by: Jamie Rautenberg
Some people have asked me for more details about why I stopped IV antibiotic therapy for Lyme Disease. Well, exactly one year ago, I wrote about it.
This was the moment I came face to face with profound uncertainty and learned that we only receive directions after we take our next step into the beautiful unknown.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
The Deep Surrender.
I wanted to write this entry nearly a month ago, yet I haven’t been ready until now. I’ve been on a fighting path to beat my self-proclaimed war on Lyme disease and various other pathogens inside me for 7 months now. But, a few short weeks ago, it seemed my body admitted defeat. When nurse Dhalia administered my first dose of IV Vancomycin, I was overwhelmed with fatigue followed by shortness of breath. About 15 minutes into the dose, my head and neck felt like they were on fire and looked just as sunburnt as it felt.
Evidently, I developed something called “red man syndrome”, an adverse reaction to the potent drug which triggered the beginning of anaphylaxis, a serious life-threatening allergy. Dhalia rushed out of the room in a panic to find a Benadryl drip to administer immediately, though I had no idea how grave the situation was because I was so drowsy throughout the whole ordeal. Looking back, I’m glad it was a blur.
Dr. Raxlen made the decision to take me off antibiotics right then so that my body could recover from this shock. He explained that the Vancomycin has released a tremendous amount of histamine and the inflammation inside me must calm down before we can start me on an alternative drug. So, we waited a week before trying a new antibiotic, Invanz. Supposedly, this was a well-tolerated one. Though I was slightly nervous going into my next first dose, I still had hope that this one would mesh with my body.
And then, it happened again. As the Invanz dripped into my veins, I could feel my throat swell. “What’s going on with you, little girl?”, Dhalia jokes. “I just don’t feel right.”, I say.
Something wasn’t right.
For the first time, not only do I hear my body, but I listen. Through tears, I tell Dr. Raxlen that I can feel the pain in my kidneys while Sean rubs my stiff back at night. It’s as if they are bruised. Same thing with my liver, it actually hurts to the touch. The good doctor shakes his head, “Oh no, we’ve got to stop treatment, we can’t push your body over the edge. This is a time to focus on detoxing and supporting your immune system, dear. We have to stop right now and give you some time.”
I’m overcome with sadness. I failed the test. I failed myself. How can I heal if there’s nothing inside me fighting these infections? I’ll be too vulnerable. I’ll relapse. What am I going to do? How can I live with such uncertainty?
Then, it hits me.
The antibiotics aren’t responsible for my recovery, I am.
The drugs provide a band-aid, shielding me from certain symptoms while creating others. The uncertainty has been there all along, I simply projected any success onto the magic bullet that I thought the antibiotics were. In reality, I’ve been working my ass off searching for the root of these pains which are a result of so much more than bacteria. In order to be well, I must fully surrender to this fact and heal all the trauma that my tired body has stored.
With this surrender comes the knowledge that in order to be ok in this world, in my body, I have to let go of my attachment to any specific treatment and simply trust that I will heal as long as I hear myself and my body. And right now, it tells me that I must end the war. No more fighting, it takes too much valuable energy away from me. It’s time to be gentle with me.
In 2 months I will fly out to Los Angeles to meet with a beautiful man unlike any other doctor I’ve ever encountered, Dr. Habib Sadeghi. His holistic approach will support my body in ways I’m still learning about, but resonate at the very core of my being. In order to clear the toxicity out of my body, I must nourish myself totally and fully.
For now, I choose to be kind to myself, breathe, and surrender into the unknown.