Two Good Weeks and then Wham!

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about my Lyme battle, and today is a good day to do that. I’m at home, trying to finish-up some bookkeeping and filing for my business, but that’s not going so well because this morning I feel like a Mac truck ran me over. Right now it’s difficult for me to do anything productive. Even thinking hurts. I’m experiencing wave after wave of head pressure, nausea, brain fog, fatigue, chest pain, back pain, shoulder pain, arm pain, and that nasty flu-like YUCK feeling. I probably left something out. It’s just not a good day.

It’s incredibly frustrating to me because a few weeks ago I was doing so much better …

On March 12, I went back to see my Lyme Specialist, Greg Lee at The Lyme Research and Healing Center in Frederick, MD. We did about four hours of scans/tests, and the results indicated that I have an infection in my spinal fluid and it’s causing inflammation … looks like parasites (specifically Tapeworms). I also have other “issues” going on but that was the big one that needs immediate attention.

After the scan/testing, we did some acupuncture, cupping, and hydrogen therapy. Then Greg laid out a whole new treatment protocol of herbal remedies, supplements, and essential oils. All of this was extremely costly (around $2k … and of course, insurance didn’t cover a dime). It’s hard for me to spend that kind of money on myself, but I really had no choice. I wasn’t making any real progress self-treating and I have to get healthy for my family, friends, work, ministry, etc.

What price do you put on your personal health?

After beginning the new protocol back in mid March, I actually began feeling major improvements in my overall health. I was thrilled! I thought to myself, “Finally, something is working! Thank You God!” My wife and kids even noticed a difference in me and some of my friends began telling me how much healthier I looked.

I enjoyed two of the best weeks I’ve had in well over a year … less brain fog, nausea, intestinal pain, headaches, joint pains, facial twitching, anxiety, etc. I was totally feeling more like my “normal self.” It was awesome … and then … WHAM!I got knocked down (again)!

Over the last two weeks, I’ve been experiencing some sort of major flare-up. It’s bad … and I have no idea what I’ve done done to trigger this. The last several days have especially been bad. I talked with some friends who’ve battled late-stage Lyme Disease much longer than me, and they told me that what I’m experiencing is totally normal when you’re on the road to recovery. I guess that’s good news, but not very comforting when you feel like death is at the door.

It’s a hellacious battle to stay positive and hopeful when suffering with various chronic issues/pain. This morning I made myself get out of the house and go for a two-mile walk in my neighborhood. I prayed as I walked. The warm sun felt good. If I didn’t have God in my life and a few good friends, I don’t know where I’d be. It would NOT be a good place. Many times you feel so utterly alone in this battle with late-stage Lyme Disease and chronic pain. The worst thing you can do is bottle it all up and isolate. God and good friends are crucial.

So yes, once again, I’ve been knocked down, but I’m not knocked out. I will rise … and I will press on … doing whatever it takes to heal my body from this monster.

You have to do the same. Remember, it’s always too soon to give up. Lean hard on God and a few good friends. Reach out to a professional therapist if you need to. Don’t bottle it up and isolate.

Battling with you,

Jason

The Roller Coaster of Lyme Disease!

Sunday, March 8, 2020 – 10:18AM …

As I type this, I am absolutely miserable. The last few days have been way worse than usual … symptoms have increased and intensified … headaches, neck pain, joint pain, nausea, loss of appetite, brain fog, anxiety, and debilitating fatigue (the kind where you feel like someone shot you with a tranquilizer). I keep telling myself, “You’ve been here before. You know what to do. Just ride the storm. This isn’t permanent. It’ll pass.”

Honestly … this gets so old! Lyme Disease is a roller coaster that I NEVER volunteered to be on and it won’t let me off!

Lyme Disease is a roller coaster that I NEVER volunteered to be on and it won’t let me off!

