I was diagnosed with Lyme disease after having a number of severe symptoms that put me in the hospital for a number of days last March. I’ve learned a lot about the disease since then and have come to realize that switching to the Geno Type diet actually started the whole process of discovery and healing.
The following is taken from this site: http://lymebook.com/blog/the-recovery-process/herx-reactions/herx-reaction-fundamentals/
Most Lyme Disease sufferers know of the Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction as a “herx,” or “getting worse before you get better,” or a “healing crisis.” The herx reaction is documented to take place in Syphilis, Lyme Disease, and a few other spirochetal illnesses, all capable of evading the immune system. The reaction is named after two scientists who discovered the phenomenon. Adolf Jarisch (1850-1902), was an Austrian dermatologist who published his description of the reaction in 1895. Karl Herxheimer (1861-1944) was a German dermatologist who published his description of the reaction in 1902.
The definition of a herx reaction is an increase in the symptoms of a spirochetal disease (such as Syphilis, Lyme Disease, or relapsing fever) occurring in some persons when treatment with spirocheticidal therapy is started. In the case of Lyme Disease the herx reaction is an increase in the symptoms caused by neurotoxin circulation and inflammation:
In other words if your immune system is starting to fight off the infection you could feel a whole lot worse for a while. I believe this is what happened to me when I started the GTD. I had been eating right for a B secretor, but my health had been going downhill for about 5 years. I didn’t know I had been infected with Lyme disease. I just knew I was really tired all the time and thought I was having a really difficult menopause. So when I started eating like an Explorer things really started to happen in my body. So many things got better almost immediately. My nails became stronger, my eyes brighter, my skin improved, and I lost a little weight. But other things got worse. I was becoming more fatigued and my gut problems got even worse. Eventually I ended up with strong heart palpitations and high and low blood pressure. After I was diagnosed with Lyme I thought the reason I got so sick was that the disease had “peaked”. But, in truth I was having a herx response because my body was healing!
Many Lyme patients have reactions, like I did, when they start taking medications. Many people feel as if they are going to die, I know I did. But my “herx” began before I started any medication. The change in diet was enough to get my body to start on the road to health. It was a very rocky road for the first few miles, but I seem to be getting better faster than most people with the disease.
Thank you again Doctor D’Adamo!
Can we heal the body like it’s a machine? If we strengthen or replace its parts will it work just like new? I was recently diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease. I’m taking numerous supplements and medicines to treat the variety of problems my body is experiencing. I’m getting plenty of sleep and rest. I am not allowed to do any aerobic exercise, but I do yoga daily. And of course I eat from my Explorer Swami list. But, is this enough?
I’ve noticed as I’ve started to heal that some very strong emotions have come up. I can suddenly feel very sad or very agitated. Sometimes there is a memory attached to the emotion and sometimes it’s just raw feeling. If I let myself feel the emotion (without judgments) and try not to think or figure it out, it eventually calms down and goes away. Do our bodies store strong emotions that contribute to our illnesses? If so, can we really get well unless we release these emotions as we heal?
Most of my symptoms are heart related. So healing my emotions is very symbolic. I must open my heart to heal my heart. I’ve had to ask my friends and family for help – money, time, emotional and physical support. I’ve always had a very difficult time asking for help. And now, to heal both emotionally and physically, I must ask.
Life will always give you exactly what you need.
I’ve done a lot of research since I was diagnosed with Lyme disease. The other day I ran across a protocol from Dr. William Lee Cowden, a well known doctor in the treatment of Lyme disease and cancer. Guess what! He listed the Blood Type Diet under dietary recommendations! I was so happy to see that. I know that being on the diet is helping speed my healing. I went to my doctor (a Lyme specialist) last week and he kept looking at me and then looking at my chart and then looking at me again and finally said “why are you doing so well, we’ve barely started treatment”.
First I should explain what “so well” means when you have Lyme disease. I have a chronic form of Lyme disease, which means the bite (which I remember) was between 5 – 8 years ago. I’ve had a number of symptoms since that time with my health gradually deteriorating. Among my symptoms are: general fatigue, severe chest pains, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, high and low blood pressure, fainting, arthritis that changes location, and a million weird pains and sensitivities. I’ve had a number of heart attack like episodes that put me in the hospital. After some hormone therapy, a short course (2 weeks) of antibiotics, and a few herbal remedies I’m back to work (6 hours a day) and mostly taking care of my own needs. That may not seem like much to a healthy person, but to a Lyme patient that’s a big deal.
So why am I healing so quickly. Could be good genes, I’m a B nonnie Explorer by the way. It could be because I’ve been eating the BTD and now the GTD for the last eleven years. I’ve also been getting Reiki treatments this last year before and after my diagnosis. I’ve been practicing yoga and meditation for the last four years as well. I have a lot of support from my spouse, my friends, and my family which makes a huge difference. So many people have stepped up to help in so many ways that it’s overwhelming to me at times. Add it all up and I could be one of the Lyme “success stories.” And I’m starting to feel like that’s possible.
