Sign in with Google+ Sign in with LinkedIn
herxing

How I survived the Herx

Ten years ago, one day in July, 2005, I was sick with Lyme, and vacillating between extremes. I was feeling pretty positive most of the day, symptoms not horrible, merely terrible…a big improvement.

But at that moment, my naturopath called, and our conversation sent me into a mental funk.

Through the brain fog, I strained to comprehend what he was suggesting.

He explained that he really didn’t want to prescribe antibiotics. But in the next breath he said that because I was not out of the woods, I really must use them.

He said antibiotics were crucial now, because there was a neurological involvement we must address. Neuroborrellia.

He recommended intravenous antibiotics, and thought I should have an IV for the next several weeks. That meant getting a catheter stuck into my arm and bringing home a portable IV stand with a bag. Then I would be injecting myself with antibiotics every day.

The thought of having a tube stuck into my arm me depressed me to no end. But the problem was, there was evidence that with Lyme disease, long-term antibiotics are effective. In fact, they may be the only way to prevent symptoms from returning.

It was a conundrum. I felt like I was being pulled in two directions at once. I did not want the catheter. I did not want to stay on antibiotics. I dreaded the Herx. But, I did want to kill the spirochetes, and I did want to get completely well.

Evan, however, was convinced that I was coming along really well. He was my systems-thinking cheerleader.

“Look at the numbers,” he said. “You have only been on the antibiotics for twelve days. You added a second antibiotic on Friday. Okay, so you herxed in misery. But instead of seeing that as bad,” he said, “look at it this way. The Herx proves the antibiotics are doing their job. They're killing the spirochetes efficiently.”

And it turned out that he was right. Doctors call it a die off. The Herx is one of the ways of measuring the effectiveness of the antibiotics. It’s a case of the cure being as bad as the illness.

Spirochetes — the original survivalists
Spirochetes are ancient organisms, eons older than dinosaurs. Over the ages they have had nothing else to do but refine their survival techniques.

For such minuscule critters, they’ve got a sophisticated arsenal of ways to keep from detected by your immune system. They can armor themselves with cysts to keep the antibiotics from reaching them, and morph into other forms, thus playing hide ’n seek in your tissues, muscles, organs, and brain.

The spirochetes are the villains, and the last thing they want is for the Terminator — your immune system — to locate and destroy them.

Fight back! Why anaerobic exercise helps
Lyme spirochetes thrive in a cold, low body temperature. I was beginning to get the idea that I would have to fight back, and fight hard. As much as possible, I started to include therapies and lifestyle changes that would increase my core body temp.

The good news is that Borrelia burgdorferi are anaerobic organisms and can't survive in a high oxygen environment.

My plan to fight back began to take shape back then. It started off pretty slowly I admit. Surviving the Herxes was easier said than done. I drank a whole lot of water with lemon. I slept. I endured and persevered, like you are doing.

Don't let the Herx scare you
I knew in my heart that the more I could manage to raise my core body temperature, the more the spirochetes I could kill. It was my main goal, to kill them, and to try to not kill myself with a Herx.

It wasn't easy trying to get enough exercise. I had a hard time standing up, let alone walking around the neighborhood. But I kept at it, determined to be as proactive in my healing as I could.

Today, ten years to the month from my diagnosis, I'm a martial artist, with two solid years of practice logged on my journey from Borreliosis to black belt.

You don't have to join a Taekwondo school. You don't have to sweat through hours of hot yoga, play basketball, dance, or climb steep mountainsides if you don't want to. But you do have to make a plan to be as proactive in your own healing as you possibly can. The doctors can only do so much. The rest is really up to you.

Did I ever get the IV antibiotics?

In the end, the decision was made for me. I couldn’t afford it, so I passed. These days, I might have been tempted, since now I've got health insurance. But in 2005, it simply wasn’t a choice.

Comments

Mind your brain health!

Whether we’ve recently received a diagnosis of Lyme disease, or we’re dealing with recurring symptoms, eating right and exercising are core considerations of a good protocol. We know the importance of foods rich in Omega-3, lean proteins, and a rainbow of vegetables which are high in antioxidants and key vitamins. The physical health of the body is usually our main focus in healing from Lyme.