I loathe when I have a few decent days, and then plummet back down into the pit of misery. The few decent days always get my hopes up that I’m on the path to recovery, and then that hope eventually fades like a mirage in the desert. That’s what I mean by Lyme Disease being a roller coaster. It’s up and down. Recovery is not linear. If you have it, then you know what I’m talking about.

Yesterday I talked with a few of my Lyme friends about how I’m feeling. That always helps me. Bottling it up makes me irritable or anxious or depressed or all three of those. Many of my Lyme friends are also having a harder time than usual. My friend Jessica Donaldson believes it’s because of the “super moon” that is upon us.

I know that sounds cooky, but from my personal experience, I do believe there’s something to it. Over the last year, I’ve noticed that I typically feel worse during during a full moon or new moon.

But why? … What’s up with that?

Here’s one explanation that I came across that fits my situation …

Parasites. They are the main culprits for the flare-up. We may not like to think about it, but inside of our bodies, most of us have worms, unwanted parasites that we are not even aware of. If not addressed properly, a parasite infection can hinder the healing and it can even lead to other serious health problems. Around a full moon, not only the Lyme patients will feel worse, but also those who have parasites, because during this time, the parasites’ activity peaks, causing us, the host, to feel unwell. The parasites are active during the full moon too as it is their mating season. Every couple of weeks, the parasites and bacterias hatch and form new babies. To be more precise, the spirochetes have a reproductive cycle each 28-30 days, which coincides with the full moon cycle. The flare up is due to the fact that during this period of time the spirochetes are far more active. As for the co-infections, they have a 3 to 5 days cycle, which explains the ups and downs on the symptoms experienced by patients.

Source: https://a-zlyme.com/full-moon-and-lyme-disease/

On top of battling Lyme, I recently found out that I tested positive for SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth). Over the last 5 months that has been the main source of my excruciating left abdomen pain, increased headaches, increased brain fog, unusual looking diarrhea (I’ll spare you the pics), increased anxiety, loss of appetite, and major weight loss (30 pounds people).

To treat SIBO, I recently began taking two powerful homeopathic meds: Bacteria Tox and DysBiocide.

HOLY WATER BUFFALO! Dude, I ended up coming off of the Dysbiocide, because the combination was too much at once. It was causing some serious die-off (herx reaction). That … plus the super moon thing … I was praying for Jesus to come back immediately!

As I said at the beginning of this blog post, I am absolutely miserable right now, but trying to stay positive. It’s not easy during these times in the pit. For some guidance and encouragement in my battle with Lyme, I’ve been reading through the book, THE HEALER WITHIN by Holly Chameli. She has recovered from Chronic Lyme, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Autoimmune Disease. Yesterday, I highlighted this quote because I TOTALLY relate …

A chronic and debilitating illness can feel like being buried alive. You do not technically have a terminal disease, but you feel like you are in the midst of dying every single day. The losses are many. Obviously, the pain of feeling sick every day is enormous, but so too is the sense of total loss when you can no longer be the parent you once were, maintain a career, socialize with friends and family, or simply grocery shop. Yes, you are living, but you may feel dead inside. Keeping your head above water during the healing process is certainly challenging, but you must stay positive. How do you do this?

THE HEALER WITHING by Holly Chameli – Page 141.

She then goes on to give advice on how to stay positive … that’s the chapter I’m into right now. So I’ll have to get back to you.

2:38pm …

At lunch time, I finally got my butt off the couch, took 4 Advil for my head and neck pain, and then drove to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription for my SIBO. After that, I ate a burrito bowl from Chipotle (white rice, chicken, a little bit of mild salsa, and guac). About 30 minutes later, I began to feel some improvement.

Thank You, God

I went to Walmart and picked up a few needed items, and then hit Starbucks for a small coffee. Then I came home, cleaned up the kitchen, and vacuumed the house. Now I’m finishing up this blog post, then I’m going for a short walk in the neighborhood to soak up some sun. My brain fog has even cleared up. Again, thank You, God! I have been praying all day for some much needed relief. Not sure how long this will last.

