MERCK MANUAL

Note: No content on this website should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from a doctor or other qualified clinician.

It is suffice to say that the Lyme spirochete is a corkscrew shaped bacteria that bores its way through the body in its search for food. It, in all its nastiness, can be seen here.

It has much in common with syphilis, which can be seen here, and I can’t help but wonder if they are one-in-the-same, with just a bit of a twist (pun intended). Though Penicillin is the preferred drug of choice for treating syphilis, Doxycycline has been shown to be the best alternative for treating early and latent syphilis. Doxycycline is also the first choice doctors turn to when treating Lyme disease.

Named in honor of the scientist credited with discovering the bacteria, Wilhelm “Willy” Burgdorfer, Borrelia burgdorferi “is a bacterial species of the spirochete class of the genus Borrelia.” Basically, it “is a corkscrew shaped bacteria that bores its way through the body in its search for food.”

Borrelial bacteria are parasites that require a host body to harvest all of the substances they need to survive. The majority of the nutrients they require are harvested from collagen-like tissues throughout the body, and the host body provides the conditions they need to survive. And wherever the bacteria are found feeding is where symptoms occur. If they are in the skin then the host (i.e., the victim) will develop issues with the skin. If they make their way to the heart then there will be heart disease. If they find their way into the nervous system or into the brain, neurological symptoms (e.g., seizures) will develop.

And this is where my daughter, Kathleen, comes in. On 12/12/2015 Kathleen experienced her first grand mal seizure. Our local children’s hospital diagnosed the problem as adolescent onset epilepsy, but my wife, Amy, and I later learned otherwise. Sadly, the bacteria had made it past Kathleen’s blood brain barrier — an area of the body meant to protect against circulating toxins or pathogens which can cause brain infections — and then taken-up residence inside her brain.

Once inside the brain the bacteria break-down the myelin sheaths that are, in effect, an insulating layer that forms around nerves in the brain and spinal cord. The sheaths are similar to the insulation that surround household electrical wiring and essentially allow electrical impulses to transmit quickly and efficiently along the nerve cells. Once the sheaths have been damaged the electrical impulses can become erratic and, thus, create that which is similar to an electrical storm inside the brain. When that happens, patients lose control of their bodies, which can result in injuries if the person loses control and falls. In some some cases it can even cause a patient to die from suffocation. And for those operating machinery or who find themselves behind the wheel of a motor vehicle when the seizure occurs, the consequences not only be can devastating for themselves but for others as well.

The video at the beginning of this post is brief but I believe does a good job of reflecting just how undamaged nerve cells work. For those who suffer neurological damage from Lyme disease, as in the case of my daughter, the myelin sheaths around the never cells are broken down by the bacteria for food which then disrupts the electrical impulses.

When Kathleen was first diagnosed with Lyme disease she was initially treated with Doxycycline, but she was later prescribed Minocycline by her Lyme specialist, Dr. Thomas Moorcroft. Dr. Tom was not the first physician to treat Kathleen, which is an important distinction to make given that the Minocycline came later in her treatments. And, as a layman, and an extremely concerned parent, I can’t help but wonder if she had been prescribed Minocycline sooner if she would have been spared the extent of neurological damage that seems to have occurred to her brain.

over the now six-plus years that we have been dealing with these life altering issues — for everyone in our family — I have learned that:

Minocycline is 2 times more lipid soluble than doxycycline, thereby making it a potential alternative for treatment of Lyme neuroborreliosis. [Link]

Essentially, that means that Minocycline may be better at penetrating the blood-brain barrier so that it can kill the nasty bugs. That said, however, as with anything in life, there are other issues to consider:

Although serum levels of doxycycline and minocycline are comparable at any given dose, there are important differences in CSF and/or CNS concentrations. The high lipid solubility of minocycline may cause vestibular side effects in some patients. This side effect limits the administration of minocycline to 100 mg q12h rather than 200 mg q12h. Because of this, doxycycline (400 mg daily) remains the preferred oral antibiotic for treatment of Lyme neuroborreliosis in most patients. For patients for whom treatment fails (those with persistent symptoms and/or active CNS disease), minocycline may be a therapeutic option. [Same Link]

Other studies have pointed to the fact that “Minocycline has also emerged as the most effective tetracycline derivative regarding neuroprotection…” In other words: Not everyone will experience “vestibular side effects” and there are a number of studies which show that patients suffering with brain injuries or diseases “…with with an inflammatory basis, including rosacea, bullous dermatoses, neutrophilic diseases, pyoderma gangrenosum, sarcoidosis, aortic aneurysms, cancer metastasis, periodontitis and autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and scleroderma…” may very well benefit from the use of Minocycline. 

