My experience with Lyme Disease


When reading books on a specific topic, your best bet to find great thoughts is by finding great authors as opposed to the publisher (e.g. Penguin Publishing) or the distribution channel (e.g. Amazon). I am really glad I found Buhners' book on Lyme so quickly after being bitten by an adult female deer tick.

"I also was bitten by a deer tick, it didn’t look engorged, so it may have only been there for a few minutes and I didn’t see any bullseye rash but after 2 days, I went to the ER upon the advice of my mother and they gave me 200 mg doxycycline, I requested a prescription for a few weeks but was denied. Then 2 days after that, my left breast and right armpit lymph nodes were inflamed, then 2 days after that I could no longer run and I became extremely fatigued, sleeping 12 hours a day, went back to the hospital on the 21st and they did lots of tests, all came back normal except for the C6 lyme disease test whose results still didn’t come back, during the day of my visit and the next day, my right knee started to hurt which was odd since I couldn’t run anymore. Also, for a period of 3 days during the fatigue, my body temperature was 95.5F until I ate some food then it went back to 98.6F. I had some neck stiffness today and have been pretty forgetful. I went to a clinic and asked for doxycycline and was given a 21 days script, the hospital didn’t give me a script on each occasion I went there. I have a small rash on my left hand that is slowly expanding, good I’m on doxycycline." That rash was the bullseye rash and the hospital staff said a rash should show up within 3 days of getting bitten, otherwise you don't have lyme disease. Actually, it can show up 3-30 days after and the rash is indicative in 30-70% of cases, depending on the source of the statistics.

The next day: “feeling really tired, have a headache, but can’t quiet sleep, some points I was shaking but I was aware of it. Its good I got the doxycycline since the disease is progressing quickly and a treatment too late is damage guaranteed, no amount of money in a lawsuit will fix that.”

I did try to get metronidazole and amoxicillin after my doxycycline was used up, but the PA didn’t see a reason for it.

After two months on being the Buhner protocol, which you customize based upon your own experiments and how the various herbs make you feel, it too failed.

To finish my treatment, I drank teas made with osha root and ate the root afterwards, thanks to John Mionczynski for sharing his cure to his lyme disease and it worked for me too. This is because the treatment Buhner describes was insufficient for me, I am glad I found out about the other treatments from other herbalists/biologist who understand the biochemistry. These groups of people are an underutilized resource for medical advancement. The actual treatment was supposed to be osha root and fringed sage.

Initially, I found some of Buhners' claims dubious such as the excerpt "there are a lot more sick people with lyme than the statistics indicate" or the uncited excerpt "numerous studies have shown that the use of more sensitive tests by more highly trained clinicians find that many people, previously pronounced seronegative, in fact, have had lyme disease all along." But as I read on, there were plenty of citations, mostly in the back of the book, and many justifications for why there was such a disparity between research statistics, clinical statistics, and patient complaints. I will later give my own hypothesizing of why there is such a huge disconnect. Another concern when reading this book is the lack of the standard pharmaceutical guidance that you may get from a doctor. Buhner addresses the deficits with the standard doxycycline or more advanced doxycycline with amoxicillin or in an even more extreme case IV ceftriaxone treatments by discussing the lifecycle of the disease and also explains some of the symptoms of lyme disease through this lifecycle such as the bacteria attacking the eyes within 24 hours of being infected. I also experienced very partial blindness but it was reversed with the appropriate herbal treatment of osha root. Although, according to John Mionczynski the treatment should be osha root and fringed sage.

The spirochetes that are lyme disease are difficult to study since they're thin, don't grow easily in standard laboratory growing medium, and reproduce every half day instead of 20 minutes like many other species of bacteria. Its amazing that the heat and pH difference that the bacteria respond to in the tick allow for it to change proteins to allow it to infect the animal that the tick is feeding on, DNA stands that corresponds to survival in that animal is spliced into DNA and thereby it has near real-time survivability in that animal. The longer the tick feeds, the more immune resistant spirochetes can be transferred. Unfortunately, the rule of thumb that hospital workers are told that if the tick is on for less than 24 hours there is nothing to worry about is bullshit. You can still get lyme disease from a deer tick that was feeding on your for a few hours and is just another way for the medical system to get away with being lazy and negligent. There is way too much reliance on self-reporting rather than actual testing. One of the many great quotes in the book: "Researchers have described their lyme capacity in this regard to adapt as 'nearly inexhaustible' and have noted, importantly, that these alterations occur only in vive, never in vitro (test tube), making most of the data collected through in vitro studies to be nearly useless." Know the limits of your experiments and have your ground truth. All of the doctors that I've had personal experience with don't read research articles or question the science, they're paid to practice medicine and make irrelevant excuses such as "medicine isn't an exact science."