Hang in there my Lyme friends. You are NOT alone in this battle. I know it is EXTREMELY difficult. I know there are days when you feel like you are going to have a complete breakdown or worse. Again, you are NOT alone. I encourage you to reach out to other Lyme friends or a Lyme Support Group or a Lyme Counselor/Therapist. I also encourage you to keep crying out to God and seek Him by reading the Bible. Lately, I keep meditating on Psalm 103 and praying through it. Check it out. It’s a good one.

Battling with you,

Jason

On Friday night, my wife and I went out on a long-overdue date. As you can probably tell from the pic, I was not feeling well, but did my best to focus on her.

Chronic Lyme Disease – 13 Things That Help Me Feel Better!

This past week was definitely a better week for me than the week before. Yes, my symptoms were still there, but they weren’t as intense. I was actually able to work on a paint job for 5 days. That is a tremendous answer to prayer. No, it was not a pain-free 5 days, but it was better than usual.

So what’s helping me feel better? …

1Diet/Nutrition … I’ve been maintaining a strict/healthy diet and that means less inflammation/pain. I avoid sugar, gluten, and dairy. I’ve also been avoiding fried foods, artificial sweeteners, vegetable oils, beans, and alcohol. I eat as organic as I possibly can. If I eat sugar, it’s less than 12g.

2Sleep … I’ve been consistently going to bed at a decent hour to make sure I’m getting plenty of uninterrupted sleep. Last night I was in bed at 9pm (on a Saturday night). I don’t even care. For me to have uninterrupted sleep, I sometimes have to sleep in the guest bedroom. I hate doing that as a married man, but uninterrupted sleep is absolutely vital to my health and ability to work my job which enable me to make money for my family’s needs and wants.

3Supplements … I’ve been extremely consistent with taking my vitamins, supplements, and meds. I take many of them 2 to 3 times per day … Vitamin C, Magnesium, Turmeric Curcumin, Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, Omega 3 Fish Oil, Cordyceps, Ashwaganda, Lithium Synergy, 5-HTP, GABA, Cat’s Claw, Burbur Pinella, Resveratrol, L-Glutathione, Chlorella, Real NAD Plus, Feverview, and CoQ10.

4Hydrate … I literally drink about a gallon of water per day (Spring Water or Filtered or Alkaline).

5Avoiding Stress/Conflict … That means I avoid certain people, conversations, debates, arguments, etc. Even on social media. Especially on social media. You can have it. As for me, “Ain’t nobody got time for dat!”

6 Prayer … Every morning and throughout my day I’m constantly calling on God for healing, strength, energy, clarity of mind, peace, etc. Mornings are typically the roughest part of my day, and I often feel like there’s NO WAY I can possibly make it through my work day. Honestly, most people wouldn’t even go to work feeling the way that I do. I cling to Philippians 4:13 … “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

7Talk Therapy … I’ve recently talked with two different therapists/counselors who have personally battled Lyme Disease. They’re way further along the road to healing than I am. I also regularly talk with and listen to friends who are battling Lyme Disease. It really helps. Bottling things up and trying to face it on my own was making me feel much worse. Don’t isolate. Don’t bottle up.

8Frequent Breaks … I take extended lunch breaks to rest in my work truck after I eat lunch (a benefit of owning my own company). When I get home from work in the evening, I also lay on the floor for 30-minutes and allow my two dogs (Remi and Ruger) to sniff and lick all over me … then they typically nestle up beside me. I love it and need it.

9Bind and Detox … Several times a week I take Activated Charcoal tablets to bind-up toxins … and I also do hot epsom salt baths … and at least once per week, I go to the local spa for a 30-minute session in the infrared sauna.

10Don’t Overdo It … I push myself, but not too much … I’m learning to listen to my body and know my limits with this disease so I don’t overdo it. Like the other day … I was at work and I really wanted to finish an area that I was painting, but I could feel my brain fog coming on strong with a frontal headache. My lower left abdomen pain also began to increase. I knew right then and there it was time to clean-up, pack-up, and call it a day. My body was saying, “Enough! Time to rest!”

