Lyme Disease Research Database Independent reporting on all aspects of Lyme Disease

success Story

New Success Story interview with Linda


My grandmother used to say, “Keep prayed up, and shuffle your feet!”

Linda Warner, mom, grandma, professional, and patient advocate, would probably agree with that homey piece of folk wisdom. She has a story to tell about paying attention to body, mind, and spirit. “You can't get well unless you treat all three!”

In the course of our down-to-earth conversation about her diagnosis and treatment of Lyme, she was happy to talk about the role of faith in healing from serious disease, and often mentioned divine intervention. “God has my back,” she says. And her success story seems to bear that out.

Linda lives in Colorado and is grateful now to have more good days than bad. But for more than twenty years she knew what it like to struggle daily with health problems. Her symptoms included candida, malaise, which is a general bad feeling, and intense anxiety. She followed Dr. Horowitz's protocol, and other means to restore wellness, including an alternative clinician who uses the Rife machine.

In 1989, exhausted and suffering from chronic fatigue, she crashed her car after falling asleep at the wheel. The resulting back injury created major inflammation, and she found relief through chiropractic, massage, and acupuncture therapies.

Professionally, Linda works in pharmaceutical sales, in the field of psychotropic medicines. She recommends Pharmasan Lab's iSpotLyme test. Through pharmaceutical as well as alternative treatments, she missed very few days of work over the years, until November 2013. After taking Dr. Horowitz's protocol and other alternative therapies, she stepped away from the aggressive pharmaceutical treatments in March, 2014.

“Stay away from inflammatory foods,” she cautions. But most of all, listen to your intuition. If chronic fatigue is plaguing you and your doctor doesn't understand it, Linda says to keep digging. Effective treatment should cover all angles, not just one.

“I came from having a black-and-white perspective to looking at the whole picture.”

Please sign into the member’s area to listen the interview with Linda.

Join the LDRD to listen to all 16 Success Stories along with the 17 Expert Interviews.



Comments

Food as medicine

Good food is good for you
A good Lyme-literate doctor will suggest you supplement your treatment with a good diet. This is especially true for those of us with
chronic Lyme symptoms. But when it comes to food, a lot of us do not like to change things up – creatures of habit, unite! However, change may be easier if you understand why it's necessary.

Sometimes it has to hit us below the belt, in the area of the wallet. So think of it this way. The money spent on medicines, herbal supplements, doctor's appointments, and health insurance may be going to waste, if we neglect our diet. The food we eat is also medicine. It will either help build vibrant immune cells, creating strength and energy, or it will bring the body down. Go to your local market and cast your eye over the organic produce aisles. Doesn't it make you feel better, just looking at the brilliant colors and the variety?

Our bodies are nothing short of miraculous. I wish that didn't sound trite, because I truly believe it. Even aging bodies can learn new tricks! Don't be fooled into thinking you can't make some small change, because you have the power to control what goes into your mouth every day. Exercise and a diet of scrumptious, fresh organic foods can speed the healing process of chronic disease, and slow down the aging process. A better diet also contributes to better sleep, which every Lyme patient needs.

Success Stories – Chicken soup for the soul
As the editor of this blog, I often hear amazing stories about someone who turned around a dire situation. The stories contain different elements but they're all about someone who kicked chronic disease.

The other day a woman I train with said that her dad was celebrating his 79th birthday. None of his family had dreamed of that possibility, because his brother and his nephew had died young. The doctors had informed them of the risk, because diabetes “ran in the family.” But her dad, at age 40, had experienced a scare: His beloved brother's early death. Shortly after that terrible wake-up call, he started exercising. He started out walking, then jogging, then began running long distances. Eventually he began working out vigorously every day of the week, running marathons, and pushing the limit of what his doctors said was possible. He also changed his diet, adding veggies and fresh fruit daily, cutting down on red meat, and eliminating sugary treats.

Chicken Soup with Lyme
I also hear stories – many stories – about people with Lyme. Some (more than you might think), are living healthy, post-Lyme lives. I've shared a lot of these on our “Success Stories” audio interviews here on this site. My purpose for sharing is because you are very important to me. I feel like Lyme patients are all part of one big family. We've been through the ringer! I want you to know for certain that healing from Lyme is possible. You know how hard it is to endure the symptoms. I don't need to remind you of that. What I want to make sure you know is that it is entirely possible to remove more of the obstacles to healing. Your body, our bodies, want to heal. And they are completely capable of it. We just need to give them what they need, and take away the roadblocks so they can make progress.

