Posted in Healing from Lymes, Lymes and Other Tick-Borne Illnesses, Thyroid Health and Hashimotos Awareness

Additional Supplements — 6 Days In and Nearly Halfway Through My List

The last several days have consisted of LOTS of ups and downs, including a REALLY hard day yesterday. I would even dare to say one of my worst days YET.

On Saturday, May 27th I introduced zinc into my supplement regime. 15 mg per day (as zinc picolinate), taken in the morning with food. Link to product on Amazon below.

On Sunday, May 28th I introduced selenium. 200 mcg per day (as selenomethionine), taken in the morning with food. Link to product on Amazon below. Selenium is also a KEY antioxidant for proper thyroid health. As directly quoted from Hypothyroid Mom (link below), ” In it’s prevention against oxidative stress, we can think of this key mineral as useful in thwarting heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and, as I noted, cancer, among other things. It’s a precursor to the production of glutathione, the “mother” of all antioxidants. It’s depleted in our soil, due to a number of environmental factors, and blood levels of selenium have been shown to plummet as we age, leading to increased cognitive decline.”

Today I introduced magnesium glycinate. 120 mg, taken at noon with food and before bed. Link to product on Amazon below. As directly quoted from The Wellness Mama (link below), “Magnesium is responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body and impacts blood pressure, metabolism, immune function and many other aspects of health. Magnesium deficiency is a widespread problem and some estimates suggest that over 90% of us are deficient.”

Here is an article I found to be helpful in explaining why zinc and magnesium (in addition to a few other supplements such as Vitamin C & Vitamin D) are helpful in an immune-boosting supplement regimen for someone dealing with Lymes.

However, I am first-handedly discovering that you can still “Herx,” even when boosting your immune system to fight Lymes. It doesn’t matter whether or not you are killing off the bacteria with antibiotics OR boosting your immune system naturally in order to be able to fight against the stealth borrelia invaders… point is that oftentimes you find yourself feeling FAR WORSE before any apparent signs you are ever going to FEEL BETTER. I spent the better part of 18 hours in bed sleeping yesterday, unable to lift my head off my pillow or lift my hands to check my ever-incessantly beeping phone across the room. Lymes Disease is no joke. I am 6 days into “Phase 1: Introducing Supplements” on my healing from Lymes journey. I have 7 more days (one more week) of introducing 7 more supplements), and then I am on to “Phase 2: Antibiotics.”
Thank you for joining me on this walk, and be assured that I pray for you as you pray for me! I make daily silent intentions for all visitors to my blog and Facebook page.

Posted in Healing from Lymes, Organic / Anti-Inflamatory Nutrition, Thyroid Health and Hashimotos Awareness

The Dark Side of Coffee and Why I Now Drink Chicory Root

I have pretty much been stripped down to bare bones in this journey with Lymes and autoimmune thyroid as far as what I CAN and CANNOT consume. 

Dairy has been out of my diet COMPLETELY since I was breastfeeding my 1st child, daughter Audrey, in 2003 with SEVERE acid reflux. We’re talking… this child puked a rainbow-arch of angry vomit OVER her carseat INTO THE LAP of a person sitting next to me at Mass once. Removing dairy from my diet while b/f helped some of her issues (colic and sleep-refusal in addition to GERD) though it did not take them all away. 

Out the window went sugar in 2004 with baby #3, son Blaise. I had some major candida and parasite issues after having him (lingering remnants from a mission trip to Guatemala in 1998 immediately after graduating high school). Sugar I avoided as much as I could, or I substituted. However, I never really went “sugar free” (the way I am now, only getting sugar in my AIP diet from the two sources of fruit I eat every day). Christmas every year always seemed to be a MAJOR setback for me health-wise (with the holiday cookie “cheats”).

Gluten came out in 2013 after having my 6th child, daughter Teresa. At 3 months postpartum while doing the 21-Day Fix (Beach Body program), I started experiencing SEVERE stabbing pains in my stomach after reintroducing gluten when the 21-day, clean-eating program was over. I now know this could have been a symptom of Lymes and that I should have went to my doctor. But I didn’t. I researched online and went AIP Paleo from 3-5 months postpartum and then stayed Paleo (with one daily gluten “cheat”) for two years until baby #8 came on board in 2015… and most of my inflammatory symptoms went away.

