My lyme journey started well before I knew it was Lyme. For 2 years I was rapidly decaying and had a serious of other diagnoses such as Celiac Disease, Alopecia, Hashimoto’s, SIBO, Candida, over 60 food allergies and many more. Doctors simply could not figure out what was wrong with me until I was “lucky” to test CDC positive for Lyme on Igenex in 2014. You can read my entire Lyme story and how I got here in a separate post as I want this to be about how I healed from Lyme specifically.
Before I dive into what I actually did to heal from Lyme, I want to start with a few notes about my approach and how I chose to heal. Also, make sure to check out my blog post about the 8 puzzle pieces needed to heal from Lyme. I realize what works for one person does not work for everyone, but I truly feel those 6 pieces need to be looked at to fully heal.
I did not touch antibiotics in my Lyme journey. I had taken so many in my younger days for chronic sinus infections due to living in mold, that I did not want to destroy my gut more. I also had just spent 2 years on healing my gut so this did not seem like a path I wanted to go down. Last but not least, I did a lot of research before I decided on a treatment plan. I noticed that people doing antibiotics felt good when they were on them, but as soon as they came off, their symptoms would come back with a vengeance. Also, I heard horrible stories of people getting worse, losing organs like their gallbladder or getting floxed. I did not want to experience any of this.
One of the doctors I worked with early on, told me that if I did not address the emotional / spiritual side, I would not fully heal. I made sure to incorporate these modalities from the start of my journey.
I wanted my journey to be an experiment and try new modalities of medicine that I did not know about or something unique that I could share my experience with the world.
Gut & Diet
In the first 2 years, I had been working with doctors that were more on the functional medicine spectrum and looking to treat my root cause. I started on 2 years of work on my gut, diet, food allergies and autoimmune conditions before I even knew I had Lyme and could chip away at it. In a way I think this set me up to be in a good position to start healing from Lyme. 80% of our immune system is located in our gut so I think this is an important piece of the puzzle to have spent so much time and work on this.
My very first diagnosis was Celiac Disease and so that started my journey into cleaning up my diet. First I went gluten free and felt spacey all the time with gluten free replacement foods. My doctor suggested I do the AIP Diet (Autoimmune Paleo) which is a strict elimination diet that takes out inflammatory foods and this made a huge difference for me. It started to teach me what foods worked with my body and what foods didnt and I could slowly add foods back in one at a time. After the AIP Diet I did a modified Paleo Diet and then went on to the Bulletproof Diet.
At the same time I was unfortunately developing a lot of food allergies from Lyme and so my diet was very limited and I was actually doing immunotherapy for food allergies, though it did not really help much.
In addition to diet, I also worked on leaky gut, candida, SIBO treatment and constantly adjusting my diet to stay ahead. I included bone broth and gelatin in my diet to help seal my gut junctions and took out all inflammatory foods.
To this day, I continue to keep my diet super clean and have included tools such as GenoPalate, Viome and Everlywell Food allergy testing to make sure I am eating the best foods for my body. Over the years I also have learned to listen to my body and know when a food makes me feel off or optimal and this is an invaluable tool and attention everyone should develop.
Obviously with Lyme and Co-Infections you are going to have to do some major killing to get the bacterial load down, but I also think that people get too fixated on this step and just kill and kill and never address some of the other items on my list. At a certain point, I do think we have killed a lot and it is time to address the other pieces to heal.
Also keep in mind, that doxycycline is the antibiotic given if you are lucky to have a bulls eye and catch it early. Doxy does not even kill lyme. It actually just slows down Borrelias replication cycle so that your immune system can kill the it. Chew on that for a moment. Why should we not be trying to optimize our immune system to help as a killing treatment as well? I really resonated with this and one of my top goals was always working to strengthen, modulate and optimize my immune system in this process so that it could be my alley in killing Lyme. More on that later.
Other killing modalities that I did use and find effective:
Homeopathics with frequencies
This one may seem totally out there, and it was actually the first killing treatment I did. The practitioner I saw did an electro dermal screening and is able to tell what microbes you have based on frequencies. I know this sounds completely crazy, but it was probably one of the most effective treatments I did, and I still use it to this day, especially after I travel to more exotic insect prone locations. The idea is that everything in the world has a frequency and with the scanner, they are able to pick up what microbes you have based on the frequencies being picked up. Once you know what you have, you can make herbal and homeopathic remedies with frequencies imprinted into them and you take them for 4-6 weeks at a time. Again, this sounds crazy but this was a game changer for me and made such a huge difference. First we tackled non lyme related microbes and parasites that had been wearing down my immune system for years and once they were cleared out I felt so much better! Then we tackled lyme and co-infections and that was a 4-5 month process. I really felt a huge shift after this treatment. I herxed like crazy and definitely felt things happening.