All these stories share a common thread. Someone in a bad way changed their life, simply by making better every-day decisions. And so they changed the outcome of their story.



Comments

Success story: Late Lyme diagnosis with a happy ending

Mary C. of New Hampshire feels that the time is now right to share her story. She has weathered severe storms to get to this point, including a grand mal seizure, two months isolated in a recliner and two years on the corticosteroid Prednisone.

“Yes, I’ve been prescribed the wrong medicines, and yes, it’s taken a long time to get well,” she says.

But her message to those who are struggling with Lyme? “Don’t give up!”

Mary’s Lyme diagnosis came at a price of many long years. Listening to her story, it seems incredible how many medical professionals offered her questionable advice and ignored obvious signs. For example, she was not tested for Lyme disease even after suffering the seizure. The doctor who examined her told her that “people have seizures all the time.”

She compares her situation to that of a prisoner, wrongly jailed for years, who finally meets a lawyer determined enough to investigate the truth. Finding the prisoner innocent, she is set free at last.

She says, “I’m 58 years old but I feel like I have a new life.”

As for spending so many years “in jail” with the wrong diagnosis, Mary is far from blaming doctors and medical experts. She reminds us, “that is why we call it practicing medicine. We haven’t perfected it yet. And chances are good that those doctors were doing their best with the knowledge they had at the time.”

Admiring others who have told their stories of healing from Lyme, she keenly observes that several are professional athletes, such as Perry Fields, who possess a deep inner drive to push themselves with Herculean effort.

Mary, who has owned and operated an automotive business with her husband for more than 30 years, says, “I’m not an expert in anything. I only have a small amount of that type of drive. I want to talk to people who are more like me.”

Although she may not agree, personally I think Mary’s long struggle for a correct Lyme diagnosis also contains a ring of heroism.

For 26 years she worked her way through a confusing maze of misplaced assumptions and misdiagnoses. She was told she had Lupus. But the diagnosis never felt right to her.  

At one point, a doctor pointed out there was no way Mary could have Lyme disease, because of course, that only existed in Lyme, Connecticut!

At last, in a particularly heart-rending turn of events, both Mary and her mother were diagnosed at the very same time. Her mother died of cancer just five days later. However, she got the opportunity to tell her daughter that she could go and rest in peace, knowing that Mary had finally received a correct diagnosis and could now get the right sort of treatment.

After 26 years, she finally knows what she’s dealing with. And now, this self-described, “overweight, carbohydrate junkie” begins her days with a cardiovascular workout on the elliptical and bike, and eats healthy foods. It’s been a long journey, but today she is well on her way to living healthy and Lyme-free.

Her nurse practitioner’s advice? “Whatever you do: keep moving, keep moving!”

Mary will never forget the afternoon she spent, back in 1986, helping a friend clean out a shed.  That day a tick bit her ankle, but she didn’t discover it, embedded and engorged, for two days.  Her leg swelled and she developed a bullseye rash. At the time, neither she nor her doctor knew anything about Lyme. They assumed she was having an allergic reaction to the tick bite, and he prescribed Benadryl.

And that was just the beginning.

I invite you to listen to Mary tell her story in her own words.


Join the LDRD to hear the interview and over 20 other success stories along with over 20 interviews with Lyme experts.

Comments

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!

Join to listen to the interview.
Comments

Healing from Lyme - Part 3

For several years, although I had worked my way to the point where I was well enough to work and follow a somewhat normal routine, I still doubted that I’d ever live a life of my own choosing again, where I wouldn’t wake up feeling like I had lead in my veins and my head wasn’t stuffed with cotton candy. Eating nutritious foods and exercising regularly are two important keys for maintaining my healthy state.

If you want to know how not to lie to yourself about your diet, try keeping a journal where you chart everything you eat. In one column write down the food you ate, and make a column next to it where you note how it made you feel. This is a very basic way to figure out exactly what you’re eating, not what you tell yourself you’re eating. Some doctors tell me that they have their patients keep a similar type of journal when they’re trying to identify food allergies.

