Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Dr. Ross suggested a radical thing at my appointment today: it might be time to go cold turkey on my medical protocol.


After four years of antibiotics for Lyme followed by six months of post-Lyme clean-up (Shoemaker protocol), my daily workout has changed from walking two blocks to the mailbox and back to running four miles through my hilly neighborhood. My mental concentration is good, and although my chronic sleep troubles have not disappeared completely, most nights I get around eight hours of sleep. This last has come at the huge cost of spending the bulk of my waking hours keeping up with a crazy routine of liver detox drugs, nasal sprays, heparin injections, face masks, stints in the sauna, epsom salt baths and enemas (both to stimulate liver detox and to compensate for the constipation caused by the liver-support pharmeceuticals. (And this is with me keeping it simple: I've refused to do the neti-pot, mix my own bulk teas or make thrice-weekly colonic appointments, all of which have been suggested to me more than once.)

For the past five months on the Shoemake protocol, I felt like I spent my days sprinting on a gerbil wheel, sweating it out just to stay in place.

But the truth is I haven't stayed in place. While I felt like I was running in circles, I was spiraling up toward the light. Because now ti's pretty much normal for me to sleep eight hours out of every twenty-four. And while I still have chemical sensitivity and some level of mold allergy, during my Christmas trip home I could sit on my parents' perfectly normal couch without going into a sneezing attack, ditto for snuggling under a down comforter, two things I could not do a few months ago.

So maybe I am done, but I might not know until I try.

I certainly feel like I need all the supplements. Each time my sleep gets a little worse, it's invariably adding a new supplement, or often adding back a supplement I tried to drop out, that makes me sleep better. And when I forget to take my magnesium my legs ache, and when I later remember to take it my legs stop aching, and I feel all tingly and relaxed, which then leads to sleepiness.

But as Dr. Ross said, it could be the combination of supplements that creates the need for each one of them, and it could be that my body is just so used to being pumped full of vitamins, herbs and minerals that it's developed a physiological dependence on them.

What is undeniable is that my chief complaint right now vis-a-vis my illness is not that I'm tired or can't concentrate or am in pain, it's that all the medical stuff I have to do takes so much time I can scarcely do anything else. I am living in a virtual prison of supplements and detox procedures.


There is also the possibility that the reason I feel like I need all these supplements is I that I do, in fact, still need them, because I might still have active Lyme bacteria in my body.


Those with Lyme know all about the trouble with testing. Well, Dr. Ross informed me today there is a new Lyme test with 80% accuracy. In Lyme testing, this is tantamount to a miracle. So far so good. But here's the wrinkle: although the test is amazingly accurate(compared to other Lyme tests) it isn't all peaches and cherries. It takes a full eight weeks to get the complete results, and I can't have had even a drop of herbal microbials in the month before I take it. Given that I took a drop of Samento (an anti-Lyme herb) yesterday morning, I'm looking at three months before I see the lab reports.

So my work is cut out for me:

1. Stop anti-Lyme herbs
2. Cut Cholestyramine (liver pharmaceutical) by half for a week to see if I'm ok at that lower dose, then if I am I move on to
3. Go cold turkey on all my other meds and supplements, and then
4. Get the new Lyme culture test done and wait for results

I will record my progress on the blog

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