Those of you that follow me on Instagram may already know this, but about two and a half months ago, my close friend Chloe approached me and asked if I would like to be a part of her inspiring creation, More Than Lyme!
First things first, if you haven’t heard of More Than Lyme, we are a community dedicated to raising Lyme disease awareness, sharing your adventures, stories, experiences, and uniting all of those affected by chronic illness. It began with an Instagram, showcasing breathtaking photography that captures the wonder of the outdoors coupled by Chloe’s beautiful and occasionally heart wrenching writing that is so necessary and relatable for those of us with chronic illnesses. I have been following More Than Lyme since the beginning and her daily writings have been so uplifting. I mean, check out this amazing Instagram feed:
More Than Lyme grew into a blog, showcasing more of Chloe’s writings. Sharing your stories through features, her own adventures, serious real talk discussions, and more have been a major source of inspiration for myself! She also now sells clothing that is so comfy and perfect for spreading awareness. I’ve personally been rocking More Than Lyme clothing for close to a year now!
To make a long story short, I was searching for some more fulfillment in life (you may remember my New Years post) and just a few days later, Chloe got in touch with me! The planets aligned and she somehow knew that I was seeking this out!
I have been co-owner of More Than Lyme for a few months now and am working on some very exciting projects! There are lots of wonderful things in store for More Than Lyme, so keep watching!
On February 29, I pushed myself to do something truly awesome. I went deep sea fishing (for the first time!) with Sean and his family. The past two and a half years, I’ve missed out on parties, graduations, new + old friendships, traveling, careers, living independently, new experiences, and everything that makes life wonderful. I’ve been in some dark places over the last few years, but I’ve managed to have some trust in the process and use what this experience has given me. (Weird thing to say about a devastating illness, but you know. Do what you will, Lyme disease.)
As I recover, as slow as possible, and frequently face setbacks, I get to experience these wonderful bits of life that I’ve missed out on for so long. I’m proud of myself for that. I feel like it’s something that I deserve. I’ve endured the pain of the disease and I’ve put in the hours for healing. I’m nowhere near being healed or living a normal life yet, but I’ve come so far. And I’m proud.
I laid in bed for three days beforehand to prepare. Half because I had a constant migraine, half to rest my body for the strain of deep sea fishing. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make the trip. I woke up at 5 am, peeling my eyes open and immediately feeling the pain in my head, in every joint, and all over my body. I was filled with the fear of what may happen being 50+ miles offshore with no cell phone service. I pulled myself from bed, pushed those thoughts out of my head, pushed my physical body as hard as possible, and went. That was the best decision I could have made.
Between the pain, there was a feeling of real life. Sean and I were actually living. Doing normal things. We ate Publix subs and caught trigger fish and watched the deep blue sea glimmer in the sunlight. We felt the water splash on our faces, the sun pour on our pale skin, and the joy of not being surrounded by all things illness. We were lucky enough to have Sean’s uncle, a doctor, join us for his company and peace of mind. He even helped me when my sciatic nerve pain flared up. Everyone was smiling, laughing, and had a fantastic day fishing before the tourist season began. So the ocean was all ours.
The only time I had ever been fishing was as a young child, fishing for catfish in a pond in rural Georgia. I wasn’t very good at it. Over a decade later, with noodle arms, I was a pro. I have almost no muscle mass after years of illness, but somehow I pulled dozens of fish out of the ocean! Trigger fish, grey snapper, black grouper, red grouper, and more! We had to toss most of them back. Things got even better when we moved to a spot above a shipwreck where jack fish like to hang out. After a lot of work, heart palpitations, and wanting to give up a few times, I caught a 45+ pound jack fish! It was an amazing feeling of accomplishment. The ride home, I felt radiant and proud, resting my head on Sean’s shoulder and watching the wake of the boat cut through the deep blue ocean. These moments where illness is not in the forefront of my mind are the ones that I cherish the most.
But I felt really uncomfortable sharing this amazing day that I had. I have wonderful pictures of everyone smiling, holding up fish that we caught, and having an incredible time. But I didn’t think that I could share this on social media with my friends and family. I think this ties into my last blog post a bit; where is the line of portraying how sick I am? I didn’t know how to share the joy that I experienced without sounding too down about how hard it was to do in reality. I also don’t want to give off the false idea that I am healed. In reality, I laid in bed, in excruciating pain, for another three days after the trip. In reality, I have a long way to go. It was taxing on my my body, but uplifting for my soul. A pretty solid trade off. I even made a video to share one of my happiest days!
