Just before the holidays I found out that I’m harboring some chronic infections related to Lyme disease. While Lyme proper is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, there are plenty of other insect-borne infections that fall under the Lyme umbrella. These “co-infections” are notoriously hard to diagnose and a challenge to treat. They like to hide in our tissues, avoiding detection by blood tests, before they decide to rear their ugly heads and wreak havoc. Often this occurs when our immune systems are vulnerable, i.e. during a particularly stressful time or when we’re fighting a virus. They like to kick us when we’re down. My stowaways likely lay dormant for years before they came out of hiding to make me sick, and they are probably one of the reasons (if not the main reason) that I have failed to fully regain my health despite consulting with numerous health practitioners, trying many different healing protocols, and dramatic altering my diet and lifestyle. Perhaps during my relatively healthy 2018 they decided to hibernate for awhile. And yes, I’ve been tested for Lyme twice before. Like I said, these infections are sneaky.
I have been blessed with Bartonella and Mycoplasma. Both make you sick and tired. Among other things, Bartonella attacks the central nervous system and causes mood issues such as anxiety, depression and anger. Fun fact: Bartonella and other Lyme-y bacteria have led to homicidal rage. There’s even a term for it: Lyme Rage. Mycoplasma attacks the nervous and digestive systems. And all co-infections can exacerbate autoimmune symptoms. I guess my celiac disease and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis weren’t doing enough damage on their own and called in reinforcements. I’d rather not have these infections, but discovering them has been something of a relief. At least we’ve found something to treat.
One of my twin daughters has some co-infections of her own, which caused her bouts of chronic fatigue, but as she is young and has had relatively few health issues she is already showing signs of improvement on her current protocol. As I am “mature” and have been unwell for quite some time I have been informed by our naturopath that I will need to be patient. Patience is something I have had a lot of practice with, and if treating these infections offers the possibility that I could achieve full health at some point I am willing to wait. It’s scary to get my hopes up, so I’m proceeding with cautious optimism.
Over the years I have had plenty of people question whether my health issues were real. I’ve been called a “searcher” (and not in a particularly complimentary way), it has been suggested that shifting my perspective, meditating more, and focusing on things outside of myself might solve my perceived health issues. Even some of the doctors I’ve worked with have implied that my ill health was all in my head. Since these co-infections are literally eating my brain I guess, in a way, they were right. But while all of these folks may have been meant well, I knew at my core that there was a physiological reason that I could not seem to get (or stay) healthy. That something was literally living inside of me, feasting on my cells, zapping my energy, and basically making me feel like crap. I knew I wasn’t making it up.
As I left my doctor’s office the other day she reassured me that there are always more possibilities for healing, more rocks to overturn. I was so grateful for her words. They reminded me that I know myself better than anyone else and that following my intuition will always steer me in the right direction. I am proud that I listened to that niggling voice inside of me that just knew there was more to find. That I kept searching for answers. I hope that by treating these infections I will experience a significant improvement in my health. But if that doesn’t happen I will turn over the next rock and the next. I will keep digging. I will never give up.
Click here for more information on Lyme and co-infections.