My diet is made up of mainly vegetables, some tuna and wild Alaskan salmon, raw and stir-fried or steamed veggies & curry, some fruit, legumes, and breads or tortillas. Some of the bread I buy is gluten free and I like the pasta made from brown rice, but I am not particularly bothered by digestive issues, and regular bread works for me too. In general, if it’s wholesome food with not too many ingredients that I can’t pronounce or recognize, it works.

My current favorite food is a wrap. I love wraps because instead of bread, you’re using a thin tortilla, and you can pack them with all sorts of veggies and greens. Stir-fry is good for that too. A lot of vegetables taste excellent in a wrap or a stir-fry that aren’t that delectable when eaten raw or steamed. I don’t generally drink alcohol or eat sugar, although I will indulge occasionally in a beer or cookies, but not often. Alcohol and sugar pull the wool over my eyes. Literally. When I drink or pig out on sugary things I get Lymie. It’s awful to experience Lyme brain again. It’s so wonderful and amazing to have a clear head again, why go there?

I know you’ve heard this a million times, but remember to drink enough water! Liquids are needed to assist the lymph system. I drink water or tea all day long. Green, not black. Black makes me jittery. Coffee only as a treat very infrequently. Tea is alkaline, coffee is acidic and drinking it tends to make me feel chilly. Tea doesn’t do that.

Lately I’ve been drinking a lot of tea made from bamboo leaves. The bamboo leaf tea has about 350 mgs of silica per cup, it tastes great and also helps me sleep. This isn’t technically a real tea. It’s a tisane, or an infusion. Bamboo has the highest amount of silica, a basic mineral that our bodies slough off constantly in the form of dead skin cells, hair, and nail trimmings. Silica is the main ingredient in collagen, which is so essential to rebuild as collagen is destroyed by the Lyme bacteria.

Especially as we get older we need to be mindful of getting enough silica to maintain the levels we need for healthy hair, skin, nails and bones. Studies are showing that silica is the body’s delivery system for calcium. So if you have enough silica in your diet, the calcium can be delivered to the organs properly. As an interesting side note, studies are also showing that this tea can pull out the aluminum in the body and brain. Researchers are intrigued by this finding, and it may be quite useful in cases of Alzheimer’s.

Smoothies are a treat and a regular part of my diet. Delicious, fresh smoothies made of rice milk, berries, a banana and green food powder are very satisfying. Sometimes I put in protein powder if I’ve been working out particularly hard.

I’ve made other life style changes. The main one is that now I exercise religiously. I used to just dance and walk for exercise, but I wasn’t doing either with any sort of regularity. If it happened, it happened. Then about two years into my healing, my shoulder started to freeze up. I was so frustrated, because I was working really hard to clear up the nasty neurological, skin and heart problems I was having, and had begun to track some very good progress. Then one day I realized that I couldn’t move my shoulder and it was painful. It was disheartening. My partner suggested that I try some exercises, in particular push-ups. Hated those push-ups at first, but I was determined to fix this without drugs, and I did. It took about two years, but now my shoulder gives me very little trouble and I have full range of movement. That was the beginning of my now-regular exercise phase. I love working out now, but at first it was difficult. I hadn’t realized how out of shape I had gotten from being sick, and from my work life style, which is sitting at a computer all day (can you relate?).

I used an exercise CD at home for about a year before I had the nerve to join the Y and exercise in front of others. Then I decided to join a private gym that had something called a kinesis wall. Essentially, the kinesis wall is an apparatus with several stations that enable the user to get a rigorous, core-strengthening workout. Very much like Pilates. I took a weekly class with a very skilled coach, which got me started off on the right foot. I recommend classes instead of private coaching if you want to save some money. They’re fun, and also you meet other people, great for team spirit and camaraderie.

I’m fortunate in that I work at home. For the past 7 years I’ve been in charge of my own work schedule. That has been extremely helpful. If I’m honestly too tired to work I can take a nap. I can also stay close to the bathroom, which helps when you drink so much water.

My heart goes out to everyone who is suffering with Lyme and has to maintain a job where they have to leave the house every day. This can be a bear of an illness, and that life style can be merciless. If that is your situation, see if you can look into telecommuting, even part of the week. Staggering your work hours so you aren’t dealing with bad traffic patterns, a real stress-inducer, can help a little bit too.

So that’s where I’m at currently. Please tell me if any of this resonates, or helps to hear, or if you have an idea that you think could benefit others healing from Lyme. Do you keep a food journal, or an exercise journal? I’d love to hear about your journey and your results.