You know the story of my pregnancy and postpartum with baby #8. Being diagnosed with autoimmune thyroid and Lymes Disease has forced me to reevaluate the term “anti-inflammatory diet.” While I do NOT have either of the two genes for Celiac’s Disease, I basically need to eat as if I do. My LLMD has diagnosed me with EXTREME gluten-sensitivity and has assured me that even just ONE BITE of gluten can stay in your system for 6 months, keeping my TPOab and TGab labs high with my Hashimoto’s. “Low-gluten” and “no-gluten” are NOT the same thing when it comes to a person with Celiac’s Disease or non-Celiac EXTREME gluten sensitivity.

Coffee, you might ask? This was the last lifeline to go. I have increasingly grown less tolerant to wine over the years as well. Without coffee or wine, I’m not really sure how I make it through the day most days with eight kids. Since having DS last summer — alcohol just plain made me SICK (Lymes). Going back to the AIP diet since then has made me search for a coffee substitution. So I swung to tea. Never have been a big tea drinker and started feeling worse (if that’s even possible). LLMD assured me not only was it POSSIBLE but an ACTUAL REALITY as most teas are molds (black tea especially), and I have mycotoxin toxicity in my body (gliotoxins and tricothecenes) from the basement of a former home we lived in. NOT a good combo. However, I was still craving a rich, nutty warm beverage.

Chicory root tea has become my new preferred drink of choice! I actually feel so. much. better. not drinking coffee. I feel like without the caffeine highs and lows my cortisol levels have become more stable (I also suffer from adrenal fatigue or adrenal insufficiency). In addition to tasting AMAZING and being rich and nutty like coffee, chicory root has many health benefits! It has anti-inflammatory properties AND protects the liver (what more can a girl with Lymes and Hashi’s want?)!! Plus it contains no caffeine, so it doesn’t dehydrate. Staying hydrated while fighting off the borrelia bacteria is so important in order to keep your body flushing it out. Additionally, coffee is EXTREMELY acidic and oftentimes hard on the endocrine systems of people who have thyroid/adrenal issues. Link below is a GREAT read on health benefits of chicory root!

Here is my recommendation for the organic kind I bought on Amazon. It came pre-ground which was a HUGE plus for this busy mama. I use about a teaspoon per cup and steep it with a tea infuser. I have grown quite fond of its rich (and almost peppery), nutty taste! I love knowing I am doing something good for my body when I want to curl up with a warm, comforting beverage! I am not allowed to indulge much these days, but this has become my indulgence!

Posted in Healing from Lymes, Lymes and Other Tick-Borne Illnesses, Organic / Anti-Inflamatory Nutrition, Thyroid Health and Hashimotos Awareness

Juicing and Dealing with Herxheimer Reactions in Detoxification 

Through the ups and downs of the last four months since my hypothyroid/Hashimoto’s diagnosis (prior to my Lymes diagnosis), I have been trying to find the right “prescribed” day-to-day routine of what I do (or DON’T do) in order to be AT LEAST somewhat functional. Now as many of you who suffer from Lymes disease or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis understand – – this is a tall order. Oftentimes, you may feel differently from day-to-day for NO REASON at all – – even while keeping your food regimen, sleep patterns, and stress levels ALL consistent. That’s just the nature of the beast(s).

However, being that I am a mother of a large family and have EIGHT little people who constantly have needs – – I have been “tweaking” my days VERY meticulously to try to produce consistent results.

In March, even though I had been eating according to the Paleo diet since after delivering our seventh child, daughter Teresa, all the way back in 2013 – – I took it to the extreme. I went AIP Paleo (again) and took out nightshades, eggs, nuts, and coffee. Yes — God has a FANTASTIC sense of humor in asking this coffee-loving mama of a family of TEN to give up her sacred “go/go” juice. No results. Didn’t feel ANY different. *Insert HUGE levels of both disappointment and frustration here.* 

Spent ANOTHER 22 days mid-April to mid-May doing another form of an anti-inflammatory/autoimmune/elimination diet for my LLMD. This consisted of a basically a modified-form of the AIP Paleo for the first eight days (take everything out). Then, every other day for the remainder of the diet you re-introduce foods you think you are sensitive to. I did not have to test gluten, sugar, dairy, or anything containing mold/fungus (mushrooms, ACV, kombucha, etc.) as I KNOW I am sensitive to them. However, I was surprised to find I appear to be sensitive to rice and corn. This information was extremely helpful for me to understand as I begin different supplements and antibiotics which oftentimes have FD&C food coloring and other various allergens in them. The body cannot heal from Lymes if it is still continuing to have inflammation created by ingredients your system is currently sensitive to.

