Welcome to my blog! This is a place of information and hope for fellow Canadians who are suffering from Lyme disease. I want to share with you the knowledge I have gained during my fight with this debilitating, frightening, and misunderstood illness. I hope you will be blessed.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

How is remission achieved?

I had an appointment with my LLMD two days ago and we made a little family trip out of it.  It's a 3 hour drive from our house in Canada to my doctor's office in the U.S., provided there is no delay at the border.  We left ample time to stop for lunch on the way at my favourite restaurant, Pizzeria Uno.  (Good bye carb-free diet.  The wild mushroom and cheddar pizza is hard to resist.)  After the appointment, we checked into our home away from home, The Hampton Inn and Suites, and had a disappointing evening and terrible sleep!  Neither was the fault of the hotel.  I had been looking forward to curling up and watching the World Figure Skating Championships but it could NOT be found on American TV!!!  Honestly!  There was basketball and hockey, but NO figure skating.  I was totally baffled by this.  Is figure skating not as popular in the U.S. as Canada?  As for the sleep, well...suffice it to say that hubby and I are not accustomed to squeezing into a queen sized bed!  And our kids are not accustomed to sharing a bed either.  Little sleep was had by all.  Outlet shopping cheered me up a bit the following day.  (Note to self:  Next time, leave hubby and the boys somewhere while you shop in peace.)

Onto more important things......the doctor's appointment. 

So here I am in mid-March feeling pretty good on my Zithromax, Banderol and Samento.  So far so good.  The symptoms that crept back in early January have abated.  I'm tapering off the sleep medication (again), and looking forward to some good months in the spring.

Which begs the question:  How do I get into remission and STAY in remission?

When Lyme disease strikes and you're really, really ill, all you can think about is how to feel better.  Hopefully, that is eventually achieved.  But when you're there, at the end of your treatment, the next step is to figure out how to remain in remission.  Some people get there, others do not.  It's quite a mystery for even the LLMDs.

Doctors say that if you had Lyme disease for more than 1 year prior to starting treatment, it is highly unlikely that the infection will ever be completely eradicated from your body.  Remission is the most you can hope for. 

My LLMD said that I was a borderline case, so it's hard to say.  I had symptoms for 5 months prior to treatment, but the bacteria was in my system for much longer than that.  How do I know?  Well, the symptoms came on in January of 2011 - not exactly tick biting season.  I had been hiking through brush at a provincial park the previous summer, and had been devoured by black flies several summers earlier up at a cottage.  The bacteria was clearly dormant in my body for a time before producing the symptoms in January.

So, can I ever eradicate the bacteria?  I don't know.  Neither does my LLMD.

The fact that I relapsed in January of 2013, after 18 months on antibiotics followed by 7 weeks off them, leads me to believe that the bacteria was not fully treated.

Dr. Marty Ross of Treat Lyme and Associated Diseases, whom I contacted to ask a question about relapse, said that I should deal with biofilms for the next 4 months, so that is the plan.  I'll continue the Zithromax, Banderol and Samento until the end of June, and then decide if I want to try going off everything cold turkey or if I want to take a preventative dose of Banderol and Samento every day.  I guess we'll see.   

My own LLMD (not Dr. Ross) said that he has patients who have been on antibiotics for 20 years!  He said that I may need to pulse the antibiotics periodically if symptoms come on.....perhaps for a couple of months at a time.  I asked him about the so-called "super bugs", which can be a concern for those on antibiotics, and he said that he's never seen that in his practice.

So, the future is unclear.  I hate that.  I'm a planner, and I just don't like not knowing how my health is going to hold up as I move into the future.

A fellow Canadian Lyme sufferer, Christa Vanderham (whose incredible story you can view here), posted this yesterday:

"Don't fret.
For this leads to wrong-doing...
Rather, wait on the Lord instead."
-Psalm 37

Thanks for the reminder, Christa.  I needed that.

2 comments:

  1. This is a really good post, thanks, Paula. Explains things quite clearly. I do hope your remission lasts!
    Blessings on your work and your family.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Marlene! :-)

      Paula

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