Friday, December 19, 2014

Update from the Lymelight

Ok so, an update about where I am with Lyme treatment.  I saw my doctor two weeks ago to go over the co-infection testing and symptom questionaiires.  I tested negative for all the co-infections, which we expected. She did, however, diagnose me clinically with Bartonella along with the Lyme.  I'm not completely sold on the Bartonella diagnosis, although I do recognize the lack of reliable testing.  The test screens for 2 strains, and there are, I believe, about 30.    Here's a quick guide to some of the common Bartonella symptoms, and many of them overlap with Lyme.  I have 26 symptoms on this list, although many of them are redundant.  It was the best chart I could find, but it's definitely not perfect.  


Here's a chart showing symptoms and overlap of Lyme (borrelia) and it's host of potential co-infections. With testing that is not very accurate, and symptoms that overlap, diagnosis is quite tricky.



The second chart doesn't even list neuropathy as a bartonella symptom, but from everything else I've read it can be. So the plan is to assume I have bartonella, as about half of Lyme patients do, and focus on it first.  It is a gram negative, intracellular bacteria that you've probably heard as "cat scratch fever."  It's transmitted by fleas, ticks, sand fleas, and biting flies.  I'm on a double antibiotic regimen for it of Rifampin 600mg once daily, and Doxycycline 100 mg twice daily.  I'm also on Nystatin as a preventative against yeast since being on antibiotics can allow yeast to flourish.  That would be no bueno.  She also gave me some anxiety medicine to help manage the psychiatric side effects that can come with treatment. I don't like to take them, but sometimes Rich makes me (aka here you're being crazy, please take this.)  The doxy also targets Lyme but this is pretty much a bart regimen and wouldn't eradicate Lyme long term.  To do that, we'll drop the rifampin and change up the antibiotics at some point.  There are no hard and fast rules for treating these infections, it's all primarily based on symptoms and how I'm feeling.  I asked how long I could expect to be in treatment, and she said 6-12 months for the bartonella then another year or two for the Lyme.  So at this point I can't even think that far ahead and I'm taking it one day at a time. 

She didn't paint a pretty picture for how the first month or two of treatment would go. She's been through it herself, so I appreciate her candor and knowing what worst case scenarios to expect.  These infections are in the nervous system and when you start treatment you "poke the beast" so to speak, and it can cause a myriad of physical and emotional symptoms.  She warned me about panic attacks, rage, pain and overwhelming fatigue.  So far, at 2 weeks in, things are going ok.  I'm most definitely more emotional than usual-crying at everything, alternating between a jittery/giddy feeling and an I-hate-everyone feeling, and being very easily overwhelmed.  It's sort of like bad PMS combined with pregnancy and then some.  I've had a few nights of some very vivid and scary dreams.  I don't remember them exactly but I would wake up with my heart racing, almost like a night terror or panic attack in my sleep.  The neuropathy in my feet is marginally worse.  I've also had night sweats the past 2 nights, which is a symptom of yet another co-infection called Babesia, so I'm keeping an eye on that.  That's about it as far as how I feel treatment is making me feel so far.  Nothing is better, and some things are worse, which is exactly what is expected at this point.  

In addition to the antibiotics, I also take a ton of vitamins, supplements and herbals. There is evidence that the herbals are synergistic with the prescription antibiotics, meaning they allow them to work better and penetrate the tissues better.  There are antimicrobial herbals that directly target the Lyme and Bartonella bacteria, and then there are others that are more supportive, like to support liver function, joints and collagen, and the cardiovascular system. If you're medically minded and haven't studied herbal medicine, I challenge you to do so.  It's fascinating, and very encouraging, with the resistance we're seeing on the rise to conventional antibiotics.  Steven Buhner is an herbalist who has written some brilliant books on it.  Here are a couple.




I'm following most of his herbal Bartonella and Lyme protocols.  These are my tinctures.  I mix them in bit of pomegranate juice and drink them three times a day.  They are the opposite of delicious.  Let's just hope they work. 







Here's a pic of about 2/3 of the pills I'm taking daily.  I'd already taken some this morning, and some stay in my bathroom because I take them at bedtime or in the middle of the night so they didn't make the photo shoot.  I don't have an exact count, but I think it's about 70 a day.   Don't try this at home.





And just for fun, here's my daily schedule. It's obviously a work in progress as things get added and changed.  Yes it runs from 5am to middle of the night.  There are some things to keep in mind when taking this much.  For example, some things need to be on an empty stomach while others need to be with some fat and food. Doxycycline can't be taken near any dairy products or vitamins containing calcium, magnesium or iron. For those of you who this means something to, we've got Cyp p450 inhibitors and inducers galore going on here.  Probiotics need to be spaced out away from antibiotics and antimicrobial herbs so you don't just immediately kill them.  Binders to help with toxin removal must be taken far far away from everything else so as not to bind and remove the good things you are taking, hence the middle of the night dosing. I just take them when I invariably get woken up by a dog or kid in the night.   And you might notice that the bottom of the schedule says "exercise, meditate." Yeah...haven't quite found time to fit both of those in yet.  I'm a big meditation failure thus far.   I'm trying everything I can to avoid getting an opportunistic infection like Candida or C. diff from taking all these antimicrobials, so I'm on oral probiotic capsules as well as eating homemade sauerkraut and drinking kombucha daily.  
Whew well if you stuck it out with me to the end, thanks! I go back to see my doctor in January to touch base on how things are going. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sugar scrub

This is so ridiculously simple that I hesitated to even post it. It is easy and quick to make your own scrubs. You just need something rough like sugar, salt or coffee grounds, and an oil like almond, jojoba or olive.  Mix them together and you have a scrub.