Bottom Line: If you or someone you love is suffering from neurological issues due to Lyme disease, it is worth your time to ask your doctor questions (and lots of them) about Minocycline or other alternatives to Doxycycline.

As I have learned — the hard way — unlike common electrical wiring in a home or automobile, myelin sheaths, or the protective coverings around nerve cells, can not be replaced. Therefore, the best way to protect the brain’s wiring is to mitigate the damage, or to make certain that the damage never occurs in the first place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

lyme is everywhere!

The bacteria that causes Lyme disease is not only in ticks in every U.S. state, and most countries throughout the world, it has also been seen in fleas, biting flies, lice, mites and mosquitoes; so, anything that bites or feeds off other living creatures can transmit the disease. 

It can also be transmitted via deer poop or the droppings of any other infected animal. Therefore, if your dog is like mine, one constantly in search of little tidbits whenever outdoors, then special attention during walks or runs or playing fetch is a good idea.

And for those who think bird poop on a car windshield is good luck (Why? I don’t know.), think again. Birds to Lyme are like planes to humans; so, make certain to wear gloves during the cleanup, and be sure to wash your hands after the mess is removed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I have learned over time, my daughter, Kathleen, is a bug magnet, and I have waged war on all of the little woodland creatures around our home in an effort to reduce the bug population. Since I am not one to kill anything, however, I have been lucky to find a number of products to make our house a much less appealing place for the critters to reside.

 

 

One product that I have found to work very well, thanks to a former veterinarian who took care of our pets, is EarthKind’s Fresh Cab Rodent Repellent. To me, the product smells like pine trees — a pleasant smell to me but one that mice and chipmunks can’t stand.

 

Another smell they seem to hate is peppermint, and for a number of years I have purchased EarthWise Aromatics 1-lb bag of peppermint leaf and spread it around the foundation of our house and around our cars during colder weather to keep mice away from the warm engines (a favorite place for nesting) when we return home from work or errands. Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, none was available on Amazon’s website, but I have provided the link just in case more arrives by the time you read this.

 

 

And, finally, there’s Gel Spice Red Cayenne Pepper with 40,000 Heat Units … and this stuff is HOT, so be careful when spreading it around your property! It’s advisable to wear disposable gloves and, especially, goggles; and to be certain to wash your hands carefully after handling it.

As I have written in previous posts, the best way to avoid becoming ill is to avoid being bitten; and the best ways to avoid being bitten is to use everything available to keep the bugs away from one’s property and from one’s body.

The Jarisch–Herxheimer reaction

 

Two dermatologists, an Australian by the name of Adolf Jarisch and a German by the name of Karl Herxheimer, are credited with the “Jarisch–Herxheimer,” or simply “Herxheimer” or “Herx,” reaction. The reaction was first described by Jarisch in 1895 and Herxheimer in 1902 when the men noticed an increase in symptoms after their patients began treatments for syphilis with either Salvarsan or mercury. Jarisch postulated that the reaction was caused by a toxin that was released from dying spirochetes, eventually finding its way into the bloodstream, which can then become very serious and “may result in irreversible organ damage!”

Unfortunately, my daughter, Kathleen, suffered a Herx reaction after she was diagnosed with Lyme disease and prescribed antibiotics … and it was excruciatingly heartbreaking to watch her suffer! At the time, I realized that the reaction may occur but I did not fully appreciate just how serious it could or would be. In fact, it is actually considered a good sign in the sense that it means the antibiotics are working to kill the bacteria; but if the symptoms become really bad, hospitalization may be required. For us, we were extremely lucky that the outcome for Kathleen was not more serious!

Kathleen survived the ordeal in good shape, but “herxing,” as it is commonly known, can prove to be a deadly serious event. There are a number of websites that tout various treatments for the condition, but the symptoms can vary from everything from common cold symptoms to nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). It can also result in anaphylaxis, which can be fatal if not properly treated.

The reaction is caused by the creation of inflammatory cytokines (TNF-alpha, IL-6, and IL-8) which are used by the body to promote healing. Toxins created by the dying bacteria need to be cleared from the body, but when they can’t be cleared fast enough from the blood stream an acid imbalance is created, which then impairs the enzymes needed to maintain a normal pH (balance of acidity to alkalinity). And the severity of the herx reaction will be dependent upon the number of spirochetes that die.  

The faster the body can clear the dead bacteria and the resulting toxin (a detoxifying process commonly known as “detox” to Lyme patients), the sooner the patient will feel better. And plenty of fluids will most certainly play a major role in helping the body rid itself of the toxins.

 

Good herx vs. bad herx

There are essentially two types of Herxheimer reactions: a “good” herx and a “bad” herx. In his book How Can I Get Better?: An Action Plan for Treating Resistant Lyme & Chronic Disease Dr. Richard Horowitz says that in the former patients will have a reduction of symptoms and begin feeling better after the flareup; whereas, in the latter, patients will see no reduction in symptoms and return to their prior baseline after the flareup.