But what about mental health? You know, brain fog. One of the most disturbing things about Lyme is that the bacterial complex can actually cross over the blood brain barrier. That means it may affect your cognitive abilities, the ability to pay attention; your speech centers, creating stutters or slurs; your memory; your balance and more. I’ve found that
herxing can bring on a ridiculously frustrating case of brain fog, even when other symptoms have faded.

What is really hard to explain to someone who has never been through it, is the unique torment of days filled with sensations and events that you can’t know with certainty even exist. Did I hallucinate that smell, those sounds, or is there someone else in the house? And if that isn’t real, how can this physical pain be so tortuous? My heart goes out to anyone who is at that stage of Lyme.

As Winston Churchill famously said: “When you’re going through hell, keep going.”

Having been dragged by Lyme through the murk and come out on the other side, I can now look at that component of the disease with some objectivity. Yes, it’s crucial to take your
antibiotics (whether conventional or alternative), nourish your body with whole foods and detoxifying fruits like strawberries and blueberries, exercise and stretch whenever possible, and by all means rest.

But because of this mental component of Lyme, it’s also absolutely necessary to
exercise our brains, and therefore help keep our minds fit. The general rule is to try new things.

Try this:
Play music - dust off your violin or sit down at the piano
Go to a museum or concert - if you’re not well enough to do so, take a virtual museum tour online


Play games - try lumosity.com or brainmetrix.com
Paint
Write
Cook
Play Sudokus or do crossword puzzles
Read a book - on an iPad or the old-fashioned paper kind
Try learning a language

Almost anything can be learned online, either with a live teacher/virtual classroom or software program. If you have a yen for learning something, from Yoga to Mandarin Chinese to how to improve your fingerpicking technique on the ukelele, the important thing is to try something new. When you can.

Make a promise to your mind that you’ll do whatever you can to help your brain stay fit so that when you come out on the other side of Lyme disease, you will be smarter and healthier than ever. For it’s true what Nietzsche said: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

Comments

Detox diet and chronic Lyme

The trick with any Lyme treatment is that detoxing will almost certainly bring on a Herxheimer reaction, referred to quite generously by some as a healing crisis. As anyone who’s experienced a Herx knows, it can be as bad as or worse than the Lyme symptoms themselves. Personally, I find it impossible to tell the difference.

What is a Herx? The Herx occurs when the Lyme bacterial complex dies from an attack by antibiotics or other means, and releases toxins that signal reactions from the body’s immune system. Herxing can be triggered at a number of points throughout the healing process.

Detoxification, once the catch-word of glitzy drug rehab centers, is now more or less a Hollywood cliche. Almost every health & beauty magazine or website promotes a different detox diet that in theory will cleanse your body of toxins that assault it every day: smog, sugar, alcohol, pesticides and artificial sweeteners. If you suffer from a chronic condition such as post-Lyme syndrome or chronic Lyme, proponents of detox diets say you’ll benefit from periodic cleansing.

Current, popular ways to cleanse include the ‘Master Cleanse’ which consists primarily of drinking lemon, water and maple syrup. Many consider fresh raw vegetable juices a healthy basis for a good detox diet that can help people slim down while infusing the body with necessary enzymes and other rich nutrients. These types of diets are believed by some to boost the body’s elimination mechanisms through internal cleaning.

However, there may be no scientific basis for cleansing diets. Dr. Peter Pressman of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles states that the body’s multiple systems, such as the liver, kidneys, and GI tract, already do a perfectly good job of cleansing the body and eliminating toxins. He claims there is no evidence to suggest that detox diets improve the body’s natural mechanisms.

Lyme patients must be vigilant about popular trends. Changing your diet or engaging in something radical such as a juice fast might even be a bad idea, especially if you are on antibiotics or some other Lyme treatment. Always discuss with your Lyme doctor or medical team before changing your diet. Cleansing can be dicey for people with active Lyme disease symptoms. The cleanse may trigger a Herxheimer reaction which would affect the body’s immune system.

