Throughout my four weeks of therapies at Paracelsus to treat Lyme Disease I’ve been trying to keep a daily journal to share. Many people have expressed their interest or questions about what I am doing here, how it is going and (of course) if it is helping.
The short answer to that last question is that it is too soon to tell. Even other patients are asking me this question. My answer is this:
I won’t know until I am home, two … four … eight months from now. Time will be the test. I’ll have a lot of responsibility on my shoulders to judiciously follow their medication and supplements schedule, do weekly IV infusions, and stick to a very clean and applied diet and lifestyle in order to give my body every single chance to start to recover. These four weeks aren’t the cure, they are only the start. The doctors have emphasized to me over and over “trust and be patient”.
In my opinion the biggest value in attending Paracelus was the assessment (which I talked about in a brief post that you can check out here). We uncovered a lot and developed a plan to start addressing these issues. My goal is to write a number of posts about my time at Paracelsus including weekly journals, the various treatments I had, the final list of diagnosis and problems we’ve uncovered and I’m also hoping to write another post of the tips I’d pass on to others looking at attending the Clinic. I wont lie. It is expensive (the overall price tag was around $50,000 CAD) but there were a few ways I was able to overall save around $3000-$3500 over the four weeks I spent there.
I am scheduled until the 26th of January. Four weeks. The days are mostly long, starting around 7:30 – 8AM and ending around 4:30 – 5PM. I’m still working out details of what therapies and treatments I’ll be doing. I sit with one of my three doctors at least four times per week as well.
At this point all the test results haven’t come back yet, plus there are still some I have to do.
I had a live blood analysis done which was really cool to see; it showed some things we already knew such as my hemoglobin and iron stores are low (but have improved over the last year). It also showed bacteria floating around which can be a sign of hyper-permeability of the intestine, (aka leaky gut). We saw white blood cells and they were behaving like they should be, but my red blood cells are all clumping together (and shouldn’t be) which means that my body isn’t getting the oxygen it needs. It also showed that there might be a hormonal imbalance.
The thermography results and 10-minute heart rhythm test showed that my body isn’t regulating its temperature properly and that my autonomic nervous system isn’t balanced, so I’ll be doing a 24 hour HR study. From the 10-minute test it’s showing more that my “rest and digest” (parasympathetic) nervous system is working vs the “fight or flight” (sympathetic). They should be both working in a proper balance:
These are the results from the 10 minute study: all bars should be in the green zone. The two we’re focused on are the red (sympathetic) and blue (parasympathetic). You can see from this graph that the parasympathetic is working more than is should and the sympathetic isn’t working as much as it should.
I woke up exhausted and had an early start at the Clinic, my first appointment was another cupping massage (I did one in December as well). As much as I enjoy it and understand the benefit of it, I laid there on table, exhausted and overwhelmed about the days to come and thought “WTF am I doing this for?”. There are so many therapies here I feel like this might not be one of the best for me. My doctor said that I should trust this feeling and we cancelled the remaining cupping sessions.
Second this morning was ozone with a procaine infusion during which I had bad anxiety and stress. I considered that part of this might be because I was attached to an IV pole again and I haven’t gotten over the physical and emotional trauma it started to cause in my last months on IV meds. I fought tears back when Jamie (a friend I met on facebook who had the same infectious disease specialist as I did and who told me about Paracelsus) popped in and visited with me. I started to express all of the concerns and doubts I was having and she was a huge help – someone who’s gone through all of this and been through the ringer herself being there to talk with helped so much.
Stephen knew I was having a hard time and so he came back to the clinic and was there waiting when I came out of the infusion room. At this point I was in tears – even in front of Jamie and a man who I did not know. If you don’t know me, let me tell you this now: I don’t really cry or show a lot of emotion – but crying in public? NOT something I do. But I did.
My next appointment was with the doctor. I explained how I was feeling and couldn’t help but get emotional and cry again. She was very kind and encouraged me to cry and “feel” the feelings. She asked if I knew what was making me cry…. Saying it out loud felt like I was jinxing myself but I told her:
“I am so afraid of going backwards. I can’t be like I was again. I can’t be sick like that again. I can’t do it.”
I also expressed being overwhelmed that I don’t understand more of the science behind everything I’m doing yet and that I want more clinic explanations of things. She said it will take time to learn and their goal when I leave in 4 weeks is to “fill my backpack” not only with the supplements and homeopathic meds I’ll be taking but that I’ll have an understanding of the other tools that can help my body heal. I’m hoping that one of the naturopathic doctors in Winnipeg (four hours from where we live) will offer ozone and that I’ll be able to go every 6-8 weeks for that as well. I’ll be doing weekly IVs at home as well, but I was told ozone would be really great for me as well – especially in terms of fighting against bartonella and borrelia.
