Stepping Stones

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Approximately seven years ago I contracted Lyme disease twice in one year. In the spring of that year I had the usual complaints associated with Lyme - achy joints, sore muscles, fatigue, etc. The usual treatment of antibiotics was administered with the usual results. All was good. Then in the fall I contracted Lyme again. This time it worked it's way into my brain. The usual Lyme test indicated positive for Lyme but a spinal tap indicated false for Lyme in the brain. However, anyone who knows much about Lyme will tell you that false negatives for Lyme are common. Also no one could explain to me why I was unable to walk a straight line for two months (vertigo or similar), or why I basically went insane. I don't remember having the usual aches and pains but I was probably too focused on what was going on with my brain to notice anything else. I assume the usual round of antibiotics took care of any aches and pains that were there. Unfortunately, as it is well known, antibiotics will not cross the blood-brain barrier. Therefore any Lyme in the brain would not be affected. The brain problems continued to worsen even when on antibiotics. I was living in southern New York at this time.

Family and doctors insisted I take antidepressants, anti-psychotics, or something similar. Even in my severely diminished mental state I knew that covering up the symptoms would not fix the problems and would only serve to perpetuate additional problems. I sought the assistance of a couple of naturopaths but without any money I didn't get very far in that area. One did give me a homeopathic remedy specifically for Lyme. I ended up getting divorced and leaving New York which, in my seriously diminished mental state I reasoned that this was in self defense. I thought of moving to Mexico to get access to cheap naturopaths but reasoned that I don't know any Spanish so it would be difficult to get around. Instead I chose to move to southern California so I would be able to get around yet still have access to Mexico. It didn't work out. My mind was too far gone to figure out how to find a Naturopath in Mexico so ended up just taking the homeopathic solution and using my limited knowledge of nutritional therapy, basically a scaled down version of the Gerson therapy, to try and cure the Lyme. It seemed to work, for a time. I thought I had it cured, perhaps not.

Backing up a little, a few years before the Lyme I had several things wrong with me, all of which I was told were incurable. Psoriasis, skin growths, degenerating nerves, two kinds of arthritis and several others. I cured all of them with diet. Some juicing but mostly diet. I had been reading about nutritional therapy, although hadn't tried it yet. My previous successes and this new knowledge is why I chose to use nutritional therapy to attempt a cure for the Lyme.

In subsequent years my life has been a bit of a roller coaster. In all of these ups and downs I have noticed one thing in particular. When I had money I was able to maintain a moderate version of nutritional therapy (basically a liter of carrot/apple juice per day) I did great. Other times I ran out of money and was unable to maintain the routine since it's somewhat expensive. During those times my mood and general well-being took a nose dive.

Time went on and the money I received from the divorce settlement ran out. I ended up on food stamps which was all I qualified for not being a long term CA resident. Food stamps with my restricted diet (I am hyper sensitive to MSG) meant I was able to eat about three weeks per month. Nutritional therapy was out of the question. I began to get sick again.

It should be noted here that the old saying "those who are truly insane don't know that they are insane" is absolutely true. At this point I had no idea I was getting sick.

I moved to San Diego, living in the back of my truck while trying to put together plans for a food trailer to sell my culinary creations at farmers markets. No money, no resources. In the state I was in this made perfect sense at the time, but of course in reality was totally absurd.

I ended up laying in the back of my truck with a razor blade against my wrist wondering how much it would hurt.

Around that time, with the assistance of a friend, my daughter Meagan showed up and literally kidnapped me and flew me to Kelowna. I didn't want to go but I was too weak, both physically and mentally to resist. She checked me into the Kelowna Gospel Mission (KGM) (homeless shelter) which eventually ended up being a good thing. From the second day I started working in the kitchen. Dishes mostly, then eventually some prep. I ended up working there so much, and with consideration of my MSG problem, I was aloud to raid the frig and make anything I wanted for myself. This was a big step toward improvement.

After a few months I moved into a place called Willowbridge - kind of a half way house where you have your own space but a communal kitchen. At about the same time a friend gave me a juicer. With my KGM privileges I was able to resume my modified nutritional therapy. My health then improved dramatically within a few weeks. I even ended up getting a paying job and a girlfriend.

Also at this time I ran into a Naturopath who agreed to do a heavy metal test and even managed to convince mental health to pay for the lab work. I was looking for mercury poisoning. Two years prior I had eleven mercury dental fillings removed and replaced with crowns. I had taken steps to remove any residual mercury but I couldn't think of any other reason at the time for my malfunctioning brain.

When the lab results came back I was surprised to find that my mercury level was below safe levels. My lead level on the other hand, was 11 1/2 times higher than what is considered safe. Clearly a major contributor to my life long struggle with mental issues. I went on chelation therapy for about nine months, during which time my mind cleared substantially. Also after the chelation I began to realize what I had lost in New York. Including my wife.

