Living with a chronic Lyme disease infection can be extremely painful and life-altering. Fatigue overtakes you leaving your mind in a fog and your body so heavy you can barely roll over in bed. I have never slept as deeply or as much as I have during my illness with chronic Lyme. I’m not sure I could ever explain it adequately. I’ve had four children and I can tell you the fatigue a new mom might experience is mild compared to the fatigue that overtakes you when you have chronic Lyme.
I’ve found through the years that each person affected by chronic Lyme and other tick-borne diseases have many symptoms in common but to varying degrees. Some are completely bedridden, some requiring hospitalization while others can push through continuing to work and maintaining their busy lifestyles, slowing down only occasionally. This is determined much by the individual’s immune system, how long the individual has had the infections, what co-infections they have and which treatments they have received.
What is a Herx?
Once treatment has begun for tick-borne infections it’s common to experience an increase in symptoms commonly called a Herx or Jarish-Herxheimer reaction. This is believed to be a result of dead bacteria releasing their endotoxins into the bloodstream and into the body’s tissues which would normally eliminate the toxins. During a herx, this die-off occurs much faster than the body can handle, leaving toxins in the body. These “left-over” toxins produce an inflammatory response causing an increase in symptoms.
Because Lyme disease often goes undiagnosed, it’s possible to go on antibiotics for an unrelated infection, like a sinus infection, and then begin to have increased pain and possibly even symptoms that have never occurred before. Antibiotics can create a Lyme herx but they can also take away Lyme pain for a short period of time, or until antibiotics are discontinued. This is because Lyme bacteria will often go into hiding until the threat of antibiotics is over.
Although Herxing is commonly referred to when speaking of Lyme, it is not Lyme specific, it’s seen with many other diseases, bacterial & parasitic infections and even with a candida (fungal) infection.
Lyme sufferers will also experience an increase of symptoms because of a flare. A Lyme flare is not a herx and usually happens as an inflammatory response to the life-cycle of the infection, eating inflammatory foods such as sugar, gluten, carbohydrates or foods that cause sensitivities or allergies. Stress, environment and lack of sleep can also contribute to a Lyme flare.
A Healing Crisis is the term used when more natural treatments, like homeopathic remedies, are used. A healing crisis is different from a herx in that during a healing crisis your body learns to respond to the infection in order to heal and eliminate the infection or illness.
I think the term “healing crisis” sounds more positive, don’t you? It reminds us that our body is healing, that we need to slow down and care for ourselves.
Taking Care of Yourself
Regardless of what we call it, increased symptoms are an alarm system telling us to stop what we’re doing and pay attention. During this time we will need to get plenty of rest, drink plenty of pure water, include a squeezed lemon to help with the detoxification process, and eat healthy nutritious food. There are many things that can be done to minimize this time of increased pain and fatigue.
Our family, especially my children, find it helpful to take Detox Baths using Epsom salt mixed with pure essentials oils from Young Living, our favorite for this purpose is lavender. Lavender is very calming, Epsom salts provide the magnesium that our bodies need and helps to draw toxins from the body leaving us more relaxed and hopefully reducing symptoms.
Drinking plenty of water during this time is incredibly important so that the body doesn’t become dehydrated but also to help clear the toxins from the digestive tract, the liver, and other detoxification pathways.
We’ve also found that using Burbur and Sarsasparilla tinctures can help as quickly as 5 or 10 minutes. Sometimes it’s been necessary to use this combination every hour depending on the severity of our symptoms. Infrared Sauna and lymphatic massage are also very helpful to ease symptoms and help aid in detoxification.
Over the past 5 years, we’ve incorporated the use of Young Living essential oils into our daily routine. I have come to love these oils because I know they are pure and safe for my family. Young Living not only manufactures their oils themselves but they also own farms in indigenous areas where they grow the herbs and plants. Young Living is not just a bottling company but is involved in the growing, harvesting and processing of their essential oils from seed to seal.
I feel confident that these oils are helping us in our journey toward healing and I have experienced firsthand how they work to alleviate pain and help with detoxing. We have used them to boost our immune system when we’ve been exposed to viral or bacterial infections and I even use them to clean my home in order to avoid toxic chemicals.
If you’re interested in learning more or purchasing Young Living Oils, I’d love to help you. Take a look at their products by going to the Young Living website. You can use my Distributor number #1206972 when ordering. If you’d like to discuss the use of oils feel free to leave a comment or email me.
If you find that your efforts to detoxify are not working and your symptoms are more than you can handle, it’s very important to contact your doctor right away. Symptoms can become severe enough to need immediate medical attention. You also need to be careful not to blame all your symptoms on a flare or herx and then miss something else that may be an unrelated but serious health concern.
Whether you’re having a herx, a flare or a healing crisis, take good care of yourself. Slow down and listen to your body. Learn ways that you can alleviate your symptoms. Nutritious food, healthy water, and detoxification are the keys to feeling better more quickly.