Is Chronic Lyme Disease Real? Part 1

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The Lyme Disease Controversy

This morning I read a disturbing article written by David Heitz.  I cannot verify his credentials, but he describes himself as a freelance writer who specializes in health/LGBT reporting.

In his article, entitled, No, You Do Not Have Chronic Lyme Disease (yes, that really is the title) he attempts to make a case against chronic Lyme.Please note, the article is written on a health website, healthline.com. However, the author makes many medical claims about Lyme disease without providing resources or research to support them.

On the other hand, the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) is an organization that consistently supports its claims with research. They are highly regarded as experts in the education and training of physicians who care for patients with Lyme disease. They have this to say about chronic Lyme.

A preponderance of evidence indicates that active ongoing spirochetal infection with or without other tick-borne coinfections is the cause of the persistent symptoms in chronic Lyme disease.

This is in stark contrast with Heitz’s article.

Fact And Fiction

There are many misleading statements in the article, like this one,

The number of Lyme disease cases in the United States more than doubled from 1995 to 2009, to almost 30,000, according to the IDSA, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that Lyme disease cases may be up to 10 times higher than reported.

While the numbers show information provided by the CDC’s website, the author fails to mention these numbers (up to 300, 000) are for the reported Lyme cases from only one year. If someone didn’t know this, he or she might assume that there were up to 300,000 cases of Lyme, in the U.S., total.

No wonder there is so much controversy about Lyme!

He also says,

Lyme disease from a tick bite can be cured with a short course of antibiotics.

While it is true that many cases of Lyme disease can be eradicated if the patient receives proper treatment promptly, his statement suggests that anyone with Lyme simply needs to take “a short course of antibiotics” and he or she will be cured.

This is like a doctor telling someone ” You can’t get Lyme disease in (fill in the blank with your city or town).”

Been there. Done that.

False Truths
is chronic lyme disease real

Comments like these are simply not true and perpetuate misunderstandings about the harsh realities of Lyme.

As a result, there is a lack of empathy for people who are in a real struggle. This is clear in the title to Mr. Heitz’s article.

A fellow blogger from WinonaLyme.com read his article too. She commented,

With something as controversial and complex as Lyme disease, you should treat it with the utmost respect.  Instead he dropped it, stomped on it, added a sneering snobby title, then slapped it up on the internet.

Ahem…I couldn’t agree more.

It’s no secret there is great controversy over Lyme disease, including

  • diagnosis
  • treatment protocols

But I’d like to share my thoughts on one particularly heated controversy.

Is Chronic Lyme Disease Real?

It depends on who you ask. If you ask the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) they prefer to call it “post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome”.

But, if you ask someone who has Lyme who has had to quit their job due to the severe nature of their ongoing (aka chronic) illness their answer would probably be an emphatic, “Yes, chronic Lyme disease is real!” (raising my hand up high here)

Personally, it doesn’t matter that much to me what we call it (even though Chronic Lyme Disease is a fitting description).

But, maybe we have bigger fish to fry…like trying to find a cure for Lyme for every patient.

So…

Potato, potahto,

Tomato, tomahto.

I’m not saying the the “chronic” issue is not important at all, but I do think there are so many Lyme-related issues that are worthy of our attention.

Issues, Attitudes And Beliefs Behind The Lyme Debate

In my humble opinion, the problem is more about the issues, attitudes and beliefs behind the debate. These factors can have a big impact on our understanding.

What matters most is that we acknowledge:

  • Lyme disease is real.
  • The disease is not cut and dry.
  • Hundreds of thousands of people are diagnosed with it each year, and many of them were sick for a long time before their diagnosis. And often these people will continue having health problems for a long time (chronically).
  • These people need and deserve compassion, understanding and support.
  • Most chronically ill Lyme patient’s care is not covered by medical insurance costing untold amounts, causing families to have to sell their possessions and homes, and sometimes declare bankruptcy to afford the costly, out-of-pocket treatments.

is chronic lyme disease realThis helps the public understand and empathize with other people who are suffering with Lyme (just like we would empathize with someone who has cancer, or heart disease, or is homeless, or has lost a loved one).

