In 2003 I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. I had a swollen knee, a bulls eye rash and I was fatigued. It was a rough couple of days in the hospital as I had to get fluid drawn out of my knee and blood drawn for testing. My results came back negative for Lyme, despite all my symptoms. Luckily the doctor on call knew that this happens often and that Lyme is still a major possibility even without a positive test result. I was treated with IV antibiotics followed by oral antibiotics and I thought I was better.
Over the years, I began to experience odd feelings of anxiety, insomnia and panic attacks. I assumed that it was just something normal that most people experienced during college. By 2007 I was in my third year of college and I began to experience fatigue like never before. I was having trouble walking, was nauseated and unable to eat and I could barely hold my head up. I knew something was really, really wrong. I was diagnosed with Fibromayalgia, given lots of pain medication, and was told to rest all the time, which means I had to drop out of college.
After a year or so my family and I searched for answers. None of us were content with my diagnosis and we struggled to find out more about what was going on with me. I was the type of person who was usually fully engaged in life, and something just didn’t feel right. I also had constant fevers, vomiting, and relentless pain all over my body in addition to the insomnia, panic attacks and generalized anxiety. I was always uncomfortable. The weirdest thing was that to an outside observer it looked as though I was perfectly healthy. Only those that knew me well could tell that I was so sick and uncomfortable. One time a relative of mine said something to me along these lines.. “Well, can’t you just change how you think and get better?”… and it really, really irritated me because, of course, if I could, I would! Having limited answers as to why you aren’t getting better is something very tough to deal with.
I eventually was referred to an LLMD. The instant I got the paperwork to complete I started to put my symptoms together and things started to make sense. Even better, tests started to come back positive. At first only the Western Blot came back positive but eventually my Lyme test came back positive. Lyme is confusing in that sometimes it takes quite awhile to get a positive result. Finally, I had a diagnosis! I thought I might get better quickly, but this did not happen. I stayed at one doctor for a year doing bi-weekly IV treatments and taking so many pills per day of supplements and antibiotics it felt like that’s all I did was just take pills and supplements. This treatment didn’t work so well for me, so I found another doctor to see that treated with less IVs and more antibiotics, anti-malarial medications and many other medications that crossed theBBB that had horrible side effects. At this point I wasn’t sure if my illness or my medications were making me sick.
One day I decided that as sick as I was, I would start to do some things I had read that were helpful. I took a hot bath or used a sauna or jacuzzi daily. I drank a lot of water. I started to use immune boosting herbs. I also started to do Qi Gong, Feldenkrais, T’ai Chi and Yoga. I started out very, very slow and gradually began to do more and more. Then I added in a routine to use a pool every day to move in the water where I had less pain due to less restrictions from gravity. When I realized how helpful the Feldenkrais Method was, I began to see my teacher for all classes she held 3-4 times a week and felt great improvements. I also started to take a new medication that was so helpful but eventually caused some awful side effects. After a year or more of these therapies and seeing my Feldenkrais mentor for private sessions, I started to feel as though I was in what we Lymies like to call “remission”, meaning I was feeling so much better and almost back to where I was before I was hit so hard with this illness. This was around 2011 so I’d been sick for a total of four years, or eight if I was counting the years with anxiety and other symptoms before it got really bad.
I had years of “remission” and felt wonderful. I fell in love with my current partner and had two amazing, beautiful children. I entered into the Feldenkrais Training Program of Baltimore in 2012. During my second pregnancy, the Lyme came back. At this point I was desperate to find some way to live a normal life and get rid of the Lyme as quickly as possible so that I may be a great mother to my children. Every day had felt like a blessing and now I felt as though the rug was being yanked out from under me and I was knocked down, unable to care for myself, let alone my children. During my pregnancy I heard about a clinic in Nevada that treated Lyme naturally. Remembering that I responded better to natural treatments I thought it would be a great fit and found someone who would support me financially, as insurance does not pay for the majority of Lyme treatments.
I went to Sierra Integrative Medical Center in Reno, Nevada this past August in 2015, 6 weeks after having my beautiful baby boy. Treatments were very intense and tough but I was determined to make it through my treatment and get back to feeling good. The main treatment called “PUSH therapy” is a homeopathic treatment that pushes the body into what’s called a herxheimer reaction which meant that my body was quickly killing off the Lyme and trying to filter it out. I experienced fevers over 105 degrees each day, shaking, vomiting, and also a lot of emotions from the whole experience. I barely slept through each night but got up each day, urging myself to go forward and continue the treatments so that I may get better. I also did a lot of other IV therapies, injections, and detox treatments. I found out that I was holding on to chemicals and toxins from the environment in my organs, making it nearly impossible to rid myself of Lyme disease. I had food allergies and lymph blockages, things I knew nothing about before my stay at the clinic. There is still so much we don’t know about Lyme and how our bodies respond to disease. By the end of treatment my veins were unusable and I was too fatigued to move much at all. I continued injections and treatments at home. I eventually got my energy levels up but still had lingering issues.
Recovery is still tough but I am still making progress and feel as though I am getting very close to remission. Some days I’m not sure how I will make it to the end of the day, but doing work that I LOVE as a Feldenkrais teacher and soon to be practitioner, and also the work I do by bringing knowledge of essential oils to others is so rewarding. My family is incredibly supportive and my daughter, Alani, knows to turn to natural solutions for any health issue that comes up and for prevention. She also lets me practice Feldenkrais Functional Integration Lessons with her! Despite any health issues I am reminded constantly of how lucky I am to have so much support with work and in life.
While at this medical center I met the mother of someone undergoing treatment at the clinic. Her name is Ronda, and she had such a beautiful spirit and lived each and every day in hopes of getting her son better. She introduced me to essential oils and eventually I began working with her. Our mission is simple: help people find natural solutions and prevent disease. We have both been through so much that we know how important this is! With the use of essential oils I felt much better and I now use them daily. This is WHY I do this for a living now.. No one should have to suffer from disease if they can prevent it, and that all starts with having the knowledge that I have now and wish I could give to my 19-year-old self before the onset of this illness. Ronda, the mother I met came up with a bug spray recipe that keeps everything away including mosquitos, ticks and other pesky critters! I will post the recipe at the end of this E-mail.
To anyone with Lyme or who knows someone out there who has it, I feel for you and send you love, from the bottom of my heart. Lately I have found so much support online from friends I both have and have not met. I also keep in touch with just about everyone I met at the clinic I went to and I am so grateful to have a network of people to support and who support me in return. However, I am also horrified at the growing numbers of people who are getting sick with Lyme. Over half the people on my E-mail list have it or know someone who does. So please, use your bug spray!! Here is the recipe:
Put into a spray bottle. Shake before each use or add 1 Tbsp of witch hazel.
Thank you all for supporting me in my business, my life and my journey. Please send me your ideas about how to help prevent Lyme disease and I will try to share some in my next E-mail.
Certified Feldenkrais ATM (Awareness Through Movement) Teacher
240 – 751 – 7888
- Essential Oil Safety Guide for Patients and Medical Professionals
- The Debate on Essential Oils
- Different Lyme Protocals