My hubby has struggled with health issues for the last 5 years.  We have a good functional practitioner who immediately tested him for Lyme Disease – and the result was negative. However, almost a year later we received a letter from that lab stating that they sent the wrong person’s test results and we might want to test again.

We did test again but used a lab that specializes in Lyme Disease. Our doctor also requested specialized testing for both Borreliosis and the major co-infections.  I’ll blog about that soon.

Hubby’s test came back positive for Borrelia burgdorferi and a co-infection of Lyme Disease – Babesia. Most of the Lyme Disease cases in the U.S. are diagnosed as Borrelia burgdorferi (B.burgdorferi).

I’m going to share some aspects of Lyme Borreliosis that we have learned and that you may not know.  We will talk about Babesia another day.

Lyme Disease is under-reported…for a lot of reasons. As of 2017, the CDC website reported 40,000 cases.  That number is based on the reporting criteria that the CDC established for physicians. The trouble is that the reporting criteria are NOT the same as the criteria that physicians use for diagnosis.  Crazy right?!  Some researchers put the number at well over 200,000 cases.

Just know that if you are diagnosed with Lyme Disease your physician can’t report it to the CDC if your case doesn’t match the criteria laid down by the CDC. They will not accept that report. Seriously…we are in trouble people! We truly don’t have any idea what we are dealing with in this country.

Individual states often don’t push for better reporting because of tourism.  Think about it – are you going to make reservations at a campground, mountain cabin or lake-side Air BNB for your summer vacation if you know that the area is endemic to Lyme Disease?

Lyme Disease doesn’t look the same for everyone.  Maybe you got a bulls-eye rash and maybe you didn’t.  Not all tick bites resulting in Lyme Disease cause a bulls-eye rash to form. Did you know that only about one-third of people who have Lyme Disease report a bull’s eye rash?  Disease can present differently in people because we are all unique individuals with unique DNA. Yes, some diseases exhibit the same symptoms on a variety of people but not all diseases respond that way.  Lyme Disease is one of those that can have an amazing array of symptoms for different people.

Lyme tests are often wrong.  If you want to be tested for Lyme, you need to be tested by a highly trained clinician using particular tests that are more sensitive and using the proper lab to get an accurate diagnosis. There are so many variables when you start studying this that it is downright scary!

Lyme Disease is not spread by ticks alone. Tick bites are probably the main source of Lyme Disease. However, “Research has found infectious Lyme spirochetes, for example, in human breast milk, tears, urine, and semen. Lyme Disease has also been shown to have been transmitted to babies in the womb. And finally, live spirochetes have been found in mosquitos, mites, fleas and biting flies and transmission through some of these routes has been documented.”  (Healing Lyme, Stephen Buhner).  If someone you love has Lyme Disease – Stephen Buhner’s books on Lyme Disease are indispensable! 

By sticking our collective heads in the sand and insisting Lyme Disease can only come from a tick bite are we preventing ourselves from learning the truth about this disease? Could we be finding more answers that may help people who have been told they do NOT have Lyme Disease because they weren’t bitten by a tick?

Antibiotics are not always the answer. Antibiotic treatment can be highly effective for many people but not all people. Some people experience dramatic recoveries (although the relapse rate is pretty high) but some people don’t respond to antibiotic therapy. The longer a Lyme infection continues untreated, the harder it is for antibiotics to be effective.

Lyme Disease is a spirochete – one of the oldest bacteria on earth.  Very adaptable little critters.  There are eight different genera and over 200 (and counting) species in those eight genera…we have only seen the tip of the iceberg on this! 

These spirochetes are scary smart – they know when a tick is feeding on a host (you for example) and their goal is to leave the tick and find their way into that new host.  They know when a tick is feeding because there is an immediate change in body temperature of the tick and the PH of that tick decreases pretty dramatically once that tick bites a host.

These Borrelia spirochetes have extra DNA strands that contain information about different mammals they can live inside of…and they can analyze the blood the tick is feeding on and find the needed strand of DNA that they can use to alter their physiology so they can prepare to infect the new host without triggering that host’s immune system.  What?!

They travel to the tick’s salivary glands (the site where they move into the new host) and begin their transformation according to which DNA strand they are using.  This takes some time.  This is why it is important to do tick checks each time you come inside – if you can remove a tick within 24 hours of being bitten, you are less likely to be infected with the spirochetes.  DO THIS EVERY SINGLE TIME you are outside!  Check your children too!

Lyme spirochetes can also change into an encysted form when under stress. They can encyst incredibly fast, within minutes, and stay that way for years! This has been my husband’s experience – more on that later.

Deer aren’t the main carriers of Lyme Disease. Although we hear a lot about deer carrying ticks that cause Lyme Disease, deer aren’t necessary to spread this disease and aren’t the main carriers of the ticks that carry Lyme Disease.  The main carrier in the US is the white-footed mouse. Humans are doing a pretty good job of spreading Lyme disease also.

Lyme spirochetes are highly adaptable. Oh, If you are spraying your yards to reduce tick infection – better think again.  Lyme spirochetes are highly adaptable – they can develop resistance to that pesticide. It won’t take long for that pesticide to be powerless over these spirochetes!  How often will you need to change pesticides?  How much poison do you want to put on the yard where you or your children spend time?

My husband is in a battle for his life.  He has decided to share the raw, nitty-gritty details of his journey because he wants to help other people.  He has been been a part of health care since graduating from the Medical Center of the University of Alabama, in Birmingham, School of Optometry in 1977…as a Doctor of Optometry. He then went on to other schools later in life to get degrees as a Master Herbalist, Naturopathic Doctor, and LMT.  He has always been a caregiver and believes that by sharing his journey he can continue to help people.

It takes a lot of courage to be this vulnerable…Lyme disease isn’t pretty and his symptoms are especially difficult. I’m really proud of him. We’ll be sharing the victories and defeats and everything in between.

Resources:

Healing Lyme: Natural Healing of Lyme Borreliosis and the Coinfections Chlamydia and Spotted Fever Rickettsiosis By Stephen H. Buhner

Natural Treatments for Lyme Coinfections – Anaplasma, Babesia and Ehrlichia By Stephen H. Buhner

Healing Lyme Disease Coinfections: Complementary and Holistic Treatments for Bartonella and Mycoplasma By Stephen H. Buhner

Lyme Disease: Ancient Engine of an Unrecognized Borreliosis Pandemic?” by W. T. Harvey and P. Salvato (Medical Hypothesis 2003;60(5), 742-759)

Lab: Medical Diagnostic Laboratories, Hamilton NJ

Why Can’t I Get Better? Solving the Mystery of Lyme and Chronic Disease by Dr. Richard Horrowitz

How Can I Get Better?: An Action Plan for Treating Resistant Lyme & Chronic Disease by Dr. Richard Horrowitz