UVLrx – Let there be light!

Whilst I was in California accessing intravenous antibiotics, I also tried various other alternative treatments. One of which was an 8 week course of UVLrx. This is a new cutting edge treatment for infection and virus load and is getting great results for patients with Chronic Lyme. Ideally it would have been more beneficial for me to have up to 20 treatments of this but due to lack of financial funds it just wasn’t possible.

 

 

This treatment is the first of this type of direct-to-blood intravenous light therapy treatment to be available. For each treatment an intravenous catheter is inserted into a blood vessel in my arm and the Polychromatic light source administers multiple wavelengths into the insertion site for 1 hour per treatment. Other light based treatments only deliver a single wavelength where as this treatment delivers 3, therefore increasing the potential for healing and for destroying unwanted pathagons. The UV light in this treatment is a powerful antimicrobial agent working against blood born pathogens in the body. The additional wavelengths delivered have been proven to repair damaged cells in the body and enhance the immune system.

 

 

Prior to starting this I was slightly skeptical as to how much it would help, but after seeing other patients get such great results I knew I had to give it a go. I can tell you though, I literally noticed the difference after the first treatment, and during sessions 3-5, I actually noticed the difference during the hour of those sessions. My energy levels over all increased and on occasions it was like I had been given a double espresso! I found my mental clarity improved, and with each treatment my brain fog lessened considerably. The brain fog is on-going, but I do feel as a whole it has lessened in severity and my cognitive abilities have improved. I noticed over time, a considerable reduction of inflammation and pain. This was apparent especially in the back of my head and base of skull and neck, which after having encephalitis was a really troublesome area. During sessions 6-8, I felt I did herx much more than previous sessions, and our thoughts on this were that we were reaching infections at a much deeper level. Maybe it was some of those super persistent bugs who thought they were getting off lightly after invading my body!

I had noticed prior to this course of treatment that my tremors were at a high level and the feeling of internal vibrations/jitters was quite intense, and again although this does still exist on a daily basis the intensity of these type of neurological symptoms are greatly reduced. I believe for myself personally that I was responding well to this cutting edge medical technology and had I been able to afford further treatments of this type, that I would have most likely continued to see positive results.

UV light treatment has been used for over 80 years and has been proven to make rapid readjustments to a variety of health conditions. I think it was only a matter of time before a machine of this nature was invented and I hope that with time it can aid many patients in their healing journey. I am really pleased that Gordon Medical Associates have invested in this technology as it is another option which is less toxic to the body than conventional medicine.

As a whole I feel this treatment has reduced both my viral and infection load and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to another patient who is also suffering with chronic levels of pain and inflammation.

Big love, hope and light! Chantelle x

 

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Part 2… Parasites, Porphyria & Osteopenia

Hello again!

Following on from my last post, I continue to update you on the highs and lows of treatment with Lyme disease and its many consequences and complications!

Over the course of my stay here, I have had to consult a new doctor at the clinic due to my increasing problems and complications. I have had some really insightful consultations with this change and in addition to learning so much new information, a fresh pair of eyes on my complex case has been extremely beneficial.

In terms of my viral load, I feel like this is much more under control, but by no means gone. We have had to keep shifting focus as there were still so many other problems to be figured out. I was experiencing more vomiting, more constipation and increased abdominal pain. I was loosing my appetite again, and noticing gall-bladder pain. I had a physical examination by my doctor and he suggested that due to the amount of tenderness across my abdomen, gall bladder and liver that I may in fact be suffering from parasites. This was an initial concern when I first fell ill 3 years ago, as I had been experiencing similar symptoms in addition to weight loss. I have previously had two stool samples sent to testing laboratories both here and in the UK, but they had both come back negative. Thankfully due to the doctors expertise and experience with other patients with similar symptoms, he felt almost sure that the cause of some of this pain had to be parasites. He explained that the type he thought I had doesn’t always show up in the tests. The reason being is that the parasites latch on to the mucus membrane of the small intestine and pretty much cling on for dear life! I was also suffering from low stomach acid and this enabled the parasites to thrive even more inside me! The suspected parasite was the ‘liver fluke’ and the doctor made the decision to start me on some treatment. Within days I was experiencing episodes of constipation. It was explained to me that this might happen and the reason being was because as the parasites begin to die off, they increase in size which can block the flow. They also pump out anaesthesia like chemicals which cause a temporary freeze of the bowel. The Parasite continues to swell and then shreds and is dumped out through the bowel, then causing episodes of diarrhoea. Throughout this period I was excreting multiple eggs and parasites and I couldn’t believe these things had been thriving off my insides for the past 3 years! It actually makes me shiver just thinking about it! Bleugh! I still have one other course of medicine to take for this which is called ‘Alinia’. It is well known pharmaceutical that is used in the treatment of parasitic infections of the intestine. This anti-parasitic agent interferes with substances in the intestine which are allowing the parasites to stay alive. This medication should finish off wiping out the final batches of gut monsters inside me… It better! This medication is costly here in the U.S at $46 per pill! Yes, No joke! With the help of my Doctor we have ordered this prescription from Canada at about one third of this price, but unfortunately it takes 3 weeks to be delivered and go through customs so for now I am just waiting. In addition to that medication I am also now on another antibiotic called ‘Actigall/Ursodo’l. This is to help concentrate the bile through the gallbladder which will help flush it out. This is needed as where the parasites have lived in the bowel they have also crept up and caused some congestion in this area. Nothing is ever simple!

