Jakobstad, July 16, 2015

It’s has been some time since I’ve posted here, but I haven’t been idle. Besides continuing my treatment plan, I’ve done quite a bit of research in order to increase my understanding of Lyme disease. Self-education is almost mandatory, as most of the knowledge blazed by the conventional medicine is so amazingly biased and, in my opinion, largely consists of pure propaganda. More on this in a dedicated blog post later.

I’ve now entered week seven of eight in my initial treatment of lyme disease. I write initial, as I’ve prepared for a lengthy fight.

I chose an intense treatment – a counter-attack, if you might – the so called augsburg protocol. In short, the protocol is about the favorable interplay of several different antibiotics, nutritional supplements, a change of diet, physical exercise, and detox. The main idea is to attack the bacteria, to flush waste products out of the body, and to re-bild the degraded immune system.

And it works. I’m still far from the shape I was in before I caught lyme, but the tendency is right. It will take time, it is allowed to take time. I’m in no rush, and I won’t give in.

It’s quite possible that my lyme disease, wreaking havoc untreated for approx. fifteen years, might have caused irreversible damage to joints, ligaments and the nervous system – that parts of my body might no longer be mended. Well, then that’s how it is. As long as I know that I do everything in my power to stop the disease from impairing my cognitive functions and my fine motor skills, all treatment is invaluable.

And who knows? Everything I do right now is restoring the balance in my body, and a balanced body holds an amazing ability to heal. Maybe I’ll be good as new, or even better. Time will tell.

Among all the things I’ve learned during this process, one of the most fascinating sounds like cut out of one of the numerous health leaflets I’ve read with eyes half opened all my life: The importance of exercise and sleep.

I’ve always been aware of the benefits of exercise and sleep in maintaining health (even though I’ve sometimes neglected to put it all into practice.) What I now realized, however, is how important getting a good amount of sleep, and – even though often reluctantly – exercising one’s body is for the purpose of speeding up recovery from illnesses such as this.

Exercise raises the oxygen level in the blood, heats up the body, and thus creates an unfavorable environment for the bacteria. Exercise also increases circulation and flushes out waste products. Sleep gives the body time to work, and build – excused from meeting the bigger need for energy during hours awake. Simple things, important matters, in a desire to regain quality of life.

“Liikunta voinnin mukaan” (Finnish, freely translated “Exercise listening to your body”) is emphasized at the clinic where I’m undergoing treatment. It’s all about stressing the body just enough that the positive outcomes outweigh the negative – often temporary – ones. Finding that balance isn’t always quite easy, but one learns through trial and error.

Starting my treatment in the beginning of June, I could jog a little short of 2.5 miles, at a snail’s pace, and a few hours later I already had aching muscles and joints, and nerve buzzing. Entered tinnitus and lightheadedness, lasting for about 36 hours. Two days ago, I jogged (still at a somewhat humble pace) about 4.3 miles, without any other after-effects than a slightly stiff back the following day.

Yes, it gets better. I’m heading in the right direction, and I look positively upon the future. Soon I will try doing some light lifting to see how the body responds – yet another step in my highly personal research.

Helsinki, June 11, 2015

Before I learned that I’ve been carrying the lyme bug for all these years, I didn’t have the slightest clue as to why I would be terribly ill one day, just to feel much better the day after.

Neither did I understand why I ran completely into the wall – like somebody had pressed “shutdown” – during heavy exercising. Nor why I felt so horrible the next day.

Two years ago, when I was still playing football (soccer) – or rather, excuse me, kicking football which would be the proper verb to use for harrowing around in the lowest soccer league – I could physically get through a whole game without any serious problems. The problems started a few hours after the game, and extended into the day after. Then I got sick, really sick.

Not at all like the delightful feeling that emerges when you know that you’ve been “benefitting from destruction” – when you push your body, breaking it down on purpose, in order to let it grow even stronger than before through recovery. The basic idea of constructive, long-term training, the reason for being awarded with satisfaction and well-being.

