Warning! There is a giant mob of bloodthirsty ticks crawling around like a pack of Gremlins headed towards a public swimming pool to reproduce en masse! Didn’t you know? Never get a tick wet, they HATE bright lights, and Never EVER feed them after midnight!
Seriously though. There is an epidemic rise of Lyme Disease sweeping the globe. It patterns, not necessarily a rise in tick bites or tick populations, but a rise in articles about Lyme disease on the internet and shady alternative-ish docs treating it. I bet these bloodthirsty ticks can give you candida and leaky gut syndrome too! Well, as long as you avoid sugar, gluten, and lectins I’m sure you’ll be fine (I hope you are picking up the sarcasm there).
While I am plenty interested in chronic infections and believe that there may be a great deal of validity to the research being done on retroviruses, Lyme disease, chlamydia pneumoniae, and others – a part of me remains plenty skeptical as well. And even if these microbe, parasitic, and viral scares were legit – we might easily find that the main reason they become chronic infections is inability to achieve a fever (i.e. – reduced metabolism).
But it wasn’t until 180 commenter Big Kitten left this fabulous tale of her health adventures that I really got to take a trip into the shady world of the Lyme Disease Scam. It’s pure gold, as it involves a blend of strange and peculiar symptoms with no clear cause.
“Doc! I had a headache back in the summer of ’68 and my elbow has been itching lately. Any idea what it is?”
“Well, first we’ll need you to pull your pants down. Okay, very nice. Stick out your tongue. Aha, as I suspected! Lyme Disease! Follow this expensive treatment!”
Not to say that Lyme Disease isn’t real or isn’t a real concern, but it’s rapid gaining of steam in the alternative health sphere is certainly something that should raise an eyebrow of suspicion.
Anyway, this was one of the dozens of fabulous stories featured in 12 Paleo Myths: Eat Better Than a Caveman, just released this weekend. Hope it makes you look at this Lyme Disease wave with a healthy amount of skepticism. If not, you’ll still get to read a colorful story of dieting, Paleo, adrenal fatigue – and finally, salvation using a powerful substance that doesn’t come in CC’s, or milligrams, but in scoops and pints. You might also find this article on Lyme Disease Myths an interesting read. Enjoy…
“I starved myself on and off throughout my teenage years, but then as my twenties dawned I took on a more respectable approach and would periodically cut out carbs. But then, disaster struck: After many years of physical and emotional stress (my family is so screwed up that they truly take the fun OUT of dysfunction. Dysction, I guess.) I got weirdly ill. My knee was so messed up that until the MRI showed no actual tissue damage, the doctor thought I had ruptured my ACL. A similar mystery happened to my foot, I started losing weight without trying, had huge dark circles under my eyes, spasms and twitches all over my body, my heart rate and blood pressure would shoot sky high at random, my hair was coming out in clumps and what was growing in was super baby fine, my hands and feet and shins tingled all the time, I had gross yellow-green bruises everywhere, burns and cuts took forever to heal…and I am eating a really healthy diet at this point.
So I go to a million doctors and they think there’s nothing wrong, I need a vacation or something. Hot dog! I really felt like traveling! I couldn’t get out of bed! And I was uninsured, blowing through all my savings to pay my medical bills AND I had to give up my job! Yeah! I’ll take a fucking cruise! Thanks Doc! After awhile they started prescribing Valium. I just could not believe that the random spikes in my heart rate were anxiety attacks. I would be fine, reading a book, laughing at a joke, and then BAM. Heart rate spike. Start sweating, getting really cold…I was waking up drenched in cold sweats, I mean, this was awful! So I searched and searched for an answer and then I encountered the Lyme community. Anyone familiar with these guys? Pretty much the idea is that if you have a weird problem that’s gone undiagnosed, you have Lyme, as well as a few other tick-born pathogens, most likely.
I don’t mean to say that this theory isn’t possibly the truth for many, but the way these “Lyme Literate M.D’s” approach it is a joke. I went to this doctor and he asked me if I had been experiencing “fatigue and malaise.” Why yes doctor! Indeed I have! “Okay!” he says “You have Lyme!” and he proceeds to write me THREE scripts for THREE different antibiotics, all of which I’m supposed to take for six months, all at the same time. And when I asked him questions, when I asked to have the diagnosis explained, my skepticism was sort of swatted away with a puzzled look and, wait for it, a prayer. He prayed for my healing….but I’m going online and all these really desperate people are so glad to get help, and a lot of these Lyme stories sound like me…but I’m way too freaked by the inevitable fallout of such a protocol that I hold off on the antibiotics and go on an all-natural approach instead.
