I WISH I could sit here and tell you that my last several weeks of “Phase 2: Antibiotics” has been easy and smooth sailing. However, that has most definitely NOT been my reality. Nonetheless, I am continuing to make GREAT strides in regaining my health — even despite setbacks! I just tolerated an almost two-week family vacation (16 hour drive EACH WAY) COMPLETELY “out of my routine” and comfort zone! That was a HUGE success for me (especially since I had nearly two months between February and April of not being able to drive OR ride in a car with my eyes open even because my vertigo was SO BAD).
When starting the Plaquenil on June 10th, I unfortunately learned the hard way that I Herx BAD when starting a new script. I had to “ease into” taking this antibiotic every-third-day for several days. Once I was able to tolerate that spacing, I increased the spacing to every-other-day for a few days. Finally, about 10 days in I was able to tolerate it daily as the prescription was written, I relied heavily on my Tri-Salts (see post here) and Burbur/Pinella tincture to keep the Herx symptoms of increased pain, headaches, agitation, light and sound sensitivity, peripheral neuropathy, and neurological symptoms to a minimum.
After I became “stable” on the Plaquenil, I had to ease into my 2nd antibiotic Doxycycline the same way… one pill every-other-day for half a week or so… one pill daily for a few more days… two pills daily every-other-day… and then finally two pills daily as my prescription was written. I then waited another few days of being “stable” on BOTH the Plaquenil AND Doxycyclilne before moving on to the 3rd antibiotic. Both the Plaquenil and the Doxycycline were written to kill (as a dual force) the cystic and cell membrane forms of the Borrelia Burgdorferi (Lyme) bacteria. Since I am a “chronic Lyme patient” and the bacteria has crossed into BOTH my central AND peripheral nervous systems (as well as my thyroid, as evidenced by my Hashimoto’s thyroiditis)… it is important to use multiple antibiotics and to vary them frequently throughout my course of treatment. Again, I can’t recommend reading Dr. Horowitz’s book “Why Can’t I Get Better” enough! He explains this concept in METICULOUS detail in his book! Link below to his book on Amazon. BEST $20 you will spend in your (or some one you love’s) journey with Lyme!
That brings me to starting my 3rd antibiotic, Azithromycin (commonly “Zithromax” or “Z-Pack”). Now THIS antibiotic was the trickiest of all 4 of my antibiotics to acquire. I worked closely with a WONDERFUL and extremely helpful pharmacist in the Twin Cities who spent THREE WEEKS contacting 4 different manufacturers to try to find one who made Azithromycin without gluten or diary (due to the severity of my food allergies). Unfortunately, he did not have any luck. ALL Azithromycin is made containing lactose, save one manufacturer who makes it without lactose but with soy (which I also do not consume due to estrogenic and goitrogenic qualities). That being said, I had to use a compounding pharmacy for this prescription (which is AGAIN not covered by insurance). Nonetheless, according to my LLMD… I CANNOT be taking antibiotics to kill bacteria in my body while continuing to create inflammation by additives in the antibiotics which I am allergic to. Then I am shooting myself in my own foot.
I started Zithromax on Monday with my usual “every-other-day” approach. However, less than 24-hours later I was back in bed for a 6-hour nap with FULL-FLEDGED Babesia Duncanai symptoms back… hot sweats, pulse racing, hot/cold intolerance, debilitating fatigue (a whopping total of TEN HOURS worth of naps in 2 days), extreme agitation, and complete peripheral neuropathy/numbness/and loss of sensation in my right arm from the bicep down.
After reconsulting with my LLMD today, she assured me that I was, in fact, experiencing another Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction. This is GOOD in one sense, because it means that the Azithromycin is doing EXACTLY what it is supposed to do (going after the Babesia); however, as my LLMD does NOT want her chronically ill, patients feeling WORSE… I AGAIN have to slow it down. I took a break from the Azithromycin yesterday and will continue to “pulse” it back in (as my body tolerates).
After I become “stable” on the Azithromycin, I will begin my 4th and final antibiotic, Mepron (which is sometimes called “liquid gold” in the pharmaceutical industry). This bottle of liquid yellow goop costs $975.99 BEFORE INSURANCE. It is some serious stuff and was written to eliminate my Babesia (which is another tickborne illness I acquired that is very similar in symptomatology to malaria).
I will keep you all posted as I finish “Phase 2: Antibiotics” and maintain this baseline (along with the near 75 supplements I take daily) until I see my LLMD again in September.
I ALSO have my first monthly check with my primary care doctor next week for a CBC, CMP, and an EKG (to make sure that my body is tolerating the antibiotics and staying strong),,, and also with an ophthalmologist (good thing my daddy is one!) for a Visual Field Eye Exam.
Pray for me as I pray for YOU! My current Novena is to Our Lady Undoer of Knots. Please feel free to comment below if you have any personal intentions you would like me to specifically pray for.