In between my first and second appointments with my LLMD, I ran a full six weeks of 200 mg of Fluconazole. However, I had to back-off and take it every-other-day as I could not tolerate taking it every day without experiencing Jarisch-Herxheimer reactions. Link below for further explanation as to what a “Herx” reaction is. As my 5 y.o. says, “They are NOT my favorite.”

After my second appointment, she discontinued the use of Fluconazole and started me on Nystatin instead. Nystatin DOES contain FD&C food coloring red, yellow, and blue lots – – so it’s a good thing I am not sensitive to FD&C food colorings. This is why in healing Lymes you have to do your research ahead of time and know what your body is sensitive to. However, this time around AGAIN, in trying to get rid of the intentional yeast buildup, I have been experiencing Herx reactions in the last 48-hours. This time, however, she gave me some supplements to combat this!

Burbur-Pinella is an herbal supplement that is designed as a detox and brain/nerve cleanse. Yesterday I used 10 drops in a small tincture with water every 10 minutes for 40 minutes until my Herx symptoms were relieved. This product is AMAZING! I have a hard time finding things that “work” for my body. Product link below on Amazon.

Additionally, after introducing one more tablet of Nystatin today (I have to work up to six tablets daily) and Herxing a bit, I tried another product my LLMD sent me home with. The principle behind this is alkalizing the blood and increasing amounts of essential macrominerals in your body such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium (in the form of carbonates and bicarbonates but without sodium or other salts). This I am allowed to take 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon in 4-8 ounces of water up to three times daily. I started today with 1/4 of a teaspoon in 6 ounces of water. Product link below on Amazon.

Finally, prior to starting my supplement regimen this week, I began juicing again at the end of March and was pleased to find consistent results! Juicing an entire head of celery, several carrots, occasionally about half of a beet, and one serving of a citrus fruit (of course, ALL ORGANIC) seems to be a concoction that works well for my body. I’ve also been trying to follow more of a holistic, cleansing habit in my morning routine (since coffee is NOT on the AIP Diet). I usually juice in the morning and avoid eating anything at all. I also infuse hot cups of water with lemon and lime juice to stimulate my gallbladder and other organ systems to get moving right away when I wake up! My LLMD also recommended adding parsley and chamomile to my juicing routine.

One day, one win at a time (and oftentimes one step forward and three steps backwards) in this battle. However, I continue to remember every day that the battle belongs to the Lord and that He has already won ALL of my battles in this life on the cross! Anything He hands me in this life, He must know 1) that I can handle and 2) that it is for my own good and salvation (regardless of whether or not I like the lot I have been dealt). Suffering is always redemptive if we allow it to be for the intentions we carry with us in our hearts… for our own families, for those we know who are also suffering, for the repose of souls, for the poor souls in Purgatory, and for SO MUCH MORE! The sky is truly the limit for redemptive suffering.

Posted in Healing from Lymes, Lymes and Other Tick-Borne Illnesses, Thyroid Health and Hashimotos Awareness

Healing from Lymes: Phase 1

Since returning from my LLMD on Tuesday evening, I have spent the last 48-hours piecing together the 1st phase of my treatment plan: supplements. “Phase 1” is GREATLY boosting and strengthening the immune system (prior to introducing antibiotics to kill the borrelia burgdorferia bacteria). Lymes weakens the immune system, making it unable to fight against the borrelia bacteria load (while it continues to travel and migrate around your body, wreaking havoc on your health, organs, and systems).

This is what healing from Lymes looks like… in addition to my morning thyroid meds for Hashimoto’s (Naturethroid 32.5 mg), I now will be spending the next 2-3 weeks phasing in 17 different supplements, 2 different types of probiotics, a daily subcutaneous shot of B12 in my hip, Nystatin (to combat the yeast overgrowth in my system), and also maintaining a STRICT anti-inflammatory diet (sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free). Not ONE BITE of sugar, gluten, dairy, or soy.