We’re only given one body. We’re only given one life. For me, the pain I went through after the fishing trip was worth the amazing experience. It was worth it to see how far I’ve come, how resilient I am, and how much more is out there for all of us going through a difficult time. Life is possible again and I will enjoy this slow trickle back into normalcy. And for now, I’m going to lay in bed, take my medication, and hope that another good day is in my near future!
I recently compiled a handful of clips from my last trip for Lyme treatment in Seattle to create a YouTube video. I captured the struggles, small wins, and tried to share the experience that I have to go through to regain my health. I made sure that the transitions were pretty, adjusted the lighting, and picked out a song that I felt captured my emotions. I put into words the joy that I felt when making that video. I also shared my own personal journal entries with the entire internet, which was anxiety inducing in its own way.
I poured my heart into that video.
And while I received an overwhelming amount of support from the Lyme community, it came with some hurtful backlash. I was told that I didn’t deserve sympathy because my video and social media presence weren’t full of pictures and videos of me laying in bed. I was called unrealistic. I was called a fraud. I was told I must not be that ill. I was told that I look clearly healthy from the video.
None of this is true. None of this diminishes the symptoms that I feel daily. Would it make you feel better to know that I spend most of my days with a migraine? Would it make you feel better to know that I spend most days in bed? Would it make you feel better to know that the only reason why I left the house in the past two weeks was to pick up prescriptions from CVS? That some days, I can’t wear clothing with buttons because my hands tremble too much? That I am constantly aware of the dull ache from the bulging disk in my neck? That my neck, shoulders, and back muscles almost constantly spasm, no matter how much medication I take? That I can’t stand up without my heart rate going over 130 bpm? That I have heart palpitations for hours every single night? That I haven’t driven a car in over six months? That my body radiates pain almost constantly? That I have spent nights forced awake to experience this disease instead of being able to escape into sleep? That I spend countless nights crying, worrying that my body will become a permanent prison?
Does it make you feel better to know that I am constantly suffering? Because if it does, I’d ask you to evaluate why.
I create for me. This disease has taken so much from me. And I’m beginning to reclaim what I deserve. I’ve discovered my creative side, started this blog, dabbled in iPhone photography, started writing again, am working from bed, and am now making videos. I’ve regained a slight bit of cognitive health in the past few months, and I will not take that for granted. I will not let it go to waste.
In my video, I showed you multiple IVs, injections, testing, appointments, long car rides, and my brave best friend getting surgery with no anesthesia. But I also opened up to you. I showed you the happy times. You saw healthy meals with friends, smiles and support in the IV room, me singing Semi Charmed Life to my boyfriend for probably the 100th time that day as he laughs and shakes his head. You learned that wheatgrass shots are pretty difficult when your face is half numb from oral surgery, you saw Melissa and I singing Santeria with our Uber driver when he could tell that we were having a bad day, and you saw an adventure in Volunteer Park. This is what I was able to capture on video and what I felt comfortable sharing on video.
Apparently it wasn’t enough.
Here are a few things that I didn’t include in the video:
Everything that I filmed at the airport was filmed from a wheelchair because I require wheelchair assistance.
I take Uber because I haven’t driven a car in almost six months due to the limitations of my disease.
I spent most nights crying from anxiety and physical pain.
I had in injection that made my thyroid swell up so much that I could hardly swallow for two days. Melissa had the same injection and lost all control of her right arm for days.
Almost every time I had to have a vein accessed, I had to be stuck with a needle multiple times because my veins are so scarred after being sick for so long. I had an uncooperative vein that decided to leak blood all over my arm and one IV infiltrate.
I had a migraine during nearly every second of that video.
Countless hours spent at home when we were too physically ill to leave the Airbnb.
And so much more that. So why is it that just a handful of negative comments in a sea of love and support can take us down? I am not the first to experience negativity towards my illness and not the first to talk about it.
I’m not sorry for not fitting your mold of what you think my disease should be like. I decided a long time ago that I’m going to be in pain whether or not I’m laying in bed or out enjoying coffee with friends, and I choose to do the latter when I can. More often than not, I’m stuck in bed, missing out on life. I’ve had to drop out of college, quit my job, lose friendships, miss out on my mom’s college graduation ceremony, and so much more. It’s heartbreaking. So, if I can get out of the house, I do it.