Herbals in addition to the homeopathic with frequencies were also a big part. I felt really great when taking Buhner herbs and did quite a few cycles of those as well as Biocidin which was really hard on me. Sometimes I wonder if people are herxing or if they are just sensitive to herbs since those of use with lyme have so many allergies and sensitivities. I also used a lot of C.O. that I also found very beneficial.
The next piece of the puzzle was incorporating lots and lots of detox. It seems that most people with Lyme have some not so optimal genetics such as MTHFR and other snps in our methylation cycles. Many, including myself also have the HLA gene, also know as the “dreaded gene” or multi susceptible which does not let your body detox toxins from mold and lyme. Just because you have this, does not mean you will never get better. I have all of these issues and am thriving today. In fact, my methylation has been tested since being in remission and it is working optimally now!
Heavy Metals always seem to be an issue with Lyme. Mercury, lead and aluminum were all through the roof on my chelation testing so I did many rounds of IV chelation to get rid of the metals. This consisted of doing IV Sodium-EDTA with oral DMSA and 2 weeks to clean up and mop up the metals which included antioxidants, binders, sauna and colonics though the week.
Mold is another issue that goes hand and hand with Lyme. It seems that people either are exposed to mold first, which weakens your immune system and then either contract lyme or trigger it to come out, or the other way around. You have Lyme and your immune system is keeping It in check, but the mold makes it come out and stresses your immune system. I did a long series of mold detox with multiple binders, glutathione pushes multiple times a week, BEG nasal spray and lots of supportive supplements, sauna and colonics.
I was exposed to toxic mold in grad school. My apartment flooded and was not properly dried. I was broke and busy with school and did not think it was going to destroy my immune system so much. I started having chronic sinus infections and developing strange food allergies out of nowhere. I was living in Arizona and assumed it was just the dust and long sleepless hours I was pulling getting my masters in architecture. When I moved out of that apartment, my chronic sinus infections stopped, but I always got sick easily and still had some immune issues. This is definitely one of the things that set me up to be immunocompromised later in life.
Solvents, Chemicals & Pesticides
I also tested high for solvents and attribute this to living near the freeway in San Francisco and on Wilshire Blvd for years in Los Angeles. We used to get black soot on our patio and we were breathing that in our home to. Always be very conscious of where you are living and don’t live too close to freeways or busy roads. Also make sure to have a chemical free home and buy organic to avoid pesticides. Moving away from the freeway and living by the beach as well as all the detox I was doing fortunately cleared the solvents from my body.
It is very important to use non toxic cleaning products and beauty and skin care products as well as we want to limit our chemical exposure while trying to detox and heal.
I did the Apheresis 2x during my treatments. The aphereis is a treatment that separates your plasma from your blood and can really work to detox and clean your blood and inflammatory factors in the blood. You can also add adjunct therapies like ozone and chelation to it to make it more powerful. The day after the Apheresis I would go back into my clinic and do another day of IVs since my body was so cleaned out of inflammation it would make the treatments much more effective and targeted. I definitely did experience some benefits from doing both Apheresis but it was not a treatment I could afford to do more then 2 of and it was a pretty intense treatment and really stressed my veins since I did not have a port to do it with.
In addition to the detox protocols above, I also did a lot of supportive therapies in between all my treatments. I used my Clearlight Infrared Sauna about 5x a week. I did colonics 2-3x a week as well as castor oil packs and detox baths as much as I could. I found that the more I detoxed the better I would feel.
In addition to those modalities, I also used a lot of supportive supplements for detox such as liver / kidney / lymphatic tinctures and binders like takesumi supreme. I started doing lymphatic drainage support after stem cells, but wish I had included some of this earlier on as it is very important to support the lymphatic system as well.
Not only is it important to detox our bodies, but also our water, home, cleaning supplies and cosmetics that we put on our body. I installed a whole house water filter on my home, changed my cleaning supplies to Branch Basics, upgraded to all non toxic beauty products from Beauty Counter and made sure there were no toxic chemicals used in my home or yard.
This was one that I was dreading having to deal with, but it definitely was part of my puzzle. Fortunately I did not have any amalgam fillings I had to get removed, but I did have cavitation issues from getting my wisdom teeth out.
Cavitations happen in your jaw bone when you get a tooth extracted or a root canal and the bone does not heal properly. It leaves a rotten area in your jaw where parasites, bacteria and viruses can thrive. The issue is your immune system is trying to get to these things and attack them, but it never can and just ends up wearing down your immune system. For me I had strange jaw issues that went away after my surgery and I used to have debilitating anxiety that also seemed to lift after the surgery as well. You can read all about my cavitation surgery experience my blogs for 1 week post opp and 10 week post opp.
