Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I have a sneaking suspicion that I am the only person out there giving myself subcutaneous shots of heparin to treat Lyme disease. I know I'm in the minority when it comes to Rocephin by injection instead of IV. I'm writing this anyway, in case there is some kindred soul out there, trolling the internet for the one-long lost person who also shoots up these drugs.

I love my injections. Not the part with the needle going into my flesh, but I love what the medications do for me.

I loved heparin from my very first time, four years ago, when I felt a warm tingling washing away the ache in my legs and fell into a rich, deep sleep a half hour later. I don’t fall asleep right after my injection anymore, but it keeps my blood circulating, makes me wonderfully relaxed, and allows me to do good things, like walking, for instance. When I miss my injection my shoulders stiffen up, my hands and feet get chilly and I don’t sleep that well.

(Apparently besides thinning my too-thick blood, heparin also has a therapeutic effect on the Lyme itself. According to my MD, Dr. Martin Ross, (and I'm paraphrasing wildly here) there is a kind of protective sack around the really hard to treat Lyme, and Heparin helps break this force-field down so the antibiotics can more easily get at the spirochete and destroy it.)

Rocephin I wasn’t quite so sure about at the start, but on the third day I discovered that moving around-- not lying down as I’d been doing—right after the injection got rid of the pain and also the despair that had been taking over. Since then I think Rocephin is great. On Rocephin I’ve cut down from two naps a day to one. I feel more solid and more energetic. I am working better, walking better, feeling better. I don’t want to miss a single dose.

Both these injections cause bruising, each in their own special way. At first it’s negligible, but over time the bruises build up. The best thing is to get on them right away, before they get the upper hand.

I used to ice right before and right after I injected my heparin, until naturopath Amy Derksen told me it was better to ice at a different time, so my body would absorb the heparin more quickly after I’d shot it into my fat. I’ve taken the same approach with the Rocephin—walk around, get it circulating. Ice later if you remember.

That means on a good day, when I'm home and can remember to do it, I shove ice packs down my pants. Generally I do this in private, although the baggy shirts I've been wearing to protect myself from the sun allow me to walk around outside with a surreptitious ice pack on my hip. Sometimes all the crazy things I do to get over Lyme disease just dovetail in the most marvelous way!

Besides the ice there is also Arnica, the very famous homeopathic, available as a topical cream at any self-respecting co-op or health food store.

The Rocephin also creates swelling and tough, lumpy spots under my skin that are sore when I touch them, lie on my side or do certain yoga poses. Just a few days ago I discovered I can massage these away. To do this a lotion that is thicker than your garden-variety moisturizer is helpful, something that is mostly shea butter or cocoa butter, i.e. solid at room temperature. (Don’t use Vaseline—that stuff is made out of petroleum!) Once the shea butter is on there, press down gently but firmly and move your fingers around until you feel the nubbly texture in the swollen area. You can then use the same gentle pressure to massage these little lumps away. I do this before bed and wake up in the morning happily de-lumped and looking forward with delight to my next injection.

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