This is the tragic truth about chronic, long-term illness. Some days, I spend all day in bed, building up all of my strength just to make the trek to the bathroom and back.Some days, I look good. I put makeup on and swap my leggings for jeans and get out of the house. I look and function like a normal member of society. But I’m not. Beneath the facade, I’m in pain. I have to keep track of the pills, tinctures, injections, special diets, and so much more. But I don’t always want to show this. My suffering is not I want to be known for and remembered by.
Almost 1 in 2 Americans have a chronic, invisible illness. Always keep compassion in your heart. There is a struggle behind closed doors that you may never see. I do my best to let you in to see what I go, but sometimes I do not show it all, and I will never apologize for the creative methods that I choose to express myself.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” – John Watson/Ian MacLaren
So, how to we walk this thin line of appearing ill enough for others to take us seriously while simultaneously remaining authentic to ourselves? I truly don’t have an answer for that. I think that there will always be people who are never satisfied, therefore we can only truly satisfy ourselves. Create for yourself, hope others enjoy it, but if they don’t, that’s okay. I reached out to the Lyme community on Instagram while I was upset and was built back up so much with love. Our suffering is real, whether people choose to accept and believe it or not. It’s easy to say that we should just ignore hurtful comments, but that can be hard. Understanding that what people say is more of a reflection of them than of ourselves has been beyond helpful to me in these past few days.
Positivity and optimism are what have kept me alive this long. I have been in so many dark places and if I allowed them to consume me completely, I wouldn’t have made it. I truly believe that there is an end to all of this, and I’m still on that path. So please, forgive me if I want to share my authenticity and love with others.
So however you choose to share your story, never, ever stop.
Two weeks ago, I returned from the Seattle area from my most recent round of healing, following Dr. Klinghardt’s methods. Suitcases packed, my boyfriend and best friend by my side, and surrounded by some of the most intelligent practitioners that I have ever met, we were unstoppable. Here is a short video that I complied to show firsthand the ups and downs (okay, mostly ups, because who’s going to film the downs?) of treatment. I hope you enjoy it!
I know this isn’t a food blog, but after I posted a picture of the paleo and vegan chocolate chip banana cookies on my Instagram a while back, there was too great of a response to not post the recipe. Plus, my boyfriend, mom, and I ate the entire batch in a matter of days. So we had to alert the masses.
I had planned to write a blog post about eating healthy around the holidays. Then a family friend delivered a gift basket of cookies to our house. Why you gotta harsh my vibe with your holiday generosity, man? My self control went out the window and I just didn’t feel authentic writing a blog post when I obviously wasn’t eating well myself.
In my last post, I discussed my New Year’s affirmations, and one of them was to eat for healing and to eat with intention. But after the over-indulging in the holidays, it’s hard to go cold-turkey. Having diet and allergy friendly treats on hand is the best way to combat these cravings. I wanted to create an easy recipe for chocolate chip cookies, but these turned out to be more like chocolate chip banana bread cookies. Either way, they’re awesome.
2 large, ripe, organic mashed bananas
1/3 or 1/2 a cup of organic almond butter (I’ll be honest, I just scooped out about half of a 12 ounce jar and didn’t measure.)
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 1/2 cups almond flour
a dash of pink Himalayan salt
1/2 a cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, blend all of the ingredients. The mix should look evenly distributed and not clumpy at all.
Place flat, cookie-sized balls onto a cookie sheet and bake for 10-17 minutes, or until golden brown on the edges. Allow them to cool and enjoy!
For the leftovers, I recommend freezing them and eating them frozen. My boyfriend and mother prefer them at room temperature or refrigerated, so you can mess around and see which way you like them best, if they last long enough!
I struggle with New Years resolutions. They’re always self destructive for me. However, as a perpetual list maker, I love making them. Each year, I dream big about what I want to accomplish and come up with an extensive, idealistic perspective of what I think my new year will look like. At the end of the year, I often end up disappointed with myself. Most of the time I forget what my resolutions were and shrug it off. It kind of ruins the point.
Perhaps I’m looking at New Years resolutions all wrong. Maybe they’re not those to do lists that I love so much, which need to be checked off at the end of the year. It may be a much different paradigm. We already know the end of the year is a time for reflecting on our past behaviors. But is it really about setting a to-do list that we’re just going to feel bad about in 365 days?