So, a Herxheimer reaction can be either good or bad — or both. Regardless, it is important for patients, parents and caregivers to watch this reaction carefully, and not hesitate to seek immediate medical attention if the case appears to be serious.

Kathleen, thankfully, experienced a relatively brief period of suffering when she began herxing; but, for her — and for me and Mommy — the experience was very scary. It caused her to be very confused and disoriented, and I remember her crawling around on the bed in our master bedroom on all fours like a bewildered animal in a cage. It was so sad to watch, and the event will forever be burned into my memory. Fortunately, however, since that time we have been able to create many much better memories and, hopefully, we will be able to continue doing so.

Note: No content on this website should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from a doctor or other qualified clinician.

The Best Test for Lyme Disease

The two most common serological or blood tests for Lyme disease are the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and the  Western blot test. Both tests are considered “indirect” tests, which means that they don’t detect the infecting bacteria or its antigens but rather the antibodies that are produced by an infected person’s body in response to the antigens.

In the case of the Western blot test, antigens are separated by size and then transferred onto a membrane strip which then shows whether or not an antibody reacts to an antigen by turning the strip dark purple. A specific combination of the colored bands is then used to determine a positive test result.

The limitations of the ELISA and Western blot

Unfortunately, Lyme disease is not a one size fits all type of disease. There are multiple species and strains of Lyme and, therefore, tests must be targeted to the various species and strains in order to be able to detect them. If a given test is not capable of detecting a certain species or strain of Lyme then it will produce a false negative result, which can be very dangerous for the patient. In fact, many Lyme Literate Medical Doctors (LLMD) will oftentimes treat patients based on clinical findings (e.g., a rash or types of symptoms) if lab results are returned with a negative result. The feeling is that a course of antibiotics, to see if there are any improvements in symptoms, will not be overly detrimental to the patient.

The IGeneX ImmunoBlot Test

The bottom line is that ELISA and the Western blot tests are not sensitive enough. Fortunately, however, there is a company by the name of IGeneX that has developed a test called the ImmunoBlot test which has proven to be much better at detecting the various species and strains of Lyme.

In one of the company’s own internal studies, a total of 132 patients with a mixture of two species of the bacteria were tested for Lyme disease with both the IGeneX ImmunoBlot test and the traditional Western blot test. Out of the total number of patients, there was a subset of 43 individuals whereby 29 of the of them tested positive with the IGeneX test and only 14 tested positive with the Western blot test. In other words: 29 of the 43 patients tested negative with the Western blot test … and for those 29 people the error could prove to be devastating.

Kathleen’s Lyme doctor, Dr. Thomas Moorcroft, has used the IGeneX ImmunoBlot test to track Kathleen’s progress with her treatments and I could not be more appreciative for the fact that an organization such as IGeneX exists. Because, for those who have only been able to rely on more traditional tests and treatments, the chances of recovery — or even survival — were more or less based on luck!

What Should You Do?

I need to emphasize the fact that I am not a practicing physician or a Lyme researcher. I’m only the father of a daughter who was afflicted with Lyme disease, Bartonella henselae and Babesiosis who has spent a tremendous amount of time learning all that I can so that I can help my daughter get better.

With that said, if you or a loved one is ill then it’s in the best interest of the sufferer or caregiver to learn all that can be learned about Lyme disease and the tests and treatments available so that informed questions (and lots of them) can be asked when seeking help.

I have seen, first-hand, the deleterious effects that the diseases have on their victims, and the only way to fight back is with lots of knowledge and determination.

Good luck!

tick prevention

The first level of fighting Lyme disease is without question prevention.

tick check

The next most important step in fighting Lyme is to perform a tick check whenever returning from outdoor activities.

tick removal

And finally, proper tick removal is a vitally important step for preventing Lyme or any other tickborne illnesses.

 

As my mom would so often say when I was young: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” And with regard to tickborne diseases, there is no better advice. Preventing oneself from contracting all of the diseases transmitted by ticks is so much more effective than having to deal with them once a person is ill.

And speaking of an ounce of prevention, I discussed several ways to avoid being bitten in a previous post, and so I won’t belabor the point here. The important points that I would like to make in this post are the needs for tick checks and how to properly remove ticks if they become embedded in the skin.

Since learning that may daughter, Kathleen, had Lyme disease, one of my biggest regrets is not having made certain that Mommy performed a tick check whenever she returned from summer camp. Finding and removing the tick most certainly would have precluded all of the hardships and heartaches that followed.

For parents and pet owners it is critical that all domesticated creatures (i.e., pets, children and husband’s 🙂 ) be checked for ticks after they have been outdoors. And every inch of any given body should be inspected because ticks can — and do! — go anywhere.