Whether you think colon cleansing is good and necessary or not, we can all agree that keeping things moving is best. By drinking lots of filtered water and eating foods that help prevent or relieve constipation, we can do our best to ensure that our body is able to eliminate the toxins from the Lyme bacteria as well as the meds, while undergoing Lyme treatment and post treatment. Be sure to drink about 8 glasses of water daily, as it helps digest the fiber, as well as softens and adds bulk to the stool. When I am experiencing a Herx, I drink extra water and it always seems to give me relief, almost immediately.

What are the best foods for preventing or relieving constipation?

High-fiber foods such as barley, quinoa, brown rice are helpful. So are flaxseeds, beans, lentils, artichokes, sweet potatoes, pears and green peas. If you’re avoiding gluten, don’t eat wheats, barley or rye. Quinoa makes a great breakfast cereal.  I add a little coconut oil, stevia and cinnamon, and toss on a teaspoon of flaxseed for good measure. And of course steel cut oats that are gluten free are highly recommended in a healthy Lyme diet, because they’re so good for our skin in addition to their fiber-rich content. We should be eating about 20 - 35 grams of fiber per day, according to the NIH.

Additionally, people with a magnesium deficiency are found to be at greater risk for constipation, so include plenty of magnesium-rich sources in your healing Lyme diet. Nuts such as almonds and cashews are high in magnesium, as are baked potatoes in their “jackets” as my mom used to say.

Refined or processed foods such as white bread, white rice, and white pasta are not your friends if you want to promote pooping. In addition, ice cream, cheeses and meats are high in fat and will work against you in your quest for a good bowel movement. Cut these processed and sugary foods out of your diet and replace them with high quality, high fiber foods. You’ll begin to see and feel the difference.

For now, we may not have the answer to healing chronic Lyme, but in my experience, my quality of life -- and the amount of energy I have for living -- increases immensely the more I shift my diet into the healthy zone. Over the years, each and every person I’ve interviewed for our Lyme Success Stories series has also told a remarkable tale of having healed more quickly after making healthy changes to their diet.

Comments

Cleansing for health post-Lyme Disease

January invites fresh starts. So it’s no surprise that cleansing, colon cleansing to be specific, is on the minds of many. A lot of us abandon our usually healthy diets as we travel or feast with friends and families over Thanksgiving and Christmas. Now that we’ve decked the hallways, it’s time to clear them out.

In my life BL (before Lyme,) I had embarked on dietary healing cleanses such as juice fasts quite a few times. Bear in mind, I grew up in California and one of my first jobs after high school was at a health food store, so my behavior wasn’t out of sync. But health food stores were new and not quite popular yet. Even in SoCal in the 70s - 80s you might be dubbed a little weird if you shopped in one, especially wearing your Birkenstocks and tye-died t-shirts.

Pre-internet days now seem like ancient history, but these stores always had an intriguing books section which I gravitated to. I sipped many a smoothie while reading about the virtues of sprouts, organic veggies, the healing power of vegetable juices, herbal formulas and even (ahem), enemas. Since learning about the function and importance of the colon, it’s always made sense to me that an occasional cleansing could be very helpful. Keep things moving on out. Now of course the internet is a rich source of research on, and recipes for such cleansings, including full-color images of the dreadful gunk that people have dredged from their lowlands.

Having been through Lyme’s crucible, I would never suggest that someone still healing from Lyme Disease try a colon cleanse. I haven’t yet asked, but I doubt that many Lyme doctors would advise it, based on my own experience with frequent and painful Herxheimer reactions and the Lyme symptoms themselves.

However, I’m currently on Day 6 of experimenting with an herbal intestinal cleanse. I decided to go for it because I’ve been feeling so incredibly normal for more than a year now. This is my first time since healing from LD and going through many years of both traditional and alternative Lyme Disease treatment. I’ve got a good feeling about it. Over the holidays, I did experience a few skin-breakouts and some sort of shingle pain that I attribute to chronic Lyme symptoms. It seems to happen every winter as the weather grows chilly & dry and I spend more time indoors with the heater on. It’s too early to come to any real conclusions, but since Day 1 I’ve noticed a distinct reduction in swelling in my tummy, and my skin breakouts have almost completely faded. The skin isn’t itchy or red as it has been for over a month. I haven’t had any negative effects from the herbs, no Herxing (thank goodness!), no brain-fog, no skin rash and no fatigue. In fact I’m super energized and I’m off to a dance class as soon as I finish this post!

