So I’ve started my Lyme treatment. Im on the third week and the main focus of my days has been dealing with herxing. Don’t know what Herxing is? It’s basically when your body has to get rid of all the toxins and by-products of a load of bacteria all dying at once, and it can’t do it quickly enough.
I’ve been taking some herx remedies and drinking tons of water, but when it comes down to it there’s a certain amount of feeling awful you just have to deal with. But it’s certainly been an eye opening experience. And it’s also been a load of shit (literally and figuratively). Here is a little list I’ve compiled of things I’ve learnt whilst herxing:
1. The person who said you’ll feel worse before you feel better was probably talking about Lyme
And however much you tell yourself: this is temporary, it is a good sign, you can do this; after years of chronic illness your brain is programmed to think any new symptom or worsening of symptoms is either permanent or likely to last a long time. There’s a little bit of your brain you can’t shut off having a bit of a panic that this is your life now.
2. Taking antibiotics can give you thrush
Oh jeez, this is the first time I’ve rewritten about vaginas. Give me a second to get over it. Vagina, vagina, VAGINA. Ok, I’m good. So, it turns out that taking antibiotics increases your risk of thrush. Why? Because all the natural bacteria on your vagina get killed, and they normally keep the thrush in check. The thrush is technically a yeast (I think) so the antibiotics don’t touch them. I’ve never had thrush in my life, so that was a lovely surprise.
3. The worst thing about taking a tablet every six hours isn’t sleep disruption
It’s having to eat every bloody six hours too. And you also have to choose between taking your tablets at meal times and staying up super late to take your last pill, or going to bed at a normal time and having to eat small snacks every six hours as well as your meals. I’ve been so full. All the time.
4. My subconscious is pretty good at figuring out what’s making me feel ill
When the herx starts to kick in, you get this generic feeling of being poisoned. I in no way felt like I was going to die of it, but it felt like I was being poisioned constantly at a low level. It didn’t take very long for me to acquire a repulsion for taking the tablets and however much you tell yourself, no, it’s okay, they’re doing me good, your brain will say “don’t take that shit” every time you take one and make your stomach do a little turn. I feel a new found respect for President Snow in the Hunger Games.
5. Sitting in the dark is really depressing
Pretty obvious, but when what I think were silent migraines hit – really bad nausea, sensitivity to light and sound that all came on at once and that sitting in the dark doing nothing relieved – I ended up just living in the dark for several days. I do not recommend it, it’s really bloody depressing.
6. Arnica cream is great for bruises
I came out of a week of IV treatments looking like I’d been in a very weird fight in which the rules were “not the face, or torso, or legs, or… Basically, we’re just going for the arms here.” The nurses looked at my arms in dismay and asked where I wanted to the needle to go this time. I ran out of not bruised veins that were easy to find. Then one of them suggested Arnica cream and it’s done a pretty good job of clearing them up.
7. My partner is amazing
I knew this already, but there was one day in particular when it all was too much. I had to have multiple naps to get through a film. I didn’t want to move. He sat on the couch next to me, gave me a hug and played me videos of cats on YouTube. Bliss. He also sent me this amusing text from the Garden centre after asking if I wanted anything from there.
But this is a journey, and while a part of my brain is having a little panic, this is now my mantra: This is temporary, It will get better, it will all be worth it.
Fingers crossed for the future.
Lots of love,