Nymphs, or baby ticks, are especially difficult to locate because they are approximately the size of a poppy seed. It is often useful to use a magnifying glass to differentiate between a tick or a freckle; and where hair or fur is involved, the use of a fine-toothed comb is a must. When checking one’s own body the use of a good mirror will also come in handy.

If a tick is found to be embedded in the skin it then becomes crucial that it be removed quickly and in its entirety. When I was a kid I remember watching a friend’s mom remove a tick from the scalp of his younger brother with a cigarette. She successfully burned the tick as well as the poor kid’s head. Since then, I have learned that killing ticks in such a manner is not only painful to the patient, it does not mean that all of the parts of the tick are properly removed.

Another set of folk remedies for removing ticks is to either try to smother it with petroleum jelly, thus causing it to suffocate, or freeze it off. As the theory goes, with either method, the tick, in an effort to survive, will back out of the skin and drop off. But these methods usually have the opposite effect, whereby the tick will either hold-on tighter or burrow deeper into the skin and, therefore, deposit more of its disease-carrying secretions into the wound, which increases the likelihood of infection.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the proper way to remove a tick is as follows:

How to remove a tick

  1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
  2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
  3. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
  4. Never crush a tick with your fingers. Dispose of a live tick by putting it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet.

With the exception of one critical point, I agree with the CDC’s recommendations. The one point that I would dispute, however, is with the idea that removed ticks should be disposed. Personally, I believe that the tick should be saved so that it can be tested for microorganisms, especially if the host later becomes ill. Once removed, the tick can be placed in alcohol to ensure that it is killed and then stored in a jar or in a zippered storage bag. Personally, I once saved a tick that I removed from the back of my neck by placing it in cellophane tape and then placing in a plastic snack bag with a zipper.

One point to strongly note is that a tick should never be crushed or squeezed because doing so can force the contents of its stomach (which houses the microorganisms) into the wound, therefore increasing the likelihood of infection.

Finally, once a tick is removed it is critical to properly clean the wound with soap and water and/or rubbing alcohol. One trick offered by Stephen Buhner is to apply Andrographis tincture to the wound. In his book “Healing Lyme,” Mr. Buhner writes: “We have seen very good results in preventing Lyme infection if Andrographis tincture is applied to the tick bite as soon as the tick is removed.”[1]Stephen Harrod Buhner, “Healing Lyme, Natural Healing of Lyme Borreliosis and the Coinfections Chlamydia and Spotted Fever Rickettsioses,” SECOND EDITION (Raven Press, 2015), 189.

With a little luck and a lot of preventative care, no individual will have to worry about treating themselves or a loved ones (including pets) for Lyme disease. However, if it is believed that you or a loved one has been infected then do not hesitate to seek proper medical care.

 

Note: No content on this website should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from a doctor or other qualified clinician.

References

References
1 Stephen Harrod Buhner, “Healing Lyme, Natural Healing of Lyme Borreliosis and the Coinfections Chlamydia and Spotted Fever Rickettsioses,” SECOND EDITION (Raven Press, 2015), 189.

Whenever people have asked me whether or not I am a pessimist or an optimist I have always said that I am a pessimistic optimist. I see the glass as half empty but I hold-out hope that someone will come along and refill it for me.

When I eventually learned just how serious Lyme disease can be I panicked. And during the early days of Kathleen’s seizures I saw myself becoming a bit fatalistic. Luckily, however, I held-out hope that all of the problems could be fixed.

When Amy and I first started dating she was driving an old, beat-up Toyota station wagon. The thing really wasn’t pretty and not in good shape. It wouldn’t pass emissions and Amy had to get an emissions waiver, which our home state offered to people with older vehicles at the time since the emission laws were so new.

I was working as an automobile technician and I determined that all the car really needed to pass emissions was a carburetor overall. I removed and disassembled the carburetor, cleaned it and then rebuilt it with all new components from a carburetor kit that I purchased for all of around ten bucks. And voila! The car passed emissions with flying colors.

Amy considered me to be a magician since another mechanic told her that, since the car was so old and the engine so worn, given its high mileage, it would never pass emissions: and when I got it to pass she told me that she was convinced that I could fix anything. So, when Kathleen became ill, I dove into trying to “fix the problem.” But, unlike the issue with the carburetor on Amy’s old car, this was an entirely different beast.

For anyone who has seen the movie “Lorenzo’s Oil,” or who has been dealing with Lyme disease, you will be able to appreciate the task I had at hand. The problem was daunting, and there were days when I felt that I had much in common with Lorenzo’s dad, Augusto Odone.