You may not have done everything on last year’s list, sure. That’s a given. But are you the exact same as you were last year? Are the things in your life the exact same? I’m not saying that they’re perfect, but I’m sure you’ve made steps to get to where you want to be. Sometimes goals take longer than a year. And that’s okay. Growth and change are a slow and beautiful process of life.
So let’s stop looking at New Year’s resolutions as a checklist. Rather than looking at our lists as a source of guilt, I invite you to look at them as a source of growth. Let’s ask ourselves what steps we need to take to reach these goals and allow ourselves time and grace to reach them.
With that being said, I’d like to share with you some of my goals for 2016:
Making my mental health my highest priority. I’m getting back into weekly counseling. I’m also making sure to keep taking my depression and anxiety medication daily. My anxiety and depression have become almost as debilitating as my physical symptoms. There is nothing more important to my life than my mental health and no greater way to show myself love than to go to counseling regularly. I believe that one cannot fully heal from Lyme without addressing and treating the mental pain that comes with long term illness.
Fully dive into healing with diet. I’m great with every aspect of my healing protocol, besides diet. I struggle with food allergies and finding a proper diet has been no easy task. I eat well frequently but cheat on my diet. Instead of looking at this change as a diet, I’m viewing it as a lifestyle change (have you heard that phrase a million times yet?) and getting really excited about all the things I can create!
Be gentle with myself. Each possible moment, I want to be more understanding to myself. This ties into my “to-do list self”, but I need to understand that I cannot do it all. Not every day will be productive in the traditional sense of the word. I need to understand that resting is healing. I will use kinder words with myself and understand my abilities.
Find one thing a day that fulfills me and do it. That’s it, just one thing. That’s all I need. It might not be what I need to get done, but if there’s going to be something that makes my soul happy, I’m going to do it.
Increase my online presence. I plan on writing more blog posts and sharing more on Instagram. Making connections, creating, and having a purpose is beyond healing to me. This is a goal that I’m very excited for, but am realistic about because it might not happen due to my health. Either way, I can’t wait to see what I’m able to do in 2016! I’m very stubborn.
So there it is! My “resolutions”. But are they resolutions? A quick Google shows us that a resolution is making the decision to do or to not do something. An affirmation is emotional support or encouragement. A goal is the object of a persons effort and ambition. So instead of setting these cut and dry resolutions, maybe what we need to do is be gentle with ourselves and set affirmations and goals instead. What sounds better to you? A rigid checklist of obligations or a set of encouraging guidelines? Either way, here’s hoping to a brighter and healthier year!
What are your plans, intentions, and affirmations for 2016? I’d love to hear in the comments!
Be patient with me on this post, it’s going to be a long one, but I wanted to include as much information without splitting it up into multiple posts. There is a method to the madness!
I’ve been really excited to share the latest leg of my healing journey! I had been on intensive, long-term antibiotics for over a year and during summer I decided that I was absolutely finished with them. My gut biome had been destroyed, my symptoms were worse, and I had no signs of improvement. I had been spending nearly all of my time in bed. So I have made the difficult decision to switch to holistic treatment for Lyme disease.
Many of you may know of Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt and the impact he has had on the Lyme community. You may have even seen him in the Lyme disease documentary, Under Our Skin, available on Hulu. He has worked for decades supporting research, education, and treatment in the Lyme and chronic illness community. Dr. Klinghardt also runs a clinic in the Seattle area called the Sophia Health Institute, where patients from around the world come to get excellent healthcare.
(Here’s a cork board in the IV room at Sophia where you can place a pin on the city that you’re from! Not all patients here have Lyme disease, but the majority do and it’s amazing to see how widespread it is. Lyme is a global disease.)
As of now, I have made two trips to Seattle for treatment. Originally, I was traveling with my boyfriend, who has been a patient of Dr. Dahlgren, one of their top doctors, since January 2014. I was still skeptical of alternative medicine and only trusted my traditional Lyme doctor, despite my health worsening each day, but that’s a story for an another time. I didn’t want to switch to a new doctor on the opposite end of the country without seeing what goes down at the clinic firsthand, but I wanted to take advantage of the resources while I was in town.
