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spirochete

Lyme Success Story! Treating every angle

Not too long ago, Jerry was preoccupied with his professional responsibilities and other commitments. Resolutely running the treadmill, he pursued his multiple roles as a husband, father and self-described Type A quite unconsciously.  But around May of 2010, he began “to feel really crummy.”  Not merely tired from work, he was exhausted. He ached all over, his glands were swollen and painful, he suffered headaches and disturbing muscle twitches.

At first he brushed it off as a bad flu and continued on his daily routines. He did not have a bull’s eye rash.  But then his symptoms took a turn for the worse, the muscle twitches increased and he felt he was losing control. He decided it was time to get tested for Lyme. The result was negative. However, test results were positive for an infection that typically accompanies Lyme: Ehrlichia. Antibiotic treatment began but he continued to feel worse, even taking Doxycycline. At that point, he took the initiative to search out a doctor in Minnesota who specialized in Lyme and could really help him.

Jerry found Dr. Karen Vrchota. She sent his blood to be tested by IGenEx, in Palo Alto, California. In addition to three co-infections, Ehrlichia, Bartonella and Babesia, Jerry was positively diagnosed with Lyme.  She recommended further treatment including some of Dr. Cowden’s protocol, such as Samento, Burbur and Parsley tinctures.

As Jerry worked with Dr. Vrchota, he branched out to discover many more proactive methods that would allow him to feel in charge of his own therapy. He realized that truly healing from Lyme disease demanded coming at it from every angle, not simply by taking antibiotics and herbal medicines. At the suggestion of Dr. Cowden, he focused on getting rid of the mercury, aluminum and other heavy metal poisons and toxins in his system. He adopted a new approach to exercise and nutrition. Following the advice of Dr. Burrascano, he began cardio as well as strength training exercises. He talks about the difference he began to feel as he focused on heating up the blood and getting it flowing. Spirochetes hate heat and cannot survive it. Therefore, physical exercise is super important to include in a Lyme disease protocol.

In his search for wellness, he has been seeking advice from experts in many fields, psychological as well as physical, spiritual as well as emotional. He feels confident that he’s now about 95% healed, and is eager to reach out and help others facing similar health challenges.

Over the past couple years, Lyme disease has become one of Jerry’s greatest teachers. He has rediscovered the simple joys -- tossing a ball with his kids, slowing down each day to practice mindfulness meditation and noticing life’s small blessings.

Hearing him tell his story, it’s easy to see that this once-Type-A person has a loving and generous heart.  You can sense that something in his nature has softened and profoundly changed and evolved.  He talked movingly about how he is now deeply committed to “giving something back,” and I’m really pleased to be able to share our recent conversation in our Lyme Success Stories series. You’ll hear him discuss the challenges he faced in getting properly diagnosed, his treatments, protocols, exercise routines, and the doctors and other experts who are guiding him as he turns his life around.  

Jerry has redefined the meaning of success in his life and feels endless gratitude for the things we tend to take too easily for granted. By approaching Lyme disease comprehensively and from every angle, his healing is happening on many levels of his life. Yours can too.

For additional information on healing Lyme from every angle, see Beat Lyme!

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Genomes of 13 strains Lyme bugs mapped

Lyme can sure be a complicated puzzle. For example, knowing that Lyme is an inflammatory disease is one thing. But knowing what to do about that is quite another.  My personal approach often feels scattershot: add turmeric to my supplemental arsenal. Take daily doses of quercetin. Drink water, exercise, avoid sugar.  But doctors are far from being in agreement about therapies, and health websites and magazines are stuffed with pop advice. Some is helpful, some is contradictory or otherwise confusing.

But what can medical science tell us about dealing with chronic inflammation? There is actually good news in this area from a recent study.