11Keep Learning … I’m constantly reading books, articles, and blogs … or listening to podcasts or audio books … that help me improve/heal physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually! Today I began reading The Healer Within by Holly Chameli. She’s recovered from Chronic Lyme, CFS, and Autuimmune Disease. Her story is inspiring me and giving me hope.

12Have a Yoda … I pay big bucks out of pocket (insurance won’t cover a dime) to see a top Lyme Disease Specialist who listens to me, runs various tests on me, advises me, and prescribes various holistic/naturopathic treatments that help heal me. His name is Greg Lee and he’s with the Lyme Research and Healing Center in Frederick, MD.

13Move … You have to keep physically active. That looks different for all of us depending upon what stage we’re at in the healing journey. If all you can do is walk out to your mailbox and walk back, do it. Then the next week, walk to your neighbor’s mailbox. Do some sort of physical activity and keep increasing it week by week, but don’t overdo it. There will be some days (or weeks) where you’re flaring-up or having a bad herx reaction, and all you need to do is rest/sleep/recover. Dude, I get it. Been there. Done that. Got the T-Shirt!

As I said, this past week was definitely a better week for me, but I realize that tomorrow I could wake-up and experience a major relapse. That’s how it goes sometimes. Nevertheless, I will continue to keep doing these 13 things in my battle to heal.

Battling With You,

Jason

Today my daughter Gabrielle and I took Remi to a local park to play and then we went to Starbucks for a treat. Watching her laugh at Remi while he lapped-up a pupacino was therapeutic.

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.

You have to take action in order to heal!

This morning has been so very difficult … nausea, left lower abdomen pain, headache, brain fog, anxiety, fatigue, muscle twitching, and just that overall yuck/sick feeling. I did my best to push through it and accomplish a few items on my to-do list …

  • Began my day reading some helpful words from Charles Spurgeon and Scripture.
  • Took time to pray and journal.
  • Went to the paint store and picked up supplies for this week’s paint job.
  • Went to the UPS store and mailed in my SIBO test kit.
  • Went to the grocery store to get a few organic food items I was out of.
  • Cleaned all my paint equipment for this week’s paint job.
  • Booked appointment with my Lyme Specialist for next week.
  • Booked appointment with my Neurologist for next week.
  • Checked on a friend with Lyme who was suffering really really really bad yesterday.

It’s now 12pm. I had to stop everything and just sit and rest my body. In about 30-minutes, I’ll try to accomplish some more on my to-do list. The level of pain I endured this morning would make the average person stop everything and rush to the E.R. I’m not being overly dramatic. It was that bad. I’m learning to function through it when it gets that bad. It’s not easy. Believe me … a big part of me wanted to go to the E.R. but I’ve been there, done that, and they do absolutely nothing to help me. The last time I went to the E.R. they checked my blood pressure, resting heart rate, bloodwork, and ran an ECG. The doc told me that my test results are “perfect” and that I should follow-up with the Lyme Specialist I’m seeing. 🙄 “Frustrating” is not even the word!

When the pain gets really bad like it was this morning, it definitely forces me to pray more and I literally have to talk myself through it … “It’ll calm down, Jason. Just give it time. You’ve been here before. Stay calm. Stay positive. God is with you.”

There were a few moments this morning where I definitely felt overwhelmed with all of it. I never thought I’d be dealing with Lyme Disease for this long. Never. But I realize that wallowing or complaining about it does me no good. All I can do is keep battling for my health and that means I have to be proactive …

  • Keep listening to health podcasts and reading books and articles on the subject.
  • Keep meeting with my therapist.
  • Go back to my Lyme Specialist for more testing, treatment, and a new supply of supplements, meds, etc.
  • Keep taking my vitamins, supplements, and meds even when they make me feel worse.
  • Keep detoxing daily.
  • Keep on praying and trusting God to get me through this.
  • Keep helping other Lyme fighters.