During my first visit, my old LLMD, who is not trained in this form of medicine, wrote me prescriptions on what treatments he wanted me to do while I was there. These prescriptions were not for medication, but rather for the treatments at the clinic. I don’t recommend doing this. I know that changing treatments can be a massive leap of faith, but I cannot stress how bad of an idea I think this is. A doctor that doesn’t understand the way the clinic or treatments are run probably should not be writing these prescriptions. I also had to schedule everything without a doctor to consult if a problem arose or I reacted poorly to a treatment. So there was a lot of confusion during my first trip.
However, I did get to sit in on all of my boyfriend’s appointments and observe. When one finished early, his doctor, Dr. Dahlgren, asked if I’d like to be muscle tested using Autonomic Response Testing (ART). I leaped at this chance! I’ve always been a skeptic but I’m also very open to trying new things. Through this brief muscle testing, I showed positive for Lyme disease and co-infections (you didn’t see that coming!), with a highly active Babesia infection, parasites, viruses , MTHFR issues, and low neurological function. This was an absolutely mind blowing moment for me! Everything that the doctor determined through ART were things that I had not told her and been backed up by previous lab tests. Not only was everything accurate, but it displayed the compassion of Dr. Dahlgren. She also developed a small protocol for me to follow. Three months later, I was in Seattle again for a more intensive version of what I had just experienced.
THE FIRST APPOINTMENT
After the experience during my first trip, I was impressed by Dr. Dahlgren’s intelligence and compassion and knew I wanted her to be my doctor. I felt a connection during our brief session and her personality really resonated with me. No matter which clinic and doctor you choose, there is going to be a wait period. For me, it took about three months to get an appointment, but the time can be shorter or longer. It’s going to get really complicated once you start scheduling, because you’re going to be doing a lot of IV therapies and treatments that may be canceled and rescheduled. Get ready to break out the highlighters, pens, and notebooks and channel your inner micromanager!
I had five doctor appointments over the course of two weeks, but most people I talked to usually stay for one week and have one appointment per day.
The first time I met with Dr. Dahlgren, she immediately took my anxiety away. She focused all of her attention and energy on me, which was a monumental weight off my shoulders; an unexpected feeling after years of dismissive doctors. Not that I expected her to be bad, but it was uplifting to feel like every word I said was truly being heard. We went over my entire medical history, all the way from birth. I was told to bring bloodwork and tests from the past two years. We went over my symptoms and how they have evolved from the onset of my illness two and a half years ago. She ordered more bloodwork. Afterwards, she muscle tested me for various pathogens, problem areas with my organs, and medications that work harmoniously with my body. At this time, my problem areas are Lyme, Babesia, heavy metals, parasites, viruses, and fungal infections. She created a protocol that she would add to and change around over the next two weeks and told me what types of IVs and other appointments I should schedule. She also instructed me to have my amalgam removed. The entire new patient appointment took two hours.
MUSCLE/AUTONOMIC RESPONSE TESTING
Muscle testing is amazing. I mentioned earlier in this post that I was a skeptic at first, but I’ve come around after experience and a lot of research. The fact that a doctor can determine what is wrong with you without even talking to you is astounding to me. There are videos, podcasts, and articles all over the internet about ART, so I won’t go into the specifics of it here. The doctor had me lay down on a flat table and raise my arms above my head. Then she would place slides, almost like petri dishes, with different microorganisms inside. She would pull on my arms and note the specific responses of my muscles. She does this with medications and supplements too. It truly is an amazing and insightful experience into complex chronic illness.
To me, this is the distinction between alternative and conventional medicine. If you’re diagnosed with a chronic illness like POTS, multiple sclerosis, Hashimoto’s, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, CFS/ME, ALS, or more, you’re told that there is no cure, only symptom management. Instead of investigating and treating the cause, you are told to treat the symptoms. You are given pain medicine, hormones, diet changes, stimulants, and more. While there is nothing wrong with medications and diet changes, this perspective is lacking in determining the root of disease. Perhaps the patient is suffering from a chronic bacterial or parasitic infection, nutritional deficiency, genetic defects, heavy metal poisoning, toxic mold exposure, chemical sensitivities, or something else entirely. I know that this was the case for me. I was told that I had CFS/ME and immune dysfunction and that it was something that “just happens”. Just a few months later, we figured out that it doesn’t “just happen”, and that I had Lyme disease through blood tests. All of this can be determined by autonomic response testing as well.
