Don't Take the Little Things for Granted!

I think the last few months (and especially the last few weeks) have been the hardest I’ve endured thus far in this battle with Lyme Disease, co-infections, chronic pain, and nagging anxiety. In June of this year (2019), I had two more tick bites, and even though I caught them and removed them right away, I believe they made my health much worse than it already was. Since then, my pain has intensified and been relentless (especially the last week) … just day after day of nausea, abdominal pain, rib pain, back pain, head pain, face pain, chest pain, difficulty comprehending and articulating, memory problems, anxiety attacks, brain inflammation, air hunger, weakness, malaise/yuck feeling, etc.

As I said, it’s especially been hard over the last week. I’m not sure if the new homeopathic meds I’m taking are causing me to have a horrible herxheimer reaction or what. With these new homeopathic meds, I’ve been told that it often gets worse before it gets better because they’re doing a lot of killing of the Lyme and co-infections. That means there are a lot of toxins in your body that have to be removed. If you don’t detox constantly, you will feel like death is at your door. No, I’m not being overly dramatic. This is without question the hardest trial I’ve ever been through and I’ve been through some painful $#%& throughout my life.

As tough as I am, I’m literally struggling to make it through each workday. I’ll be painting a house and by 11am my left abdomen, ribs, and back are in so much pain that I have to stop and take an extended lunch break. At times, it literally feels like my left ribs are broken. Thank God I own my own company or I’d be fired. During my break, I’ll eat a little food, and then I put my seat back in my truck and try to get into a deep relaxed state, hoping to activate my parasympathetic nervous system. Sometimes I lay there and listen to a podcast that will help me learn more about my illness and how to deal with it better … or sometimes I’ll recite Scripture, pray, or just repeatedly speak positive/hopeful words of healing to myself. If I’m working close to home, I’ll actually come home for lunch, eat a little, and then lay on my living room floor for 30 minutes and pray. My prayers are typically something like this, “Oh Jesus, please help me to be able to finish the work day. Give me the strength I need. I can’t do this without You.” Then it’s back to work. Unfortunately, I can’t work a full 8-hour day at this stage in my healing journey. I’m typically packing up my gear to come home by 2 or 3pm because the pain has escalated so bad that I’ll easily get sloppy with my painting and I can’t do that.

When I come home, my typical routine is to take a hot epsom salt bath for 20 minutes then quickly rinse off in the shower with cold water. After that, I try to eat a little dinner and then I usually rest on the couch with a castor oil rag and a heating pad over my abdomen and ribs (it actually brings the pain down a few notches). If I have a bad headache, I take a Gabapentin and apply an essential oil mix upon my forehead, temples, neck, and behind my ears to try and bring the head pain down a few notches. If my brain feels foggy and inflamed, I’ll drink a glass of water with 20 drops of Burbur-Pinella. I’ve also been experimenting with a new CBD oil (too early to tell if it helps). The other night I was also dry brushing (it’s another form of detoxing … I was really hurting that night).

My G.I. doc has not given me a definitive cause as to why I’m dealing with daily left-sided abdominal pain and digestive issues. This left-sided abdominal pain began back in September of this year (2019). It’s had me in the ER two different times. He (the G.I. doc) said he’s not worried about it because all of the major tests came back “normal.” The only out of the ordinary thing he saw was a minuscule amount of blood in my stool, but he said he wasn’t concerned about that because it’s probably a hemorrhoid. I was like, “Okay? So then what’s causing this horrible chronic pain in my left abdomen and why is my digestion so jacked up?” He just said it could take six months to clear up and gave me a med that’s supposed to help with the abdomen pain. I don’t think it helps at all.

Based on what I’ve seen coming out of me over the last 3 months, I think I’m dealing with some sort of parasitic infection or intestinal candida (I’ll spare you the details and pics). I’ve treated for parasites two different times over the last three months, but I’ve heard that the little bastards are hard to kill. I’ve even been doing coffee enemas. I know. I know. You’re probably like, “What the heck? You put coffee up your butt?” That was my response to the idea of coffee enemas until I got super desperate and did the research. Then I saw the many health benefits … link here to learn.