Yesterday consisted of introducing Vitamin C, 2000 mg capsules and TWO different kinds of probiotics. Since I have so many food sensitivities (and need to adhere to such a strict, anti-inflammatory diet — Lymes THRIVES off of inflammation in your body), all of my supplements need to be allergy-free. I will build up my Vitamin C by 2,000 mg a day up to 8,000 mg total daily (to bowel tolerance) over the course of the next week. I am also taking 20 billion CFU’s of saccharomyces boulardii daily as well as 80 billion CFU’s of 6 other strains. Product links below on Amazon.
Today consisted of introducing 25 mg of subcutaneous B12 (Hydroxocobalamin) in my right hip. This was prescribed for me from a compounding pharmacy. I am now the proud owner of a sharps collector and a bruised right hip. Here is the reasoning behind incorporating Hydroxocobalamin into a Lyme patient’s “healing” protocol:
Finally, today I also introduced a product by Ortho Molecular Products called D-Hist. This product helps the body with mast cell stabilization in healing from Lymes. I will slowly build up to 9 capsules daily. Here is a great explanation as to “why” and also a direct link to the product I am using on Amazon.
With that I REST! A good night’s rest of quality, healing sleep is a critical component of a Lyme patient’s protocol. Good night, and until tomorrow’s healing additions to my rapidly-growing, immune-boosting supplement regimen!

Posted in Healing from Lymes, Lymes and Other Tick-Borne Illnesses, Thyroid Health and Hashimotos Awareness

Newbie Lymie Mama

For those of you patiently following our family’s journey over the course of the last several months… thank you and BLESS you for ALL of the prayers, kindness, crisis interventions, sympathy, empathy, thoughts, concern, meals, cards, flowers, HELP in one way or the other, and so, SO much more!

Our family has been living a nightmarish hell, of sorts, since our eighth child and son, sweet little JJ, was born last June. Here’s a brief overview/chronology:

June 2016: DS Jeremiah Jonathon born. Healthy little red-haired boy despite having been told he had a high likelihood of having Down Syndrome.

August 2016: Not feeling well AT ALL postpartum. Now mind you, I have seven previous pregnancies and postpartums to compare it to. Start researching online. Come up with lupus but don’t have the rash. Come up with fibromyalgia. Figured I shouldn’t head in to see my doctor yet as baby is not sleeping through the night and she will likely tell me I’m crazy and need to start getting some sleep. Experiencing random burning and stabbing pains throughout my body.

September through December 2016: Continued exasperated weird migratory symptoms. Three sinus infections with antibiotic, augmentin. One UTI. A yeast mastitis. Another antibiotic, doxycycline, for a horribly painful rash only on right side of my face doctor diagnoses as perioral dermatitis. I now cannot put my elbows down on furniture when nursing my son. I’m now also wearing knee pads in my house in order to pick up toys, change diapers, and get laundry out of my front loaders. All bloodwork at my doctor’s office is normal, including thyroid labs.

December 2016: The horrible fatigue and hair loss sets in. I’m losing hair by the clumps. The brain fog and neurological symptoms start. The horrible headaches start. I am becoming increasingly irritated by noise and bright lights. Remember — I have eight kids under the age of fourteen, and my life is NOT noise OR stress-free.

My husband returns from a routine physical at the Mayo Clinic. They find a thyroid nodule on his right thyroid. It is biopsied, and it comes back as indeterminate. He decides to have a partial thyroidectomy because he wants it out.

Week before Christmas – – I wake up one morning and can hardly walk. Can’t sit down or drive or bend at of 45° angle. Severe compression/nerve pain in my lower back isolated to spot of epidural. Remember — I have eight children and drive a fifteen passenger van.

January 2017: REALLY not feeling well. Sleeping all the time. Struggling with putting together sentences in basic conversation and remembering short-term details. Rapidly start losing weight. Return to the Mayo Clinic with my husband for his pre-surgery consultation. Arrange overnight care for all eight of our children.

February 2017: The shit *officially* hits the fan. I return to see my doctor once again. FINALLY — labs start coming back indicating that there is a problem. My TSH is now near 6. I have an averse raction after 14 days on levothyroxine. Decide to schedule an appointment with an endocrinologist to continue seeking the deeper root of what is happening to my body.