Almost every doctor appointment includes some form of neural therapy. “Neural Therapy is a treatment system for chronic pain and illness. It involves the injection of local anesthetics into autonomic ganglia, peripheral nerves, scars, glands, trigger points, and other tissues. It is believed to act through normalizing the illness-related dysfunction of the nervous system.” (Klinghardt, 1993) Most of the time, procaine is used in neural therapy, but other medications can be used. So essentially, you’re going to be jabbed with a bunch of needles. Not for the faint of heart!
On my first appointment I had neural therapy on my thyroid. Needles in my neck was not exactly what I was hoping for that morning, but it wasn’t that bad! In another appointment, I had neural therapy on one of my tattoos. Procaine is a breeze.
I don’t find neural therapy particularly painful. It’s definitely not pleasant, but after years of being stuck with needles, it’s not terrible. It is necessary to inject procaine into scars, and I think that’s the most painful part. I have four large abdominal scars from my gallbladder removal surgery that are very painful to inject. During these injections I focus on how important they are for healing. I have a mantra when the neural therapy gets painful: “This is necessary for healing. This is healing my body.”
Back when I first fell ill in 2013 and was desperately searching for answers, I read online that cavities can cause all kinds of health problems. I knew I had a cavity, but I didn’t have dental insurance so I left it in my mouth. Since I thought the cavity was the answer to all my problems, I shelled out the money and got it removed. Except I had it replaced with an amalgam filling. This was probably one of the worst things I could have done for my health. Amalgam/silver fillings are made of mercury, which can poison the body and suppress the immune system. Not a great thing if you already have an immune suppressing condition like Lyme disease. I also was told that antibiotic therapy for Lyme is pointless when you have metal fillings since antibiotics chelate metals. No wonder the antibiotics were making me much more sick. Big lesson learned.
It was recommended that I find a biological dentist to do the surgery. After learning that the amalgam may have held back my progress for the past year, I felt like I had to do it immediately or it wouldn’t get removed at all. So I found a dentist in Seattle and had my amalgam removed and replaced with a nontoxic composite filling. It was a very easy, in-and-out process and I was able to continue with other treatments on the same day that it was removed.
I’ve only done a few types of IVs in Seattle, but they offer all many types depending on what your doctor feels is necessary. Here’s what I’ve done so far:
Amino Acid IV: I always tell myself I love these as a treatment, but they are truly grueling. I don’t know why I insist on doing them, but they muscle test really well for me and Dr. Klinghardt likes to use them. They’re kind of expensive, so I’ve only done three. Each amino acid IV is like running a marathon. I assume, I’ve never ran a marathon. I make sure I eat something thick and carb-y before and during, since the IV makes me nauseous. It lasts three hours long and, without fail, will give me a migraine. Amino acid IVs balance the neurotransmitters in your brain which can cause some mental side effects. My depression and anxiety seem to be better a few days after I’ve done an amino acid IV. I cried for about an hour after my first one. Then, I got to pet a puppy and go to Edmonds beach and all was good in the world.
Glutathione IV push: This has always been my ride or die IV.Glutathione is an antioxidant that works great for cellular repair and detox if you’re in the middle of a Herxheimer reaction.
Phospholipid push: Phospholipids cross the blood brain barrier, help with neurological symptoms, and rebuild cell membranes that have been destroyed by Lyme bacteria. I’ve done two of these IVs and can’t say I’ve noticed anything from them. I know they’re valuable in treatment, but I’m not sure if they have any noticeable effect for me.
Artesunate push: I did these on my second visit. This is the IV form of artminesin, a strong anti-malarial targeted towards babesia. Your body has to be very strong to handle this drug, so I was beyond excited when I could tolerate it. I did two vials that were very quick and I tolerated them pretty well! I’m not sure if it was travel exhaustion or the treatment itself, but I had full body pain and exhaustion. Nothing that I’m not used to. It was overall an exciting experience!
Myers cocktail: in the past I have had bad experiences with Myers cocktails at different clinics. However, HHA and SHI make sure they are methylated and tailored to your specific needs. I didn’t notice much beyond pain in my arm (totally normal, vitamin C isn’t a joke) but it may work on a cellular level and is supporting things that I’m not noticing. It also chelates metals, which are a huge problem for me, so that could be why I don’t feel fantastic. It’s a very common therapy!