Recently I have also been experiencing particularly difficult sets of days where I just felt much sicker than usual, a consistently ill feeling and bed bound with the pain. There was more nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, heart palpitations, back pain and what I can only describe as an altered state of mind, sort of on another planet! These are also symptoms I do experience from the Lyme and Co-infections, but not always of such a severity. My Doctor once again had a thought that there may be something else causing this and in the next episode of this type, he requested that I sent a urine sample to the lab. His thought process behind this was suspected AIP – ‘Acute Intermittent Porphyria’. This is a fairly rare condition and due to the fact that the symptoms mimic other conditions it can go un-diagnosed. Although many can be genetically susceptible, only few seem to develop symptoms. It is usually activated by other conditions and in my situation Lyme Disease has done just that. In order to obtain a diagnosis, the urine has to be tested when experiencing an attack. The sample has to be carefully kept at a certain temperature and protected from light, so this meant trying to wee in a tiny pot practically in the dark! I managed to time this well with a suspected attack and as expected my lab tests confirmed, I do have this type of Porphyria. I am still very much getting my head around this new and additional condition and when I have absorbed more about it I will write a separate post with detailed information. When reading about it I am bombarded with science, and this isn’t always that easy to understand or explain. I am currently discussing with my Doctor ways in how I will control the attacks of sudden pain and neurological symptoms. There a variety of ways to help suppress the activity to a certain degree but not stop it entirely. This ranges from yet more dietary changes, some supplements and maybe injections. I am currently treating attacks with IV Glucose fluids and pain medications. I can do the fluids myself through my PICC Line, but long term if the attack is of this severity and I don’t have my PICC line, this would have to be treated in hospital.

As you can understand from reading my blog posts, It is not just Lyme Disease I am now battling its a host of other bacteria, virus’ and medical conditions! Life really has changed dramatically and I am certainly hoping that the list of problems will stop expanding!

In terms of the infection load, the Babesia is really at the forefront currently. I have written about this co-infection previously, but I will re-cap a little as I know all of this is pretty complex. Babesia is a malaria-like protozoan parasite and continues to thrive in my red blood cells. It almost seems invincible! I have been on multiple IV and oral medications and herbs for this and it just won’t shift. I have had periods where I felt like the load had decreased and then all of a sudden its like it multiplies over-night. My doctor often looks at my blood through dark field microscopy, and I have seen with my own eyes the damage and physical formations of this parasite in my red blood cells. It has caused me to have low iron levels, air hunger and huge disturbances in my sleep. I have insomnia, extremely vivid and disturbing nightmares and drenching night sweats. My temperature throughout the day can fluctuate from hot flushes to chills. The Babesia headache for me mostly occurs at the base of my skull and radiates pain down my neck. With all the infections I have, I have literally had some sort of headache continuously for the last 3 years, its ridiculous. Its not often I am found without an ice-pack or a heat pad. On a mental level, this seems to give me increased brain-fog, a feeling of disconnection in my body and a great sense of being overwhelmed. Sometimes the smallest daily tasks of a functioning adult seem like such an enormity. The knock on affect of this can be more tears and anxiety. It can make difficult days seem impossible, but I try and bear in mind that this is the bugs not me!