Drinking more water (one doctor mentions that we should all be drinking nearly a gallon per day) is so important. And you know how I feel about exercise - it’s the miracle cure when you can possibly swing it. But on top of these two things, it seems to be helping me to focus, at least for a week or two, on cleansing my colon again. Remember, I’m no doctor and I’m certainly not doling out recommendations here. But I know sometimes it’s helpful to hear someone else’s experience.

I can’t remember where I copied this quote from so apologize for the lack of acknowledgement. But in the spirit of the new year and its power & potential for healing, I want to include it here:

"The future is just the past catching up with us. Today is the preview of tomorrow's reality. In the future we will say one of two things. ‘I wish I had’ or ‘I'm glad I did,’ but we make that choice today."

If you’ve cleansed lately please tell me what your experience was. I’d love to hear from you, especially if you’ve had Lyme.

Comments

Dr. Peter Muran, Lyme Disease Management

I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Peter Muran this week about his approach to Lyme disease management, which he refers to as functional medicine. Dr. Muran practices Holistic Integrative Medicine in San Luis Obispo, CA, and specializes in diagnosing and treating immune system disorders and diseases such as Lyme. Functional medicine is about treating the whole person, body, mind, and spirit. To those of us who are aware of the role we must play in our own healing, this might seem like a no-brainer, but in Western medicine it is still quite revolutionary and new.

There’s a profound sense of relief that resonates deep inside when a trained and experienced medical doctor tells you, “there’s nothing stronger than what goes on in your own body.” It felt like music to my ears to hear this. Yes, we need medicine -- sometimes very powerful medicine indeed -- but our own miraculous bodies are often resilient and strong and capable of healing themselves, if only we let them.

The main point I came away with after our talk was that immune disorders can be managed if we take a whole person, whole life, approach. Healing from Lyme is literally a life-changing experience. I’ve said in the past that I’d almost rather have something easily diagnosable, such as cancer, instead of this mysterious condition that is so difficult to treat. Dr. Muran set me straight. Cancer is much harder to get over, he told me, more devastating overall to health. Lyme is treatable. We just might not want to make the effort to change in the radical ways it seems to insist on, but if we do, we can get better.

Have you ever had a doctor tell you that “diet has nothing to do with it”? I’m pretty sure I’m not the only Lyme patient who has ever heard that from a conventional doctor. I’m no expert, but I know a line of bull when I hear it.  As it turns out, diet does have something to do with it. When I asked him to say a few words about our eating habits, and about the role of sugar, Dr. Muran offered some basic widsom:
don’t live to eat, eat to live. Diet should always be nutritional. Become aware of how the foods you eat affect you. In other words, instead of ignoring that bloated sensation, recognize that your body is giving you feedback. When beginning to work with a new patient, Dr. Muran conducts food allergy tests to help distinguish food sensitivities from a reaction to bacterial infection.

During our hour-long conversation, he touched on subjects that are close to our hearts, including of course the astounding immune system and GI tract, diet and nutrition, exercise, the function and role of the body’s secondary responders: the hormones, cortisol, insulin, and adrenal. He doesn’t go into detail, but intriguingly also mentions the importance of the role of meditation.

We also talked about his approach to handling herxes. The Herxheimer reaction is a double-edged sword for Lyme patients, because we know it is generally a sign that the Lyme bacteria are dying -- good. But with that die-off, more symptoms or more severe symptoms may also emerge -- not good. Instead of pushing the patient and risking more stress to their system, his recommendation is to back off the newly introduced antibiotic or treatment causing the herx. Reduce it to a point where the patient can stabilize and continue to heal without additional stress.

On a personal note, I was surprised and gratified to discover during our talk that Dr. Muran actually played a central role in my own healing although I never knew his name. I lived in San Luis Obispo at the time I discovered I had Lyme, and the naturopathic doctor who treated me was new to the field at the time. I was aware that he was given guidance every step of the way by a group of Lyme experts in California. That group included Dr. Muran and Dr. Steve Harris, who incidentally are both featured in Connie Strasheim’s excellent book:
Insights into Lyme Disease Treatment. Also included in the book are Dr. Lee Cowden and master herbalist Stephen Buhner, both of whom are featured guests in our own interview with experts’ series.


