Last week marked 6 weeks since our first visit to the Lyme doctor in Wisconsin, so it was time to go back for a progress update. The news was good but raised as many questions as it answered. First of all, Dr. Lindsley told me that he couldn’t find any more traces of Lyme or co-infections. Of course I was glad to hear this, but seeing as how I didn’t feel much different from the way I did six weeks ago, it raised a lot of questions. If the Lyme is gone, then what else am I dealing with? Did I ever have Lyme in the first place? Is his diagnosis method actually correct if the diagnosis can change without the symptoms changing? How am I going to get better, and have I just been living with a bladder infection and other assorted issues for close to a year now?
The constant questioning has been the toughest part of the whole Lyme disease journey, and one that doesn’t seem to get any easier as time goes by.
Back to the appointment… aside from the whole Lyme issue, Dr. Lindsley was able to clear up a few other issues that had been bothering me. After having comprehensive lab work done, I was assured that most everything looks normal. The main concern, my thyroid, looked very normal, and there were no signs of autoimmune disease there. My cholesterol was borderline high but Dr. Lindsley explained to me that it’s actually a sign of infection and inflammation more than anything else. Cholesterol cells are the vehicles that get debris caused from illness out of the body. When the body is fighting something, cholesterol levels rise to allow for detox. So sometimes high cholesterol can be a sign of heart disease, but not always. Since I am eating so well, we can eliminate heart disease from the list of possibilities pretty quickly, and see it instead as a sign of chronic infection.
The only other thing that caught his attention is that my RBC number and size is fairly low, meaning that my RBCs are not carrying as much Iron as they should be. Making me border-line anemic. This explains the fatigue and why my hands and feet are always so cold. My numbers are okay to the point where I shouldn’t have to take an iron supplement, I’m just trying to eat more iron-rich foods. Red meat, here I come!
On the food allergy front, my test came back pretty much clear! I was pretty much having nightmares before the appointment about seeing my results and everything coming up as an allergy. It ended up being kind of the opposite. The only thing that showed up as a high sensitivity was eggs. It doesn’t surprise me because I have been eating A LOT of eggs over the past few months (years). It makes sense that my body is saying enough to that. I sort of wonder if the reason my sensitivities to things like gluten and dairy were so low is because I haven’t had a lot of them over the past few months. I’m still planning on keeping to my “old” diet about 80% of the time, but then I know that I can cheat a little bit on the weekends and when I’m out to eat with friends. I’ve learned so much about nutrition over the past few months and have learned that the nutrition that foods like bread and pasta provide is negligible, so if I want my body to heal I have to keep loading it with fruits and vegetables. But being able to have regular pancakes and a beer once a month sounds pretty nice.
The main issue that I wanted to address with Dr. Lindsley was about my gut, and how my GI system hasn’t been normal through a lot of this illness (worse after the antibiotics). Using the same method as he did for the Lyme bacteria, he checked me for gut bacteria, and found a few things that should not be there. Based on this, he was able to make me a custom probiotic that will help to kill off these pathogenic strains. I’m also taking digestive enzymes and HCl (stomach acid) with every meal, and I think it has really been helping so far. I was really relieved to find out that my digestive problems are outside of the sphere of my diet, because I was getting really tired of cutting more things out. I’m hoping that this probiotic will provide long-term healing of my gut.
So all in all, the news was good, and if I’m being honest I do think I’ve been making progress over the last few months that I’ve been home. There is less fatigue, less dizziness, and no more tingling in my hands and feet. The remaining challenges continue to be my bladder and gut. I have no choice but to keep researching and getting more opinions until everything is back to normal. It just takes time, like I am constantly reminding myself. Until then I’m off to enjoy spring!