I used to post here a lot, a long time ago, (about two years now I guess). I got a lot of help from this forum, so I wanted to give back a little.
I wanted to just tell my story, in case it helps anyone. I tried to make this brief, but it just isn't - so warning in advance - this is LONG:
When I was a kid, I was mostly very healthy and did well in school. I loved the outdoors, and always wanted to go camping.
The only medical condition I had was chronic sinusitis, which led to some sinus infections requiring Antibiotics . I also used to get this weird, swollen knee. Out of nowhere, seemingly, my knee would swell up for a couple of days and then go down again. My family has a summer home on Fire Island, right off Long Island in NY state.
In college, I got yet another sinus infection, took a course of a new Antibiotic that had just come out, Zithromax, and all of a sudden I became very, very ill.
At first, I thought I was having a mental breakdown. I had all of a sudden developed the most ruthless, persistent insomnia, which manifested in jarring, whole-body jerking (called 'myoclonic jerks'). I also developed terrible brain fog, and would often leave the house on an errand, and then forget where I was going or why. (NOT normal in a college-age student!). I also developed, seemingly out of nowhere, tremendous anxiety, restlessness, and a strange pain in my gut, right under the left ribcage. Nothing made sense.
Another sinus infection came along and I took another course of Antibiotics . They made my symptoms much, much worse, and I concluded that Antibiotics were straight from the devil.
Doctors were, of course, mostly clueless, and told me I was nuts. All tests they gave me were negative. I couldn't help but feel that my problems were really very physical though. The pain in my gut especially.
Finally, one doc told me I had 'systemic yeast', put me on a no-sugar diet, and gave me Diflucan. I got immediate relief, but I was never 'cured'. I found I had to live on the yeast-free diet, which is really quite a drag, and even so, most of my symptoms stayed with me, they were just not as bad. Years dragged on, and I was always fatigued and struggling. I took every single anti-yeast supplement under the sun. All of them would make me feel better for a little while, and then quit working.
Sounds like classic systemic yeast right? Well, it turns out, it's also classic Lyme Disease symptoms. I had no idea at the time, but 3rd stage, neurological Lyme disease is characterized by the symptoms I just posted, most notably brain fog, mood swings, and forgetfulness. Who knew?
My doc (MD) first suspected Lyme disease when yeast treatments didn't clear up my symptoms. And then, when I started researching Lyme, my whole medical puzzle made sense. The swollen knees (classic Lyme knee), the fact that I was very outdoorsy in my youth and had had many, many tick bites... growing up in an endemic area, even the chronic sinusitis, in a child, is a symptom of Lyme disease. In fact, my initial bad reaction and onset of symptoms from the antibiotics turned out was a classical sign of Lyme!
Lyme disease is a spirochetal disease, that is, caused by a spirochete. The other famous spirochetal disease out there is syphilis. And this is where it gets interesting.
Everyone on Curezone usually claims they are 'herxing' from something or other. Yet, properly, the only infectious agent that is medically known to cause a herx, or Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction, are spirochetes, or rather, the infectious agents known to cause syphilis and Lyme Disease. The Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction was named by two doctors working on syphilis. Any other use of the term 'herx' is medically not quite accurate (although I do believe that this definition is too narrow, still, it's interesting).
If I had known this earlier, I could have saved myself years of trying every supposed yeast cure and supplement under the sun. It wasn't until I met some other Lyme disease patients, and learned that they all suffered horribly from brain fog and insomnia, did I start to believe I might have Lyme, not yeast.
My blood tests were positive for Lyme. Blood tests for Lyme Disease are notoriously unreliable, they usually give false negatives. They rarely, if ever, give false positives, especially by the ridiculously rigorous standards the CDC uses for a positive Lyme blood test. A negative test DOES NOT mean you don't have Lyme, but a positive test does. My tests were all positive.
A very sophisticated test, called a SPECT scan, showed that I had a severe lack of bloodflow and oxygen to my brain. It's called hypo-perfusion.
I know it sounds weird, but I was actually relieved to get that test result. Finally, I had a concrete reason for my fogginess and lack of memory. Lyme causes the blood vessels around the brain to become inflamed and swollen, thus depriving the brain of oxygen and blood.
Severe hypo-perfusion and cognitive deficits are common findings in late stage Lyme disease, along with mood instability and depression.
More tests revealed actual deficits in cognitive processing speed and memory. It was not 'in my head', not hypochondria, I was sick, and there was reason to it.
And the last confirmation, when I finally started on the high dose, long term antibiotics needed to treat Lyme disease, I initially got much, much worse. I even ran a high fever for a few days, and then... I started to feel some relief. A classic Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction with fever and everything, just like is described in the medical literature for syphilis.
The scientific pieces of this puzzle fitting together were, I have to admit, somehow very satisfying. I was no longer boxing some shadowy, ill defined, alternative, shadowy fungal overgrowth, I had an accepted (sort of), scientifically known bacterial infection.
Now, perhaps I am suggestible, but no one is that suggestible. I doubt I could will myself to run a fever, but even if I could, the blood tests were positive. The swollen knee that I had not seen since high school came back on the antibiotics, along with the fevers, and I took a picture of it to show to the doctors. It's hard to argue with it (though many docs still do).
So that's where I am today. I am still on antibiotics, I.V. antibiotics in fact, only they are now making me slightly better, in between 'herxes'.
I can't say everyone who thinks they have yeast has Lyme, but I would urge all those on this board who live in an endemic area (like the east coast of America) to seriously consider it.
They sometimes say on these boards that if you have yeast issues that are not getting better after some treatment, you either have metals or Lyme. Lyme is not as rare as you think... and metals, well, I know a lot of people who chelate for a long time but don't find relief.
It's just something to think about...
Best wishes to all and I hope you all find the solutions right for you.