Researchers have mapped the genomes of the 13 strains of bacterium that play the most prominent role in causing Lyme disease. This project may help us understand why a significant number of Lyme patients suffer with a chronic inflammatory response. The study may yield some answers to the problem of inflammation, an auto-immune response. More importantly, it may give us clues about what to do about it.
Apparently the discovery is exciting Lyme researchers because they have found that proteins on the surface of the Borrelia bacterium can signal the immune system by attaching to receptors on the surface of white blood cells. The white blood cells are the ones responsible for fighting off infection.
That tiny attachment triggers production of an external protein that traps and stops other white blood cells from controlling the production of antibodies. When this occurs, antibodies are churned out in large numbers, often non-specifically, which results in inflammation throughout the body.
Researchers conclude that through therapeutic intervention they may be able to detach that external protein, and thereby suppress the inflammatory response.
Here is the abstract of the article, online in the Journal of Bacteriology:

Borrelia burgdorferi
is a causative agent of Lyme disease in North America and Eurasia. The first complete genome sequence of B. burgdorferi strain 31, available for more than a decade, has assisted research on the pathogenesis of Lyme disease. Because a single genome sequence is not sufficient to understand the relationship between genotypic and geographic variation and disease phenotype, we determined the whole genome sequences of 13 additional B. burgdorferi isolates that span the range of natural variation. These sequences should allow improved understanding of pathogenesis and provide a foundation for novel detection, diagnosis, and prevention strategies.

Consider the spirochete: a minute, ancient creature. And yet it can cause so much distress. Something so tiny and simple can wreck such collosol havoc. Now perhaps the discovery of this microscopic external protein, only recently become visible to scientists, can help bring about healing.
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Expert Interview Series: Carol Fisch

Carol Fisch is Adjunct Professor Emeritus of Laboratory Science. She is also a stealth pathogens researcher, teacher, and, as she also suffers from Lyme disease, an advocate and activist for those suffering from stealth pathogens and neuroendocrine disorders. In her outreach education, she explores the possibility that people with a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are dealing with a bacterial complex that also causes Lyme disease, among other illnesses.

"Most medical professionals, when speaking of Lyme disease, are typically referring to an outdated and over-simplified version of the disease that was once taught and believed that the main causative agent being dealt with was the Borrelia spirochete. We now know there are many agents involved," explains Carol.

"Many patients given a CFIDS or Fibromyalgia diagnosis, or a Gulf War Syndrome or Neuroborreliosis Complex (Lyme disease) diagnosis, are dealing not only with a spirochetal disease that causes multiple damage to the host but a very complex organism that causes multiple damage to the host. It is indeed a very complex organism within itself. Borrelia burgdorferi is one of the players in Neuroborreloiosis Complex."

Carol says she would like to see the medical community work more harmoniously together in an effort to find answers to the complicated challenges of these illnesses. She is hopeful that such unity is possible and imminent. As she says, "we have a long way to go but in working together hopefully we can come up with answers that help all of us to live healthier and more productive lives."

Carol's experience includes having been a medical laboratory advisor for tick borne illness testing. She is well-versed in microbiology, immunology and parasitology and has an excellent understanding of Cell Wall Deficient Organisms (CWD). I spoke with Carol about the significance of her work and research on Dec 11, 2008.

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Lyme is weird, spirochetes are crafty!

Lyme is weird. Spirochetes are crafty. Lyme disease symptoms can look different in everyone, because infection can occur in any system of the body. Some people never see a tick, yet they develop symptoms, go to the doctor and get antibiotics. Others can't persuade their doctors to even test for Lyme -- even if they caught the nasty little tick in the act, and display the classic symptom of a bull's eye rash. A significant number of people don't read their own symptoms right (like I said, Lyme is weird. Who can blame them for not suspecting it?) Therefore, they may not discover they've got Lyme (if they're 'lucky' enough to test positively for it) until the disease has reached the late stage. By then, according to some Lyme literate docs, the bug is very tough to catch, and v-e-r-y resistant to being killed.

What if, even after you test positively, and your doc is ready to treat you, you're turned down by your insurance company? And anyway, let's not pretend that only people with health insurance get Lyme disease. What do you do when you're sick and you're not insured? It's no secret that antibiotics are prohibitively expensive. Some herbal treatments that appear to be quite effective are less so, but if you aren't able to afford to see a Lyme literate doc in the first place, where does that leave you?

That leaves you right where untold numbers of struggling sick people find themselves: On your own. Left to your own devices. And here's the rub: Lyme brain! Anybody with this disease understands what a cruel joke the universe seems to have played. At the very moment you need your mind the most, your critical thinking faculties are all fogged up. What's a Lymie to do? Find smart people who've been down this path and ask a bazillion questions. Here's a shameless plug for our 'Interviews with Experts' series. Tune in and listen up. We've all got a lot to learn.
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