Listen to my conversation with Dr. Muran on managing Lyme disease.


For further information about Dr. Muran’s approach, please visit his website page on Lyme disease:
http://www.alternativemedicinehealthcare.com/immune-health/lyme-disease.www.longevityhealthcare.com
Tel: (888) 315-4777



Comments

Want a Lyme test that looks for antigens?

"We have to go on," says Tom. "We can't change yesterday, but the thing that keeps us going is that sooner or later we're going to catch that bug in time, and save someone from going through this pain."

Tom was sick and suffering with mysterious symptoms for nine years before a test finally convinced one of his doctors that he did indeed have Lyme disease. At that point, he began taking antibiotics. In the first month, severe Herxheimer reactions made him even more ill than he had been without treatment, but he continued for five months. Three years later, he now feels better in most ways. Occasionally, he has bad days that he attributes to the Lyme bug, but feels that for the most part, it is suppressed.

"I thought I was dying," he says. Hit by a massive anxiety attack while driving through Kansas, he experienced such debilitating vertigo that he had to pull the car over to the side of the road. "Everything was spinning wildly around me."

"I had lost track of the number of doctors I went to for help over those nine years. One doctor in Massachusetts, who I knew thought I was crazy finally told me that he thought I was crazy. He told me there was nothing wrong with me, and recommended psychiatric help."

"He told me that he thought I was an 'attention-seeker'."

I said to him, "Look, doc. I'm a concert pianist and a concert organist. If I want attention, all I have to do is book a recital. I don't need attention from you."

The test that finally clinched the correct diagnosis for Tom is a special kind of technique called Flow Cytometry. It is available at the Central Florida Research Laboratory, located in Winter Haven, FL. Instead of looking for the antibodies that build up in response to a Lyme Borreliosis infection, the Flow Cytometry technique finds the Borreliosis antigens directly.

Since Spring 2007, the CFR lab has tested several thousand people for Lyme disease. Blood samples arrive from locations all over the globe,  including all over Europe, where Lyme disease is known simply as Borreliosis.

In addition to testing people, CFR also tests animals for Lyme. Please refer to the CFR website for more information about the Flow Cytometric Lyme test for pets and people.

Central Florida Research Laboratory
Winter Haven, FL
Medical Director: Clifford H Threlkeld, DO, FCAP
Phone Number: (863) 299-3232
Fax Number: (863) 299-3355
Comments

Wake up call: Lyme symptoms return

About six weeks ago I got a nasty wake-up call. My Lyme symptoms began to return. To cut to the chase, I am getting things under control again slowly, but it's been a trial. 
 
Has that ever happened to you? 
 
"It's a rotten deal" to quote my dear old auntie, but it's more than that. I'm trying to keep the perspective that most of all it's a powerful reminder about the importance of staying firmly rooted in my healthy routine. 
 
I forget that I share my body and mind with a bunch of Lyme bugs. When I've got the situation under control, I kill them off slowly and without too much herxing, they don't act out, and I feel good. I can think and talk and walk and work and live and love, just like I was designed to do. The problems start when I forget (as I did six months ago) about the delicate balance I've got going on. Last year I was feeling so incredibly good, so Lyme-free, that I slowly let little things slip. I re-introduced some sugar into my diet. I let myself indulge in a beer now and again -- figuring it's got protein, B vitamins, minerals, magnesium, selenium, iron and it's a stress-buster in reasonable quantities. After all, I rationalized, it was surely not a recipe for disaster, right? 
 
But then, following a few months of slippage, the perfect storm hit. 
 
Literally. Our region was hit by snow-pocalypse in mid-December, leaving us without power for several days. It was cold. I was cold the whole time. We were snowed-in for over three days. My partner was dealing with a health concern of his own, which stressed us both out as we could not get out to get what we needed. In addition, I'd been sick with a flu prior to the storm, so my exercise routine was interrupted. I'd stopped taking a few of my mainstay supplements, and other stuff...you get the picture. When the snow melted and the power came back on I began to make up for lost time (or so I thought) by exercising twice as much, even introducing African dance classes into the mix, which, if you've ever done, is quite the workout! 
 
