Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Lyme disease: one size doesn't fit all

Well, as planned today was 'A Day Out The House', mainly because I had physio - but we also stopped in at a couple of shops, then coffee and a bagel, and some time just wandering round the mall afterwards.  I did set multiple alarms on my two phones (one UK, one US) and put a 5-hour energy drink ON TOP of the first phone so I HAD to move to get it and pick up the drink to put the alarm off - it worked in waking me up anyway........ even followed by 30 minutes fighting the snooze button.

I actually felt better today than I have for a few weeks, generally (not shoulder-ly).  I'd run out of my antibiotics, probably about a week ago when I really thought about it - last week was one big blur of sleep.  I didn't really plan it, but I figured I'd see how I did without them and I guess the answer is still not good.  I did have a whole host of symptoms flare up - it's really hard to tell though, whether it is an active infection of borrelia bacteria, damage it has caused in my body in the past (which may or may not go away), reactions to chronic pain (which are complex and way more systemic that I ever could have understood before - especially when nerves are involved), or - at this time of year - a bug I might have picked up.  Or, more likely, a combination of any of the above.  

On the plus side, previous times I have stopped the abx, within days the Lyme headaches are back, and I feel like there is a pair of giant hands inside my skull, squeezing my brain - I didn't have those headaches this time, which I suppose is good, although instead I felt like I wanted to pull my left kneecap off, and the pain in my ankles, left hip and wrists has never been as painful as this week.  If just one day (two now - I guess if I still feel better tomorrow it might be a sign) of abx is enough to make me feel a bit better, that's also a big improvement. If it continues, it will be more telling.  Here's hoping!

I re-read this article on the Huffington Post's website today: "The search for global education: The 300,000 - Ticks" which was published last November, after the CDC in the US estimated there were an estimated 300,000 cases of Lyme a year - a significant jump from its previous estimate (which I can't remember right now, but it was far lower - perhaps a tenth of that).

It's an interesting interview and a good read for Lyme patients, or their family and friends as two Lyme Literate doctors discuss the complications of treating Lyme, and present their ideas on why it can be so difficult to treat.

One of the points in the article is that Western medicine has a strongly held belief - 'Pasteur's postulate'  that each disease has one cause and one cure (I have read of this being called 'germ theory' too - credited to Louis Pasteur) - not that every patient is different.  In the article, Dr Richard Horowitz, a well known name in Lyme circles, and an advocate for Lyme patients, discusses co-infections and other factors (e.g. a weakened immune system) which have to be addressed in order for patients to recover.  This is difficult to treat because each individual has different environmental factors, diets - lifestyles really; and treating each patient as an individual is far more appropriate than trying a one-size-fits-all approach.  


It's a shame that something so obvious is such a revolutionary idea, but with increasing awareness about Lyme, within the general population, and the medical community, hopefully this will help create new treatment protocols, and more doctors will listen to those few doctors who are leading the way.... hopefully to a real breakthrough.

“We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.”

   ~ Albert Einstein

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