Comments

Healing from Lyme - Part 2

Before receiving the correct diagnosis for Lyme and coinfections, a dermatologist had put me on Prednisone to try and control my severe skin rashes. This was a nearly fatal mistake on his part. It marked a crisis point in my illness. I also received lectures by this doctor about how I “really should stop scratching myself raw while I was sleeping.” I wasn’t sleeping, and I knew he was wrong. The skin on my body wasn’t opening up due to scratching it. It was infuriating not to be heard.

He considered me a nuisance, because at each appointment I’d open my notebook and read another question from my list, which he wouldn’t answer. Bless his heart, as we say in the South. He wouldn’t even look me in the eye or talk to me. When he had something to say he addressed my mother instead, who drove me to these appointments and helped me get through them.

A doctor worth her salt who suspects that a Lyme infection is underlying will be the first to tell you that corticosteroids such as Prednisone are contraindicated. That means they are precisely what you do not want to do. The dermatologist who wouldn’t listen to my questions seemed to have no professional curiosity about my skin rash. If he’d looked into it, he might have saved me several terrible months of pain, and perhaps even several years of cognitive disorientation. Prednisone will replicate the Lyme bacteria. It will drive the bacterial complex further into the body and across the blood-brain barrier. That is what had happened to me.

In spite of the fact that my intuition urged me not to, I continued taking the Prednisone for 16 days (he’d prescribed it for 20). On the 16th day, I made the decision to stop although the dermatologist, and a couple of my dear friends, warned me not to. The doctor must know what he’s doing, they said. You’re seriously ill and you should listen to him. The mental stress and anxiety caused by going through this process, on top of the continuous physical pain, was nearly unbearable.

We’re conditioned to listen to our doctors, take the medicine they prescribe, and to take what they say as the word of God. From my current vantage point, I look back and wonder what on earth I was thinking. How could I have thought that this guy was helping me? He kept me coming back because he wanted to biopsy my skin rashes. But the rashes lingered and didn’t improve. He was ready to perform a punch biopsy on my raw skin. I’m grateful that he kept waiting for the rash to improve before he did. He knew that a biopsy would likely make the rash worse. Partly because I so feared having that punch biopsy and partly because I felt like I was in the enemy’s camp when I went to his office, I simply stopped going.

That’s when I found a naturopath, Tod Thoring, in Arroyo Grande, CA. It was like being introduced to an angel, and it was another turning point in my long battle. This time it was a positive one. This was the beginning my new life. I’d found Dr Thoring and lucked into a situation where he and a very smart group of Lyme experts were putting their heads together to try and help people in dire straits, like me.

Today I consider myself lucky in every way. But that said, I know I’ve also battled my symptoms with every ounce of strength I had. And without the support and love of my partner and my mother, I wouldn’t have made it. I’m ashamed to say this, but when I was in the acute stage, if I’d had a gun, I probably would have pulled the trigger. The pain in my skin and muscles was so severe, so constant and unbearable. Instead of letting me hurt myself, my partner handed me a paintbrush and some tubes of paint. He supported me emotionally as well as he could, and set me on a path to healing.

During the acute stage some of my other symptoms were insomnia, hypersensitivity to light (especially florescent) and to being touched. I couldn’t stand or walk without holding onto a chair or a wall. I was dizzy all the time. My brain wasn’t functioning well enough to work or write, and when reading, comprehending even a simple paragraph was an insurmountable challenge. During this time, in spite of my state, I began interviewing doctors who I thought might have some clue about how to treat Lyme disease. I was determined to help other people like me who I knew were out there, going through this horrible process and needing to hear what the doctors had to say about it.

Navigating the technical equipment and recording the interviews was hugely challenging. Once, I could barely hear the doctor I was speaking to, and couldn’t figure out how to fix it. I strained to hear her through the entire session while her voice came through like a little mouse in my ear. It wasn’t until after I thanked her and hung up that I realized I had put my earphone in backwards.

