Here we go. I had wanted to research and post about the Lyme-Fibro connection long ago. But I learned something: Nothing stays at the center of your attention when your family is being impacted by other things in major ways. So goes my Lyme story….or so I thought. Now, my husband’s chronic pain may be leading us right back into the Lyme story.
He is now in a 10-week program working with Mary Free Bed Rehab clinic to learn how to care for his body, understand his pain, and live life as healthy as possible. I’m so glad for that, but being me, of course, I can’t let go of the idea that something must be causing the Fibro –which is a diagnosis now found in a couple of other members of my family, who live far away, whom I desperately wish to help in some way! My problem-solving, not-going-to-just-live-with-it brain has been chewing on things now. And my spirit has been aching for these people dear to me whose suffering seems senseless. Yet, I know also that God’s sovereignty, plan and provision are far higher and greater than I can fathom, and what may be in the works is beyond my comprehension. I soak in and pray out the words I find in Scripture that hit on this tension: “this present pain is nothing compared to the all-surpassing glory awaiting us” (Rom. 8:18), “He works all things for the good of those who love Him” (Rom. 8:28), “Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer” (Ps. 3:1), “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life” (John 9:3), “the Lord comforts His people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.” (Is. 49:15) and others I come across which give me hope, cause me question, speak my heart and/or give insight into what’s going on.
Right, so what I’m finding on Fibro-Lyme link…
Envita is a treatment center I have heard a couple of times in the past few years, but today I came across their article on the link between Fibromyalgia and Lyme. While I personally have only heard a couple of stories about Envita’s treatment, this article written in 2013 is very well-put in the way it describes the Borrelia infection, and why it scrambles the immune system. I found material from as early as 1993 connecting the dots between Fibro (known as FMS), and Lyme/Tick-borne illness (TBI), and the “complex” of conditions that make up these diagnoses.
Here’s a 2017 blog post on FMaware.org (a fibro focused site) from someone with first-hand experience and a well-written explanation for Lyme causing what was diagnosed as Fibromyalgia.
I am cynically laughing at this study done in 1992 showing how fibro was diagnosed in 8% of the Lyme patients in the study, and those who participated in the study were treated with a maximum of 4 weeks of ceftriaxone (an antibiotic that is not fun, pretty strong, but in my experience did almost nothing on its own), and one of those patients got symptom-free. Why do I laugh? Becuase I can’t help but yell (in my head): “duh! I could have told you that!” –as the Envita article (link above) puts it, “Clinical experience and in-depth testing have begun to point to Lyme disease complex, coinfections and weakened immunity” = the perfect storm that creates the pain-cycle known as FMS, or as Fybromyalgia.com puts it: “a central sensitization syndrome (the central pain amplifier being turned up)” which is clinically diagnosed as FMS. This central sensitization has been studied a little, finding changes in the brain when it is present. What is really fascinating to me is that the neuroplasticity of the brain –usually a really good thing, in that it is what allows us to keep learning (growing new neurons and creating new neural pathways… which adds up to our brains being able to take in, process and use new stuff), is also what can go sideways and ends up literally causing pain for no reason. This TED-talk (one bit of homework my husband was given) explains that more, if you’ve got another 15 minutes.
Speaking of TED-talks, I’m reading “Talk Like TED” to help me professionally, and finding I love reading it personally, and it’s helped me get back to this blog, actually, which has been silent for far too long. Why? Because in reading it, I’m having to discover what I’m passionate about, and what I’m passionate about is somewhere along the lines of helping people do life better. I hate living with the same-ol’ if that’s not helpful, healthy or edifying. I’m excited by talking about new and better, closer to God’s perfect, closer to His until-perfect-is-reality-on-earth grace.
Last link, and that’s because of the stream-of-consciousness led me to the word “grace” –Mental health is a HUUUUUUUUUUGE part of all of this, and our bodies can’t win the physical battles without the mental battles being won first and all along the way, in fact the mental battles may be more important, and more closely linked to the spiritual battle ensuing, in which victory is ours in Christ, and is absolutely essential to our lives now and to come. So, if that’s where more support is needed, I’m learning about resources like Grace Alliance and their free materials and their support groups across the nation. I know Key Ministry is a fantastic organization putting out blog posts, research and books like Dr. G’s “Mental Health and the Church”. Caregivers need a specific flavor for addressing the encroaching inner darkness, for which my favorite resource is “The Heart of the Caregiver” -also with support groups all around the nation, online, and with a book of that same name, newly published in June, with a second book coming this fall (2019).
-there are more, there will be more, but this is already way too long! Here’s a simpler connect-the-dot activity for some decompression: and it’s a tortoise because a tortoise or “turtle only travels when it sticks its neck out”. –James Bryant Conant