Life-long you ask? For this we have to go back a few decades. Early on in grade school I came to the realization that if the teacher didn't say it or put it on the board, it wouldn't be on the test. So I memorized everything the teacher said and put on the board. I never took notes, never studied, never did homework (unless it interested me). I aced nearly every test, failed almost every assignment, since I didn't do them, and had about a B average. Yes, I had a near photographic memory.

The problems began around the latter half of grade ten when my grades began to slip. Not significantly, but some. I barely passed grade eleven. By grade twelve if you asked me what the teacher said five minutes later I wouldn't know. I flunked grade twelve.

So, where would I get lead poisoning during this time? I grew up in a lead-zinc mining town. We moved there when I was in grade seven. They pumped the water from the same ground they mined the lead from. Makes it pretty obvious doesn't it? Yet I didn't realize it until I had the heavy metal test decades later. It is my belief that everyone who has lived in Pine Point NWT for more than a year or two before about 1979 when they changed the water supply, has chronic lead poisoning. Chronic lead poisoning can mess up pretty much every organ and system in the body, including the brain.

Now back to Kelowna.

Being able to work again it was easy to maintain my routine and both my physical and mental health steadily improved. I moved to Calgary with the GF and continued to improve, even to the point of resuming my handyman business and making a fairly good income.

Eventually the relationship with the GF didn't work out and I moved back to Kelowna expecting to resume my handyman business there. Little did I realize there is little to no work in Kelowna in the winter.

Again no money. Again had to quit the nutritional therapy. Again began to get sick.

Each time upon resuming the nutritional therapy I improve within a few weeks. A month or two at most. Each time stopping the therapy it takes several months to deteriorate. So slowly as not to be noticed much, kind of like the frog in the boiling water.

This is where the previous discussion of the Lyme disease comes in. Upon reflection of this history and the suggestion from a nurse mentioning that "Lyme never really goes away", I am now thinking that my previous belief that I had cured the Lyme in my brain may be wrong. Perhaps I did knock it down with the initial treatment, but didn't cure it completely. Given this history I am now thinking I need the intense nutrition to keep the existing Lyme at bay. As far as curing it goes, that may not be possible.

This puts me in somewhat of a "catch 22" situation. I won't be able to work until I'm better. But I won't be able to get better until I can afford the nutrition. I'm not sure what to do.

Another parallel but seemingly unrelated situation is my glutimate sensitivity and how it relates to alcoholism. Years ago I did drink but not to a great extent.

I discovered my glutimate sensitivity, or rather finally figured out what was going on, approximately ten years ago. It took me several years after that to really figure out where it was coming from. It's a surprisingly complicated subject. I have yet to find a satisfactory method of stopping "attacks". It wasn't until I moved to California that I discovered that the extreme mental/emotional agony caused by the glutimate could be quelled by alcohol. The basic method being that I would use the alcohol to "shut down" for the one to three days needed for the main part of the glutimate attack to be over. It doesn't stop the effect of the glutimate, but it does stop me from feeling the pain.

This went on for some years quelling attack after attack as I slowly learned the many sources of glutimate. Eventually the tables turned and alcohol became the dominant problem. Not good.

I have been deteriorating for quite some time. Lack of finances has meant that I have been unable to maintain the level of nutrition needed to keep the Lyme at bay and maintain health. What has been happening over the last several months, possibly last couple of years, is a feeling of hopelessness. Usually in the evening will come the feeling/thoughts of "what's the point", "why bother", "might as well just give up", "I just want to shut down". And of course since alcohol is a depressant these feelings just get worse. This frequently perpetuates cyclically until it finally becomes "what's the point in living", "I just want to stop the pain", "I'd rather be dead".

It's been a long cycle of not being able to work, having no money to live a decent life and having no friends (MSG attacks seem to have scared them all away). It's not that there's nothing to do, but I have no desire to do anything if I have to do it alone. And at this point even if I had someone to do things with it would be a struggle to go. As far as work goes, I could possibly get some programming jobs and/or work on a couple of my inventions, but those things take a great deal of concentration and are hard to do when there is a combination of no desire and constant inability to focus.

Zoloft - Somewhere around August or September of 2016 I was getting very down. Brain fog, disorientation, confusion and anxiety were all getting pretty bad. I had no idea what was going on and too confused to figure anything out. Back to the hospital. I had no idea what they could do but I knew I needed something. As usual the nurses were great and the doctors fairly useless. I didn't think they would be able to help but this is all I could think of at the time. I'm fairly certain that everyone around me could see that my brain was malfunctioning, but getting them to let me stay was difficult. If you tell them you're suicidal they have to keep you. Unfortunately after a while they don't believe you anymore and kick you out - ready or not. The only way they would let me stay (what I was able to do at home clearly wasn't working) was if I took their drugs, which I already knew wouldn't work (see my paper called Mental Illness - What I've Learned So Far).