I ached to be held and comforted, but couldn’t stand to be touched. I felt extremely lonely and isolated. I had horrible mood swings. I hallucinated. Once, while in the bathroom, I heard my father say my name. He died when I was 15 years old, more than 30 years ago, but I instantly recognized his voice. I heard my telephone ringing and a little girl on the other end asking for someone who didn’t live there. That particular hallucination happened a few different times. Each time, the calls upset me enormously, and she always called when I was home alone. I couldn’t understand why this little girl kept calling back, insisting on talking with someone who didn’t live there. Weeks later, I realized that I’d hallucinated her and all the conversations we’d had.

In Part 3 I’ll outline my diet and exercise routine. I’ll also pass along advice and suggestions from some amazing individuals. You’ll hear more about the Lyme success stories I’ve heard along the way.  


Comments

Debbie's success story in dealing with lyme.

Debbie Bassett reminds me of a friend I had in college, also named Debbie, who faced life’s twists and turns with a resiliency and sense of humor that welled up from some eternal energy source.
“At one point, all I could eat was baby food,” laughs Debbie. “I lost 25 pounds.” Neither of these statements are the least bit funny, but somehow throughout our entire conversation I found myself laughing right along with her. Gallows humor: a big relief when you’re dealing with something as serious as Lyme disease.

But it wasn’t this 40-something, mother of two’s ability to find the humor in the situation, so much as her strong intuition and intense need to know, that guided her to ultimately find the Holtorf Medical Center, in Torrance, CA, where she began treatment for Lyme.

The basic trajectory of her story line is familiar to many Lyme patients. Sickness, misdiagnosis, searching, then finding a doctor or medical professional who finally leads to a correct diagnosis and treatment. But treatment is often less of an ending point, and more of a start. I know it’s a terrible thing to say, but sometimes I have envied that people can get a clear diagnosis of cancer, and begin treatment for it, while Lyme patients may suffer for months and years without any definitive diagnosis. On the contrary, Lyme patients are often told they have to get a handle on their stress, take a chill pill, or seek a psychologist’s help for mental trouble.

In Debbie’s case, after landing in the ER twice due to headaches, being told by neurologists that nothing wrong could be found, she was handed subscriptions for Prozac. But she knew something was wrong. She told the doctors she suspected she had an underlying virus that they weren’t locating. It seemed unbelievable to her that “nobody’s taking the time to analyze the situation.”

Frustrated, sick, Debbie wound up in Scripps Hospital in San Diego, where she spent 3 days as doctors examined her, determining what they thought was the problem. They scheduled her for gall bladder surgery. It was then that she experienced an interesting turning point. I won’t tell you the whole story -- listen to her tell it.

Debbie’s warmth, generosity and sweetness is a balm capable of soothing the bruised souls of anybody who has suffered through Lyme. She says it is important to share her story so that other people know they are not alone, and that it is possible to pull through in one piece again, as she is doing. Currently on five different antibiotics, Debbie’s in full throttle on her healing path. Please feel free to contact her, as she wants to give her support to others who are going down the same road, dealing with Lyme. Her email address is:
dbassett@earthlink.net

“It’s not an overnight journey,” she says. But with smart medical attention, patience and a sense of humor, we can heal.

Please join to listen to the interview.


Comments

Tennis star beats Lyme disease

Beautiful and powerful tennis star Samantha Stosur faced her formidable opponent squarely. In 2007, she was struck down with Lyme disease, battling severe fatigue, skin rash, and other symptoms that ripped her off the path to stardom. Since that time, she has not only beat Lyme disease, but also proved herself as a force to be reckoned with on the tennis courts.

Why do athletes seem to have a superb ability to beat Lyme and other serious diseases? There are probably many reasons. We believe it has something to do with maintaining a positive mental focus on winning (putting mind over matter), and regular exercise, which warms up the body's core temperature. Although Sam was unable to exercise (or indeed, even take care of herself) while the disease was in an acute phase, she did return to training and competing as soon as she could muster the strength.

Athletes engage in a program of regular vigorous exercise which raises their body temperatures on a consistent basis, which induces sweat. The raised temperature heats up the body's environment, keeps the lymph flowing at a healthy rate, and kills off toxins and bacteria so they can be carried away in the sweat and washed off.

This is a recent story that probably didn't escape your attention if you are a tennis fan and you have Lyme.

Watch a brief interview with Sam.




Comments

Stephanie's Lyme Story

You would never detect disabling pain in Stephanie's calm, cheerful voice. She sounds energized and prepared to face the future, confident that the protocol she's on will help her fully recover from Lyme. Although she feels better now, the 39 year-old has endured many years of suffering and misdiagnoses, including two years when she was confined to bed. She had recently graduated as a registered nurse when she discovered that her mysterious symptoms indicated that she had Lyme.