So, to wrap this up … at this stage in my healing journey, I’m still in serious pain (daily), but every now and then I get some moments of relief and they’re freggin WONDERFUL! For instances, yesterday during my lunch break, I sat in my truck with the seat back and read a chapter of a new book (Mind Over Medicine by Dr. Lissa Rankin), and in that moment … I had very minimal pain, my heart and mind were calm, and my comprehension wasn’t a struggle. I thanked God for it. Yesterday, I also did a lite 30-minute ride on our peloton bike. In that moment, there was also minimal pain and I worked up a good sweat to detox. I thanked God for it. Later in the day, after my infrared sauna session (another way I detox), I was driving home and I literally felt my pain symptoms come down a few notches to the point where I could stop and get a hot cup of Starbucks coffee and enjoy a few sips (unfortunately, I can no longer finish a full cup of coffee because of what it does to my stomach and that’s been super frustrating because coffee is one of my loves). Anyway, I thanked God for that moment too.

Something I’m learning … When we’re healthy, we take the little things for granted, and then we enter the land of chronic pain/illness and find that those “little things” aren’t little. They’re HUGE! They’re the things that keep you going when life SUCKS! So don’t take the seemingly little things for granted. Treasure them and thank God for them because tomorrow they could be taken from you.

So that’s the latest with me you guys. Thanks for reading. Hope in some way you found some encouragement and motivation for your own battle. You’re not alone.

Battling with you,

Jason

Jason T. George is not a medical professional. The content of BattlingLyme.com is for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read, seen, or heard from Jason T. George.

How I Deal with Morning Anxiety!

Mornings are often difficult. Lately I wake up and the first thing I feel (along with some sort of physical pain) is anxiety wanting to ruin things. I know many of you deal with the same. Here are a few things I do that help ….

#1. Remember that Cortisol levels are at their highest in the mornings. So relax, it will eventually die down.

#2. Don’t lay in bed and ponder all the “What if” thoughts. Just get up and move into the day.

#3. Drink a glass of filtered water with lemon. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.

#4. Eat a little something. For me it’s usually just a banana. I can’t tolerate much more than that when I first wake up.

#5. Enjoy some hot tea or a little coffee (if you can tolerate it) while you read some positive/encouraging truth (I recommend Scripture but to each their own). I also do some praying or journaling. It helps me.

#6. Don’t start off the day googling symptoms or “cures” or “treatments” … in fact, I think it’s better to just stay away from all devices/media for the first 30 minutes of your day.

#7. Do some stretching for like 5 minutes.

#8. Don’t give that symptom or pain the attention it wants. Acknowledge it and move on with your day … “Oh, my chest hurts again and it makes me feel a little nervous. Oh well, I’ve already had tests and scans done on my heart and lungs. They were all normal. This is just part of my Lyme struggle or it’s just anxiety related.”

#9. Do some sort of exercise even if only for 5 minutes. Get your body moving and release those endorphins.

#10. Know you’re not alone in what you’re going through. At the very same time in the morning that you’re feeling it, there are so many of us feeling it too. Hang in there. Don’t quit. If it’s getting overwhelming, talk to a good friend who gets it or a therapist. I have to do it regularly.

Battling with you,

Jason

I’m not a medical professional. The content of BattlingLyme.com is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on BattlingLyme.com

Life’s Not Fair!

I recently heard a super frustrated person say, “Life’s not fair!” 

That person is spot on. Life’s not fair. And we must stop expecting it to be fair because that’s not reality. That’s actually a distorted view of the human condition (see John 16:33). The sooner we accept this reality (that life’s not fair), the better off we’ll be in overcoming pain, suffering, opposition, and disappointment. No one gets a free pass on those things. No one. It’s only a matter of time until life knocks you down and kicks you in the face repeatedly.

Many of us are under the illusion that we’re in control of so many things in life, but the truth is … we have little to no control over a large portion of what happens to us. The only thing we truly have control over is our response to what happens to us! 

Holocaust survivor, Viktor E. Frankl, says it best, “Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation … The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.” 

If you’ve never read his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, you need to. If you don’t like reading, then get the audio book. It’s one of the most insightful and inspiring books I’ve ever read.

Take a few moments and really ponder his words … “Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation … The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.”

Those words are powerful because of who wrote them. Frankl is not a mere philosopher or some sort of self-help guru who gave a TED Talk. He’s a man who courageously survived multiple Nazi concentration camps. From personal experience, he knew the dark depths of pain and suffering in ways that most of us never will (I’m telling you, read the book).

I’ve said it numerous times, but it’s worth saying again because so many of us need the reminder (including myself) … At times, life is going to suck (really bad)! That’s reality, and I believe the best thing we can do with that reality is embrace the suck, trust God through it, and make the most of it.

What good does all the fear, anxiety, anger, bitterness, envy, and complaining over life’s “unfairness” do for us? In my experience, it makes our situation worse. Over the last few years, when I’ve responded to my pain and suffering with fear, anxiety, anger, bitterness, envy, and/or complaining … it’s totally made me feel worse (mentally, emotionally, and even physically). It’s so easy to go down that rabbit hole. I hate it.