Last but not least, I focus on my skeleton! Dem bones, dem bones, dem lovely bones! Well in my case some slightly affected bones. I have a lot of physical pain, which has developed since getting sick and its not surprising knowing that the Lyme spirochetes have wiggled there way into my brain and joints! Lyme almost hunts down areas of weakness in the body and heads straight for them to get cosy and cause havoc! With the increased pain in my hip/pelvic area, it made the Doctor and I start to think that there may be some sort of underlying weakness there. I went for a Dexa Bone Scan and the results came back with Osteopenia in the Femoral Necks. These are the long connective bones just below the ball and socket hip joint. My scan revealed the osteopenia and this is basically low bone mineral density. It is not as severe as Osteoporosis but is often a precursor to this. I am hoping that catching it at this stage means I can work with my Doctors to halt any further deterioration. I have also read that it is possible to often reverse this damage with supplements, dietary changes and weight bearing exercise, so fingers crossed.

So, I leave you with all of this information to digest and hopefully this will answer some of your questions as to why I am still so sick, its just such a complex battle. Layers and layers that need un-ravelling and treating and timing is crucial. That being said, I still fully believe I will make it into remission from Lyme eventually and hopefully get all of the other conditions under control. It is not an easy task, but my determination continues to grow.

Much love and as always many thanks for your continued support from around the world.

Chantelle xXx

My Fight For Remission Continues…

It has been 3 months since I arrived in California and began round 2 of magic medicine. I can’t believe I am still here or how quickly time has gone! I had originally booked a return flight for the middle of May, but as time crept up, reality kicked in… I still needed more medicine and this meant time. I was hit with the dilemma of how can I afford to stay in the USA for longer? Fundraising has slowed right down, the hotel was so expensive and I just didn’t have the funds for this as a long term option. The decision to return to the UK may have seemed more affordable, but for treatment this would be detrimental. Leaving California would mean pulling out my PICC line and therefore no more intravenous antibiotics. My infections have progressed to the difficult stages due to the length of time it took for an initial diagnosis and it seems I really don’t respond to the oral medication and therefore this wasn’t really proving an effective option for me. Bearing all this in mind its not surprising I had a full on week of worry and tears trying to work through options and scenarios in my head. Financial and geographical limitations were putting up barriers and the additional stress wasn’t great for my body.  I was then super lucky to find an offer of a room rental in someones house. It came just as I was loosing hope and I grabbed the opportunity with both hands. A kitchen I could finally cook in, this seemed like luxury after creating all sorts of interesting dishes in my hotel room, not easy with dietary restrictions and lack facilities! I also craved that home environment, a sense of normality in the midst of a situation which really didn’t seem all that normal! After all I have travelled over 5,000 miles by myself to get medical help, this didn’t shout normal and was definitley never on my 5 year plan!

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I was soon packed up and moved into my new temporary home… I seemed to have double the luggage I arrived with, medicine and IV supplies galore, kilo bags of epsom salts and not to forget the IV pole! I quickly adjusted into the new environment and know how ever hard it was to still be away from home I had to jeep focused, positive and motivated. No one ever said fighting for remission was going to be an easy one, but its definitely a fight I am willing to take a good shot at.

IV Meds in the hammock! Making the most of a 'better' day & the beautiful californian climate.

IV Meds in the hammock! Making the most of a ‘better’ day & the beautiful californian climate.

My medicine has been changed up on a regular basis since I have been here, research suggests that the infections really respond to this pulsing method long term. Un-like other illness’, Lyme is not text book and there really isn’t a ‘one fits all’ protocol. You can be infected with an array of infections from a tick and not only does this vary  from person to person, but also how the body and immune system cope and responds to these bacteria vary significantly. I often have people ask me ‘what medicine do you take, I have a friend with Lyme and she need to start medication?’. The thing is there is no simple answer, one must consult a Lyme literate doctor, have various lab tests done and be treated based on these results and also on a clinical level too based on current symptoms. My symptoms can change on an hourly basis, let alone a daily basis! I may wake with a crushing headache and pains in my feet, then an hour later I may feel really alert but shaking and by the end of the day I might be hugging the porcelain bowl! Its the most unpredicable situation to be in and it doesn’t make it easy to make any plans! I never really know if it will be a good hour or one where I hit foetal position and just rock! I can look so well from the outside but inside I often feel like I am breaking internally in so many different ways… like my body has been hijacked and there really is a monster inside me!  This for me is particularly frustrating, I can’t see or always understand what is going on inside MY body and yet I have to almost accept that ‘it is what it is’ and just deal with it. I am control freak and it makes me feel ridiculously out of control!