March 2017: Husband has a partial thyroidectomy at the Mayo Clinic. We are praying it’s not cancer. Arrange childcare again and farm out all eight of our kids for another four days. PRAISE GOD the nodule is an adenoma, a benign tumor. However, my thyroid now starts swinging from hypothyroid to hyperthyroid with my thyroid TSH moving 3 to 4 points in a five day period — up and down. Both of my sisters fly in from out of town to live with our family for several weeks while I am experiencing a whole new array of symptoms with the hyperthyroidism such as anxiety, panic attacks, vertigo, insomnia, hot sweats, and just generally very manic and out of control symptoms (and subsequently cannot drive). 

March 10, 2017: I have my long-awaited appointment with endocrinologist who diagnoses Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroid disease as well as Lymes Disease through the Elisa antibody serum test. However, am told I “do not have active Lymes” since I test negative on the Western Blot.

I have now lost going on TWENTY pounds since Valentine’s Day. I now weigh as much as my fourteen-year-old daughter.

April 19: I have my first appointment out of town, four hour drive each way, with a LLMD. (Lyme Literate Medical Doctor). She is functional medicine/allopathic. She spent FOUR HOURS with me face-to-face going over nearly TWENTY YEARS of medical history which all started for me back in high school when I had EBV/mono. I leave her office that day with NINE different separate “initial” diagnosis of coinfections as well as giving another fifteen to twenty vials of blood.

May 22: A LOOOONG five-week wait between appointments with my LLMD after four months of being EXTREMELY sick and debilitated, eleven months of a hellish nightmare of a postpartum, in addition to nine months before that of an extremely difficult pregnancy with Down Syndrome scare. ALL lab results are in. Final diagnosis of: Lymes Disease (Borrelia Burgdorferia), Babesiosa Duncani (separate tick-borne coinfection), Bartonella Henselae (separate tick-borne coinfection) through IGeneX labwork… mycotoxin toxicity in the form of gliotoxins and tricothecenes (from a previous home we lived in where black mold was NOT disclosed to us prior to closing OR caught during inspection)… which is causing my Hashimoto’s… candida from MANY courses of antibiotics, adrenal insufficiency, severe gluten intolerance (further causing inflammation)… and several other coinfections YET. The three tick-borne illnesses being the BIG PLAYERS, simultaneously fooling my immune system, suppressing it, attacking healthy tissues, and basically creating a HUGE internal traffic jam in my body where nothing is working quite right.

I have decided in the next several weeks (as soon as things calm down a bit and my kids are out of school for the summer) to return to my blog which I started in 2013 during our brief move to Duluth and subsequent relocation back to Ohio. 

Rest assured — my suffering WILL NOT BE in vain. It WILL BE redemptive, and it WILL bear much fruit for other people and families who are victims of this debilitating disease. I WILL have a voice, and I WILL let my voice be heard. My hope is to be an advocate for #lymesdisease and other #tickborneillnesses and #mycotoxintoxicity. I intend to raise awareness of treatment protocols through LLMD’s (Lyme Literate Medical Doctors) as well as prevention procedures. Prevention and early intervention are truly the best ways to fight this! If I can help even just ONE PERSON avoid the suffering I have endured, then going public with all of this will have been immeasurably worth it. 

Jesus, we trust only in YOU. You are so much bigger than our fears and anxieties and the lies the world tells us (“you’re not sick,” “it’s all in your head,” “here’s another prescription,” “you’re just plain crazy.” You are bigger than chronic health issues. You are the beginning and the end. The Alpha and the Omega. You know our future during times of uncertainty, fear, doubt, despair, loss of hope, and even dark nights of the soul.

Jeremiah 29:11 — “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans for hope, and a future.” 

Our 8th child and son, Jeremiah Jonathon, was named after this verse in the Bible. In the middle of a fearful and tumultuous pregnancy, we got down on our knees and continued to praise and serve a God we KNOW does not make mistakes.

A VERY SPECIAL thank you to all of my #lymie and #hashis friends who have walked a mile in my shoes and altered the course of my and my family’s future by sharing YOUR journeys with me! Each and every one of you has made a HUGE impact on my life and so subsequently on my family. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. ❤️❤️🙏🏻🙏🏻💚💚

Lymes Awareness