On the other hand, when I choose to do the unnatural thing and embrace the suck, trust God through it, and make the most of it … there’s an inner peace that can mysteriously show up. Don’t misunderstand me … my pain and problems don’t magically disappear when I embrace the suck, trust God through it, and make the most of it. I’m just saying that there have been times that I’ve experienced an inner peace when I’ve done those three things. It’s like I go from drowning in the crashing waves to riding them.

I recently experienced this mysterious inner peace when I was enjoying an evening on my bathroom floor (sarcasm). I was actually moaning in pain and considering heading to the ER. My anxiety was majorly elevated because of unresolved abdominal and rib pain that’s been my thorn in the flesh for over two months now. My Lyme Doc says it could be the result of a parasitic infection known as Babesia. Or it could be another type of parasite? Or it could be the fact that we are aggressively treating Lyme Disease with some hardcore homeopathic meds that can cause painful “herx reactions.” Who the heck knows?

All I do know is that in that moment on the bathroom floor, I chose to embrace the suck, trust God through it, and make the most of it. I began thanking God for every good and painful thing in my life that I could think of and I told Him that I trust Him through this pain. I then reminded myself that no matter what happens to me, I’m eternally secure in His omnipotent hands (see John 10:28-29). Then I began praying for several of my friends who are also physically and mentally suffering from Lyme Disease and co-infections (Sam, Dennis, Taco, and Hannah). I then decided to text two of them to see how they were doing. That’s what I mean by making the most of the suck. I turned my suck (pain and suffering) into something good.

It’s weird how it works, but when I get the attention off of my pain and suffering and I check on someone else who is suffering, it reduces my emotional pain and can even ease my physical pain. My chronic pain and suffering has definitely made me a more compassionate person (this is something I have majorly lacked in my Christian life).

Before you go thinking, “Wow, what a super saint Jason is!” Don’t. Because I’m not. Showing genuine concern and compassion without any selfish motive is not how I typically roll. I’m not as godly as I have often portrayed myself. Over the last year, I have become painfully aware of this fact.

Here’s some hardcore truth about me … negative, discouraging, and dark thoughts often invade my mind when I’m in the midst of pain and suffering, and sometimes they win the battle. I don’t always think “positive” or “godly” thoughts when all Hell is breaking loose. But let’s get real … no one does! It’s taken me a long time, but I’m slowly learning to let my negative, discouraging, and dark thoughts come and go. I don’t have to allow them to become permanent fixtures in my mind. God has given me the power to replace them with better thoughts (see Philippians 4:8 and 4:13). It’s not always easy. It doesn’t come natural. I have to work at it continually.

One last thing that I’ve been learning that I wanted to share with you is that I’m also really trying to stop expecting everyone to treat me the way that I want to be treated. That’s also a distorted view of the human condition. The Master simply tells us to treat others the way that we want them to treat us (see Matthew 7:12). That’s the code we’re supposed to live by. Just do that and expect nothing in return. Sounds so simple, but it’s not. I’ve really been trying to lower my expectations of how people should treat me (even with my family and friends). I believe that’s going to help my life go a whole lot better. Just focus on treating them the way I want to be treated without expecting anything in return. Period.

That’s all I got for now. Enjoy your weekend.

Battling with you,

Jason

Learning to Live with Chronic Pain!

Today was hard. Very hard. It was one of those days where I had to convince myself to NOT go to the Emergency Room. Like many of you reading this, daily I’m in pain … and my pain migrates. That means one week it can be head pain. The next week it can be rib pain. The week after that it can be abdominal pain. It can even change hour to hour. In my battle against late-stage lyme disease (and all the co-infections that came with it), I endure all sorts of annoying pains … joints, muscles, head, face, neck, ribs, spine, stomach, intestines, throat, lungs, heart, and ears (I probably left something out). It’s been crazy!

For the last few years, I’ve been doing all I can to heal from this horrible disease and rid my life of the chronic pain it brings me. Like many of you, there’ve been countless doctor visits, specialists, tests, meds, vitamins, supplements, herbs, essential oils, chiropractors, lyme specialists, acupuncture, massage therapy, infrared sauna, epsom salt baths, heating pads, CBD oil, dietary changes, prayer, meditation, repeat … AHHHHHH!!!!!

And guess what?

I’m still in pain.

I’m in pain right now as I type this.