For example, what about people who lose their home (because they can’t work to pay the bills) and have to file bankruptcy due to the toll of Lyme disease? This really happens to hardworking, good people, but you’d never know it from reading Weitz’s article.

And how about those whose health insurance doesn’t cover the treatments they need to get better, and they’ve spent their life’s savings simply trying to survive?

Although I was diagnosed with Lyme disease (according to CDC standards) the majority of the tens of thousands of dollars my family has spent on my necessary treatments have been out-of-pocket.

What Is Heitz Saying And Why Is He Saying it?

Is the author saying we (people with “chronic” Lyme, or whatever you choose to call it) don’t exist?

Or is he saying our lives don’t matter?

He is the only one who knows for sure. But I will choose to believe he cares about other people, even though this isn’t reflected in the article. Much of what he wrote could be due to misunderstanding.

We can all be susceptible to believing falsehoods perpetuated by the media. But reporters and writers also have a responsibility to research topics thoroughly before presenting them as truth before the public.

After reading the article I went to the bottom of the page to read the comments. But, I was surprised to find that there weren’t any. There isn’t a link to leave a comment either.

But, a statement at the end of the article asks readers, is chronic Lyme disease real

Was this article helpful?

So, I answered “no” and sent them a return email detailing my reasons and expressing my concerns. Woah, am I coming out of my shell or what?!  😉

I’m anxiously awaiting their reply and will follow up and share with you when I receive it.

** Update:  It’s been nearly 3.5 months since I contacted healthline.com about their article. I have not heard back from them.


Do you know anyone who has been sick with Lyme disease for a long time? What are your thoughts about Chronic Lyme Disease? Do you believe our attitudes and beliefs shape our understanding?

Please share your thoughts below in the comments section.


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8 Health Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar

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Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been around since 5000 BC.

Hippocrates, the “father of medicine” used it in 400 BC.

In French “vinegar” means “sour wine”. The process of making vinegar is similar to making alcohol. Fermented carbohydrates are used to produce vinegar.

The “mother” is an essential part of unfiltered apple cider vinegar (such as Braggs, developed by Paul Bragg, nutritionist).  It is the cloudy part which forms when bacteria ferments.

It is useful for cleaning and hygienic purposes. Its health benefits are mighty due to antibacterial, amino acids, and antioxidant properties.

There are many claims on the internet about the miraculous powers of apple cider vinegar, but today I want to present the benefits which have been proven by research.

8 Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar

1. It Kills Bad Breath

Vinegar is an antibacterial and can kill the bacteria that cause bad breath and gingivitis. Just be careful not to swallow undiluted vinegar because it can burn the esophagus.

You can make a mouthwash by adding 1 tablespoon of ACV to 1 cup of water. Swish this mixture in your mouth. Then spit it out in the sink.

Or, you can simply add 1 to 2 tablespoons of ACV to an 8-ounce glass of water and drink it daily to end bad breath.

2. It Contains Acetic Acid Which Can Kill Some Types Of Bacteria

Acetic Acid is the primary active compound in vinegar.

It was used throughout history as a food preservative because it prevents the growth of certain bacteria.

3. It Is An Effective All-Natural Household Cleaner

ACV has effective cleansing and disinfecting properties.

Because it is all-natural and does not contain harmful chemicals, it is perfectly safe to use in all the rooms in your house. Eliminating the use of chemicals can cut down on the cumulative toxic load these products have on our bodies.

You can use it to clean windows, toilets, microwaves and surfaces in the kitchen.

4. It May Help With Weight Loss

Several studies show that vinegar can help to keep you feeling full longer (satiety). This may cause you to eat fewer calories, which can translate to losing a few pounds.

In addition, one particular study of people who were obese showed a decrease in body weight, triglycerides and body fat mass when they regularly consumed vinegar (1).