I can’t just sit and do nothing. Nor can I just sit and hope that tomorrow will be a better day. I have to take action in order to heal. That’s how it works.

Here’s a little motivational mantra I often say to myself …

Pain is my friend. Heaven is my home. This is the only Hell I’ll ever know. God is with me. Never quit!

So that’s the latest with me and my on-going battle with Lyme Disease.

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.

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

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

My Backstory with Lyme – Part 2

As I said in my previous post, from 2003 to 2012, my “issues” were gradually improving. I was actually feeling like my normal self and enjoying life again. Periodically, I’d have some flare-ups with anxiety or depression or my horrible headaches would pay me a visit for a season, but they didn’t last. Then, in 2012, everything changed. Some very odd symptoms manifested and over the years they steadily became more intense and more frequent …

. . . chronic left-sided headaches down into the left-side of my face

. . . feeling dizzy or disoriented

. . . chronic fatigue that hindered or kept me from work

. . . frequent nausea

. . . low energy

. . . irritable bowels

. . . horrible muscle and joint pain that migrated

. . . frequent muscle twitching

. . . facial twitching (that was super annoying)

. . . insomnia (even though I was completely exhausted, I couldn’t sleep)

. . . memory issues (I’d forget basic stuff like names of friends, my zip code, etc.)

. . . anxiety (sometimes feeling like I wanted to jump out of my skin)

. . . depression

. . . And did I mention headaches? … HORRIBLE CHRONIC HEADACHES!

Then I’d have weeks where I’d feel like my normal self. My symptoms would lift and I’d get a false hope that all is well. Then, for no apparent reason, the tsunami would return … sometimes for days and sometimes for weeks. It was SUPER frustrating. I desperately wanted to know what the heck was going on and I wanted it fixed!

During this time in my life, I was living in Missouri and at least once per week I was in the woods mountain biking. Tick bites were definitely par for the course. On June 4, 2013, I recorded in my journal that I removed an embedded tick from my upper torso. This was not unusual. I never went to the doctor because a bulls-eye rash never developed. Growing up, I was led to believe that if there’s no bulls-eye rash then you’re good to go.

THAT’S A BUNCH OF BULL!

Now that I’ve become a student of Lyme Disease (out of necessity, not desire), I’ve learned that the whole bulls-eye rash thing is 50/50. Experts say the bull’s-eye rash known as “erythema migrans” can be absent in at least 50% of Lyme Disease cases. So I have no way of knowing if that particular tick bite on June 4, 2013 infected me with Lyme Disease and co-infections (by the way, ticks are carrying way more than must Lyme Disease) … nor do I know which ticks carried Lyme Disease that bit me all throughout my life. All I know is that at least one of them definitely carried Lyme and co-infections because in 2017 I tested POSITIVE … but I’m getting way ahead of myself so let’s back up …

On Sunday, April 12, 2015 … something really strange happened to me. I was speaking in Indiana at a weekend youth event, and for the most part, I was having a great weekend with no major symptoms. I slept great on Saturday night and woke up on Sunday morning optimistic and ready to finish the weekend strong. I had one last teaching session to complete. As I was leaving my hotel room I was suddenly hit with MAJOR fatigue … I’m mean MAJOR fatigue … like someone shot me with a tranquilizer gun! It didn’t make sense because I had just slept a solid 8 hours. I remember repeatedly saying to myself, “What the heck is wrong with me?” I went to the local Starbucks hoping a venti coffee would pull me out of the abyss, but it didn’t.

The strange fatigue made the entire day a blur. I remember constantly praying throughout that day … “God help me through. I can’t do this without You!” All I wanted to do is cancel everything, go back to my hotel room, and SLEEP! That entire day I really struggled as I interacted with people from the church. It was like I was in some sort of dark fog. My mental comprehension was like molasses. Later that afternoon, nausea decided to join the party, and I couldn’t shake it. As I said, I kept thinking, “What the heck is wrong with me?” and I kept praying, “God help me through. I can’t do this without You!”

