloidal silver. They do not report complete cures, but, like me, they experience definite benefit from its use.

Lyme patients develop an extraordinary sense about what is happening in their body. This, in combination with the general lack of knowledge and support from the medical community, has led to unprecedented experimentation in healing and detox modalities by Lyme patients--and has helped many to get well. I am confident that our struggles will eventually benefit the world community, as this disease continues to spread around the globe.

3 comments:

  1. One of the best articles on CLD I've ever read. Thank you so much for this, my brother has CLD and its kicking his ass. I hate this disease because it has my brother captive, but we will beat it thanks to articles like this. Thanks again

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  2. Would you please give me the contact details for your lyme literate doctor in Switzerland? Very difficult to find one thanks so much.
    Stuart

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  3. https://www.facebook.com/groups/384619614910807/?ref=br_tf

    Stuart, this URL will take you to the Swiss Facebook site for Lyme disease, and Felicitas can give you the info on the MDs and NDs that are competent. Remember though, you have to research research research and just start taking one step after another. It can take a lot of time, but the more persistently you act the more surely you'll get there. I also highly recommend the Bob Beck protocol, and you can get the SOTA instruments on amazon.com. For "energy" instruments they are really inexpensive. See the testimonials on youtube. It's simply good for everything and I would include it in most any Lyme treatment, reducing for HERXs of course. Best of Health to you and your loved ones!

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