DETOX + OTHER THERAPIES
Colon Hydrotherapy/Colonics: a major form of detox. You can have what’s called “open system” or “closed system”, and personally I prefer an open system colonic called the Angel of Water. Your body eliminates toxins through the colon and colonics work by cleaning them out with gallons of water. They’re not very sexy or fun, but I personally feel so much better afterward. They cause a lot of cramping, but you can do a castor oil pack during the treatment to ease the pain.
Body Work: a type of massage therapy and physical manipulation that can help relieve pain and help improve organ function. Sometimes it can be uncomfortable, like when working with the ribs and liver, but I’ve found it amazing for my back and neck pain. I also occasionally get cranial sacral therapy during body work, which helps with my migraines!
Lymphatic Drainage: heaven. I have POTS and my health isn’t very good so I spend a lot of time in bed which means my lymph isn’t flowing. This is bad because it can allow Lyme bacteria to build up in your lymph nodes. Lymphatic drainage is a relaxing way to facilitate the movement of lymph in the body. You’ll also learn how to do it at home! I’ve had amazing experiences with the practitioners and it has been great for my emotional well being as well.
Infared Sauna: I’ve never done either of these at the clinic because my POTS is too bad, but the sauna was recommended by my doctor. Sweat in saunas releases higher quantities of toxins than everyday sweat.
Ionic Foot Bath: this is another detox therapy that I have no experience with but is offered.
Acupuncture: so good for calming down the nervous system, which is in a hyper-sensitive state in chronic illness. I’ve done acupuncture twice at Sophia and was able to control my heart palpitations after one sessions. My second session utilized COLD laser therapy while receiving a brain and gut acupuncture pattern. I have a lot of trouble relaxing and my sessions with acupuncture helped me work towards that mental state. You can also work towards family constellation therapy in other acupuncture sessions, but I haven’t done it yet. I look forward to more.
Medical Qigong: I know I describe a lot of things as “amazing” or “great”, but I truly do not know how to put into words how my medical Qigong session went. After coming down the stairs, I told my boyfriend, publicly and in tears, that it was magical. I couldn’t really explain to him what I had just experienced. In Chinese medicine, different organs are associated with certain emotions and feelings. Bear with me, but it was almost like a medical and spiritual therapy appointment where the healer intuitively knew what I was feeling.
Eng3 NanoVi: I’m not sure how this works or what exactly it does. I’m not an expert by any means. Their website states that it reduces free radicals and oxidative stress. You put on nasal cannulas and breathe in humidified air that is first passed through specific light wavelengths. I’ve used this while getting IVs but I haven’t used it enough to say anything good or bad.
BioMat: BioMats are another product that I don’t know enough about, but have heard plenty of things, good and bad. I personally think the price tag that comes with them ($2,000) is hefty enough to turn anybody off. But when I was in the IV room and there was an oppurtunity to try one out, I kept an open mind. BioMats are supposed to relax muscles, reduce pain, increase blood flow, support the immune system, have grounding effects, and more. I laid on it for about 30 mins and didn’t feel anything besides the nice warmth that it creates.
My final appointment with Dr. Dahlgren left me feeling prepared for the trip home. We fine tuned my protocol with muscle testing, discussed my recent blood work, and she answered my questions. I also met with another doctor to start my first dose of low dose immunotherapy (LDI). I think the most significant thing that she told me is that I will get better. I don’t like to cling onto time frames because healing is a long journey, but we are aiming for me to be healed in two years, with lots of hard work on my end and regular visits every three months. This kind of hope and confidence is the most I’ve felt in over two years.
I have been home now for a couple of months and am feeling slightly better cognitively. Not amazing, but I feel well enough to write this post, which I couldn’t do beforehand. I did a parasite protocol. I’ve been occasionally cooking my own healthy meals, which is a huge step for me. I take all my medications, do coffee enemas every other day, use antiparasitic/malarial suppositories, take detox baths, and rest a lot. I had a phone consult with Dr. Dahlgren and we are putting more effort into treating my depression and anxiety. Focusing on my mental health is a huge part of my healing. I’ve had my second dose of LDI at home and am being monitored by my LDI doctor. This is the most hopeful I’ve been since I got sick. I’m slowly starting to notice changes here and there. I’m very excited for this to be the start of my path to health!
*Disclaimer: None of this intended to diagnose or treat a disease or condition. I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. This post is meant to share a personal experience and does not guarantee that you will have the same experience. I am also not being paid or sponsored to say anything written here.