What is the Real Deal with Lyme Disease?
The CDC estimates there are 300,000 cases of Lyme Disease diagnosed each year in the United States. The illness is caused by borrelia bergdorferi, which is a spirochete (similar to a bacteria, but with a different structure) and there are known treatments to kill it off. However, it remains a major cause of illness, fear, and distress. Patients suffer from Lyme Disease and struggle to be treated, to be taken seriously by medical doctors, and to receive treatment that really works to get them well.
As a physician in the Emergency Room and in my MindBody practice, I’ve treated multiple patients with Lyme Disease and I can tell you, it is not an easy disease to deal with. For one thing, it’s hard to identify. You can be infected, yet still fail to show it on lab tests. For another thing, symptoms are not very clear. The symptoms of Lyme –low energy, pain, headaches and fever – are often vague, so the illness can take awhile to diagnose. Sometimes a patient has seen dozens of doctors before they come to me for help.
I have a different approach to Lyme and other illness. I don’t focus solely on the bug and how to kill it, but on other factors happening beneath the surface that make you susceptible to Lyme and unable to fight it off.
Studies have shown for decades that the biggest factor that determines whether we stay healthy or become ill isn’t exposure to bad germs or factors outside of us, but the strength of our immune system, our blood chemistry, and the factors inside of us. That means even if you’re exposed to the worst bacteria, you can still stay healthy if your immune function is strong. Likewise, to a significant extent you could eat poorly and be exposed to toxins in your diet, yet still maintain healthy function and ideal bodyweight. Why is this possible?
Then there are folks who have the slightest exposure and they’re down for the count. I’ve heard many patients tell me “I get sick every time my kids to.” Or “I always get sick when I travel.” What is going on within their body that sets them up for illness this way?
Your level of health has to do with your inner communication.
There are constantly chemical messages being delivered to every cell in your body. These messages alter your hormone levels, affect the function of your organs, determine your heart rate and blood pressure, and basically set the stage for your overall health. Your state of wellbeing is much more powerfully determined by this inner communication, than by what’s going on outside. Even your genetic code is impacted by this inner messaging system. Your ability to stay young and vibrant as time goes by and the level of energy and vibrance you feel every day are determined more by this inner communication than by energy drinks, supplements, or even medications.
So how can we apply this to hard-to-treat illnesses like Lyme Disease? It’s an illnesses that on the surface it would seem could be eliminated. We have the antibiotics to treat it, so it would seem that once the infection is identified, a patient could be made well. However, when we overlook the “host factors” those factors that are determined by your body and what’s going on inside, we’re only looking at the tip of the iceberg. When we fail to look beneath the surface and address what’s going on there, patients can go for years suffering without adequate treatment.
So how do we change what’s going on within your body so you can live in vibrant health, fight off disease, restore balance and health, even when there’s the occasional “bad food” or bad bug we’re exposed to?
Start by looking within.
One of the things I’ve come to see is that there are certain personality profiles that make us susceptible for particular diseases. For example, when patients feel overwhelmed, helpless and victimized, it creates imbalance in their gut flora that allow yeast to overgrow. Candida (the yeast that live naturally in our body) are harmless in small amounts, but when they overgrow cause serious illness. Low energy, weight gain, brain fog, and pain are a few. It can be very difficult to address the yeast imbalance without supporting the patient in stepping into a new mindset, one of empowerment. Why? There is a chemistry that matches this mental-emotional state.
When we feel empowered our testosterone levels are higher, our stress hormone levels are lower. This creates optimal sugar metabolism, and since sugar feed the yeast, this chemical shift is one way that supports our body in warding off yeast overgrowth.
The same is true for the immune imbalance seen with Lyme Disease. Multiple practitioners I’ve consulted with have routinely seen the same basic mental-emotional profiles associated with this disease. Elicia Woodford Miller, Candida and Lyme Disease expert of EliciaMiller.com notes: “Typically the Lyme patients are achievement-oriented and overly driven to achieve. They feel like they have to take care of everything and don’t trust that others will do what’s needed. They get so caught up with running the show that they have trouble with intimacy, vulnerability and emotional commitment.”
If our mindset and inner communication has so much to do with our health and wellbeing, what can we do to support it and change things so that our system resists diseases and heals?
Mind Body Prescription:
In the comments below please share:
- list one area in your life where you can see you are over achieving
- what you are ready to release in order to create balance
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We moved last year and I have been micro-managing the details of where items go in the house once they are unpacked. Since I am not letting go of control of this process to others, it is exhausting and my immune system is already taxed with auto-immune struggles.
I am ready to release my control of other family members in order to create balance.
I am committing to too much volunteer work right now. It is exhausting and I am not enjoying it anymore.
I am going to set better boundaries, honestly, with the people I’m involved with in those organisations, and stop my volunteer work at one of them.
It is a great practice to follow what is feeling right and light for you.