Every single day I’m enduring some sort of physical pain … and there can also be mental pain. For instances, lately, my anxiety has dramatically increased. Yesterday it flared up for no reason as I sat talking with a friend and his wife at their kitchen table. Thankfully, I contained it. They didn’t even know, but I left their home super frustrated over it.

The increase in anxiety could be the result of the new treatment protocol I’m on … it can cause severe herx reactions (I’m currently working through the DesBio Babesia Treatment).

I was warned that this treatment gets rough with vials 2 thru 4, and I just recently finished vial #4 (ugh!). I’m also taking other supplements, herbs, and essential oils that can also cause a herx reaction. Heck, who knows? Maybe my anxiety has dramatically increased just because I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with all of it? I thought I’d be healed by now, but I’m not and it’s hard to accept and make the best of it.

Somedays I’m okay with it, but somedays … it does overwhelm me, and I get really frustrated, discouraged, and anxious. Today was another one of those days. I’m just being real with you. Chronic pain gets old. You just want relief. You just want to feel “normal” again. I totally understand that life in this broken world is full of pain … we get sick … we break a bone … we lose a loved one … we get the blues … I get that! But chronic pain is infinitely different. Chronic pain just won’t go away (at least, not yet). It greets me when I wake up in the morning and it tucks me in at night. It’s my constant companion, and I’m trying to figure out how to be the best version of me through all of it.

Daily I pray for God’s help and healing. Not just for myself, but for several of my friends who are also suffering with Lyme Disease and various co-infections. When you don’t see God answering your prayers, you begin thinking He’s not listening or maybe He’s just flat out ignoring you. I’ve battled all those thoughts/feelings. Nevertheless, I choose to trust Him through this. Faith is often a fight. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

That’s all I got in me for now. I need to go rest.

Battling with you,

Jason

My Backstory with Lyme – Part 4 – Antibiotics, Feeling like Death, and the Grace of God!

As I said in Part 3 of “My Backstory with Lyme” … back in August of 2017 I began seeing Dr. Paul Beals (a LLMD – Lyme Literate Medical Doctor) in Stevensville, MD. He was absolutely convinced that all of my health issues/symptoms were related to late-stage Lyme disease and various tick-born co-infections. He immediately put me on oral antibiotics (Cefuroxime Axetil 500mg). I took it for 5 weeks straight. I remember that I initially felt a little better after two weeks on it, but my symptoms returned on week three. I also began having horrible stomach issues even though I was taking a daily probiotic. He also prescribed Trazodone to help me with my annoying insomnia. He wanted me to take 300mg before bed, but I chose to only take half of that (150mg). It definitely helped me stay asleep through the night, and there were no real side-effects from it. I currently take 100mg before bed.

In August of 2017, I also began taking a few vitamins and supplements to support my immune system in the fight against Lyme Disease and the Co-Infections …

  • Multivitamin
  • Vitamin C
  • Omega 3 Fish Oil
  • Vitamin D-3
  • Magnesium
  • Probiotic

On top of all of that, I also began cleaning up my diet like Dr. Beals told me to. I majorly cut back on sugar, gluten, and dairy. It was extremely hard for me to completely eliminate those three things because they were part of my daily diet for over 40 years. There was also the skeptical part of me that didn’t believe that my diet would contribute that much to my healing. I believed the antibiotics, vitamins, and supplements should be more than enough to heal me. I was pretty naive, uneducated, and arrogant (to say the least). I definitely should’ve listened to Dr. Beals on maintaining the strict diet that he prescribed (it does make a HUGE difference). Over the last two years, I’ve done a TON of research, and I’ve learned that certain foods definitely cause increased inflammation, pain, and can greatly delay the healing process.

I specifically remember one night where I was feeling like my normal self (all my symptoms were at bay), so I decided to have a big bowl of ice cream. I had gone five weeks of being sugar and dairy free, so I told myself, “You deserve a break.” After all, would one bowl of ice cream really mess me up? That bowl of ice cream was sheer bliss, but for the next three days I felt like I had the worst hangover of my life. After that experience, I was done with sugar and dairy. I haven’t had ice cream in well over a year.

People often ask me, “How do you live without gluten, dairy, and sugar?” My response is simple … When you’re hurting bad enough, you’ll do whatever it takes to bring relief and healing … because nothing tastes as good as healthy feels. NOTHING!

Anyway, after being on the antibiotic Cefuroxime Axetil 500mg for five weeks, Dr. Beals then decided to put me on a different antibiotic (Doxycycline Hyclate 100mg – two per day). I took Doxy for five weeks and had to quit. For me, it was WAY worse than Cefuroxime. I couldn’t handle what it was doing to me physically and psychologically. It was horrible! On Doxy, my symptoms dramatically increased and then new symptoms came out of nowhere and hit me like a tractor trailer. I’m talking … nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, headaches, sweating, coughing, dry heaving, racing thoughts, brain fog, dizziness, confusion, hypnic jerks, muscle twitching, insomnia, fatigue, derealization, and very high anxiety. It felt like a breakdown was imminent and I’m not being dramatic.