Her course instructors in medical school "never even mentioned Lyme disease," she says. "You'd think they would know something."

Stephanie and her husband want to have a couple of kids, but wish to wait until she gets the all-clear signal from her Lyme doctor. The illness has been tough on the couple financially. She lost her medical coverage because she could not continue to work outside her home, and she estimates that their total out-of-pocket expenses have topped $100,000. As a newlywed when she first discovered how sick she was, she's definitely looking forward to leading a fuller life with her husband.

"He's still looking forward to the 'in health' part of the marriage vow," she laughs. "He's done the 'in sickness' part."

She is optimistic about the future, now that she has been in treatment for six months with Dr. Daniel J. Cameron, MD , of Mount Kisco, New York. Dr. Cameron is the current president of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS).

Initially, doctors explained Stephanie's symptoms as being caused by a Brown Recluse spider. They told her that nothing could be done except bed rest. However, as she slowly began to put together the pieces of the Lyme puzzle, she eventually recognized that she had most of the classic Lyme symptoms, including rheumatoid arthritis and unbearable fatigue. Fortunately, her research led her to Dr. Cameron.

LDRD members, please log in to listen to Stephanie's story, and hear details of her antibiotic protocol and other supplements she has found helpful.
Comments

Why should you share your success story?

Not too long ago, I was unable to think, walk, talk or write due to the Lyme bacteria attacking my brain and speech centers. When I think about how hopeless and helpless I felt then, I can hardly believe it. So thoroughly has my life turned around for the better that it's hard to conjure even a wisp of memory of the dread and fear that enveloped me. I wasn't myself.

I've recovered, fortunately, and now find that my experience is very typical of people who've recovered from Lyme. We don't want to think about the dark days, don't care to recall them. Living an engaged and vibrant life again is an experience more precious than gold. Who wants to remember a brush with death from a Lyme infection, when there is still a lot of living to do? However, those of us who have recovered (or are in the process) can do more good by sharing our success stories than by slamming the lid down on that sick, shadowy time in our lives.

Lyme is the fastest growing vector-borne illness in the US. Each day, more kids and more adults -- from every walk of life -- are experiencing the harrowing mental confusion and searing pain that can accompany this multi-stage disease. Lyme disease-educated doctors are in short supply, and even amid increasing numbers of people diagnosed with Lyme, a cloak of mystery and misunderstanding still surrounds this illness and its treatment.

Lyme has proved to be a very personal disease, affecting each of us differently and to varying degrees. However, sharing our personal experiences is a valuable way to help. What works for you may not work for another person diagnosed with Lyme. Yet hearing about your struggles and listening to the elation in your voice can work a world of wonder for someone who is hurting.

We collect Lyme success stories and share them with the people who need them most. If you're beating Lyme and you want to tell others, please feel free to contact us.
Comments

Joe's Lyme success story

"I beat Lyme. I'd like to share my story," wrote Joe. To someone hurting with Lyme symptoms, could there be any sweeter words than those?

Joe's story filled me with inspiration. "Don't give up hope," he says, and he should know.

Although he now resides in Europe, he grew up in a region of the US where ticks are a part of everyday life, especially for a kid with a dog. Sick during his childhood with mysterious symptoms that he was eventually told he had outgrown, he struggled with chronic pain many years later. After a vacation in Barcelona, he became very ill and dragged himself from doctor to doctor, as one after another refused to treat him for Lyme. He was desperate and suicidal during the roughest period, which lasted six years. At the end of that time he discovered a newly established Lyme treatment clinic in Germany, the Borreliose Centrum Augsburg, and his life took a dramatic turn for the better.

At the clinic, his recovery from Lyme officially began. He was placed on three months of IV antibiotics, but not a "cocktail" blend that some US Lyme doctors use. Immediately, he began feeling better. In addition to antibiotics, doctors at the clinic engaged him in several types of the supporting therapies, including infrared and oxygen treatments. He also uses the powerful herbal therapies from Stephen Buhner's book, Healing Lyme.

Today, Joe has returned to the working world. The terrible six year period now seems surreal to him. "It's an intense pain that doesn't go away, and nobody can understand it," he says. "It's confusing for the person who has it, trying to explain it to their friends and their employers."