The main intravenous antibiotic medication I have been working with this past few months is Rocephin/Ceftriaxone, Azithromycin and Metronidazole/Flagyl. All of which focus on fighting the different persistent bacterial infections which I have. These are administered sometimes multiple times a day and have multiple side effects and interactions. Its often one medication for one problem and then another to reduce or eliminate the side effects!

The other IV medications I take are Phosphatidylcholine, Glutathione, Colloidal Silver and Myers. The latter is a  nutritional cocktail of high dose Vitamin C, various B Vitamins, Calcium, Magnesium etc. All of which have clear roles in detox,  supporting my immune system and helping me bite back against Lyme and the multiple co-infections.

I also take a daily concoction of probiotics, herbal tablets and tinctures which are a natural and vital part of my protocol. With all these pills, potions and drips it soon fills my day as you can imagine! In addition to medication I am also using food as another avenue of healing. I am currently gluten free, sugar free, dairy free and and following the Low Fodmap Diet. This eliminates high fodmap foods which are poorly absorbed into the small intestine and this helps reduce the abdominal pain, bloating, and bowel problems that have been caused by the infections and medicaitons . By eliminating these short-chain carbohydrates such as Lactose and Sucrose, it helps to eradicate this process of malabsorption and in addition to the other dietary restrictions I am hoping long term this will help to re-program and eventually heal my gut.

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I am really careful about keeping a log of all my medication and symptoms as this allows both the doctor and I to have a more accurate view on how things are going, what may be helping and in some instances what could be making things worse. You really begin to see patterns over time and get a much a clear insight into the flare-ups and also the better days too. I have a notebook which I have used to log every day of treatment since all this began. I recommend this for anyone juggling a difficult health problem and a lot of medication, especially if your brain has become a little more on the foggier side!

The trusty notebook... an insight into Lyme life!

The trusty notebook… an insight into Lyme life!

2015 Continues…

February and March continued to be both challenging months: Symptom central and yet more doctors appointments. It also saw the start of my new fundraising campaign for this on-going and madly expensive medical treatment.

March brought around my first A&E trip of 2015… I had huge reservations about going, as from previous experiences I know there’s never much they can do to help me. They have no understanding of this disease nor the impact that it has had on my body.
I always get approached the same response as I tell my story and get passed around the various nurses and doctors… “What’s Lyme Disease? How do you spell that like the fruit?” I can’t blame the individuals specifically as it’s not their fault that they have not been educated sufficiently about this disease, but never the less its ridiculous and wrong that they are not taught about this matter. Some medical professionals have been introduced to the basics but unfortunately, this has been taught using old research, inaccurate testing methods and the UK’s Lyme treatment guidelines, which are flawed like a book with too many missing pages. The vital bits of information are no-where to be seen, you only get half the story and there doesn’t seem to be a final closing chapter. As a patient you are left with a cliff hanger, not sure of where to turn or who you can trust, not knowing how your story will end.

I began to accept the fact that I was not going to get any help in the UK, but at times you have no choice but to visit the GP, especially when symptoms spiral out of control and you just simply need help. When this happens I am never able to see the same doctor, so once again I have to begin by filling them in on the last few years of my life with Lyme and of course I am expected to do this in a 5 minute appointment slot! An experience this time round I see yet another unfamiliar Doctor, the clock is ticking, and they are looking as baffled as always. They continue to look at both me and their computer screen even more confused than ever…They have no idea why my skin has turned a bright shade of red and stinging like I have been burnt. They finish up by telling me that they have lost my blood tests for the third time and that they still won’t be able to give me any of the medication I need. I get frustrated, more emotional and I feel like I am almost begging for help and I am once again disappointed.

The painful burning skin episode!

The painful burning skin episode!