Even if I never completely recover from this I know I’m really helping the medicines and supplements do their work. I’m doing all I can to help my body and soul heal from this very nasty invasion. Thanks to everyone who has and continues to help me in this quest.
Well, it looks like I might have Lyme Disease! Two weeks ago, I was reading a book that mentioned Lyme Disease symptoms and I thought OMG these look familiar! Then the next day my neighbor called and said “I was watching a medical TV show, and they were talking about Lyme Disease, and I think that might be what you have.” Two days later the specialist I’ve been seeing walked me through my recent 28 blood tests (yes 28!!! They had to use both arms to get enough blood!). And he thinks I may have Lyme Disease! I show signs of having multiple viral infections, which usually means positive for Lyme. So they started me on Antibiotics and Antiviral meds. I’m also taking some hormones, Cat's Claw and Hawthorn for the heart symptoms.
What a shock! I cried for two days straight and then I started doing research. I didn’t suspect Lyme, at first, because I didn’t know it could affect the heart. When people talk about Lyme you usually hear about arthritis symptoms. I have had some very strange and extremely painful joint problems over the last three years, but they mostly went away so I didn’t worry about it. I chalked it up to getting older. I’m 51 after all. But, apparently about 10% of people infected with Lyme have heart problems brought on by the disease. So, I guess this is why the Doctors at Kaiser couldn’t find anything wrong with me and thought I was just having panic attacks. And this is why I could eat so well and so strictly and still have health problems. The best food and vitamins in the world can only get you so far when you’re dealing with this nasty little beast.
I’m taking a very expensive blood test for Lyme and co-infections tomorrow. These results won’t be back for 3-4 weeks. But, I’m doing much better since I started the antibiotics and antiviral. I still haven’t gone back to work, but if I continue to improve the way I have these last two weeks I should be able to go back soon, cross your fingers for me.
I’m really grateful for this way of eating, well really this way of life. I can’t imagine how sick I would be if I hadn’t been eating this way. My poor heart has really been pushed to the test and so far it keeps on pumping. Heart problems run in my family (on both sides) and if I hadn’t been taking such good care of my body when this disease hit my heart I might have just had one massive heart attack and never lived to tell this tale.
Six weeks after my first ambulance ride to the hospital with heart attack symptoms and the doctors say there’s nothing wrong with me. Now granted, they haven’t got a lot to point to. The average person at my age (51) would have terrible cholesterol, a bad diet, and would be at least 30 lbs. overweight. But thanks to Dr. D’Adamo I have great cholesterol, a fantastic diet, and I’m only about 10 lbs overweight. The heart itself looks very good, no inflammation and no rhythm problems. There’s just a little plaque in one of my arteries near the heart, but no where near enough to do anything about. But my heart still pounds like I’m in crisis anytime it wants to. Sometimes it will happen while I’m just lying in bed or sitting on the couch. Sometimes if there’s a sudden loud noise or someone I’m talking to is very excited. Forget about trying to watch an action movie or listening to music that has a strong bass beat. Those always work to get my heart rate up lately.
Thank goodness I’m good at research and have an interest in health because the process I’ve been through has been very strange. The Doctors would do tests and then put me on a medicine that would skew the test results. Then take the test again and say I was fine. Does it seem strange to test someone’s electrolytes after they’ve been given 3 bags of fluid into their veins? Should you test Epinephrine levels after you’ve given the patient beta blockers (lots of them) which would block that response? Or test hormone levels right after giving the patient a CT scan? I looked them up, all three answers are no! So why did they do it? Is it because they don’t have a cure for what’s wrong with me or is it because I’m working with an HMO and insurance companies are telling the doctors what they can and cannot do? I swear I saw a lot of unsaid words pass behind my Endocrinologist’s eyes.
I did get enough information from the test to determine, for myself, that there is a problem with my Adrenal Glands. I had suspected for at least the last six months that I had Adrenal Fatigue, but I wasn’t responding to the vitamins, salt water, or rest as most people do. In fact, after a few days the salt water made me feel terribly wired, even though my blood pressure was fine or sometimes a little low.
So what am I doing? Well, the Endocrinologist advised me to start taking Estrogen for Menopause and to possibly help with my symptoms. But, with 80 – 90 % of my family dying of strokes and heart attacks I think I’ll pass. My research on the Adrenal glands shows that taking hormones is a very good idea. But I’m starting with bio-identical Progesterone and Phytoestrogen both applied as a cream which enters the system through the skin, bypassing the liver. I’m waiting for the results from a private lab (saliva test) to check my Estrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone, DHEA, and Cortisol (four samples) levels. When I get this test back I might actually know what’s going on. The hormone tests they give you in the hospital, I have found out, are not very reliable or accurate.
I’ve been on the Progesterone (and Phytoestrogen) cream for over a week now and it seems to be making a difference. I can tolerate salt again and the attacks are not as strong as they have been. I’m even going to try to work next week (just six hours a day). Thanks goodness I know what to eat! I finally got my swami just before all this started and I feel really good about my list. Next blog I think I’ll talk about hospital food!