links, research, treatment

Strong Evidence of Lyme Persistence in Monkeys

A recent study (2012) proved the persistence of Bb (Lyme) in Rhesus Monkeys. The researchers waited 27 weeks after infection in their first experiment, which is all I’ll discuss here, and then tested with multiple methods. The Eliza declined in treated animals, which might be interpreted to say treatment worked. However, in fact, spirochetal DNA and RNA were both detectable in multiple treated animals (not all, but some). DNA and RNA means that Bb was both present and active/alive in some sense (being transcribed). Here’s a quote:

Continue reading “Strong Evidence of Lyme Persistence in Monkeys”

treatment

Off antibiotics!

I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I last wrote in … I certainly haven’t forgotten about this blog or having Lyme disease, but as an academic the beginning of the semester always rolls over me in waves leaving little time to step back and reflect. Fall is especially bad because there are many conferences to travel to (I just returned from a trip) and I always submit to an important conference in my field around mid September (just before my trip this year).

It’s hard to believe how far I’ve come in a year, but as I roll through my second year since diagnosis I often find myself reflecting on where I’ve been. Two years ago I was desperately seeking a diagnosis, unsure what was happening to me, and floundering at work as I attempted to sprint through what felt like molasses. A year ago I had finally come to terms with the prospect of long term antibiotics, only to descend into one of my worst periods ever. I will never forget my attempts to submit to that same conference deadline, which consisted of hours and hours of painful attempts to look sideways at my screen as I edited the most mindless parts of my papers interspersed with occasional moments of clarity in which I would sprint away from anything that could stop me from writing with an over the shoulder request to my husband to take over if kids were involved, and dive in to do as much as possible before the pain and cognitive dysfunction descended again. In contrast, leading up to this September’s deadline, I had only brief mild headaches and not even every day, with no other major cognitive impairments. Continue reading “Off antibiotics!”

thoughts

Curing versus Healing

I’ve struggled with the opposing need to believe that I will overcome this and to accept where I am and what I have. Much of the time recently I’ve found that I can at best achieve only one — accept where I am. This essay is about how I’ve come to believe I can overcome as well.

I believe that chronic illness is an opportunity for growth. I’ve written before about my experiences with RSI. What I don’t think I mentioned is that I now look back on that experience without regret. I integrated it into my life, allowed it to teach me, and let it become part of me. Some of the things I learned along the way included how to manage my time extremely well (which has payed off in spades as a faculty member and mom) and how to treat my body better (in terms of sleep, exercise and food). I also learned to accept my limitations — I still remember the moment when a stranger first labeled me disabled. As my visceral “no!” slowly turned into a yes, I learned about what disability really means and even began to incorporate disability issues into my teaching and research. I also found a job in which I would not constantly be struggling with my limitations. I am a healthier, happier, and more successful person in part because of my RSI. In fact, I stopped feeling sorry for myself even before I knew if a cure would be possible.

Recently I’d been thinking about that experience and asking what Lyme has to teach me. For example, it taught me how to be a better parent by sharing with my children the ability to be joyous even when we cannot do everything we hope to do. But I had not yet succeeded in achieving faith in my ability to overcome lyme and I began to wonder if perhaps I should view this as an opportunity to learn something about faith.

It seems to me that religion and faith often go hand in hand, so I decided to sit down with a rabbi and ask her about faith and illness. I’ve been processing our conversation and the reading materials she gave me since then … and I think I’ve finally found what I need to work on. I’ve been failing to believe in the wrong thing — the unknowable possibility of a cure. What I succeeded in believing in with the RSI and need to focus on now is my ability to heal.

What is the difference between healing and a cure? Healing involves the spirit while a cure is entirely physical. A cure assumes a single, correct answer. Healing is multi-faceted. Healing also suggests a path toward increased wellness. It means letting go of anger and finding hope. It means asking what I can do to make my own journey easier and feeling the power of my own ability to take action. It means accepting what I cannot control, an instinct that I have until now felt was in opposition to hope. But it removes the conflict. They need not oppose eachother but can work together towards achieving increasing quality of life.