The first few days of taking the Zoloft were wrought with depression and anxiety. I blamed it on alcohol withdrawal, even though this has never happened with alcohol withdrawal before. After a week or so I had an anxiety attack that felt very similar to an MSG attack. I wasn't sure. I did a meal experiment with the suspect food and found that MSG was not the problem. I checked the dose of propranolol to be sure it was the same as what I had been taking for the last year or so and it was. That wasn't the problem. The only thing left is Zoloft. A couple of days after that "attack" I was back to my normal self so I felt it was time to increase the dose to 50mg. I expected a similar but lesser reaction for a shorter period since I was already getting used to the Zoloft. I was wrong. The day after increasing the dose I had a major anxiety attack accompanied by what I would call fairly serious convulsions. The days following showed noticeable improvement from that attack with greatly diminished side effects. But still, almost a week later, there were frequent bouts of mild to moderate anxiety with an underlying feeling of emotional instability. There have been a few incidents, speaking with friends, etc., during this time which normally would have induced a feeling of compassion or empathy (that's just my personality) but instead triggered extreme sadness or depression. I don't think this should be happening. When the dose was increased to 75mg I didn't get the convulsions but it was exceedingly unpleasant. When it was increased to 100 I was sent home and ended up back in the hospital two days later. They discovered I was back because I had a seizure. I was told this seizure was most likely caused by a combination of the Zoloft and alcohol.

At this point I refused to speak to the doctor I was dealing with previously. He knew the reactions I was having to the Zoloft. He even sat by my bed watching me in convulsions clearly caused by the Zoloft and still insisted on increasing the dose. After a seizure caused by it, I had had enough. The next doctor took me off everything in order to get a baseline to start over. Turns out that's exactly what I needed. I am currently on a very low dose of Seroquel strictly as a temporary sleep aid. I continue to deteriorate for various reasons, but I will cover that in another paper.

Tremors - I have a hereditary tremor, which is why I am taking the propranolol. Over the last several years I have been taking mental note of when these tremors increase and decrease and what, if anything, may be causing it. After many years of observation I have come to the conclusion that the tremors increase in direct proportion to the level of various toxins in my body. Every morning since I started the Zoloft I experienced increased tremors to the point that it is difficult to eat. This persisted until my morning dose of propranolol took effect. In the past, ever since I started taking the propranolol I have only taken the morning dose because that's all that has been needed. When taking the Zoloft I had to take it morning and evening. Zoloft, just like any other drug, is a toxin. I believed at the time that this condition would persist as long as I am taking the Zoloft. I was right. I am only on a very small dose of Seroquel and my tremors are relatively minor, on some days to the point where I may even be able to make jewelry again.

After years of observation and experimentation I firmly believe that what is ultimately needed for me is a steady regiment of increased nutrition. Not drugs. When I had this in the past I did great. I was happy and productive.

I started taking antidepressants when I was twenty nine years old. That continued, off and on, until I was about forty five or forty seven when I adopted an improved diet (I am now 58). I no longer needed the antidepressants. I only required the increased nutrient intake after contracting the Lyme disease. But repeatedly being on and off of this regiment has shown that it works.

Ultimately a routine of what might be called nutritional therapy is what is needed. However, I seem to often find myself in a "catch 22" situation. At these times I will be unable to improve my health until I can improve my financial situation. I am unable to improve my financial situation until I improve my health. Clearly something is needed for the short term. Probably several months or more.

It is very unclear to me as to what to do.


Update December, 2016:
As mentioned earlier, I have been deteriorating for some time. About a month ago I became suicidal again. Knowing I had to do something about the possible Lyme disease, I turned to my Naturopath. After a short description he said he had another case almost identical, although the span was just over a year, not seven years as in my case. I was asking for a Lyme test, but he said the Canadian medical system would not admit that persistent Lyme exists and therefore would not cover the test. We decided to go ahead with the treatment. The treatment consisted of doxycycline (antibiotic), hydroxychloroquine (used to treat malaria), a probiotic to counter the harmful effects of the antibiotic and an immune boosting regiment to counter the immunosuppressant effects of the hydroxychloroquine.

Within a week I was substantially better and continue to improve. I am back to doing web work, working on a couple of my inventions (games) and enjoying getting out with people.

I returned to Dr. Barlow's office to give him an update. During the treatment I developed a bad rash about a week into it. He said that if I had developed the rash one or two days after beginning treatment it would most likely be the doxycycline that caused it. But since the rash didn't start until a week later, it was most likely a reaction to a dying pathogen (it is commonly known that some pathogens release toxins as they die). Since the only pathogen that I may have had is the Lyme, and also the fact that I feel substantially better, it is most likely that it was the Lyme that was killed off.

Now I just have to make some extra money to pay for the somewhat expensive juicing and supplements. I thought I had this cured before and was wrong. The treatment this time was different and more targeted so I may be cured this time, but I don't want to take the chance.

Life is good once again.

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