12 Chronic Lyme Disease Survivors Share How They Beat Their Illness

Chronic Lyme disease can be a tricky disease to beat. Unlike short-term, acute Lyme, which most doctors treat with a few weeks of the antibiotic Doxycycline, there is no standard treatment for chronic Lyme. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t people beating it every day. The trick is just to experiment until you find what works for you.

“Don’t be afraid. How you think about this impacts how you approach it, and thus impacts your prognosis,” Kristin Reihman, MD, family medicine doctor and author of Life After Lyme, tells Bustle. “I know —because I’ve seen it both in myself and in my patients — that a holistic approach which takes into account not only the infections in your body but what you’re eating, how much you’re sleeping, how much water you’re drinking, what you’re doing about past trauma, whether you are surrounding yourself with loving, supportive people — all those things matter and are within your control. Optimizing your lifestyle really can empower the immune system to start doing its job again.”

To find out what kinds of solutions work for chronic Lyme patients, 13 people who have either put chronic Lyme into remission or drastically reduced their symptoms reveal what they did.

1. Jessica, 36

“I started with a much more holistic approach in order to try and avoid all of the antibiotics for as long as possible. Unfortunately, that really didn’t work for me. Now, I do a combination of everything under the sun. I do antibiotic pulsing therapy combined with supplements to support my organs. Additionally, I do cryotherapy (to help with inflammation and joint and muscle pain), massage therapy, and acupuncture.

I work with a licensed clinical therapist and am on anti-anxiety and anti-depression medication because there is a huge link between chronic Lyme and depression and anxiety. I also eat gluten free, dairy free, and soy free due to allergies and complications from my illness. On top of all of this, I work with a personal trainer in order to maintain my fitness because I have to move my body in order to keep my joints loose.”

2. Angelina, 48

“My healing started by finding a very good, comprehensive LLMD [Lyme-literate medical doctor] team that would become my allies while I worked through recovery. I had already been living a very healthy lifestyle. I was vegetarian […] I did not ingest toxins on purpose. I did not drink or smoke.

I started with blood ozone therapy in Tijuana along with urine therapy. It helped with some of the detox. I bought an infra red sauna. I found a therapist, and I went every week when possible, sometimes twice a week to help support the grief along with the surrendering and hopelessness that accompanied my new reality. I scheduled somatic experiencing work along with NAET. I had to not only detox physically but emotionally as well as mentally.

I found that when I followed someone else’s path to healing, I would suffer. I couldn’t handle a lot of things that others were trying. I had to really get quiet within so that I could hear my own wisdom. I was really suffering and there was no one who could offer me relief. It was me. That’s all.

I had to rid my house of all things that had mold or heavy metals leaching. I removed most EMF from my environment. I lived off the grid for a long period of time. At first, I believed that I should just follow all the protocols my team set for me. I followed my intuition when it came time to try new things that my team would suggest. Sometimes, I would forgo their advice and follow my own research.”

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