5. The Mother Is A Good Source Of Prebiotics

Most likely, you’re familiar with probiotics, but have you heard of prebiotics?

They can help promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria. This in turn can help treat digestive issues, such as indigestion, leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and diarrhea.

6. It May Lower Blood Sugar Levels

The acetic acid in vinegar may lower blood sugar by preventing the body from fully digesting carbohydrates (2). This is important for everyone because high blood sugar levels are connected to a host of chronic diseases.

Because ACV is an anti-glycemic, it is especially helpful for people who have Type 2 Diabetes (3).

7. It May Have Heart Health Benefits

Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, is the leading cause of death in the world.

In a study done on rats ACV lowered blood pressure and LDL and raised the HDL (4).

More research should be done on the effects of ACV in humans before we can draw a definitive conclusion. But the earlier research suggests the possibility that it may have cardiovascular benefits for humans.

8. It May Help Prevent Cancer

You might have read online about the supposed cancer-fighting effects of vinegar (5). There are isolated studies that prove vinegar is able to kill cancer cells. However these studies took place in test tubes and were performed on rats, not humans.

All in all, it’s fair to say that ACV might prevent cancer in humans, but more research is needed to be sure.

benefits of apple cider vinegar
8 Health Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar (Infographic)

Recommended Dosages And Side Effects Of ACV

Recommendations include using unfiltered, organic apple cider vinegar with the “mother”. My favorite is Braggs.

A great way to get your daily dose of ACV is to use it in homemade salad dressings (with olive oil, for example) or stir fry.

Many people prefer to dilute it in water and drink it. Although there is no official dosage, people often take between 1 to 2 teaspoons or 1 to 2 tablespoons diluted in water daily.

Do not take more than this each day, because at higher amounts it could have harmful effects.

I recommend drinking this dilution first thing in the morning.

  • I enjoy this drink mixture even more when adding freshly squeezed lemon juice from 1 lemon and Stevia to taste.

People have experienced side effects of esophageal burning from taking ACV straight up, undiluted.

Please only take it diluted to prevent burning and possible damage to the esophagus.

Overall, there are many benefits of apple cider vinegar, including weight control and lowering blood sugar. It is a product I’ve grown to love and hope you will too!


Do you use apple cider vinegar? Have you noticed any of these (or other) benefits of apple cider vinegar?

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.


You can learn more about apple cider vinegar from Dr. Oz here if you like.

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Healthy Coffee Drink (With Coconut Oil) Recipe

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Coffee Time!

If you’re like me, you’re not fully awake and ready for the day until you’ve had your morning cup of joe.

In the past, I’d add Stevia, a splash of milk and our favorite sugar-free coffee creamer, Italian Sweet Cream, to my coffee. That was until I realized the creamer had Splenda in it. 🙁 You can check out information on the potential dangers of Splenda here.)

So, I started looking for new ways to drink my morning java that would be equally (or even more) delicious and much less harmful to my health. I wanted to make healthy coffee!

When I was researching coconut oil, I learned that some people add it to their coffee. I tried it, and liked the way it tasted, but I couldn’t get past the oily and less-than-appealing way it looked.

Then I noticed  that some people mix their coffee, coconut oil and add-ins in a blender (I use my NutriBullet), so I decided to give it a try too.

Why Try This Healthy Mocha Coffee Drink?

  • Because it’s amazingly delicious and rivals anything you buy at the overpriced Starbucks
  • Because coconut oil is a rich source of saturated medium chain fatty acids, so it can help you lose weight (if that’s what you’re going for) (1).
  • It is quick and easy to make
  • It gives you a boost of energy that lasts all morning
  • Who doesn’t love chocolate for breakfast?