Anyway, the symptoms have had a hay-day with me, the bugs have been partying, and I'm finally, but ever-so-slowly returning from the brink of a really painful six-week herx. My worst since I was first diagnosed in 2005. 
 
The point is, we each have to determine what the right healing path is for us. For me, the two biggies are keeping up with my supplements and herbal therapies and not slacking on a sane amount of exercise. Also, it's about staying warm, as my body temp runs low, which is typical of people with a Lyme infection. Through trial and error I've also figured out which other things contribute to my personal homeostasis. 
 
And I'm freshly vigilant for the Lyme bugs, who have somehow not quite managed yet to eat my common sense (completely). I'm not going to slip again. 
Comments

Anti-inflammatory diet can help

Inflammation is an immune system response to stress and toxins. Our bodies deal with Lyme infection by sending more blood to the irritated areas. The main features of inflammation are redness, swelling and pain.

It's difficult to eliminate the borrelia bacteria, so inflammation results, causing pain and wrecking all sorts of other havoc. On top of that, we must deal with the psychological or physical stress caused by the pain. And aside from the toxins that accompany and make up the borrelia bacterial complex, dealing with environmental toxins is generally a daily effort.

Antibiotics and herbal protocols are excellent help, but what else can be done about inflammation? This is where some people with chronic illnesses turn a critical eye on their diet and nutrition. And many claim that an anti-inflammatory diet can be a huge help in maximizing their healing protocols and helping to alleviate the intensity of Lyme symptoms and flaring herxes.

So, you're starting to feel a little normal after such a long fight with Lyme. Don't surrender to that deep dish cheese pizza! (Of course, a little treat now and then does the body good.) Steam delicious veggies instead, such as Swiss chard, kale, or mustard greens. Fix organic brown rice or rice noodles to go with them. If you can tolerate it, a bite of organic dark chocolate can make a yummy dessert.

Watch this blog for interviews with nutritionists and herbalists who work with Lyme patients, and delectable recipes for an anti-inflammatory diet. Remember, you don't have to change the way you eat forever -- you just have to give your body a break for a while, so your immune system response can strengthen. Eliminating foods made with wheat and dairy -- or at least, limiting them -- may boost your energy and reduce inflammation and pain.
Comments

Dealing with Herxes



Herxing occurs when your body reacts to bacterial die-off, usually as a result of taking antibiotics. The herx itself isn't considered dangerous to your health, but it can be extremely unpleasant. Your body is cleansing itself of toxins, a crucial step. The problem is that this cleansing process stirs up symptoms and makes you feel sick. Doesn't seem fair, does it? Frequent or intense herxes can stress you out, and when you're healing from LD you need more stress like you need another hole in your head. However, herxing can help Lyme patients understand what's happening to them, and some folks say that observing their herxes helps them monitor the effectiveness of their therapy.

The naturopath I consulted while in the critical stage of Lyme agreed. He suggested that I use my herxes as a guide or measurement of sorts. When I was on antibiotics, a period of about six months, it was difficult for me to distinguish between a herx and the Lyme disease symptoms themselves. I came to the conclusion, at that time, that it didn't matter which was which. They were both equally devastating, and all I could do was deal with them the best way I knew how. I wasn't at liberty to lower my dosage of abx, because according to my doctor the Lyme bacteria were likely to replicate and get stronger if I did.

Some Lyme patients say they don't herx on certain protocols, such as Steven Buhner's herbal protocol, for example. Conventional antibiotic therapy does seem to cause intense herxing, which some would say is a good sign because it indicates that you're killing the bug. I found that there were several different ways to deal with a dismal, stressful herx that accompanies chronic Lyme.

Here are just a few:

* Number one: Drink more clean water all day long, even if you think you're already drinking a lot of water. That will go a long way toward flushing out the toxins.

* Number two: Have a bowel movement every single day. Get that stuff out of there!