A&E proved a similarly destructive experience, causing more stress than comfort and I was still non the wiser to why a sudden increase in pain. I try and avoid going to hospital at all costs, especially at 10pm on a weekend. After developing a surge of chest pains and strange heart palpitations, I thought it best to be safe than sorry. Complications of Lyme Disease include heart problems such as Tachycardia and Myocarditis, so I just wasn’t prepared to take the risk. I had both my bloods taken and an ECG performed. It didn’t come back completely normal, but due to their limited knowledge in Lyme I was just told I wasn’t having a heart attack so I was safe to go home. I also randomly got told by a doctor at the hospital that “I look too well to have Pneumonia”, bearing in mind I didn’t go in there with symptoms of this nor ever thinking this could be a possibility! It proved to be yet another insightful experience I would rather forget, and I finally crawled into bed at 4am exhausted and still having chest pains!

As some of you reading this may already know I have had to re-launch a new fundraiser for continuing treatment in the USA. Thanks to such a supportive network of family and friends who contributed to my initial fundraising page, I was able to travel to a specialised clinic in California for almost 4 months. There I received further diagnostic testing and intensive medical treatment, from which I made noticeable progress. My treatment is on-going, with both oral antibiotics and herbal supplements, of which I am still self funding. I have already spent £30,000 – £35,000 on medical tests, treatments and my first trip to the USA clinic. I have seen so many physical and neurological signs of improvement throughout the past year, but there has been a recent plateau in my progress.

This fundraiser is allowing me to return to the clinic and continue with ’round 2’ of intensive medical treatment, which is vitally important for my recovery from this debilitating illness. The NHS continue to have severe difficulty understanding or treating this disease and without the intravenous antibiotics and supportive treatment therapies readily available to me in the UK, my recovery is compromised greatly.

I am so determined to fight this disease and with the help of donations and the Lyme literate doctors in the USA, I really do have a great chance, not to mention hope. Treatment is a long and gruelling process, but I keep in mind the end goal of becoming symptom free and with a prognosis of remission.

You can visit my current fundraising page via the YouCaring site here or via my main website http://www.biteback4chantelle.co.uk
I am still very much in need of donations to enable me to stay in the US and receive medical treatment and continue to ship oral medication to me once I arrive home in the UK. If you are able to help in any way this would be hugely appreciated, no donation is too small.

Now I am back in the US I will be sure to update you all soon with my treatment plan, progress and how things are going state side. This first few weeks has been a tough transition and the medication is hitting hard, so unfortunately I haven’t been up to spending much time on my computer, but I will do soon, promise! Lots to tell you all about my adventures in the ‘Lyme Light’!

Hope you all had a fab Easter weekend…

Much Love and positive thoughts, Chantelle x

On high-alert and feeling toxic! September – November 2014

In my last blog post, I left you with an update as far as August. Things were going fairly well and I was definitely feeling and seeing progress across my body, brain and general well being. This was obviously too good to be true and before I knew it, Wham! I seemed to hit another bump in the long lyme road, and it was for sure another uncomfortable ride!

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So you may be thinking what caused this downturn? Well, although we have no concrete evidence, we think the culprit was a vaccine. I was given this as part of some immunology investigations. Having vaccines with Lyme Disease is without doubt a questionable task, but these tests were important as I needed to see if I had inherited my Mums rare and complex Primary Immune Deficiency, Hypogammaglobulinemia. This causes an abnormally low level of immunoglobulins, the antibodies that help fight infection. Research has shown this can be ‘congenital’, present at birth or ‘acquired’, developed later on in life. It is vital that we determine wether or not I have this as it could effect my chances of recovery from Lyme, and it could mean I have to have regular intravenous immunoglobulins in order to support my bodies immune system.

Ok, so back to the vaccine…Approximately 4 hours after this, I felt very nauseous and lethargic. I headed straight for bed in an attempt to sleep this off and when I woke an hour later, I was experiencing excruciating pain in my shoulder where I had had the injection. Although it is common for pain after any injection, it was my whole shoulder and upper arm not just the insertion site. By early evening I was in so much pain, in floods of tears and unable to move my arm at all. The level of discomfort was off the scale, and I was having to physically support the weight of my arm even in resting position as  the general weight of my arm felt unbearable. I headed straight to my GP where my arm was put in a sling and I was prescribed stronger painkillers and anti-emetics. This was a ‘dead’ vaccine so I really didn’t expect any reaction at all, let alone this!

