How’s that for a headline?
As I often say, chronic lyme disease is very glamorous.
So here’s the background. When you have chronic lyme disease, you are basically dealing with problems on a parallel path. On one track is the lyme infection itself. You need to kill that mother if you are ever going to get back to health. So, that’s job number one.
On the other track, you have the cascade of problems caused by the fact you have chronic lyme disease. For example, the lyme treatment along with my compromised digestive tract caused me to lose 37 pounds (and I was only 118 to start with). Because of my weight loss, I developed osteoporosis and my thyroid began to underperform. The trauma caused by my inability to stop losing weight led to extreme anxiety. My slow motility makes me more susceptible to yeast and bacterial overgrowth in my GI tract. Additionally, I suffered from fatigue and brain fog that were caused by the lyme infection, but made worse by the treatment.
What a mess, right?
In the past, I have tried to find a single lyme literate doctor that can address all my problems. It just seemed like it would be easier that way. One stop shopping. Plus, the theory of many lyme doctors is if you kill the infection all the other problems will take care of themselves.
I employed this strategy for about five years. But recently, I realized it’s simply too much to expect one person to be expert on such a wide array of problems. Particularly because my GI problems and anxiety are so severe.
So starting a few months ago, I decided to unbundle my care to see if I can achieve better results. Here’s what I’m doing:
- For lyme, I am only interested in non-antibiotic options at this point, as I do not tolerate them well due to my GI issues. The most recent therapy I’m pursuing is called Low Dose Immunotherapy, and it is being managed by Holtorf Medical Group in LA.
- For my hypothyroidism, I started seeing a local endocrinologist. He suspected my hypothyroidism was a result of my low weight. Since I have gained 26 pounds in the last two years (thank you, Absorb Plus), he thought I could try discontinuing my thyroid medication. Thankfully, I was able to do so, as I now weigh enough for my body to properly regulate my thyroid. My lyme doctor didn’t think of that.
- For my anxiety I have been seeing therapists for the entirety of my lyme treatment, but my lyme doctor was managing my medication, as I was seeing a psychologist who cannot prescribe medication. But in the late summer of 2017 I started seeing a psychiatrist who could prescribe medication. He adjusted my meds, and I am now on only a very small dose, with much better results. Note: I believe talk therapy does MUCH more for me than medication, but I still need a tiny bit of pharmaceutical help. For now.
- For my GI problems, I recently started with a Functional Medicine GI doctor who was highly recommended by a friend who is a doctor. The first round of testing indicated a high level of yeast in my GI tract, so I am about to start a protocol to combat that. My doctor said this is just a first step, and there will likely be other testing and other issues to uncover, but he wants to take it one step at a time, so we are starting with yeast. BTW, the yeast is not the cause of my motility issues, but likely a byproduct. Getting rid of it will not provide the Big Cure, but should help matters. BTW number two: I’m actually thrilled when GI testing reveals a problem, as it gives me an opportunity to address something that might help me feel a little better.
It’s definitely more work to have a team of doctors versus a single source, but I am hoping it will be more effective.
Time will tell.