It was an extremely dark and scary time. I remember exactly where I was when all of this was hitting me full force. It was February of 2018, and of all of the places I could be during this dreadful experience, I was actually speaking at a youth event in Ocean City, NJ. I was a complete mess the entire weekend, but I did my best not to show it (FYI = people with Lyme Disease learn to become incredible actors and actresses). There’s no doubt in my mind that it was the grace of God that sustained me through each teaching session. Before getting up to speak I literally felt like I was going to pass out. I’d finish teaching, talk with a few people, and then head back to my room to take meds and crash. I’d lay there moaning in utter pain and praying for God’s help. I’d take Alka Seltzer Gold and epsom salt baths to try and detox. It helped some, but I was still a mess.

After that speaking event, I was completely wiped out and ready to go home, but I couldn’t. I was scheduled to immediately fly to Georgia and speak at another youth event the very next day. Every fiber of my being was screaming, “PLEASE CANCEL THIS GIG AND JUST GO HOME!” But I decided to do the complete opposite of what I “felt” like doing. I boarded the plane from Atlantic City to Atlanta, sat in my seat, and just began pleading with God … “Father, I can’t do this without You. Strengthen me. Stabilize my health. Somehow and someway give me the ability to make an impact upon these students in Georgia even in this weak and broken state.” I also texted several friends around the country, told them how I was feeling, and asked them to cover me in prayer. Then (like I so often do) I began claiming God’s precious promises …

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” – Philippians 4:13

“He will never leave me, nor forsake me!” – Hebrews 13:5

The Lord is my Light and my Salvation, whom shall I fear. The Lord is the Stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid.” – Psalm 27:1-2

I arrived in Georgia and headed straight for my hotel room to take some meds and rest. I felt a wicked exhaustion, like I’d just finished running a marathon. The next morning I woke up at 5am in my hotel room hunched over on the floor coughing, dry heaving, sweating, chills, and filled with intense anxiety. I contacted the lead Youth Pastor who organized the event, and told him to have someone else on standby to speak. He was very gracious and told me to just rest and get better. I appreciated his kindness, but I wasn’t cool with that. I began crying out to God for mercy and grace. About an hour later my symptoms began to decrease, so I showered, got dressed, and made my way to the event. I was praying the entire time, “Please Father, help me through this. I literally can’t do this without You. Stabilize me. Strengthen me. Heal me enough to be able to teach. In the strong name of Jesus do this!”

When I arrived at the event, I felt weak, fatigued, nervous, and nauseous, but I tried not to show it as I interacted with students and leaders. As best I could, I put a smile on my face and stayed positive. I walked up to the lead Youth Pastor and told him I was good to teach. He was shocked to see me. He said, “Are you sure?” I said, “Yup, let’s do this!” Even though I told him that, I was doubtful. However, I made a commitment to God that I was going to take the stage and trust Him for the results. If I vomit or collapse on stage in front of people, oh well! I wasn’t going to allow weakness, doubt, fear, or anything else stop me from at least trying. In my mind, it was another step of faith that I needed to take. I had to find out would God be there to hold me up if I took the step of faith?

It was extremely hard, but that morning (once again) I did the complete opposite of what I “felt” like doing. With weakness, fatigue, raging anxiety, and nausea … I took the stage and taught for 40 minutes. As I began teaching, miraculously my symptoms dramatically decreased. I had an energy and clarity that I didn’t have all morning. When I finished speaking, one of my best friend’s who was at the event told me that I delivered the most powerful message he’d ever heard me teach (and he’s heard me teach dozens of times). I was like, “Really? You’re joking right?” He said, “No man, it was awesome. No one could tell you had anything wrong with you. God really showed up bro!”

He was right … God really showed up. Many students were impacted and made a personal decision to trust Christ as their Savior and Lord. It sure wasn’t my strength, intellect, or ability that made any of that happen. Once again, God’s power was made perfect in my weakness. Over the years, I’ve experienced this kind of supernatural grace time and time again where God shows up right when I need Him the most … right when everything in me says, “You can’t do this. You’re too sick. Cancel. Go home!” Each time I step out by faith, God graciously sustains me in that moment of ministry.