So I decided on a low carb modified paleo that allowed a bit of dairy. Maybe not paleo so much as early shepherding nomad man, mainly because germs love sugar so I figured I’d starve them to death. That’s always an interesting theory, that germs need sugar to live so stop eating sugar…I know of another organism that needs sugar to live too…hmmm. Anyway, the only fruit I ate was green apples because I figured they were probably the closest commercially available thing to the sour, knotted fruits that grow wild here in the temperate zone…I ate sweet potatoes occasionally…I just ate tons and tons of meat. Craving a cracker?? I’ll just fry up some chicken thighs real crispy to give it that crackery crunch! Mmm mmm! Still hungry?!!? Even after eating all that delicious, nourishing protein??? How ’bout three avocados and a head of raw cabbage! What’s this? Digestive upset?? HOW? Think of all the ENZYMES from those delicious raw vegetables!!! Think about how HEALTHY it is to eat vegetables that aren’t really that tasty, have no quantifiable caloric value and are trying their darndest to keep animals like us from eating them! Yum! What’s this? You say I can have UNLIMITED RAW VEGGIES???? Oh happy day! Really, I just love to eat veggies. They’re my favorite food, I swear, no I never crave processed foods like cake! HA HA! Ha. ha.
Anyway, I did this for about four months, along with swallowing down a ton of “immune boosting” or rather, “putting your immune system into hyper-overdrive” supplements. I was losing more and more weight (to note, one doctor told me I looked “good” since the precipitous, unintended weight loss), literally literally literally my skin thinned out. I could see all my blood vessels in gross detail, WATER hurt my hands. Bathing was a real challenge. The only thing that made me feel normal for about twenty minutes was coffee. I know, real Paleo. Well who knows, when did the South American Indians start drinking coffee? Is coffee allowed on Paleo? I just know it has no sugar, so I was good to go. And I’d feel like myself for a brief window in time, and then it was back to bed.
During this low carb bout, my blood pressure sunk from a lifetime average of 135/80 to 95/70….When a nurse took my BP and saw this, I gasped and explained to her that never in my life had my BP been that low…she just looked at me like I was crazy and assured me that low blood pressure is a good thing! Well, what about the fact that I’m thinner now than I was as an enthusiastic intravenous drug user, even though I’m housing bunless burgers at every opportunity?? “Great!” she smiles, “Weight loss is great, you’re within a normal range for your height, you look great!” Well, what about the fact that I almost passed out three times since I’ve been sitting here with you, nurse? “GREAT! Most Americans BP and weight is high, so if yours is drastically lower, then that has to be a good thing! Cuz high is bad and low is good! Of course! Now sit tight, the doctor will be right in to further ignore these alarming numbers!” (She didn’t say the last line.)
So, long story short(ened an bit), after a while I gave up the whole theory and found a cheap doctor right down the road from my house who cursed and fist bumped and was actually open to there being something wrong with me other than needing to go to Disneyland or having an unprovable tick disease…and I also lied to him and told him that Addison’s disease runs in my family just to get him to test my adrenals because I had read that doctors never do so on their own. Sure enough, my catecholamines were undetectably low, as tested via a 24 hour whizz test and blood work. No epinephrine, no dopamine, and scant amounts of cortisol. I was checked out for tumors and growths and other weird stuff that could cause this, and I checked out clear for all of them. To my doctor, it’s still a mystery, but to me, I knew exactly what the problem was. I had seriously blown the shit out of my adrenals, and I did it through stress, and very large part of that stress being dietary, dietary like eating a pile of meat and vegetables and treating myself to a sour apple for dessert. Mmm.
I retooled my whole approach, ate an organic scoop of vanilla ice cream on a sugar cone with rainbow sprinkles daily, stopped most of the supplements, but I started taking minerals and amino acids (to help with the dopamine) a B complex for adrenal support as well as maca, holy basil, and licorice to help with cortisol production, E to help with circulation. I stopped the coffee, stopped feeling bad about needing to lay in bed and made sure to never ever ever let myself get hungry. Food on me at all times. Within a month the circles were fading from under my eyes, the spasms and twitches were almost history, water no longer stung to the touch and I was able to go for a mile long walk without having to turn around. What a triumph it was.
I’m still not 100 % (this was a fairly recent ordeal),but I am much improved. I truly thought I was going to die if I didn’t figure out what the hell the problem was, and I’m very glad I did. Perhaps if I had been reading the 180 blog instead of the Lyme people or the Paleo people’s blogs, I’d have felt better a lot sooner.
I really like what you’re doing here, I think you’re documenting a journey of thought and that you’re coming to the realization that most of the secrets of health are hidden in plain sight. And to all those who are all mad at you and want diet plans and statistics, they are missing the entire point and I don’t think it’s something you can convince them of. People have to realize it for themselves.
Everything has trade offs. Grains and dairy can make you fat, sure. But they can also make you healthy, fertile, taller and stronger, as our evolution and history proves. Demonizing food groups that took us from squat, compact, short-lived beasts to the overpopulated, comfortable mess we are now is a short-sighted point of view. And if you really need an argument for why civilized foods are okay, perhaps you haven’t been subjected to a good cheese board lately, hmmm?”
So, what are your thoughts, opinions, and experiences with Lyme Disease?