In 1969, author Elizabeth Kübler-Ross published her book “On Death & Dying,” and in it she presented a famous formulation of the stages of grief that dying people tend to go through as they come to terms with the realization that they will soon pass. Since the book’s publishing, her stages-of-grief system has become more popular than her book, and it is now a part of our modern cultural awareness. Her five stages include denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
Inspired by Kübler-Ross’ work, I have begun to notice similar but different stages of consciousness, experiences and emotions for chronic Lyme patients as they move to complete healing. The difference in the staging system I’ve developed is that a patient can get stuck in a stage and never progress to complete healing. Conversely, in the stages of grief, a patient ultimately moves through the system and reaches the final conclusion of death whether they like it or not.
Like most Lyme patients, I went for a long period of time of being sick and undergoing tests before I received a definitive diagnosis. Like most patients, I was used to trusting my traditional medical doctor because whenever I had a cold or a fever, he would prescribe some antibiotics and I would get better. As simple as that.
However, when I came in with Lyme symptoms, my doctor didn’t have a clue. He ran his usual battery of tests, but because I didn’t have cancer, diabetes or heart disease, he literally said, “Oh well. I guess we’ll just have to chalk this up to being ‘just one of those things.'”
When I pressed him further on what exactly he meant by that, he said, “Your symptoms aren’t life threatening, so maybe you can learn to live with them.” My brain could barely process what I was hearing.
Rocephin (ceftriaxone) is a cephalosporin antibiotic commonly used to treat many kinds of bacterial infections, including severe or life-threatening forms such as meningitis. It’s a favorite go-to antibiotic in these cases because of its well-known ability to cross the blood-brain barrier.
For this reason may doctors and LLMDs have been prescribing rocephin to patients suffering from neuroborreliosis or Lyme infection that has entered the brain. In these cases, rocephin is administered intravenously through injection or PICC line.
Most LLMDs I’ve talked to will tell you two things about IV rocephin … 1. It will give you relief from neuroborreliosis but will not cure you of Lyme disease. 2. IT MIGHT DESTROY YOUR GALL BLADDER.
Doxycycline has been commonly prescribed by physicians across the world as a first-line defense in fighting Lyme disease for decades. This is mainly because there is strong evidence that patients who take a 4-6 week round of this antibiotic within the first 60 days of infection onset can remove all signs and symptoms of Lyme disease and avoid going into the chronic phase of the illness. In fact, doxycycline (along with amoxycillin, cefuroxime and azithromycin) has become a part of International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) treatment standards.
The problem is, a 2003 study reported by the US National Library of Medicine warns that doxycyline has been shown to cause intracranial hypertension or pressure on the brain. Actually, it has been known for years that doxycycline and its cousins tetracycline and minocycline can cause increased cranial pressure to the point of manifesting symptoms ranging from headaches, blurred or double vision, whooshing sounds in the ears, spinal fluid leaking from the nose to permanent blindness.
Some thoughts on antibiotics and treating chronic Lyme… When I was first diagnosed in 2005, all I knew to treat Lyme disease with was antibiotics, so I went hard and heavy right away. After taking doxcycline orally for about a month and not noticing any positive results, I asked my naturopath for a PICC line. She refused, citing that it was too drastic and dangerous, so I went to another doctor who would do it.
During the procedure to insert it, the hospital staff unwittingly jabbed my heart with the line, and I started losing blood pressure on the table. They kept me for observation for about an hour and then I drove myself home. Later than night while asleep, I rolled over on it and I thought I was going to die when I experienced something on the level of a heart attack. I didn’t die and believe it or not, I actually got a second PICC line inserted a year later and I resorted to painful intramuscular injections of bicillin when the PICC lines didn’t have any lasting effect. The doctors I was consulting at the time only knew of antibiotics as a Lyme treatment. When you only have a hammer in your toolbox, you tend to think the solution to every problem can be achieved through hammering a nail.