Over the last two years, I’ve spent a lot of time deeply meditating on these words from the Apostle Paul (one of my heroes in the faith) …

For we do not want you to be unaware brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us. On Him we have set our hope that He will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

2 Corinthians 1:8-11 ESV

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 ESV

Those two passages of Scripture have made me realize that he (Paul) had it far worse than me when it comes to dealing with pain and suffering, and yet God used him mightily through all of it. Fulfilling his ministry didn’t “feel good.” On the contrary, it sometimes hurt him so badly that he said he “despaired of life itself.” I know that feeling well.

Over the last few years, I’ve been learning firsthand that to truly follow Christ and make an impact upon this broken world, it’s often going to hurt. There will be pain, suffering, opposition, resistance, ridicule, etc. That’s just par for the course. That’s just life on the narrow and difficult trail that Jesus spoke about in Matthew 7:13-14, and I’m learning to not only accept that reality, but to actually find contentment, peace, and joy in the midst of it. Don’t get me wrong … I have my bad days where I get super frustrated, discouraged, and anxious over my chronic pain/illness. There’ve been many days and nights where I told God that I just want to die and go to Heaven, but He always has a way of sustaining me and lifting me out of that dark pit. Always!

Anyway … after I finished the two speaking events in New Jersey and Georgia, I flew home and met with Dr. Beals to inform him that I was DONE with all the antibiotics (especially Doxycycline). I told him I was going to pursue a more natural/holistic approach to healing. At that time, I’d been reading through a book by Dr. Bill Rawls, entitled Unlocking Lyme. For many years, Dr. Rawls suffered from Lyme Disease and co-infections, and he studied every possible option for overcoming it. Ultimately he ended up healing by embracing a holistic approach. Now he helps thousands of suffering people do the same. I liked what I was reading and strongly felt that this was the route that I needed to pursue since my body was not reacting well to prolonged use of antibiotics. Dr. Beals didn’t like it and he gave me a total attitude over it. I told him, “It’s my body and I’ve gotta do what I believe is best for it.” He told me I’m definitely going the more expensive route. I said, “I don’t care. I’m done with antibiotics! … DONE!”

We definitely didn’t end on very good terms.

I’ll share more of my story soon … thanks for taking time to read this. Your questions and comments are welcomed. I hope in some way that this encourages you in whatever battle with pain/suffering that you may be facing. Know that you’re not alone. So don’t lose hope and don’t give up!

Battling with you,

Jason

This is me this past summer on family vacation in St. Augustine, Florida … I was taking a break from the waves to rest and recover … and then I went right back out there with my kids and their friends. It was a good day but a rough day for sure! I tried my best to make the most of it.

I’m not a medical professional. The content of BattlingLyme.com is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on BattlingLyme.com

Stop Feeling Sorry for Yourself and Go Do the Opposite of What You “Feel” Like Doing!

This morning I woke with left-sided chest pain, left-sided lower abdomen pain, and mild stress/anxiety feelings.This has been my typical morning for several weeks now. With late-stage Lyme Disease and the various co-infections, my symptoms vary. They come and go and then I welcome some new symptoms. Next month it could be neck pain, headaches, and air hunger. You never know.

Overall, I slept well. After waking, I came down stairs, had a small cup of black coffee, and talked with my wife. She’s always so happy in the morning. I admire that about her. I tried not to focus on my increasing pain. I just wanted to enjoy my coffee and conversation with my wife.

I’ve recently begun taking some new homeopathic meds (DesBio Borrelia-Babesia Treatment). I’ve been warned by many who’ve taken it that it often makes you feel worse before you feel better. They’ve encouraged me to stay the course even when it feels like I’m walking through Hell!

At 8:29am, I took some Tylenol for my chest pain. It was annoying and worrying me. I had to tell myself … “You’ve had a recent EKG, blood work, etc. Your heart is healthy. It’s just the Babesia in your rib cage flaring up. Relax.”

At 9am, I had enough of sitting on the couch. I was focusing way too much on my pain, so I got up … took my daily meds, supplements, and essential oils … then put on my workout clothes to go for a 2-mile walk around my neighborhood. Everything in me wanted to focus on my chest and abdomen pain. My mind wanted to run rampant with all the What-if thoughts and then try to figure out all the possible solutions to stop my pain with the help of Dr. Google.

I walked outside and took a deep breath and intentionally changed the channel of my mind. As I walked, I focused on the beauty of the brightly colored leaves that were falling from the trees. This has always been my favorite time of year. A chilly breeze was at my back and the warm sun was at my face. “Feel it Jason. Enjoy it.” I also took in all the pleasant smells and the sound of neighbors blowing their leaves.