I was scheduled to teach one last time that evening, but I didn’t think I could do it. An hour before the event began, I finally mentioned to the Youth Pastor that I wasn’t feeling well and asked him if I could go lay down in his office to rest before it was time for me to teach. Thankfully, he was cool with that. As I laid on the couch in his office, I continued to beg God for His help and I also texted several friends to pray for me.

When it was finally time for me to take the stage and teach, it was nothing short of SUPERNATURAL … All of the strange symptoms suddenly vanished. All of them! God totally gave me the energy and mental clarity that I needed to teach with boldness and enthusiasm. Never underestimate the power of prayer! Over the many years of battling late-stage Lyme Disease, I’ve used it to get me through many incredibly difficult days -especially when I’ve been on the road teaching. My symptoms easily flare-up when I’m dealing with the stress of traveling and public speaking.

The next day, as I was driving home from Indiana to Southwest Missouri, I was mentally trying to make sense of it all … “What the heck happened yesterday? … Why did I all of a sudden feel like someone drugged me? … Am I sick with something? … Could that have been some sort of demonic attack to keep me from teaching?”

FYI = I realize that some of you reading this don’t believe in the reality of the paranormal. Things like “demonic attacks” have no place in your educated/scientific mind. If that’s you, I want to encourage you to check out an insightful and startling article by Dr. Richard Gallagher, a board-certified psychiatrist and professor of clinical psychiatry at New York Medical College – link here. It may completely change your view regarding the demonic. If not, no worries. It doesn’t offend or anger me.

Anyway, as I was saying, I was making the long drive home from Indiana to Southwest Missouri and mentally trying to make sense of everything that happened the day before. Clueless and frustrated, I called my friend Clayton King to see if he could help me figure things out. After I was done rambling for 20 minutes, he asked me a series of questions about my diet, caffeine intake, sleep schedule, exercise routine, etc. He didn’t really have any answers for me. Honestly, I didn’t expect him to. I think I mostly needed a friend to vent to, and Clayton isn’t just a friend, he’s also someone who understands the pressure that comes with being an itinerant evangelist/teacher. He’s been a mentor to me for many years. As our conversation ended, he prayed for me but also strongly advised that I go see my doctor when I returned home.

I came home and immediately scheduled an appointment with my Primary Care Physician. I wanted him to completely rule out things like diabetes, hypothyroidism, fibromyalgia, even cancer. I came to the appointment with a list of all of the bizarre symptoms that were increasingly plaguing me. He ordered a basic blood test, but not a Lyme Test. At this time, Lyme Disease never crossed my mind, nor did it cross his mind. Two weeks later, the results came back and my PCP assured me that everything looked normal. He then tried to convince me that all of my symptoms were most likely the result of stress and anxiety. He advised me to reduce my stress and take my anxiety meds. Because he’s a doctor, I just accepted his diagnosis as the truth and followed his advice (reduce my stress and take my anxiety meds). After that conversation, I did all I could to fix my “stress and anxiety problem.” Daily I devoured books, articles, and various podcasts on the subject. I even went and saw a counselor. My attitude was … “Damn it, I’m going to fix this stress and anxiety problem! I want my life back!”

At the end of 2016, our family relocated halfway across the country from Missouri to Maryland. Maryland is where my wife and I grew up, and we felt it was time to be closer to family and old friends. After the dust settled from the big move, I began working for a friend’s home improvement company when I wasn’t doing my ministry stuff.

My journals from that time period reveal that my symptoms were increasing and they began hindering my work. Joint and muscle pains became much more frequent and more intense. Daily I had to wear wrist and elbow braces as I worked, and I also took 800mg of Ibuprofen in the morning just to try and lessen my pain so I could work.

