Thursday, September 11, 2008

My first Herx?

I think I might be getting my first herxheimer reaction to the antibiotics. It's either that or my brain has decided it doesn't like me anymore.

The herxheimer reaction is a good thing in the way that the pain of a dentist's drill is a good thing. It means the antibiotics are killing off the Lyme bacteria in my body. Of course, Lyme seems to be well read and a big fan of Dylan Thomas: They do not go quietly into that good night. As they die off, their dead bodies release toxins and other nasty things into my body which makes the cure feel worse than the disease.

It's almost enough to make me believe in intelligent design. The bacteria modify their environment (my immune system) to provide it food and a friendly environment. They then start to dig deeper into my tissue to mine it for resources (minerals like zinc and magnesium - thus people with Lyme often have low levels of these in their systems) and once they do this, they use the local environment to build little cities. They live this way quite happily until the host becomes too damaged or polluted to support their lavish existence. When you look at it this way there is a very strong parallel to human existence on earth. I just wish that the Lyme bacteria had enough sense to ratify their own Kyoto protocol before they kill me with their wastefulness.

Every person experiences Lyme differently. Each person is unique; I don't mean in the 'you're special' kind of way. I'm talking about the chemical and genetic composition of the body. It's influenced by a mixture of hereditary traits and environmental stimulus. Because many of the symptoms of long term Chronic Lyme (and their friends, co-infections) come from the way the bacteria modify the body's own resources, the symptoms are as varied as the people who have the misfortune of experiencing this illness. Couple this with the inaccuracy of blood serology, and you have a disease that is almost impossible to diagnose. It also means that everyone will experience the herxheimer reaction differently.

My Herx (short for herxheimer) so far seems to be centered in the brain. I'm having moments of complete confusion (opposed to the brain fog and general muddledness of every day Lyme). I can be standing in the kitchen, in the middle of a task and completely forget where the fridge lives, what I'm doing, or what city I'm in. I'm completely unable to act until the feeling passes. I think it must only last about 10 seconds or so, but it feels like eternity. There are other Herx like symptoms like, for example, my joints are almost pain free for the first time since I was ten, but my muscles hurt like crazy.

I just want to sleep until it goes away (they tell me it will go away in a few weeks, but will come back every now and again as I continue treatment). They also tell me that this is a good thing and I want to have my very own Herx so that I can know the drugs are working. But then again, it sounds like something my dentist use to say and now I'm scared of his shiny mettle implements of destruction.

1 comment:

Josiane said...

Oh my, I'm so sorry to read that your herx is centered in the brain. Experiencing those cognitive problems just as you start university again is no fun at all (ask me how I know!). I hope it won't get any worse, and won't last for too long. I'm sending good thoughts your way. {hugs}