Joe feels strongly that people who heal from Lyme should follow up with their doctors, so medical professionals can better track which Lyme treatments are working, and which are not. He has talked to doctors who tell him that often patients leave their care and never update the doctors about their condition. Unfortunately, it's easy to find stories of people suffering from Lyme disease, yet less common to hear about those who are healing and engaged in vital and productive lives again. There's plenty of bad news on the web. This is why we collect and share success stories.

LDRD members, listen to Joe tell his success story here. And please keep your eye out for an upcoming interview with Joe's doctors at the Borreliose Centrum Augsburg.

LDRD members can listen to the interview with Joe by logging in. Learn more about becoming a member.
Comments

Jerry's Lyme success story

"Work with your doctors, be your own best advocate. Do research, and get a second, third, tenth opinion," says Jerry. "There is life after Lyme disease."

For Jerry, the difficulties of Lyme are a thing of the past. Although it took its toll on every day life, and his marriage couldn't hold up under the strain of the illness, he now leads a full, happy life. He's active and loves his work as a professional consultant, and proud of his two daughters, both college graduates. However, for several years during the 90s, Lyme was a force to be reckoned with.

In 1994, he and his family went for a weekend at their cabin in upper Lake Michigan. Upon returning home, he spotted a tick buried in the skin on his ankle. Over the next weeks and months, he experienced painful, swollen joints, especially his knees and fingers.

In January, 1995, Jerry was diagnosed with Lyme disease. Aside from joint pain his symptoms included severely bloodshot eyes and blurred vision that came and went. As a well-educated Lyme patient, he got used to toting a large notebook of his own to his doctor visits. A particular combination of antibiotics seemed to finally make the difference, especially when his doctor was willing to give him the winning combo for a whole year, as Jerry requested. He endured the repeated Herxheimer reactions in order to stay on the medicine long enough to fully eradicate the Lyme infection. But his problems weren't over yet. The next year, while Lyme was still active, he was also diagnosed with coronary artery disease.

While Jerry is not overweight, is an avid exerciser and non-smoker, his cardiac problems led to two different bypass operations and several angioplasties. To this day, he and his cardiologist wonder whether the Lyme infection had anything to do with his heart problems. Jerry believes that a lot of his health problems began with the tick bite.

The elements of this story are familiar, although in some ways Jerry's story is quite unusual. For example, over the entire course of his disease, his treatment was covered by a generous health insurance plan through his employer. I told him he was luckier than most. He agrees.

In March, 2007, he got a Golden Retriever to accompany him while pheasant hunting. One day, he took the dog for a run while riding his bike. A half a block from home, the dog bolted...the story continues.

LDRD members can listen to Jerry's interview. Learn about becoming a member.

Comments

Hear it from Lyme experts

Remember your second grade teacher telling you to use your 'thinking cap'? When I was in an acute stage of Lyme, searching for reputable sources of practical information online, I realized quickly that I was going to need to turn on my thinking cap when listening to people who meant well, but who weren't qualified medical experts. Where Lyme disease symptoms, diagnoses, and treatment are concerned, more information -- and unfortunately, more misinformation -- is becoming available every moment. Although forums and communities serve a noble purpose, and help reassure you that you're not alone, forums can also be a source of misinformation.

What you need more than anything, especially when you're weak, is to know that you can get better. I remember being so deathly ill (and also so ignorant about this disease), that I burst into tears of relief when my sister told me, over the phone, that a woman she knew had beaten Lyme, and was traveling, working, and living a perfectly happy life again. My symptoms were so painful, and my daily life and routines were at that time centered on Basic Survival 101. My world had shrunk to the point that I really couldn't even imagine living a 'normal' life again. Well, over the past three years since my diagnosis and treatment, my life has totally changed, but it's all for the better. As you may very well know, going through treatment, suffering Herx after Herx is not fun. It has never been easy. It's a slow road. I genuinely wish I could tell you there is a magic bullet that could set your life right again, or snap my fingers and make your pain disappear. However, there's no single pill that can do that for someone with an advanced stage of Lyme. Not yet. As you can hear our from our interviews with top Lyme disease research scientists, however, they are fervently devoted to finding a cure very soon. So keep your fingers crossed. When it happens, we'll tell you all about it!

