Jakobstad, August 5, 2015

Nine weeks have passed since I started my treatment at the clinic in Helsinki, Finland. The fight goes on.

It is immensely frustrating when worse days – one, or several in a row – occur. Like slipping, falling, trying to get a new grip during a climb in which you thought that you’ve already conquered that certain stretch. Like if the previous effort was in vain.

Then you need to try to look objectively at the broader picture – even though its hard when you’re in the midst of it all. You need to dare to believe that there’s progress, that it’s all just two steps up, one step back.

If the battle could be fought against a single enemy, the insidious and sly borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, it all would be so much easier. But it’s often misleading to talk only about lyme disease and its different phases, as the reality in most cases tend to be much more complex.

What I myself – together with many others – struggle with are the syndrome of something that could be defined as multi-systemic infectious disease (Dr. Horowitz), or simply “a mess of things” (Dr.Brooke/Dr.Ross).

I find the allegory given by Brooke/Ross in the internet article I linked to above to be most describing. The body is compared to a rain barrel, and the ability of the body to protect and heal itself is compared to the rain barrel spigot. An overflowing rain barrel represents disease.

There are two factors that determine if the barrel overflows:

  • How hard the rain falls
  • How open the rain barrel spigot is

When diseases are transmitted through a tick bite, the rain falls quite heavily. I write diseases, since it seems to be more of a rule than an exception that several other infections are transmitted through the same tick bite that gives us lyme disease.

We find ourselves in a tragicomic situation where vets would probably be able to help us in a better way than most doctors we turn to with tick bites or suspected lyme disease. Vets seem to have a broader experience of the multitude of diseases that can be transmitted through tick bites.

Most MD’s are still looking upon one (if even that!) possible tick-borne disease at a time, seemingly uninterested in the overall picture. Babesia, bartonella, ehrlicia/anaplasma, rickettsia are examples of co-infections that often occur – infections which conventional medicine often fails to detect, or just flatly neglects.

Mycoplasma and clamydia pneumoniae (TWAR) are also often parts of the pathology, as are several viruses – herpes, CMV, Epstein-Barr, Coxsackie, etc. These bacterias/viruses can remain dormant in the body, not causing any symptoms. Drops in a barrel at risk of overflowing.

Even though rain falls hard – as during tick-borne infection – an effective, open rain barrel spigot can help the body to deal quite successfully with pre-existing viruses and newly entered bacteria, including borrelia burgdorferi: keep them at bay, dormant, letting us live on without symptoms for many years, even for life.

But during torrential rainfall, and/or if the spigot is clogged – if the total load becomes to much to handle – disease can break out violently, suddenly, seemingly out of the blue. The barrel overflows, and we are flooded by the multi-systemic infectious diseases syndrome, often somewhat narrowly defined as lyme disease.

Aware of the complex, comprehensive picture, we have to aim broadly, and also far. We have to fight bacteria and parasites, the immune system needs to be strengthened, crippled organs need to be set free in order for them to work as intended, our physical stamina has to be restored.

The longer the barrel has overflowed, the longer the way back. Baby steps are encouraged, as is keeping one’s head up – relentlessly fixed on the long-term goal – even during the bad days. All this remembering that two steps up, one step back still lead us home.