Really great quote, "Several studies have found that treatment beyond seven days after infection shows more relapse and more bacterial resistance to treatment than treatment within that first week." Not sure if he means a single 300mg dosage of doxycycline or a full 30 days by treatment. Buhner discusses various symptoms that I experienced such as the common bullseye rash and the less well known sleepiness in the daytime and wakefulness at night. The bacteria is so amazing in its survival strategies, "they can take on or create completely different spirochetal forms. These are referred to as cysts, blebs, and spheroblast L-forms," which distract the immune system from attaching the source. A really great and often unappreciated point that a good research makes is found in this quote, "Studies routinely show that up to 95% of people are 'cured' by antibiotics with this duration 10-28 days of treatment. Often neglected in this discussion is that there are 5% who are not. Additionally, there is commonly up to 35% relapse rate that necessitates repeated antibiotic therapies." "Many physicians who have used longer-term antibiotic therapies have found themselves brought before their respective medical boards in the US and threatened with loss of license if they did not stop the longer antibiotic protocols." Wow!!!

"The two most common tests used for Lyme borreliosis are the Elisa and Western Blot. The CDC recommends a two-tiered testing process using these in spite of the fact that the Elisa test is exceptionally unreliable. You and your physician should not rely on it." I had the lyme C6 test, which showed I was negative even though days later I had a small bullseye rash on my hand (bitten on my right side), fortunately I found a PA who took a risk and prescribed me a 21-day dosage of doxycycline in between those two events and my fatigue slowly went away over a period of a week.

"To be usable, the results of Western Blot tests should be reported by showing which bands are reactive. Unfortunately, many labs simply report negative or positive. If you are being tested, you should make sure that the lab reports the bands that react with your blood." Its really important to get the raw data and then the interpretation, not just the interpretation, as the data can be reanalyzed later with other data. The way labs are reported to patients is not following the scientific way that publications are made and yet it would be much more useful if it was. Even PCR testing for lyme disease isn't always a good boolean measure of the disease, "The major problem is that the spirochetes are often in very low numbers and are not homogenous in tissues so that DNA cannot, in many instances be found." Buhner did mention a few tests that did show good results (low false positives/negatives), but if you can convince a medical professional to treat you and/or you use the herbs Buhner mentions and you know you were bitten by a deer tick (lots of other vectors now) for a while, then the testing is mute.

When treating for lyme you need to do the following 4 things: killing the spirochetes, immune modulation/support, collagenous tissue support (lyme loves collagenous tissues like the eyes and knees), and symptomatic help. "Western approaches are just not sophisticated enough to deal with the complexity of human beings as unique ecological expressions interacting with even more complex ecological environments. It is in these more complex areas that herbal approaches to Lyme infection really shine-, this is, immune modulation and ..." He doesn't dispel the usages and advances of pharmaceuticals, rather, he suggests its not the only option and in the cases of malaria, the herbal option is much better (artemisinin).

Buhner's core protocol consists of Andrographis, Japanese Knotweed (resveratrol) root, cats claw, astragalus, and smilax. He also suggests good places to get them and they're pretty cheap, but you'd have to be on them for about a year or until your symptoms go away once you stop taking them. Its really good that he gives suggested places to buy these herbs since most places do a shitty job and process the crap out of the herb. Most people don't know the difference which is why there is a flood of crap that doesn't work and most of the people that use these kinds of products don't know much about the plant other than that its suppose to help them lose weight or regrow hair. Instead of experimenting to find the root cause, getting good sources, or collecting information on how the plants active components are supposed to work in the human body, they go for the quick solution and when it doesn't work, they think it must not work for anyone and herbs are a scam.

For me, I needed siberian ginseng to recover from the crippling fatigue and only needed it for about 2 weeks. I could exercise and study, although, in the beginning I overdid it and had some trouble sleeping at night. But, if your healthy or at least not sick the way lyme disease makes you fatigued, then it won't have any effect. Interesting that medicine may not work on you if your not sick.

Some of the things he recommends such as Vitamin C or Zinc can be gotten from food and thus may not need to be supplemented, while other things such as Folic Acid may be contraindicated because some people have the MTHFR mutations and thus would benefit from a L-MTHF supplement instead for muscle twitches due to lyme. Others are very interesting such as a swedish massage for lymph drainage, I will have to do that some day. There are remedies for the lyme coinfections which were useful in my case such as red root tincture.

If your thinking this blog post is sufficient to give you all you need to heal from lyme disease, your wrong. Buhner deserves credit for his work. Your going to have to buy the book and read it to get further with your lyme treatment.

Overall, great resources in the book and much of it is still valid today. I'd recommend spending the \~\$20 on this book for yourself or someone else you love that may have lyme disease. You can't always find a good medical professional to help you, but you always have yourself all the time with which to learn and experiment. Remember, your always experimenting with your health, do not feel bad about doing it explicitly.

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