Early on in my battle, I wrote extensively about the integrative solutions I used to destroy Lyme. With all of the perpetual confusion about fighting the devastating disease, how and why did I settle on combating Lyme disease with integrative medicine?
Furthermore, you might be wondering why on earth do I write the title of this post in a way that reflects an ongoing battle with the disease?
According to multiple tests, I eradicated Lyme disease in 2018. I shared my medical milestone with my Instagram community the week I received the news.
After such a traumatic experience, I guess I am always on the lookout for a side effect or symptoms lurking in the shadows. Is it a handful of PTSD? Probably.
After two years, my body shows no signs of the disease.
Even so, I still refer to myself as a Lyme survivor or a Lyme warrior. Like most victims afflicted with a life-threatening or debilitating disease, you’re looking for the next health hurdle.
For me, adversity evoked and strengthened my faith, grit, and resolve. Those character traits factored into my recovery in that exact order. Yes, unwavering character traits kept me in the fight, but I desperately needed an arsenal replete with medical ammunition to pivot my attack on the disease.
Chronic disease can obliterate your spiritual and emotional energy. But our kids still need to be nurtured, the dentists’ appointments made, and responsibilities at work attended to.
My initial help
My family doctor phoned at 6 pm with the results of my Lyme tests. We discussed the lab tests, and I kept hearing her refer to my levels as “acute” and “late stages.” Then she paused. And here is where my respect for her as a medical professional soared.
To her credit, she admitted to not really knowing what to do about treating the disease other than the standard protocol of a thirty-day antibiotic treatment. We live in the epicenter of the disease, and she realized how little she knew about a disease that ravaged so many people in the community.
Lyme disease that isn’t going away
The Tick-pocalypse and the pandemic—two of history’s great afflictions are like navigating a nor’easter at night in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. To date, COVID-19 and Lyme disease continue to puzzle and perplex the medical community.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that “476,000 people contract Lyme disease in the US every year. That’s 4.28 million cases in the last nine years.” And these are cases that adhere to the CDC’s narrowly defined criteria.
In reality, thousands of infected people are out there but either go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
Integrative medicine explained
When we think of integrative, the idea of bringing or unifying ideas and practices together, Marybeth Missenda, Assistant Professor at Maryland University of Integrative Health, says, “Integrative health recognizes that lifestyle and environment, factors often viewed as outside the realm of health care, impact health with the focus going beyond disease management.”
Integrative medicine combines complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) with biomedicine. To be clear, biomedicine is the dominant healthcare model in the US.
Also, other names for complementary and alternative medicine are “holistic” or “nontraditional.”
Integrative health practitioners:
- promote positive health and optimum wellness
- place a high priority on the patient-provider relationship
- recognizes and acknowledges patient experiences, beliefs, and opinions
- practice whole-person care
- considers health determinants factors to have a direct link to a patient’s health
What integrative practitioners provide
Some of the key tools used in an integrative practice are:
- natural products (herbal medicine, vitamins, supplements, and functional foods
- Ayurveda, naturopathy, and traditional medicine (non-western)
- chiropractic care, yoga, and massage therapy
- energy therapies
- collaboration with conventional medicine practitioners
When dealing with a devastating health crisis, the best-case scenario is to get your conventional (biomedical) doctor to collaborate with your integrative practitioner. Integrative practitioners embrace opportunities to team up with conventional practitioners.
How Lyme disease responded to integrative medicine
Before my diagnosis, my daughter happened to be under the care of an integrative physician. Once I received my Lyme test results, I discussed an integrative approach with him since I knew that antibiotics were not the “silver bullet” to eradicating the disease.
When I battled Lyme, reliable information and resources on Lyme were scarce. I read the few books available on the topic. Most of them were endearing personal stories, but they lacked solutions.
I managed to find a Lyme Literate physician in my area. She used an integrative approach to treating and managing Lyme disease. With an integrative approach, you and the practitioner have more weapons to combat the disease.
My integrative treatment protocol consisted of a Lyme eating plan, Ayurveda, Naturopathy, Aromatherapy, Homeopathy, herbal treatments, supplements, massage therapy, chiropractic care, Electro-Dermal Screening antibiotic treatment.
For months, I followed the skillfully designed integrative Lyme disease treatment, and eventually, I started to regain my health. What is often left unsaid is that it can sometimes take years to recover from the disease’s effects.
Except for antibiotics, all of the practices assisted in controlling inflammation and bolstering my immune system.
When suffering enters our door
For most people, the greatest obstacle when facing a health challenge is making lifestyle changes. Developing and cultivating lifestyle changes maximize your potential for a full recovery. But with the right medical help and a supportive community, you don’t have to struggle alone.
You can endure and remain hopeful through your disease. Paul David Tripp reminds us that “Never forget: No matter what painful thing you’re enduring, as God’s child, it’s impossible for you to endure it all by yourself.”
As you navigate your way through the labyrinth of illnesses and treatments, Tripp’s reminder is life-giving.
2020 taught us never to take our health for granted. Emily P. Freeman reminds us that “good health that once seemed normal, we now realize is an exceptional gift.”
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Resources for Lyme disease /Integrative Medicine
Snow, J. & Missenda, M. (2020). Module 2 resource: Key concepts of CIH. [Lesson content]. https://learn.muih.edu/courses/9732/pages/module-2-resources?module_item_id=329756 (Original work published 2016)