In the movie, Odone is portrayed by Nick Nolte who, in my opinion delivered one of the finest performances of his career. Odone’s wife, Michaela, is portrayed by Susan Sarandon, who delivered an equally masterful performance. The movie’s theme centers on the Odone’s son, Lorenzo, who is afflicted with adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD), a disease that results in a build-up of fatty acids that eventually cause damage to the myelin sheaths of nerves.

Myelin sheaths are similar to the insulation that cover electrical wires and, if left untreated, the damage to the sheaths results in seizures, hyperactivity, problems with speaking, listening, and understanding verbal instructions. Essentially, ALD destroys the brain and a person’s ability to function properly — or function at all! If left untreated, cerebral ALD is characterized by progressive demyelination, which leads to a vegetative state and death.

Through their relentless quest to find a cure for their son, the Odones eventually connected with a researcher by the name of Dr. William B. Rizzo who, during his studies, discovered that the addition of oleic acid to cultured cells blocked accumulation of the factors which cause ALD. The Odones wondered if the oil might help their son, but scientists played down their hopes, pointing out that it would take years of work to produce and test the oil. However, the Odones never gave-up hope that the oil could be a possible curative treatment for Lorenzo. Michaela Odone set out to find someone who was willing and able to produce the same oil that Dr. Rizzo used in his cell studies and contacted over 100 firms around the world, ultimately finding an elderly British chemist by the name of Don Suddaby who was willing to take on the challenge.

When the Odones obtained a precious sample of the oil Suddaby produced, which contains two specific long chain fatty acids isolated from rapeseed oil and olive oil, they added it to their son’s diet and found that it normalized the accumulation of the fatty acids that caused Lorenzo’s steady decline. Unfortunately, however, the Odones learned that the oil was very, very slow to reverse their son’s symptoms because of the extent of neurological damage that had occurred. Realizing that their son’s condition would require additional treatments to repair the myelin sheaths, Augusto took on the new challenge of finding ways to heal myelin damage in patients.

Lorenzo was diagnosed with ALD at the age of five, but, by the age of 14, showed signs of improvement from  all of the treatments that he received. Eventually, he regained his sight and his ability to swallow for himself, along with the ability to move his head from side-to-side. He also became able to answer “yes” or “no” questions by blinking.

The movie ends with scenes of ALD patients who were treated with Lorenzo’s Oil earlier in the course of their disease, sparing them the devastating neurological problems from which Lorenzo suffered.

Lorenzo died in 2008 at the age of thirty; and, in recognition of his work, his father, Augusto, received an honorary doctorate from the University of Stirling in Stirling Scotland. In 1989 the Odones founded the “Myelin Project,” which is an organization dedicated to promoting research into ALD and other disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, which destroy myelin sheaths. And until his death on October 24, 2013, at the age of 80, Augusto Odone continued to raise funds for the project.

The story of the Odones is a testament to the power of a parent’s love for their children, and the idea that we should never give-up hope, even when the odds feel as though they are stacked against us. Throughout the now six plus years that I have been working to help my own daughter, Kathleen, I frequently drew off the inspiration provided by the Odone’s unwavering efforts to find treatments for Lorenzo.

The morale to this story is that if you are person who, like me, is not a diehard optimist, you should never give-up hope. We are living during a time of astounding medical advancements; and a time when, thanks to modern technology, each and every one of us has the ability to easily access the research.

Wherever there is a will, there is a way; and we should always allow hope and our love for others to run eternal.

See It At Amazon.com

truly healing lyme

Stephen Buhner is considered to be one of the foremost authorities on naturopathic treatments for Lyme disease and the many coinfections that are transmitted by ticks.

His book, “Healing Lyme…,” provides a section where people afflicted with Lyme disease can go for quick reference to treatments. It also provides detailed information on how the bugs behave and react to the treatments.

In my opinion, this book is a must read for those afflicted with any tickborne illness. I read it twice!


Another one of Stephen’s books that I found to be extremely useful is “Herbal Antibiotics: Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-Resistant Bacteria” As the title describes, this book provides readers with alternatives to antibiotics.

 

 

In Kathleen’s case I went straight to chapter eight entitled “THE CORE PROTOCOL AND EXTENDED REPERTORY.” This is where I found information for people dealing with severe neuroborreliosis or, in other words, damage to the central nervous system. And it pains me to write those words; but this is where I found my best hopes for treating Kathleen’s neurological issues; namely: seizures.

I held-out hope that Kathleen was still young enough (eleven at the time) for the neurologic damage to her brain to be reversed. And, for the most part, the treatments worked.

With the assistance of Mr. Buhner’s books, my focus was on trying to rebuild the collagen structures in her brain that were damaged by the Lyme spirochetes, and as Buhner puts it:

Most of the damage the body experiences during infection occurs because the bacteria break down collagenous structures for food. The more they are broken down, the more severe the symptoms become. Restoring the body’s collagenous structures helps reverse or decrease many of the organism’s impacts on the body. [1]Stephen Harrod Buhner, “Healing Lyme, Natural Healing of Lyme Borreliosis and the Coinfections Chlamydia and Spotted Fever Rickettsioses,” SECOND EDITION (Raven Press, 2015), 210.