So without further ado…

Recipe for Healthy Mocha Coffee Drink (with Coconut Oil)

Recipe for Healthy Mocha Coffee Drink (with Coconut Oil)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of coffee (or more), hot
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • a splash of pure vanilla
  • stevia
  • 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder or cacao nibs
  • a sprinkle of cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Put all the ingredients except the cinnamon in a blender. Blend thoroughly, 30 seconds to a minute, depending on your desired froth. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon.
  2. Drink and enjoy!
https://www.lorigeurin.com/healthy-coffee/

  • Please note that if you’ve never eaten coconut oil you will probably want to start with 1 teaspoon and work your way up. If you’re not used to it, you might notice some mild side effects because coconut oil speeds up your metabolism. (I’ve never experienced any side effects, but want to make you aware because everyone is different) 😉

This is our favorite brand of coconut oil. It’s both affordable and high-quality.


Do you love coffee? Will you try this healthy coffee recipe and let me know what you think?

Please let me know what you think in the comment section below.


If you enjoyed this article, you may want to read:

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Chronic Illness: What’s A Spoonie Anyway?

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What’s a spoonie? If you have a chronic illness or know someone who does then you may have heard this term before.

But if you’re like me, before my illness, I had no knowledge of the term.

So, What’s A Spoonie?

A spoonie refers to anyone who has a chronic illness.

This can include:

  • lupus, like Selena Gomez
  • Lyme disease
  • heart disease
  • cancer
  • stroke
  • fibromyalgia
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Sjogren’s syndrome, like Venus Williams
  • HIV
  • epilepsy
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Parki nson’s disease, like Michael J. Fox
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Chronic migraine
  • Mixed Connective Tissue Disease

There are others too, but this covers some of the most well-known chronic illnesses.

The Spoon Theory

Christine Miserandino developed The Spoon Theory to help explain to her friend what it’s like to live with a chronic illness, in her case lupus. Even though her friend had been beside her throughout her illness, she struggled to understand what it was really like.

To explain the theory to her friend, Christine handed her a bunch of spoons and said, “Here you go, you have Lupus”.

Next, she “explained that the difference in being sick and being healthy is having to make choices or to consciously think about things when the rest of the world doesn’t have to. The healthy have the luxury of a life without choices, a gift most people take for granted. ”

She then asked her friend to count how many spoons she had. Christine explained for each activity, or daily task, her friend did (such as washing her hair, shaving her legs, getting dressed, typing on a computer, and standing on a train) she would have to give up a spoon.

She told her friend that if she didn’t choose her spoons wisely she would be out of spoons before the day had barely started.

At the end of the hypothetical day her friend only had one spoon left, and was starving. If she cooked dinner, that would cost her the final spoon. But then she wouldn’t have any left to wash the dishes. On the other hand, if she went out for dinner, she might lack the energy to drive herself home.

Although my battle with Lyme disease is going on close to 4 years now, I had wondered until recently what a Spoonie was, that is until I came across The Spoon Theory. I shared it with my sweet Mom and she thought it was a great way to explain what I’ve been through and what others go through every day.

what's a spoonieNo Sob Stories Here

So, my purpose is not to tell a sob story about myself or anyone else. 😉

My intention is to share this insightful concept, The Spoon Theory, with you so it might help you and the ones you love.

If you have a chronic illness you may want to consider sharing the theory with loved ones to help them better understand what your daily life is truly like. As much as they love you and care about what you’re going through, chances are they don’t fully get it, because it’s truly hard to understand if you haven’t lived it yourself.

I didn’t have a clue what chronic illness was all about until I had became ill with Lyme disease and 4 other chronic illnesses (Sjogren’s, Mixed Connective Tissue Disease, fibromyalgia and chronic migraine).

It wasn’t that I didn’t care about people going through health crises, because I did. But I see it very differently now and I’m thankful for the Spoon Theory to help others better understand what it’s like.

It’s so not fun having to cancel plans with family and friends at the last-minute because you’re “all out of spoons” but now I’m thankful to have The Spoon Theory in my back pocket to help when I need it most!


Do you have a chronic illness or know someone who does?

Do you think you might use the Spoon Theory to help your loved ones better understand what you’re going through?

Please share in the comment section below. I’d love to know what you think about this!


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