My left-sided headaches had become chronic. I hardly ever had a headache free day. I’d wake up with a headache and go to bed with a headache. Pain would shoot from my left temple area down the left side of my face, and sometimes the whole left-side of my face felt would feel numb. Sometimes even the left-side of my tongue would ache. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s the truth. What really scared me with my headaches is that they made it difficult to think and articulate. For the first time in my my life, finding the right words and actually saying them wasn’t easy for me.

To say the least, I was frustrated, discouraged, and becoming more and more irritable. I felt like I was losing who I was. My productivity was down by at least 50%. My irritabillity was definitely negatively affecting my relationship with my wife and kids and I hated that. In my journal I wrote, “How can all this be stress and anxiety? Something else has to be wrong with me! Please God, heal me! I don’t know what to do or who to turn to.”

God answered … In February of 2017, I was teaching at a winter youth retreat in New Hampshire, and in one of my lessons I began sharing about my daily struggle with all of my weird symptoms. After I got done teaching, a lady leader asked me if I’d ever been tested for Lyme Disease. I said no. She asked if I’d ever been bitten by a tick. I told her multiple times throughout my life. She looked at me perplexed and asked why I’d never had a Lyme Test? I said because I never saw a bulls-eye rash. She was adamant that `I should get tested when I returned home and she then began telling me about her own long and painful battle with Lyme Disease. She had battled it for many many years. To my surprise, many of her symptoms were identical to mine. I was baffled, but curious … “Could I really have Lyme Disease? Is that what’s been causing all of this for all these years?”

In March of 2017, I met with my new Primary Care Physician and asked her to test me for Lyme Disease. She seemed reluctant, but did it. She just wanted me to have a sleep study done. In my head, I was like, “A sleep study? What the $#%@ are you talking about? You think all of my issues are simply the result of not sleeping right? Are you freggin’ kidding me?”

A few weeks later, the test results came back. The first thing that was noted is that I tested POSITIVE for reactivated EBV (Epstein Bar Virus). I had it in high school and now it was back, flaring-up in full force. No wonder I was utterly exhausted all the time. Then, lo and behold, the ELISA Test for Lyme Disease came back POSITIVE, and the Western Blot Test for Lyme Disease revealed that I had 4 out of 10 POSITIVE indicators for Lyme Disease.

So I looked at my Primary Care Physican and said, “So I have Lyme Disease?” She said, “Not technically.” She then informed me that the CDC (Center for Disease Control) says that a person must have not only a POSITIVE ELISA Test, but must also have at least 5 out of 10 POSITIVE indicators on the Western Blot Test for that person to be diagnosed with Lyme Disease. My Primary Care Physician looked at me and matter-of-factly said, “So you don’t technically meet the criteria for Lyme Disease.” I said, “But what about the ELISA Test that showed the presence of Lyme antibodies in my system? What about the fact that I’m positive for 4 out of the 10 indicators on the Western Blot Test? And what about all my weird chronic symptoms that fit the profile for someone with Lyme Disease?” She looked at me and simply said, “It doesn’t matter. You don’t meet the CDC’s criteria, therefore, you don’t actually have Lyme Disease. I recommend that you go see a neurologist about those headaches and go get that sleep study done.”

I was done with her. I went and found a new Primary Care Physician who wasn’t so narrow-minded, and (above all) I decided that I was going to take charge of my health instead blindly following everything I was being told by the medical establishment. I decided that I was now my own Primary Care Physician, and I decided that I would begin researching Lyme Disease like I was working for a PhD. The very first thing that struck me as I began my research was the fact that many top medical experts vehemently disagree with the CDC’s standards for diagnosing Lyme Disease. The latest research overwhelmingly reveals that the CDC’s standards are outdated and just plain inaccurate. Of course, insurance companies love the CDC’s current standards for diagnosing Lyme Disease because it means that the millions of people suffering from it don’t receive any insurance coverage to help with it because they the CDC says they don’t technically have it.