Within 3-4 days the pain had subsided considerably but I continued to feel totally wiped out, it was almost like I had regressed 6 months. The physical symptoms from Lyme and the Co-infections I was fighting had all seemed to creep back to a much more aggressive level. My night sweats were back with a vengeance, I had air hunger, heart palpitations and the headaches were constant. My adrenal gland function seemed to be playing up too. This can be a common occurence with chronic infection. From having this problem earlier on in the year,  I have become aware of certain symptoms which arise when this is happening. I notice I am a lot more alert in the evening when I should be winding down. I get a real sense of restlessness and almost an internal jitter. My sleep feels completely not restorative and I often feel like a zombie until about lunch time, not to mention the brain fog! My insomnia also increases and my appetite too. I seem to loose weight although noticeably eating more! You may be aware of the ‘fight or flight’ response, which is a process of the sympathetic nervous system, our bodies reaction to the stress it is under. Its like the body goes into high-alert and the hormones of the adrenals contribute to this process.

So with all this going on in my body I was advised by my Lyme doctor to briefly stop my antibiotics while my body had a chance to get to grips with the latest episode! I stayed off these for almost two weeks and then introduced them again one at a time. Unfortunately it was not before long and I was feeling worse again, I was now vomiting, having chest pains and can only describe the feeling as hitting a brick wall. It then became apparent that my liver had also become congested, so I had no choice but to stop all antibiotics, again. I was toxic, literally and it was too dangerous to continue to load my body with medication especially as my faulty detox genes meant I was not able to rid of any of the die off I was experiencing from the antibiotics. I got myself into full on detox mode. I increased my intravenous Vitamin C and Glutathione, had 30 minute epsom salt baths daily, drank copious amounts of lemon water and had regular castor oil liver cleanses. I also continued to take the herbal tinctures and tablets such as Itires, Apo-Hepat and Milk Thistle.

I had to stay off all medications until mid November and I found this really disheartening. All I know is that to rid my body of all these infections I have to preserver with long term antibiotic treatment, so to be told your body is not tolerating it is simply frustrating. With that aside, it wasn’t long before I got my head back in the zone and reminded myself that I needed to stay mentally strong, that this was just a blip and before long I would be back on track. It is not easy trying to be positive day in day out and don’t get me wrong I have my moments! I cry, I feel angry and I ask that rhetorical question ‘Why Me?’ Surely though I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t have these moments and thoughts every now and then. Being continuously ill is not easy. It also didn’t help that my 30th birthday was approaching! I always had expectations and plans for where I would be in life when I turned 30. What I had hoped to have achieved and what my future plans where. Well obviously getting bitten by a tick threw a huge spanner in the works and I could no longer follow a plan. Right now my plan is just to get through each day, just one at a time and do my best to do so with a positive attitude. I always remind myself it could be worse, and it could. I have a roof over my head, a supportive network of family and friends, and a doctor who is trying everything to fix me. At least I have a chance to get better. I am lucky I am still alive and yes, I may be in pain for the majority of that time, but I keep the hope that this won’t be the case forever.

“If you keep hope alive, it will keep you alive” 

Another Day, Another Hospital… Not quite how it looked on ER!

It has been ten days since I last updated my blog… Why? Well! My body decided that there wasn’t enough drama already in my life and decided to bring a little more to my daily life with Lyme! I would have much preferred a day symptom free, or gluten free, but obviously that was too much to ask!

So I was four days into my new medication programme, and it had been two days since I introduced the Rifampin. I seemed to be tolerating everything well (I thought!) and the only obvious change I had noticed was my new bright orange coloured urine!

Then the pain began to kick in at the end of day four. I was starting to experience head and neck pain which wasn’t like my usual Lyme headaches. Since becoming unwell I have experienced some really debilitating headaches. These can last for days or weeks at a time and have even needed morphine to control. I thought these episodes were bad, but this was so much worse. At first it felt like there was a heavy weight in my head which was rolling around and causing bruising and this was interspersed with various stabbing pains. It felt uncomfortable to walk around or make sharp movements with my head, so I made sure I was drinking lots of water and went to sleep.

