Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Babesia Update: Great News
I left you on my last Babesia post having just started my first week of treatment. And I was herxing terribly and felt there was no escape from the Hell of the antibiotic regimen and anti-malarial protocol I had just started.
After rallying I decided I was going to do everything in my control to increase my quality of life. After taking my detox efforts to an entirely new level (I will write a future post about my "Detox Box"), I started handling the Babesia treatment much better. I made it my 24/7 job to be detoxing and taking care of my body at all times. I previously thought I was doing all that I could--but I even took that up to the next level. Big Time.
This renewed determination and my new best friend, my detox box, paid off! Exactly two months into my fairly aggressive antibiotic/anti-malarial treatment, I returned to my LLMD for a check-up on my progress. I was carefully optimistic...my detox work had lead me to only "herx" during my "on" weeks of treatment. I was still having terribly bad days, but they were occurring less often. I was having more "good" days (relatively speaking) more often that ever.
I even had the biggest blessing occur around the 4th of July. I had TEN days in a row where I felt well for the most part of each day. And it was not like I was in bed like usual. I went to the lake for three days and then to the beach for seven. I rode the stand-up jet ski for the first time in four years (if you have never ridden one of these it is the most intense workout. Many people can not even get up on it). My body felt like jello for days afterwards, but it was well worth the reward of being able to take another small part of my life back. Piece by piece, I am taking it back.
I then headed to Seagrove, FL with my boyfriend some of our friends. I continued to have full, active days (if you have Lyme, you count laying on the beach as a high level of activity). I even played bachhi ball most days, and although my former extremely athletic (and overly competitive) and coordinated self came in last place in each game, I did not even care. Just participating was worth it and so much fun. This was the first time that I actually did not care if I won or not. My happiness and joy did not come from the results of the competition, it came from the pure act of playing in itself. There were even two of my boyfriend's friends down there that I hardly ever see and were not aware that I am sick. We hung out with them and they never knew (until the last night when we were at their house and I had a pretty bad seizure...minor setback).
I felt more like a normal person than I have since I was a child. I still had to stay in sometimes and take a few naps each day, but I did not feel like I was missing out on anything. I even allowed myself to cheat on my super-strict diet (my "cheating" is what most people consider healthy, but still) and even allowed myself some celebratory champagne at dinner. To feel and appear as a 'normal' person would was one of the best blessings I have received.
I did not have to spend hours getting ready and putting on makeup to cover the green pallor of my face or the brown, sunk in circles under my eyes. I did not have to obsess about making sure I had backup medication on me at all times in case of a flare up or episode. I did not have to fake a smile and try to hide all of the pain inside of me. For those ten days, I was free. And those were the best ten days of my life. I have been fortunate to travel around the world and vacation in some of the most beautiful locals, but to this day that trip to the charming town of Seagrove, FL is the best vacation I have ever been on.
To feel that inner peace and 'normalcy' (which made me feel high I was so full of endorphins) was God's way of giving me a sneak peak into what the rest of my life will be like. Yes, this journey has been Hell. Yes, I have had many dark moments, lasting months. Yes, this has been the hardest battle of my life and the most mental, physical and spiritual pain I have ever suffered. But I am enduring. I am fighting. And finally, I am starting to win.
I got to my doctors appointment and they were beyond thrilled at my progress. So much so that the bigwig specialist that runs the clinic that I rarely see (he spends a good deal of time in research now and mostly sees the most severe cases only) came in to see for himself how much I had improved in so little time. The initial Babesia treatment was planned to last eight months. They agreed that my new Babesia treatment estimate will only be four more months at the most, but most likely only two more months. At the least I will be cutting 25% of my Babesia treatment out, and and most I will only have to spend 50% of the initial suggested treatment time.
Babesia seems to be one of the harder co-infections to get rid of, or so I am told, so I was thrilled with the news. My next treatment will be most likely a six month round of Bartonella protocol followed by a year of maintenance antibiotics to lessen my chances of relapse. My doctors told me I was "WAY over the hump," so naturally I was elated. So much so that I was high for the next few days, floating on cloud nine. They said a little after Christmas, or even before, I will be feeling 85-90% better. This is nothing short of a miracle.
To add to this miraculous news-induced high, I went to my pelvic pain specialist the next day. He is absolutely my favorite doctor. I have been going to his clinic for almost ten years. His mentor was the first to actually believe that I was sick and diagnose me with all of my pelvic disorders. The second my pelvic pain doctor walked into the room his eyes lit up and welled up with tears. He gave me a hug. He is a very religious man and we speak freely about the impact of God and Christ on our lives, so he praised Jesus with me. Before even looking at my chart...just looking in my eyes, he could tell I was improving.
Click here to read more in-depth with my pelvic pain struggles (coming soon).
My pelvic pain specialist was amazed at how well I was doing. I was going downhill very rapidly until I started Lyme treatment (which obviously made my downhill slide plummet straight down for a while), but now my pelvic illnesses are starting to heal. Almost a year ago I was able to get off the medicine for my Interstitial Cystitis, something I thought I would take the rest of my life.
My Pelvic Pain doctor said "Sarah, not only are you walking proof that Lyme exists, but I want to send some of my patients who are in the same boat as you are in to your Lyme doctor."
Following a doctor in Alabama speak openly about Lyme and how treatment has healed me combined with two days of doctors telling me how miraculous my healing has been lately, I was so elated. I eventually crashed and felt incredibly sick for a few weeks, but it was just because my body was producing so much adrenaline (it is currently unable to regulate this) because I was SO happy. But even the crash can't keep me down.
I am looking Babesia in the face and letting it know that it cannot beat me. Yes, it may pin me down on more occasions than not, but I will never let it keep me there. I will always get back up. And I will conquer it. Soon.
As always, click HERE to follow When Life Hands you Lyme on Facebook. Also click HERE to join the Alabama Lyme Disease Association for additional information on Lyme, co-infections, and Lyme in the South. You can also check them out on our new and improving Web site, alabamalymedisease.org.