Then I thought of the millions of people around the world who are suffering far far worse than myself … who can’t go for a walk around their neighborhood on a beautiful fall day. Yes, I definitely have some things wrong with my body, but I also have many things that are right … and I have much to be thankful for. Suddenly, my mind fights against that, “Is this brisk walk really such a good idea with how you’re feeling? Shouldn’t you be resting? This is just going to make you feel worse for the rest of the day!”

I’m learning to simply allow those kind of negative/discouraging thoughts to come and go. I chose not to campout there. Negative/discouraging thoughts and emotions are not indestructible fortresses in your life. Let them come and let them go. Just move on with your day and they’ll pass. Don’t give them the attention they desire.

It was a good walk on a beautiful fall day, and I actually felt better for doing it (physically and emotionally). I believe the physical exertion helped release some much needed endorphins. My chest pain mysteriously vanished and my abdomen pain reduced. I know pain of some sort will return, but oh well.

So what did I learn today?

#1 … That sitting still, worrying, and feeling sorry for myself only makes me feel worse.

#2 … That to feel better, I often have to do the complete opposite of what I “feel” like doing.

This is my life right now … the Lyme-Life … and I’m learning how to make the most of it!

Thanks for taking time to read this. Your questions and comments are welcomed. I hope in some way that this encourages you in whatever battle with pain/suffering that you may be facing. You’re not alone. So don’t lose hope and never give up!

Battling with you,

Jason

I’m not a medical professional. The content of BattlingLyme.com is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on BattlingLyme.com

My Backstory with Lyme – Part 3

So as I said in my last post, after my Primary Care Physician decided that I didn’t actually have Lyme Disease because I didn’t “technically” meet the CDC’s standards (CDC = Center for Disease Control), she referred me to a Neurologist and also wanted me to have a sleep study done. The sleep study sounded ridiculous to me so I never had it done, but I did make an appointment to see the Neurologist. I had to wait four months to meet with him. Crazy!

When I finally met with him, he asked me some basic questions about my symptoms and then did some basic testing of my strength, balance, focus, etc. Apparently I passed with flying colors. At that point, he didn’t really know what to do with me, so he suggested I get a CAT Scan done and go see an Infectious Disease Doctor. I thought to myself, “Wait, what? An Infectious Disease Doctor? So you think I might have an infectious disease?” This was all so confusing.

I was ready to schedule the appointment with the Infectious Disease Doctor, but a friend told me that it’s pointless to see him because he doesn’t even believe that late-stage or “chronic” Lyme Disease is a real thing. She said he wouldn’t even consider that as a possible diagnosis. I didn’t know what to do. I began second guessing myself, “Maybe I don’t have Lyme Disease? Maybe I have something else going on? But why was my ELISA Test positive and why did I have four out of ten positive markers on my Western Blot Test? What the heck?” Something didn’t seem right to me. It was time for me to do some serious researching and networking to try and figure things out.

I talked to my friend Stephanie who had suffered through a long and difficult battle with Lyme Disease and she told me that many people who have Lyme Disease don’t meet the CDC’s requirements and that there are many “false-negatives” with Lyme testing. After talking with her, I decided to schedule an appointment with a doctor who helped her with her Lyme Disease. She told me that he specialized in treating patients with Lyme Disease and other tick-related infections. He’s what’s referred to as a “Lyme Literate Medical Doctor” or “LLMD.” Even though he’s a legit M.D. (Medical Doctor), he has to operate outside the medical establishment just because he believes that Late-Stage or “chronic” Lyme Disease is a real thing and he’s not afraid to treat it. I found out that’s a big NO-NO with the medical establishment. In fact, some doctors have actually lost their license over it.

I drove two hours to see this LLMD (Dr. Paul Beals at Chesapeake Wellness Center in Stevensville, MD). My first visit cost me $450. Unfortunately, my insurance wouldn’t cover a dime because the medical establishment doesn’t recognize “late-stage” or “chronic” Lyme Disease. I didn’t care! I desperately needed help. At that time, I was having increasing difficulty functioning with work, ministry, and just everyday life. All of the essential oils that Meagen and Stephanie sent me definitely helped reduce some of my symptoms, but they weren’t enough. I needed more.

Dr. Paul Beals doesn’t do small talk. I sat down in his office and he got right down to business. As he looked over the results from my Lyme Test and Blood Work, he began circling things and drawing lines. He then grilled me with a series of questions about my history of symptoms. He was furiously scribbling notes the entire time I talked. We talked for well over an hour. Contrary to my Primary Care Physician, he was absolutely convinced that ALL of my health issues were completely the result of not only Lyme Disease, but also co-infections like Bartonella and Babesia. I wanted to cry. Just to be fully heard and have a legitimate and confident diagnoses from a medical professional felt like coming out of a dark fog.