Kathleen had one major seizure a few weeks ago but Amy and I believe that it was due to her neglecting to take her antiseizure medication. Luckily, since then, there have been no additional seizures. She is now sixteen and will turn seventeen in May, and I am unsure as to how much more we can do to reverse the damage that was done since her body has fully matured; but I feel strongly that the herbal supplements helped.

As with most things in life, there are usually multiple solutions for any given problem. And in the case of tick borne illnesses there will always be a place for pharmaceuticals, but the value that herbal supplements provide should never be discounted. And if you want to know which herbal supplements should be used against the various diseases, then Stephen Buhner’s books are most certainly a valuable source of information.

References

References
1 Stephen Harrod Buhner, “Healing Lyme, Natural Healing of Lyme Borreliosis and the Coinfections Chlamydia and Spotted Fever Rickettsioses,” SECOND EDITION (Raven Press, 2015), 210.

ILADS logo

According to the definition provided by Wikipedia: “The International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society is a non-profit pressure group which advocates for greater acceptance of the controversial and unrecognized diagnosis ‘chronic Lyme disease'” In other words, the people at ILADS are fighting to make certain that Lyme disease — especially chronic or persistent Lyme disease — is recognized as a “real disease.” [Link]

 

The reason why I wanted to include the Wikipedia definition is because of the term “pressure group,” which I find to be quite apropos. The reason why I find it to be so appropriate is because many, if not most, medical practitioners in the mainstream medical community have not (at least publicly) accepted the fact that Lyme and the associated coinfections are diseases that have long-term consequences. Subsequently, groups like ILADS have had to apply “pressure” to try to get other medical organizations to recognize, and publicly acknowledge, the seriousness of the diseases.

That said, ILADS should not be confused with the Infectious Disease Society of America or IDSA. Though, from its namesake, one might imagine that the IDSA would be an organization that concentrates on safe and effective treatments for diseases such as Lyme, there has been ongoing controversy surrounding its Lyme treatment guidelines and intellectual conflicts of interest among a number of its members.

In November of 2006 Connecticut’s then Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal, who is now a U.S. Senator, launched an investigation into the IDSA’s Lyme guidelines development process and specifically looked for antitrust violations. In a press release issued in May of 2008, Blumenthal stated: “My office uncovered undisclosed financial interests held by several of the most powerful IDSA panelists. The IDSA’s guideline panel improperly ignored or minimized consideration of alternative medical opinion and evidence regarding chronic Lyme disease, potentially raising serious questions about whether the recommendations reflected all relevant science.” And the importance of this issue can not be overstated given that all conventional medical practitioners follow the IDSA guidelines when it comes to treating Lyme disease. Perhaps more importantly, medical insurers use the guidelines to determine payments to the practitioners for the services they render, which also plays a huge role in the treatments they are willing to provide. Even more concerning is the fact that a number of physicians have lost their licenses to practice medicine when their treatments have deviated from the IDSA’s guidelines.

ILADS was founded in 1999 and it has focused on educating practitioners and the general public on all of the dreadful diseases that are, primarily, transmitted by ticks. It also gives patients and the loved ones of patients a way to find Lyme Literae Medical Doctors (LLMD) in their respective areas of the country. The reason this is important is because there are a number of physicians who are worried about the consequences they may have to face if it becomes known that they are willing to treat patients beyond, or outside, the IDSA guidelines; and, so, they do not openly advertise their services. Luckily, however, many physicians have been willing to provide their contact information through the discreet services provided by ILADS. In fact, I actually used ILADS services to locate Kathleen’s Lyme doctor in our area, and I could not be more grateful for the organization’s assistance.

The name of the doctor provided to us by ILADS is Dr. Thomas Moorcroft and he has been the only doctor we have seen to date who has been willing to work toward curing Kathleen as opposed to simply treating her symptoms.

For any of you out there who has been afflicted with Lyme, or for those of you who knows someone who has been afflicted with the disease, contacting ILADS may be well worth your time and effort. In Dr. Moorcroft’s case, it is my understanding that he, like many other LLMDs, is able to actually treat patients out-of-state once a doctor/patient relationship has been developed through an initial visit — perhaps, at this point, even a virtual visit — and from personal experiences, I would certainly say that contacting his office also may be well worth your time and effort.

The ugly truth is that, like COVID-19, Lyme disease is a pandemic. Unlike COVID, however, Lyme has received much less attention and, thus, far fewer resources (namely: money) to fight the disease. The good news, though, is that there are people out there who have the expertise, and the willingness, to help those who are suffering.