Not like that at all, but like sick when you’re starting to get the flu. The body works like crazy to survive, and leaves its host (in this particular case, me) to his/her own. That’s the way I felt – and still do feel – the day after a hard work-out. And I never understood why, not until I got diagnosed.

Chronic lyme disease causes a chronic inflammation in the body.

When we breath in oxygen at rest, the oxygen is absorbed by the hemoglobin in our lungs. But only 25% ever reach the cells – the rest is returned to the lungs, since the oxygen is so tightly bound to the hemoglobin.

During heavy exercise, our body temperature rises and the level of carbon dioxide in the muscles increases. As the carbon oxide level rises, the bind between oxygen and hemoglobin weakens. As a result, more oxygen is freed to reach the cells.

The Lyme bug can’t stand neither high temperature nor oxygen. Intense exercise indeed kills spirochetes, causing a release of endotoxins into the blood.

A lot of the toxics are pumped out of the body during the exercise, through sweating. But when the amount of endotoxins are larger than the body can get rid of in that natural way, the body shuts down and goes into its combat survival mode during the exercise.

And later – when the exercise is over – there’s still endotoxines to get rid of, but as we are no longer sweating them out, the body has to attack it like it attacks any hostile intruder – it starts to produce a large amount of cytokines, activating the white blood cells, preparing for a counter-attack.

That’s where all the energy goes, and since there’s already a chronic inflammation present in the body, there’s already too much of that kind of activity going on. Following upon heavy exercise, the body thus works much harder than what could be considered normal, all other body functions becoming second priority.

No wonder, then, that I’ve found myself completely wiped out the day after heavy exercising. The effort has triggered the same phenomena that occurs when medication and supplements hit the spirochete effectively – I’ve had a herxheimer reaction. I have certainly known that something is terribly wrong, but not the reason why.

So, can you get rid of lyme through exercise? Hardly. But it should logically be possible to actively diminish the amount of bacteria in the body through regular exercise. Such a pity then that heavy exercise makes you feel horrible for the next 24 hours or so.

But knowing this, I can start looking for the optimal balance – trash spirochetes to an amount tolerable to the body. A dead spirochete is a good spirochete. In that sense, my jogging session two days ago was close to perfect; I got away with only minor inconvenience, and managed to make life sour for my intruders.

This could also explain why my lyme disease got so much worse after I decided to stop exercising, although I did that only because all signs pointed in the direction of exercise worsening my problems. The little you know. You have to learn on-the-fly.

Helsinki, June 10, 2015

Yesterday I went jogging for 30 minutes, for the first time in almost a year! My pace was slow, but this wasn’t about speed. Neither is it the thought that counts, but the execution.

Yet another thing that comes across as highly illogical – how could anybody in my condition run? Go figure…

The jogging yesterday was a soft-start, I think I ran a little over two miles. There’s no chance on earth, though, that I could walk the same distance. That would result in a tightening pain and dizzyness, and I’d have to abort.

Well, I had pain and dizzyness yesterday, too, but that hit me when I walked to the grocery store after jogging. I wasn’t feeling too well later in the evening, either, but that was expected – overall, I’m happy and surprised that I did so well. No severe repercussions today, either – just a slight dizzyness and tinnitus. Just a trifle, really.

There’s something about monotone excercise and static positions that my body just can’t handle. Jogging flexes the muscles much more than walking, and uses upper body torque in a whole different way. Still being but a faint shadow of my former self, I seem to be able to pick up excercising again, which is great – I dont feel comfortable when I’m forced into a passive state.

And maybe, just maybe, the treatment might show some positive results already! There’s still a long way to go, but tiny progress is nevertheless a step in the right direction. During Spring I wouldn’t even have dared to try running, given the condition I was in back then. Fact is, even tying the laces of my running shoes would have resulted in physical inconvenience.

So right now I take great pleasure in this, and I look forward towards the day when I once again will be able to carry two grocery bags from the counter out to the car in the parking lot without having to spend the rest of my day laying down, loaded with medicine. Baby steps, baby steps.