* Another is to drink the juice of a lemon, straight. You can also blend a whole lemon with one or two tablespoons of olive oil, put the mixture into a glass of water or juice, and drink it down.

* Dry brushing is another favorite of mine for ridding your body of toxins. However, you can't use this method if your skin is rashy, because you may make it worse. If you don't have a rash, brush your dry skin gently toward your heart each morning before you shower. This method really helps your lymph system kick into gear, and toxins that have accumulated during the night wash away down the drain.

* Take a spoonful of vegetable oil, such as olive oil, first thing in the morning. This method is as yucky as it sounds, but it works for me. Hold the oil in your mouth and swish it around, but do not swallow it. After a minute, spit it out and rinse your mouth.

* Exercise, if you possibly can. (This also helps with #2 - the bowel movement.) Sitting around is one of the worst things we can do. We have to move the body, and assist the lymph system in its critical job of carrying nutrition to the cells, and carrying the garbage away. Jump on a rebounder for five minutes in the morning, and five at night, if that's all you can manage. It will really help.

* Watch a hilarious movie, or a stand-up comic you like. When you're laughing, your body's immune system kicks into high gear. You'll also find that your whole attitude improves, and you'll sleep better at night.

Comments

Herxing and finding the balance

How do you tell the difference between a herx and Lyme symptoms? A herx, aka Herxheimer reaction, is many things to many people. When you're suffering, it doesn't seem to matter whether the cause is a herx or symptoms that are acting up. You just want them to stop. When you are infected with the Lyme bacteria, your body is loaded with toxins that react within your body's multiple systems and make you sick.

You have to kill the bugs and get them out of your body. Detoxifying, therefore, is a primary aim in healing from Lyme, but unfortunately, detoxing can also make you sick. When you're healing from Lyme you must try to find the balance between killing the bugs and keeping the herxes under control, so it doesn't feel like they are trying to kill you. Finding that balance is like surfing a giant wave. You must be hypervigilant, sensitive to your environment, and able to react as elegantly as possible to the perpetual changes that encompass you and carry you along. Although, as anybody who has ever suffered the stress and pain of Lyme symptoms or herxes would say, I'd rather be surfing.

It seems that herxing (often accompanied by a rash) can be triggered by a number of different factors. Stress, change of medication type and an increase in medication dosage (either herbal or pharmaceutical medications) are a few examples. Those in the Lyme community (albeit, an unwilling yet blessedly generous group of humans) deal with herxes in a wide variety of ways. That's the subject of my next post.

Until then, hang ten.
Comments

Lyme disease symptoms: Is herxing necessary?

Lyme disease symptoms are also referred to as Herxheimer reactions or herxing. Would you herx if you discovered you didn't need to? This is a question that Jean Reist, R.N., asks her patients to take to heart. Jean, who has treated hundreds of Lyme sufferers through her PA clinic, Journey to Wellness, has discovered that when Lyme patients tend to proper lymph system drainage they don't experience the stress of a herx. Jean discusses her findings in an audio interview as part of the Interviews with Experts series on the LDRD.

Herxheimer reactions, the healing crisis experienced by Lyme sufferers as a result of a die-off of Lyme bacteria, are a major source of stress for Lyme patients. Simply put, the more effective the medicine in killing the spirochetes, the greater the herx. Killing Lyme bacteria is a curious business. Agonizing pain and the recurrence of symptoms is often used as a measure for the dosage. In general the rule is: If you're herxing to a great degree, back off on the medicine. If you're not herxing at all, you may not be taking a high enough dosage. Each patient will react differently to treatment, and with a wide variety of alternative treatments available, it may take some time and experimentation before you find the right dosage.

Proper lymph drainage can facilitate the healing of Lyme disease and help reduce or even eliminate Lyme disease symptoms altogether. At the first sign of a herx, Reist advises, drink copious amounts of water, exercise, and reach for a detoxifying tonic herb such as Burbur or Parsley. Each organ in the body has a lymph "neck," which is where blockage can occur. Therefore, it's very helpful for the patient to work with a health care practitioner who can help you locate the blockage. The next step is to work on unblocking, which can be achieved in a number of ways, Reist says.

You can hear the entire interview as a member, join now and listen.
Comments