Our mission here is to record real people's Lyme success stories, and interview world-class Lyme aware physicians so that you can hear them tell it like it is, and get the scoop directly. No mediators, no advertisers. This is the sort of meaty, practical information I hungered for when I first learned I had Lyme. We're grateful to be able to document all of these stories. Every one of our stories is important, each of them adds a small piece of the puzzle of Lyme and adds to our ability to heal. Listening to Rick's story, Karol's, and the others is one surefire way to fill your heart and mind with hope. And listening to the ILADS doctors and other medical practitioners in our 'interviews with experts' series is one very good way to learn, from reputable sources, how to get better. Because it may not be easy, but believe me, when you put on your thinking cap, as Ginger Savely, RN, who has treated a thousand Lyme patients at her clinic in San Francisco says: "You can get better!"

Become a member and get immediate access to the Expert Interview Series and the Success Stories.
Comments

Rick's Lyme success story

Rick, an active sports-lover, was married and starting a family. He was a runner, a cycler and a swimmer. His northern California lifestyle was the type most people can only dream of. "I would water-ski, snow-ski, do anything I pretty much wanted to, looking back. Then I'd hang out with my family, get into the car on the fly, and still have energy on the weekends," he says.

One day he woke up with a frozen shoulder. He was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Although Rick had been tested for Lyme, the tests had come back negative. His RA doctor told him, "Lyme doesn't exist in California. It's probably not that. You just need to consider that you have arthritis. Then he added, right in front of my wife, 'you have to trust the experts to help make you better,'" says Rick. He laughed. "I'm in sales," he explains. "Whenever I hear somebody say 'trust me,' I know I'm going to get f****d."

His RA doctor recommended surgery, which he had. The pain was still unbearable. He was sent from doctor to doctor and no one knew what the problem was. He spent over $25,000 in medical tests without receiving any answers. He was placed on medications that never seemed to help, and only made things worse. At one point, he was popping sixteen Advil per day, eight in the morning and eight at lunch. At night, he self-medicated with wine. The entire time he was sick, he hid his painful symptoms from everyone he worked with, and never complained, even to his wife. But he wasn't getting better and knew he couldn't go on like that.

Finally, at his wife's suggestion, he realized that he had to trust yet one more doctor. He had Googled "Lyme + doctor" and found a clinic in nearby San Francisco. He walked into the office of ILADS physician Dr. Raphael Stricker. When Dr. Stricker told him he had Lyme, he was flooded with intense relief. After only three weeks of treatment, his symptoms began to disappear.

Rick now considers himself to be about 90% better, and he's been able to return to some of the activities he loves. How did having Lyme change his life? In so many ways, he says. Specifically, his empathy for other peoples' hardship and pain. "My family says I'm nicer now," he adds, laughing.

LDRD members, you can listen to Rick tell his entire story in the members area.
Comments

Beating Lyme

Before Karol, a diagnostic technician, received a correct diagnosis for Lyme disease, she saw 14 doctors over a four year period. One after the other, these well-educated (though ignorant about Lyme) physicians tested her for many conditions. Karol lives in Texas, and according to the region's doctors, "you can't get Lyme in Texas." So, they searched for the cause of Karol's pain and sickness. Early on, she did get tested for Lyme, but since the test was negative it was ruled out and forgotten. She could have a brain tumor, they suggested. She might have multiple sclerosis. Whatever the reason for her seizures and dizziness, the doctors never suspected Lyme.

One day, she happened to catch a nurse practitioner on the television news, talking about the difficulty of diagnosing Lyme disease. Listening to Ginger Savely, FNP, Karol made the decision to go and see her. "I wasn't very optimistic," says Karol, about receiving a diagnosis. After all, it had been four years. When she did get positively diagnosed for Lyme and began antibiotic therapy, she was thrilled. "That's weird, I know, to be so happy about having a disease," she says. However, the affirmation gave her the strength to fight it. Like so many of us, she found the experience of not-knowing, for so many years, to be almost as debilitating as the disease itself.

Karol now describes herself as 95% better. Listening to her story is both familiar and uplifting. She's a testament to patience and persistence through suffering and confusion. She talks about the ways that Lyme changed her life. Her attitude is upbeat, and she believes that positive thinking has a definite place in her personal healing journey.

LDRD members can login and listen to Karol's story.
Comments