With any luck, the COVID-19 pandemic may actually serve to be a catalyst for change in the way in which Lyme disease is viewed. With all of the resources that have been dedicated toward developing vaccines for COVID, it may be fair to say that the research will lead to vaccines and more effective treatments for those suffering with diseases such as Lyme.

As I sit at home and watch all that is unfolding in the world around us, I have to wonder if I shouldn’t also create a website entitled ‘CovidTimes.’ No matter how we choose to refer to it, this is most certainly an extraordinary time to say the least.

While now having to cope with COVID-19, I still have been dealing with my daughter’s issues with Lyme disease. Shortly before the Christmas holiday Kathleen had a major seizure and it felt like a major set-back. She had gone almost one year without any seizure activity and I thought for sure that we were totally on the path to full recovery. After her seizure, however, I was not feeling as good about our situation.

Though, Amy and I now believe that Kathleen’s seizure was the result of Kathleen neglecting to take her antiseizure medications the day before the seizure occurred: and, as sad as it may sound, I was relieved to think that she had forgotten to take the medications since the alternative thought (i.e., that the diseases were progressing) was so much worse.

Personally, I believe that we, as a species, have altered the ecosystem to a point of no return and that we have finally reached a day of reckoning. For decades scientists around the world have been trying to warn us of the impending doom, but, collectively, we were not listening. Now, each and every one of us will need to do our level best to try to figure out how we can survive this mess.

Not long ago I read an article which essentially said that if bugs were to be completely eliminated from Earth that the planet would be thrown into absolute chaos, but that if human beings were to be rendered extinct, the planet would return to a state of equilibrium. The article made me think of the movie “The Matrix,” when the fictional character “Agent Smith” said: “Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You’re a plague and we are the cure.” But, unlike the movie, there is no one other than ourselves, individually or collectively, who can resolve the issues; and, sadly, there are so many of us who seem unwilling to accept the grim reality of our circumstances.

To be perfectly honest, there have been days when I have seriously wondered if I did not make a mistake by bringing a child into this world. Putting aside all of the various health issues that so many individuals are enduring, our world has become a very unstable place — economically, medically, politically and socially, and I worry about the quality of life that Kathleen and so many young people will have in the future.

Putting aside the recent seizure, for me and my family things things have been going pretty well. Kathleen has been taking an antimalarial/antiparasitic medication for the past seven months to kill the babesiae, and she has been doing so much better — thank God! For a time, I took comfort in the idea that she may be protected from COVID-19 because of her blood type and because of all of the treatments that she has undergone for Lyme and the co-infections, but I am unsure if my sense of comfort is only wishful thinking, especially given the way in which the virus has been mutating. As of the time of this writing, scientists have discovered three different mutations, one of which, out of South Africa, may be resistant to antibodies, and that is very worrisome.

Much like Lyme and other bacteria, SARS-CoV-2, or COVID-19, prefer certain blood types, but no matter what blood type one may be, the absolute best advice that anyone can offer would be to do all that you can do to avoid being afflicted with any of these diseases, bacteria and viruses alike.

Sadly, though, people are getting very tired of masks and social distancing; and being able to stop the spread of the virus is still very much contingent upon everyone doing their part to avoid being infected and thus spreading the virus.

And, to complicate matters even further, because of the slow roll-out of the various vaccines that have recently become available, all of the preventative measures (i.e., wearing masks, social distancing, etc.) will need to remain in-place for years to come in order to beat this thing.

Not long ago, Amy, who works for a fairly large manufacturing company that does a great deal of work for United Technologies, learned that a coworker, located at an office in Florida, died from complications due to COVID-19. The coworker was a sixty-five year old male with no known health issues, and the virus killed him within two weeks of learning that he had been afflicted with it. Not good!

Up and until the time of the news of his passing, Kathleen had planned to return to classes when schools in our area reopened, but news of his death caused her to change her mind. Fortunately, the high school she attends has done a very good job with online classes and she has, in fact, been doing great academically. The bad news is that I have returned to driving a school bus and my family and I are now more exposed than ever to contracting the virus.

Management has formally indicated that, per CDC guidelines, drivers are required to open all of the windows on the busses when they are in operation — regardless of weather conditions — and, as one might imagine, many drivers have not complied. The heaters on all of the full-sized busses were never very good at keeping the busses warm under the best conditions, but add having to drive around with open windows in dark, damp winter conditions and most will find that transporting children to and from school has become a sloppy, uncomfortable mess that no one really wants to do. There are certainly better ways to earn a living.