Something has to change with this … and soon! There are now an overwhelming amount of respected medical doctors, researchers, and organizations who are speaking up and fighting for the CDC to change their standards because of what the latest research reveals about accurately diagnosing Lyme Disease. Personally, I think the big dawgs at the CDC are in bed with the big dawgs at the insurance companies … and sadly, that’s why nothing has changed!

Through my research, I also learned that my ELISA test revealed that the Lyme antibodies in my system were not new. They had been in me for quite some time. Meaning … I didn’t just recently contract Lyme Disease in 2017. This made sense with all that I’d been going through for so many years. I know it sounds strange, but I actually felt a HUGE sense of relief knowing that I had Lyme Disease … YES! Now I know what it is, and we can get this #$%&@ disease out of me with some antibiotics or something!”

Dude, I had absolutely no idea what I was in for!

I immediately contacted the lady leader (Meagen) who I met in New Hampshire (the one who told me to get the Lyme Test). I told her l had Lyme Disease like it was some sort of good news. She was thankful that I finally had a diagnosis, but she wasn’t excited for me because deep down she knew what I was in for. The LONG and extremely DIFFICULT journey towards healing late-stage Lyme Disease was about to begin and she knew it was going to rock my world.

At that time, I was so utterly clueless about Lyme Disease and how to treat it. At various times, I’d text Meagen or my friend Stephanie who also battled Lyme Disease for many years, and I’d grill them with all sorts of questions about it … “Did your legs twitch too? What about your face? Did that twitch? How bout chronic headaches? How do I get rid of them? Is there an essential oil for that? What about anxiety? Did Lyme make you feel anxious? Did you get dizzy?”

Meagen and Stephanie were always gracious to respond. They both ended up becoming incredibly encouraging friends (literal lifelines). More than once they both sent me packages of DoTerra Essential Oils with personalized notes on how to use each one of them (I’m talking hundreds of dollars worth of DoTerra Essential Oils). I tried to pay them, but they wouldn’t let me. Meagen said that many people helped her through her Lyme Disease battle and she was just “paying it forward.” Stephanie also just wanted to be a blessing to me. It blew me away. Who does that?

Also, when I would go various places around the country to teach, Meagen and Stephanie would let me know that they were praying for me because they knew how bad I was hurting with Lyme, and they both knew from personal experience how hard it is to put on a happy face when you’re around people and they couldn’t imagine how hard it must be doing it up on a stage. Prayer literally got me through each time. I came so close to backing out of numerous speaking engagements right before I was scheduled to take the stage, but God somehow got me through each one of them. I can assure you it was not my inner strength, talent, grit, or whatever. Prayer. That’s all I can say.

Big shout out to Meagen and Stephanie! God used both of you at just the right time. No one should ever have to go through Lyme Disease or any other chronic illness or disability alone!

I will continue the rest of my backstory with Lyme Disease in my next post! Thanks for reading thus far. Feel free to leave a comment or ask questions. My email is Jason@Narrowtrail.com

If you’re battling Lyme Disease or some other type of painful chronic illness or condition, my goal is to be some sort of encouragement to you. At least you’re seeing that you’re not alone in this battle. Literally millions of others around the world are suffering too, and many of them have it far worse than you and I … so don’t lose hope and never give up the fight for your health! It can get better, but everyday you have to choose to be optimistic and keep battling … research, research, research … You be your Primary Care Physician. Take those vitamins and herbal supplements, improve your diet, exercise frequently (even if it’s just a walk), get under the care of a Lyme Literate Doctor, pray, meditate, detox, journal, get in a support group, talk to a good friend, don’t bottle things up, etc.

I want to leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Dr. Viktor E. Frankl, an Austrian Neurologist and Psychiatrist who also happened to be a holocaust survivor. He endured multiple German Concentration Camps. His international bestselling book, Man’s Search for Meaning is one of the top 10 books I’ve ever read in my life (and I’ve read a lot of books). Let this truth sink in and let it motivate you to change your mindset/attitude to what’s happening to you!

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 circumstances!

Victor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning.

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