9 Months and Counting…by Cara Potapshyn Meyers
Ha! Got your attention! No, it’s not what you were thinking. Sorry for that. It represents the length of time I have been taking heavy duty antibiotics for my Lyme Disease. I recently received even more disconcerting news regarding my condition a few days ago.
I have been treated for Lyme Disease and a very rare and serious co-infection now since January of this year. I have been in various stages of pain and discomfort throughout this entire time. For those of you who may be less familiar with Lyme Disease, I will give a brief summary.
Lyme Disease is a bacteria that is transmitted via being bitten by a tick. Many ticks not only transmit the actual Lyme bacteria, they also carry and transmit one or more of what are termed “co-infections.” These are additional bacteria that ticks transmit at the same time that the Lyme bacteria is transmitted.
Lyme bacteria and their co-infections are highly unusual, as far as bacteria go. Almost all bacteria come in a a particular shape and size and are relatively predictable. Thus, if you have a sinus infection, you are given an antibiotic for the bacteria that cause sinus infections for a specified amount of time. The antibiotic hunts down all of the bacteria it can identify and the sinus infection clears up. Lyme bacteria is much more intelligent.
Lyme bacteria can be seen under a microscope as a squiggly rod. But this innocent looking rod is a master of disguise. If it knows that certain antibiotics are floating around, it will change form to either an “L-form” or a “cyst form” to prevent the antibiotic from killing it. Not only does it change form, it also clusters in spheres called Biofilms that most antibiotics cannot penetrate. In addition, they also burrow in body tissue, lying dormant, trying to fool the antibiotics and pretending they don’t exist, only to become active again at a later point in time.
Many people are given one antibiotic to start out. After six months, if it is warranted, they are often given two or three antibiotics to take at one time. Why so many? To try to attack all three forms of Lyme bacteria and their co-infections. At the point that more antibiotics were going to be added to my regimen, a new, super effective antibiotic appeared. This new one, called Tindamax (my nickname for it is “Tinda”), is so strong, it is capable of hunting down and eradicating all three forms of Lyme bacteria, plus the co-infections! It can break through Biofilms and kill dormant bacteria! Wow! As soon as I heard what Tinda could do, I wanted to take it ASAP! Then came the huge obstacle.
Tinda is strong. Very strong. I personally think that for an oral antibiotic, it is as strong or even stronger than some IV antibiotics. I started off at the lowest dose. I tolerated it so I upped my dose to full dose. I couldn’t tolerate taking full dose longer than 8 days in a row because of the intensity of what is termed the “Herx” reaction. This reaction is a result of an overwhelming number of bacteria being killed in your body. Your immune system can’t “process” and rid itself of all of this bacteria so quickly. The result is that the killed bacteria accumulate in the body, resulting in all-over body aches which feel like chronic flu symptoms and full body joint pain which feels like rheumatoid arthritis. Try imagine feeling like that, in varying intensities, every single day, month after month. It becomes unbearable. Unbearable to the point where I have to stop full dose and go back down to half dose. At half dose, not enough bacteria are being killed. So you end up stagnating. Not necessarily getting any worse, but certainly not getting any better.
This is exactly where I am in my treatment. My doctors and I decided that I have to work up to taking full dose very slowly with Tinda. To aid in helping to kill off other forms that the bacteria morphs into, I will be cycled through a variety of other, lesser aggressive antibiotics, until I eventually, with great hope, reach the potential of taking Tinda full dose, every single day. How long will this process take? Right now it is projected another 6 – 12 months, depending on how quickly my body adapts to full doses of Tinda, more days per week.
There, dear readers, is my update with Lyme Disease. I am tremendously grateful that it was detected very early because the bacteria can eventually affect your brain and then heart, if not treated. You might say I’m “lucky.” I still can’t believe that I have been taking antibiotics every single day for 9 months now. Especially when I was originally told I would be taking it for 4 to 6 months total. I was horrified by that! It is this rare co-infection that is complicating matters greatly.
I will continue to keep our readers updated. Those who follow me know I am busy reviewing products, books, and entertaining Guest Blogs. Wednesdays would be quite boring if all I wrote about were my trials and tribulations with this disease.
At least tick season is officially over. A huge sigh of relief for me. Stay well, readers!