So, for the moment, I am now holding-out hope that a vaccination is forthcoming and that I will not contract the virus before I am able to get vaccinated. In other words: I’m currently working on hopes and prayers.

an ounce of prevention…

When I was young my mom, who was a nurse, would often say: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” And those words, especially now, could not have more meaning for me. Over the past few years I have often told people that, when I pray, I’ve learned to thank God for all that I have and, perhaps, even more importantly, for all that I don’t have — like a serious illness.

When it comes to Lyme disease or any of the co-infections that are transmitted by those nasty little creatures called “ticks,” there is nothing better for one’s health than to never get bitten in the first place.

A couple of days ago I came in from cutting our lawn, after doing a little weeding of our gardens, and I pulled a tick off the back of my neck, underneath my hair. Fortunately, by the grace of God, and any of the other powers-that-be who watch over me, it had not yet embedded itself in my neck. The part, however, that most disturbed me is the fact that my family and I reside in a very suburban area of the country with no woods located anywhere near our home. Even more disconcerting is the fact that I discovered the tick after I had showered and washed my hair, twice!

After I removed the tick I crushed it with the handle end of a spoon. I then wrapped-up the remains in some cellophane tape and then placed the tape in a zip storage bag. I wanted to keep the tick for a few days just in case I became ill so that I could have it tested for any diseases should I fall ill. Fortunately, I did not get sick and I was able to discard the bag. Even now, however, the thought of the thing on the back of my neck makes me cringe.

Once I had stored the tick I went back upstairs and took another shower. This time, however, I scrubbed my scalp and my entire body with a brush, just to be certain that there were no other ticks on me. I have no idea where the thing came from, and I don’t know if, perhaps, it may have crawled off our dog onto me. Regardless of how it may have found its way onto my person, the thought of having it on me and inside our home makes me very uncomfortable.

So, what can you do to protect yourself?

For quite some time the thinking was that a tick had to be attached to its host for at least forty-eight hours for a person to become infected; but that thinking has changed, especially since some ticks have been found to be infected with the Powassan virus. With Powassan, a tick only needs to be attached to the host body for fifteen minutes for the host to become infected — and that’s really scary!

Therefore, the most important thing that you can do to avoid being bitten is to not roll out the welcome mat to the little invaders. For one thing, try to avoid areas known to harbor ticks, like wooded areas. And, if that’s not possible, try some of the following:

01

off! deep woods (deet)

Though I’m not a big fan of putting chemicals on my body, the most effective way to keep ticks off of you is to use products that contain DEET, like “OFF!” I use it whenever I work in our yard, and I have gone as far as to also spray my clothing to make certain the bugs stay away.

02

olay moisture ribbons plus LAVENDER oil

Olay Moisture Ribbons Plus Shea + Lavender Oil Body Wash, 18 oz ...There are certain scents that the bugs hate and lavender is one of them. For my daughter this product has been a godsend. She likes the smell and she told me that she found it to be very effective at keeping the bugs at bay.

03

avon skin-so-soft bug guard

Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus IR3535® Gentle Breeze® SPF 30 Lotion ...Another product that does a good job at keeping the bugs away is Avon’s Skin-So-Soft with Bug Guard. The company offers a variety of sprays and lotions, and the one pictured to the left also provides SPF 30 sunscreen protection.

04

bath scrub brush

For ticks to transfer diseases they have to be attached to your body for some period of time (depending on the disease), and, other than keeping them off your body entirely, the next best thing is to ensure that they don’t remain on your body for long with a shower scrub brush.

A couple of final tricks that you can employ is the use of garlic and permethrin. For many years our ancestors would use garlic to keep bugs away. They were very well aware of the fact that garlic is a powerful natural insect repellent and they would eat garlic daily and keep garlic cloves in their homes, especially around bedding, which were usually made of straw or hay — a very common place for bugs to nest.

The benefit of permethrin is that it actually kills ticks and mosquitoes by disrupting neuron functions. Permethrin is an insecticide in the pyrethroid family. Pyrethroids are synthetic chemicals that act like natural extracts from the chrysanthemum flower. Products such as Sawyer’s Premium Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent are applied to clothing and claim to be effective for up to eight washes in the laundry. Please note that these products are NOT MEANT TO BE DIRECTLY APPLIED TO ONE’S SKIN. And, as always, be sure to follow manufacture’s instructions whenever using any of the aforementioned products.

For me, personally, I take one Nature’s Bounty 2000mg Garlic tablet each morning; and I use Deep Woods Off! whenever I work outside. After gardening or or cutting the lawn I will go into our mud/laundry room, strip down and immediately wash my clothes in hot water. I will then go upstairs to take a shower and scrub my entire body, head to toes (including my scalp), with a soft bristle bath brush.

In the world of computers it has been said that “The only safe computer is the one not connected to the Internet.” And the same holds true for Lyme disease: the only true way to protect yourself is to ensure that the bugs never connect themselves to you!