This was an interesting piece of the puzzle that has helped as well. I have had chronic TMJ and grinding my whole life and so I worked with Dr Pana, who also did my cavitation surgery to work on finally adjusting my jaw so that I don’t grind. He states that grinding is a way for your body to pump your lymphatic system that is not working right. I have noticed a significant change in the tension in my jaw and better strength and alignment.
One of the absolute key pieces that I think a lot of people that just do rounds and rounds of antibiotics miss is immune modulation. With lyme and toxins our immune system breakdown and doesn’t know what to go after.
I honestly think at a certain point that we have all killed enough lyme and it really becomes an issue of fixing the immune system that might still be looking for lyme but not finding it.
A lot of people with Lyme also develop a lot of autoimmune conditions with lyme. I have two theories on this and remember I am not a doctor, but have lived it and worked with a lot of Lyme patients to see patterns.
First I think that Borrelia goes to our weakest areas that are already weakened by previous issues (mold, diet, exposures etc) and likes to live there. For me it was my thyroid, celiac issues etc. So when it's hiding there, we are already compromised in those areas so does it trigger on an autoimmune factor or is it just our immune system trying to attack the Borrelia hiding there and it appears as an autoimmune issue? Maybe a little bit of both, I am not sure.
For immune modulation I did a few key treatments that I thought really helped.
Thymus Therapy was a game changer for me and I continue to use this as a treatment to keep my immune system strong. You can read all about the details in my blog post about it, but essentially it is a peptide therapy that helps to rebuild your thymus gland, which is what programs our immune system.
I did LDI for about 8 months and it did not help as much as I wanted it to. I would do the injection 1x per week and I would get about 1 day of feeling good from it. I really was hoping that with repeated use it would start to last a little longer but it never did.
Getting stem cell therapy is ultimately what got me into remission. I did all the above treatments for about 3 years, which got me to about 60% better before I did stem cell therapy. I used my own stem cells from my fat and by 6 months started to feel more like myself. I had improvements each week but it still took time, about 10 months for my neurological issues to heal. I did have some hormonal issues and horrible weight gain after the treatment but am now 2.5 years later and still in remission and my weight has finally returned to normal after a lot of work on thyroid and hormone balancing. You can read all the details about my stem cell journey in my weekly blogs.
This is something I have implemented more nowadays than when I was really sick, but wish I had experimented more with it before. Autophagy is a process that the body uses to clean house and get rid of damaged cells. I think this should be looked at as another form of immune modulation and detox because it is something anyone can do, whether it is with intermittent fasting or restricting calories in other ways. I have noticed that with incorporating some fasting recently, my Hashimoto's has greatly improved because my body is cleaning out its immune markers with autophagy.
Emotional & Spiritual Healing
One of the first doctors I worked with once diagnosed with lyme told me that if I did not address the emotional / spiritual side of being chronically ill, that I would never get better. I wasn’t really sure what this meant but started exploring how I could incorporate healing in this area. I dove deep, within and with various modalities and some of this may seem out there, but it worked for me. This part of your journey Is very individual so you need to dig deep and find what works for you as well.
I truly believe there are two types of emotions that need to be addressed when sick. First there are the emotions of what caused your illness. This can be trauma, unresolved emotions, childhood trauma, feeling out of place in the world and some believe even generational trauma that has been passed down for generations. There was a study done that adverse childhood events (ACE) can lead to chronic illness and autoimmune illness later in life.
The second part is the emotion of being sick and being ready to heal. Sure we all want to heal and recover from this wretched illness but we might be subconsciously sabotaging ourselves and I see this a lot with some clients I work with, especially people that have been sick a very long time. It might come in the form of that your entire social circle is your lyme community and you fear that getting better you will have no community anymore, or you have someone that is your care taker and not sure how to shift that role, or you haven’t worked in years and not sure what you will do with your life once you get better. These can all be scary thoughts that might be subconsciously sabotaging us.
I am not going to dive too deep into this area since I have kept this part of my Lyme journey more to myself, but I will talk about what modalities did help me work through the emotional side of healing.
I did a lot of therapy, EFT, EMDR, Inner Parts work based on Jung, Energy cleaning, TM meditation, journaling, purpose work, shamanism and connecting with my inner healer, reiki, rebirthing, cranial sacral therapy, HRV and biofeedback. I wanted this part of my healing to be more fun, new and different from anything I had ever done, while still feel healing come from it.