For this one,   I used a larger grain sugar, olive oil, and peppermint and coffee essential oils to make it like a peppermint mocha. It smells amazing, & I may have eaten a spoonful.  I had some serious dragon scale hands going on, and after using it they are silky smooth. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Mommy Your Toothpaste Looks Like Poo-Poo

Alternate post title would be how to make homemade clay toothpaste. I have had to buy alternative toothpaste for years now because fluoride breaks my face out in a rash. I finally got tired of spending $7 a tube and decided to figure out how to make myself.   I knew I did not want to use a recipe with baking soda because I was afraid it would be too harsh for daily use. My teeth tend to get sensitive very easily.

This recipe is based on bentonite clay, and I am very happy with how it turned out.  Several recipes online use a mixture of peppermint and tea tree oils, but I wanted to make more of a holiday flavor. 

Here is the recipe, it is very easy. Mix 2 tablespoons bentonite clay with about 2 tablespoons distilled or purified water and a pinch of real sea salt. You want to do this without using any metal bowls or instruments because the clay can pull metal out. Then mix in  liquid stevia to taste, I did 7 drops, and your essential oils. I did one drop of cinnamon, one drop of clothes, and 7 drops of orange.  Store in a glass container, I used an empty baby food jar.

Friday, November 7, 2014

What's that smell?

Hopefully it's not me thanks to this homemade antiperspirant/deodorant.

Homemade Antiperspirant-Deodorant

2 TBS shea butter
3 TBS coconut oil 
3 TBS baking soda
2 TBS arrowroot powder
essential oils of your choosing (I used Young Living's Purification and added extra citronella, about 20 drops or just until it smells like you want it)
empty deodorant containers (you can reuse old ones, buy them off amazon, or simply store in another type of container)

 Melt the shea butter and coconut oil in a pan on the stove, or in a double boiler.  When just melted, remove from heat and stir in the other ingredients.  Pour into desired containers and chill to set.  That's it, you're done! Oh wait, go clean out that bowl.

Some scent combos I want to try - lavender patchouli, ginger lemongrass, spearmint lime (because who doesn't want a mojito scented armpit?)




Saturday, November 1, 2014

Winter Spice Shake


This is an AIP compliant (autoimmune paleo) treat, reminiscent of an eggnog milkshake.   It's also super quick and easy to whip up if you have frozen bananas on hand.   Our Kroger sells overripe bananas on clearance and I like to stock up.  I peel, cut into fourths, and freeze. Then just throw them in smoothies or shakes.    Grass fed gelatin is great for you, here's a link from Grass Fed Girl that goes through some of it's benefits.   This recipe has some things in it you may not keep on hand, like the collagen hydrosylate and Mace, but if you're following the AIP protocol, they are worth ordering. The collagen can be stirred into broths, soups, smoothies, etc.  The mace is a good substitute for nutmeg (seed based spices are out on the strict elimination phase of AIP and nutmeg is a seed. Mace and nutmeg are actually from the same tree.)  It is a bit spicier than nutmeg, almost like a cinnamon-nutmeg mix.

Winter Spice Shake

2 frozen bananas (very slightly softened, just let sit at room temperature for a few minutes)
1 cup full fat canned coconut milk (I like this one as the can is BPA free and the only ingredient is coconut)
1/2 cup coconut water (we use this one)
2 TBS collagen hydrosylate  (this one from Great Lakes Gelatin is what we like, make sure you get the green can as the red can is used for setting liquids, and you don't want that in this shake)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground Mace
small pinch sea salt

Throw it all in the blender and serve.  

*adapted from a recipe from Healing Family Eats


Monday, October 27, 2014

Broccoli Mash

I have been spending a lot of time online looking up AIP friendly recipes, and I admit this one didn't sound that fantastic. But I do really like broccoli so I thought I'd give it a try. It's great, very good surprise! Oh and make sure you rinse your parsley well because my first batch was gritty and had to be thrown out.

Detox Lemon-Broccoli Mash
Serves 4 as a side | Ready in 15 minutes

1 lb organic frozen broccoli
1 tsp lemon zest
1 1/2 T lemon juice
2 T coconut oil
1 T lard (I used bacon grease)
¼ cup packed fresh parsley, leaves only
2 tsp dried basil (or 1/4 cup fresh basil)
½ tsp sea salt

  1. Place broccoli in a steamer basket set over a pot of boiling water. Cover and let steam for 10 minutes until fork tender. Place broccoli in high-powered blender or food processor along with ½ cup of the water used to steam the broccoli. Blend for 30 seconds.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until the texture of mash is slightly whipped, about 30-60 more seconds.
  3. Serve with plantain crackers or with protein of choice. 




AIP Fall Breakfast in a Squash


I love love love winter squash, so I was excited to find this recipe from Elana's Pantry for stuffed acorn squash.  I modified it a bit and added bacon to make it breakfast-y.  Finding things for breakfast on the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol will be challenging because grains, eggs and nuts are all out.  So I'm finding you have to rethink what foods are suitable for breakfast.  My solution was to take a yummy looking starchy side and add bacon, and it turned out great.

AIP Fall Breakfast in a Squash

2 acorn squash
3 small apples (or 2 regular sized) cored, peeled and chopped small
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground Mace
2 TBS coconut oil
2 tsp maple syrup
4 slices bacon 

Preheat oven to 350. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the pulp and seeds.  Fill 9 x 13 inch baking dish (I had to use 2) with about 1/4 inch of water and bake squash, cut side down, for 30 minutes.  
While squash cooks, combine all other ingredients except bacon in a bowl.   After 30 minutes, remove squash, flip over to cut side up, stuff middles with apple mixture.  Return to oven and bake another 30 minutes or until squash and apples are tender.  While it is finishing, cook your bacon and crumble.  Top squash with crumbled bacon before serving.