One thing that I see as a pretty common thread among Lyme patients it's very easy to become overwhelmed. Not only is our cognitive function already impaired by our condition, we are often forced to be our own researchers and doctors as most of mainstream medicine simply gives up trying to help us, or they refuse to even acknowledge our problems exist.
When we try to delve into issues of treating Lyme and coinfections, there is A LOT of incomplete and contradictory information. As humans we crave a sense of certainty to make plans and strategize to overcome problems. Its hard enough to even truly confirm our diseases, as testing is so complex and problematic, and not knowing if treatments will even work, with so much negativity and doom and gloom among Lyme patients, makes it even more uncertain. Most people arent willing to even consider treating for a year or more if it we think it may not even work, or if we think we may get even worse from trying to treat.
In the absence of certainty it can be in our nature to take no action, especially for the more indecisive among us. This was me for at least two years. I had been bitten by many ticks and knew in my heart that most, if not all of my health issues were related to a tick infection. I tested positive through Igenix, IGM, but I was told by well respected ID doctors that this was a false positive and there is no Lyme where I live. So after taking 2 months of antibiotics, I wanted to believe what I was being told, and decided to do nothing further.
I also own a beautiful full bred Collie. I walked with him everywhere, deep into the woods. I would pull dozens of ticks off him and myself every week, and thought nothing about it, as I was completely uneducated about the dangers of tick diseases. The only tick disease I had ever heard of was Lyme, and was always told there was no lyme in the south any way. We had both been bitten numerous times without issues. I thought the worst it would cause was the mild irritation and itching in the skin from the bite itself.
Then, about 3-4 weeks after getting bit by 5-6 large ticks, with one attaching over night, I become very sick very quickly. He became sick about the same time I did. He tested positive for Lyme, Ehrlichia and RMSF. Just like myself, I treated him for 2 months and moved on.
I could tell he wasnt better, and neither was I, so I continued researching everything I could about tick borne disease in both dogs and humans. I would spend hours every day pouring over complex scientific studies and reading every article I could that even mentioned the subject. At one time I think I had clicked on every single google search result link about Lyme treatment, over 30 pages of results.
Then, at a certain point, I just had enough. Without any clear answers I just decided to ignore it and distract myself and put it the back of my mind. After researching every day for a full year, the next year I didnt spend any time or effort thinking about tick diseases, even though I was still sick and knew I still had something tick related. All that that thought and research had led to no clear answers, and nothing productive, so I figured what was the point. I did nothing.
I was able to suffer through myself, at a limited capacity and just tried to accept my new normal even though I was disappointed in my lost potential. But over time I began to notice subtle changes in my dog over 2 years. He was prematurely aging and limping at only 5. He comes from an excellent bloodline of AKC nationally awarded agility, show, utility and companion dogs. He was very carefully bred by an experienced breeder of 40 years, so I knew his issues werent genetic, and I began to feel bad he ended up with me. I was able to rationalize my own limitations, but seeing him being disabled and limited and aging before his time was undeniable and it FINALLY prompted me to take action.
I had enough of doing nothing so I put him on a longterm regiment of antibiotics, no different from the regiments many of you are now taking. Doxy and Ceftin, then Rifampin and finally Baytril. Being very consistent, I stuck with it, and month after month, I began to see some very positive changes. The limping and lethargy stopped. He was once again happily playing with other dogs instead of snapping on them, his eyes went from dull to bright, and his coat returned to a soft healthy glow. It was like turning back the hands of time. He was once again living up to his true genetic potential.
I didnt think this was possible before. I had read a lot of "natural" dog blogs and magazines about all the dangers of exposing animals to antibiotics and dangerous toxins, and I was afraid to make him worse, so I chose to do nothing. I had read so many horror stories people posted online about side effects and seizures and cancer they attributed to antibiotics. However, once I decided we had nothing to lose I was finally focused and motivated enough to take action. My thinking eventually became even if treatment killed him, at least he wouldnt suffer as a shell of himself. After reading about so many negative stories of treatment failures in both dogs and humans, I really didnt expect it to work, BUT IT DID!
I say all of this because treating my dog has taught me a very valuable lesson that I wanted to share with other people that are overwhelmed by all the noise surrounding Lyme treatment. Any action is better than inaction. My dog was like the canary in the coal mine that survived. I saw the same symptoms in him that I was having. It was a daily visual reminder of what these diseases can do. Not only did he serve as a warning and a barometer of the danger, he responded excellently to treatment and showed me that getting better was indeed a very real possibility.
I used him somewhat as my own science experiment, and now I am convinced not only in the safety of longterm antibiotics, but their necessity in treating these diseases. For a dog half my weight, many of the doses he was given are the same dose humans get. I gave him strong probiotics and monitored his liver. He had no noticeable adverse events besides intermittent reduction in appetite.
I dont want to turn this into an herbs vs antibiotics post, thats not my intention. It is our immune systems that kill these diseases. Antibiotics are scientifically proven to target these diseases and tip the scales in the favor of our immune systems to do the job, so thats the way I'm going, and thats what I did for my dog, and it worked.
Choose your own weapons, but above all JUST DO SOMETHING. I especially want to stress this point to those of you that may be relatively new to all of this. No words can compel you into action, you have to experience it yourself to really know, but I just wish I had cancelled out the noise and pushed forward 2-3 years ago when all of this started. Even with Lyme and 2 coinfections that lingered for 2-3 years, my dog still responded beautifully to treatment. Don't convince yourself it's too late and dont justify inaction because of all the marose negativity you see about people's complaints and treatment failures online.
Remember just like a business review or a product review on AMazon, people usually only feel compelled to share negative experiences. The positive ones are maybe one sentence and the negative ones are pages long. Dont let the negativity shape your perception like it did mine.
I know this was a very long read and a lot of you probably wont sift through it. It was kind of just catharthis for me just to articulate these thoughts and experiences somewhere, but I feel sharing this experience can help someone out there. I feel like if I could post this back in time for myself to read 3 years ago, it would have been really helpful.
Dont stagnate in inaction and settle for less. Move forward, adapt and dont quit. Be stubborn in your treatment. Good things can and do happen.