I also made sure to work on some of the mental aspects of healing, and making sure I was ready to heal and grow out of the “comfort zone” of being sick. I found working with Amy B Scher and Angela Segal to be very helpful at resetting my emotional health and I highly recommend Amy’s Book, How To Heal When No One Else Can which is a great resource and support.
Another huge piece of the puzzle that all lyme patients seem to deal with is learning better boundaries, learning to say no and watching out for energy vampires. I used to be such a people pleaser and had major issues with these aspects in my life. I am much better at creating clear boundaries and noticing how people make me feel when I am around them instead of just trying to make them happy.
Lyme Facebook groups are another thing I really limited my time in, especially once I got stem cells. They can be an incredible helpful and supportive place but they can also be very toxic and detrimental to your healing.
Making sure to prioritize your self care, mental and emotional health are all key to recovering and staying in remission.
As you can see, with Lyme it is not just about killing the bacteria, there are many aspects I had to address to heal. In addition to all of the above, it is very important to also support the rest of your body and systems to help you feel better and heal as well.
As I mentioned above, most people with Lyme have compromised genetics. It is important to get some support for your SNPS especially MTHFR, CBS, COMT and Histamine related genes. Just because you have a gene does not mean it will cause issues forever or is expressing. I definitely had methylation issues, but I tested my methylation expression a year after stem cells and everything was optimal without any supportive treatments. At this point I will continue to test it each year ether with Doctors Data Methylation Profile or the OATS/Amino Acid test and make sure it does not need any support. You can get your genetic data through 23 and Me and then work with practitioners like Tree of Life to decipher your data.
Our mitochondria are the parts of our cells that make energy for our bodies. With chronic illness and age they can get weak and depleted. I did a lot of mitochondria support which really helped with my fatigue and energy. I used supplements like L-Carnitine, CoQ10, Uridine and NAD.
Neurotransmitter Testing & Adjustments
This was a really big game changer for me in how I felt emotionally. Making adjustments with various supplements to balance my serotonin, dopamine and epinephrine really helped me to feel better, less anxious and less depressed. They take a lot of work to adjust and you have to keep tweaking them but I highly recommend this as a step to mentally and emotionally feeling more stable. I used the NeuroScience Inc testing and line of supplements that my doctor managed for me.
This one is so tricky and so complicated. Our hormones are constantly changing and this one can be really challenging to adjust. I am actually still working on getting this aspect sorted out today, but I highly recommend working with a doctor that really, really understands hormones and thyroid to make these adjustments. Know it takes time and diet also plays a huge role in our hormones. I think once Lyme has been killed down enough, tweaking hormones can be a vital part to feeling better. I have a great doctor in the LA area if anyone needs a recommendation. In 7 years of trying to balance my hormones and thyroid, this doctor figured me out in the first visit and I have come such a long way since working with him.
This can be another factor that keeps your fatigue high and can be hard to get out of the cycle of fight or flight. There are some good adrenal tinctures that can help with this and trying to get adequate sleep can help. I used Physicans Formula Adrenal support and found it helped a bit. Now post stem cells my adrenals are actually doing really well.
This one is so hard but so important. Our bodies heal when we sleep and getting adequate rest is so critical. I had the worst sleep during lyme and had awful insomnia. My insomnia and sleep actually did not improve until stem cell therapy and it was one of the first things to get better. I have amazing sleep now and never have issues falling asleep anymore, unless I get glutened. I wake up rested as well which is such a nice change post lyme. All my sleep hacks are in this blog post and hopefully this help you get more rest too.
I think it is also important to rule out autoimmune conditions that may have triggered on such as Hashimoto’s or Celiac etc. These conditions might need support like thyroid hormone to feel better and can make a world of difference. You might thing every symptom is caused by lyme, but it might be a food allergy or that your thyroid needs support and it can help resolve some of your symptoms. Again, everyone is so individual with this so it is really about treating the individual.
Other supportive therapies that I used and found very helpful were acupuncture, seeing a network chiropractor, using my biomat and Essential Oils . Other things that really helped with my emotional and mental health was learning HRV and doing biofeedback.
I feel like that I have already touched on this topic in this post, but it deserves it’s own section just to reiterate it. We have to have a clean and healing environment in order to heal. That means making sure you are not living in mold, you are not living near a freeway, you are not being exposed to VOCs from paint that you are not surrounded by EMFs and so many other things that can wear our body and immune system down.
It also means making sure your living situation is conducive to healing. Are you in a safe home, a happy relationship, a healing environment? Does your space get fresh air and daylight? These things are all important to heal your body.
Well that is my Lyme healing in a nutshell. I hope this helps others on their path. There is light at the end of the tunnel and you can get better. Hang in there and try it all.
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