At 4am I woke up to more intense pain, still in my neck and head but ten times worse. My head was throbbing and felt so full of pressure, as if it was a balloon full of air to the point of bursting. With every slight movement the pain increased and I was confined to lying horizontal like a corpse, trying not to move even a millimetre. I felt unable to put my chin to my chest like there was no range on movement left in my neck at all. I took some painkillers and lay for an hour in the hope I would sleep a little more. Unfortunately the pain was just increasing and I was soon in tears…again! I began to feel really nauseous and this was closely followed by frequent episodes of vomiting and urgent desires to empty my bowel! You get the idea! The logistics of this just weren’t good! Needing to get to the bathroom meant having to get out of bed and moving was just not a good option. I crawled slowly to and from my bed until this became too much. I gave up and decided to confine myself to the bathroom floor. Every time I was sick the pressure was increasing and I literally felt like my head was going to explode at any point. If I try to describe the pain, I would say it was like I had been shot in the head, stabbed ten times, had swords through every nerve and someone had taken out the contents of my head, mixed them in a blender and just dumped them back in again! It felt so wrong on every level. I put ice packs all around my head and over my eyes and lay in the dark. I felt really sensitive to light and sound and could barley open my eyes. They felt bruised to touch and to blink was just more pain I couldn’t handle.

By about 10am, I was now hysterically crying and could not find anything that would relive the excruciating pain, so it was time to phone a doctor. Louise made calls, explained how I was feeling and she was soon writing down the address of the local hospital. She picked up my medical file and helped me stumble to the hotel foyer to get a taxi. I had just made it to the ground floor by sitting crouched in the corner of the lift and then a couple of minutes later I fainted. Luckily there were a couple of good Samaritans in the reception and they kindly offered to drive us to the hospital. For once I didn’t hesitate to say yes, or worry about inconveniencing someone, I just couldn’t get there fast enough! I was so grateful for their kindness and wish I knew who they were to say a proper thank you. I lay in the car clutching my head as every turn or bump in the road was just adding to the pain.

I arrived at the ER department of the hospital soon after, and was wheeled to a cubicle straight away. I was handed sick bags and had nurses taking my vital signs within minutes. I had some blood taken and was soon hooked up to some fluids as they were concerned about dehydration. I explained the pain as best I could through the tears and informed the doctor of my current illness and all the different medication I had started taking. They administered a variety of Intravenous medications for the pain and nausea, as well as a type of narcotic to help relax the body, the tension in my head, and enable me to sleep through some of the pain. Within about three hours I had stopped vomiting and noticed a slight relief, the pain had gone from a ten to an eight and even this slight change made a world of difference. My blood tests came back and there was no major concerns or signs of damage. There were out of range neutrophils/segs levels in my blood but this has been picked up previously and seems to be due to to the chronic bacterial infections I am fighting. As a whole there was nothing which alarmed the doctors and he was happy that the pain would ease with time. He explained that this unfortunate reaction would not cause any lasting damage and suggested that I stop all new medications and consult my Lyme doctor the following day. A few hours later when I felt I was able to make it home, I was discharged with appropriate papers and prescriptions for painkillers and antiemetics.

Rifampin Reaction

I was soon back at the hotel, but still felt far from OK. Although the medication was helping to a certain degree, the pain was still very much there. For the next two days, I was looked after and barely left the bed. It still hurt to move my neck/head and so was even spoon fed at one point! Although eating was the last thing on my mind, I can’t really afford to drop any more weight, and I also needed something in my stomach when taking all these pills, or that will cause its own problems! I was exhausted, and the dizziness, drenching sweats and tremors had noticeably increased. I slept a few days away and then went to the clinic to have some more IV fluids with electrolytes. At this point I just had a small and bearable headache and thankfully the worst was over. (Massive sigh of relief!) I consulted my Lyme doctor as directed by the hospital and was told to stay of all current medication and a new medication list would be written up which I was to commence after a couple of days.

It seems my body just did not tolerate the antibiotics at all, in large due to my liver being so congested. The medication had killed of few bacteria but as this happens more toxins are released. By body was so ‘toxic’ that I was most likely having a bad herx reaction, but at a level which can be too dangerous to the body.

I have stopped two out of the three antibiotics, and replaced these with a number of new herbal supplements. I am having to start a more gentle approach to fighting these bacteria, one that my body can tolerate. This type of sensitivity is not unusual when suffering with Lyme and Co-infections, and does not mean I cannot treat the illness, it just has to be done gradually, and with a less aggressive approach. I felt a little disappointed at first, that I was unable to tolerate the other meds, especially as this new protocol will not be as time effective. With this in mind though, I have just accepted that it’s how it has to be and like the traditional Aesop fable of ‘The Hare & the Tortoise’ teaches us; slow and steady wins the race!!

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