Dr. Beals immediately launched into a detailed scientific explanation of what Lyme Disease (Borrelia Burgdorferi) and the co-infections (Bartonella and Babesia) can do to a person if left untreated. All of it was new information … with terms like spirochetes, biofilms, biotoxins, stealth pathogens, neurotoxins, the blood-brain barrier, mycoplasma, Bell’s palsy, neuropathy, mitochondrial dysfunction, adrenal fatigue, Herxheimer reactions, detoxification, etc. It was OVERWHELMING! I took as many notes as I could, but it was just way too much for me to write down and comprehend in one meeting.

After that avalanche of scientific information buried me, Dr. Beals then began laying out my treatment plan. He gave me a prescription for antibiotics (Cefuroxime Axetil 500mg). He also told me I needed to completely change my diet by eating organic as much as I could and completely avoiding white processed sugar, dairy, gluten, and processed foods. He also told me that I needed to take a good multivitamin 3xs per day and take extra Vitamin C and Vitamin D. He also told me to take a good probiotic at lunch and bedtime (away from the time when I take my antibiotics). He also prescribed Trazadone and said it would help with my insomnia, stress, and anxiety. I immediately gave him pushback on the Trazadone. “I don’t want a med to help with my stress and anxiety. I’m already taking one.” He said he prescribes Trazadone for all of his Lyme patients and that it will totally end my insomnia … and then he told me how crucial sleep is to overcoming Lyme. He also assured me it was not habit forming and I could easily come off of it.

“Where have I heard that before?”

He insistent that I needed it and kept repeating that it was perfectly safe. Because he was a “Lyme Literate Medical Doctor,” I listened to him. I was desperate and willing to do whatever it takes to get rid of this #@$&@ disease and all the other nasty co-infections that came with it.

At the close of our meeting, he again mentioned this thing called a Herxheimer reaction that could result from taking the antibiotics. He said that when it happens, I would need to take Alka Seltzer Gold and drink lots of water. I had no idea what a “Herxheimer reaction” was. He really didn’t explain that very well, nor did he warn me of how horrible they can be, but I would soon find out! Fun. Fun. Fun.

Dr. Beals repeatedly told me that it takes Patience, Persistence, and Pills to overcome Lyme. Those were his three P’s … like he was some sort of Southern Baptist Pastor giving alliterated sermon points. I shook my head. Anyway … when Dr. Beals used the term “pills,” he was referring to antibiotics. I would soon find out that if one antibiotic didn’t do the job, he’d put you on a different one, and if that one didn’t do the job, he’d put you on a different one, and if that one didn’t do the job … you get the picture. He wouldn’t stop with the antibiotics! His primary approach to treating Lyme Disease and co-infections was with hardcore antibiotics.

He also warned me that there’s no quick-fix or easy cure to treating Lyme Disease and co-infections. I was like, “What do you mean? How long we talking Doc? A month? Two months? I got stuff I need to do with my life, family, business, and ministry!” He told me it could take years. My jaw hit the floor … “You’ve got to be kidding!”

He wasn’t kidding.

I didn’t like his answer (not at all). However, I left his office feeling quite optimistic and hopeful. “Bring on the antibiotics! I got this!”

Dude, I had no idea what I was in for! My arrogant @$$ was about to be humbled, broken, transformed like never before!

I’ll share more about my backstory with Lyme Disease as soon as I can. I only write when I feel well enough to. Unfortunately, this summer has been extremely hard for me. I’ve had a major setback in my recovery/healing. On top of all of the “normal issues” that I’ve been working so hard to heal, I found out this week that I may also have parasites. I’m not even kidding! The last two days have been ABSOLUTELY MISERABLE … I’m talking on the floor in a fetal position, moaning in pain! I’m going through all sorts of fun test this week (sarcasm). Tonight, I’m extremely thankful that I’m feeling well enough to write and finish this post. Thanks for taking time to read it.

If you’re battling Lyme Disease or some other chronic illness or disease, you’re not alone in your suffering. Don’t lose hope and don’t give up! This was my prayer this morning …

“But You, O Lord, do not be far off! O You, my help, come quickly to my aid!” – Psalm 22:19 ESV

Battling with you,

Jason

Me and my youngest daughter Gabrielle on a dinner date!

I’m not a medical professional. The content of BattlingLyme.com is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on BattlingLyme.com