The doctor also did neural therapy with both procaine and homeopathics to the scars on my stomach (appendectomy and mole removal) as well as to intestine points. She reviewed the X-ray I had done the day before and found no abnormalities in my cervical spine – so it isn’t likely the issues I have with my neck are related to nerves being restricted.
Kinesiology was next – this isn’t the kind of kinesiology you’d find in North America. Some might call this a “hippy-vo-do” kind of thing. For understanding the role of kinesiology in this application it would help to have a understanding of chakras, energy systems, etc to understand (and believe) in it; it isn’t for everyone. The type of therapy she uses is based in energy therapy and healing and uses muscle testing. From our session she would use my arm and move it, and when she felt a resistance or lax it tells her to stop and focus in on something.
She has a ton of tools and resources that she can be guided to use. During this session she felt compelled to pull out a large book and when I reacted to something it landed on the page for “fear and insecurity”, which I was trying to deal with from that morning still.
I cried again, explaining again that I’m so afraid to go backwards after I leave here, we talked a bit about this then moved on. From there she was drawn to her set of “masters” cards (these are similar to other themed cards: goddess cards, fairy cards, etc). The card stopped on “I am present”. From there was talked a bit more and she also felt my throat chakra needed attention and had a bell she rang… yeah, I know – sounds silly.
Next she was drawn to a book of healing stones – she landed on “heart blue moon stone” and interestingly we just had the Blue Moon. The description talked of feminine energy and the female cycle – balance and harmony of emotions. In terms of Ying and Yang, or masculine and feminine energy, the moon is feminine so she asked about my menstrual cycles a bit and she put a singing bowl (google if it you don’t know what it is) on my pelvis for a while. It felt awful at first – everything else prior came easy except this; I wanted to push it off of me it was so overwhelming (if you remember we also saw some potential hormone imbalances in my live blood analysis too yesterday).
After lunch I had Ira-Therm, a one-hour hyperthermia session. The goal is 38°to 38.5°C, I got up to38.6°C,spending a total of an hour in there. The whole procedure takes place on a mesh hammock, you lie naked with a sheet over you and a reflective foil sheet on top of that. For the entire treatment a rectal thermometer is used. They also monitored your heart rate the entire time and kept a cool cloth on my head once I was hot. Once it was over I had to sit bundled in a heavy robe and under three heavy blankets for 30 minutes before having a hot shower. Its 6 hours later and I’m teetering between warm and chilled.
Following that I met the man who does the heart rhythmography, who was also English speaking so it was a slight bit easier to communicate. My HR was measured over 20 min while we spoke and I also did some breathing. He didn’t tell me this but I believe his questions were to induce a “stress” state or “relaxed” state (to see the response in my sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system).
He mentioned that my heart beat has a pause, this might just be the murmur that is still present. He explained that our HR goes up with an inhale and down with an exhale – usually by 20bmp. Mine was 40-50bmp… double of what is normal but I don’t know why. Next week when I do the 24 hour monitor I’ll learn more. One thing that was clear is that I can easily and successfully use my breath to bring myself into a pretty relaxed state. I’ve had a lot of practice with this over the last two years and it’s been a bit of a lifeline for me – I can’t say this surprised me.
Finally I had the Pulsating Magnetic Field therapy followed by PAP-IMI (I did both in December, you can read about them again in one of my older posts by clicking here).
Today started a lot better than yesterday. Stephen also left home back to Canada last night so I think I worked through those emotions yesterday (part of why I was so miserable) and I had so much on my plate between questions, emotions, therapies and being so tired. My day started with IHHT which I actually remained awake for – but I also didn’t lay back. I spent the time dealing with emails and messages. I was a bit groggy afterwards and could tell there was an effect from the oxygen.
This was followed by a lymph drainage massage. Again, I slept. Waking myself up by snoring multiple times. Last for the morning was ozone therapy. My veins have been popping the last few days so it’s been easy to access them for all the infusions. Thank goodness. I was able to bleed out 100ml of blood pretty quick today. A Lyme homeopathic infusion was added to my oxygenated blood, then an infusion of vitamin C, B vitamins and more homeopathic meds (of which I’m still yet to learn). After lunch was Pulsating Magnetic Field therapy again, I’m alternating between my head/neck and liver/kidneys.
Next I met with my doctor again. None of remaining the results are back, but I asked to have something done about the pain in my neck. We also discussed the diagnosis of Hashimotos and what can be done (other than dietary measures). My doctor said the neural therapy would be done for all of these concerns. Because we did my stomach yesterday, today we worked up the body. I had a lot of “hot” regions on my face and neck from my thermography assessment so she wanted to do some in my face and will eventually also do some around my thyroid as well.
You would think with having hours upon hours of being stabbed with ink-filled needles for tattoos that I’d be ok with needles. I am OK with having blood drawn. I hate IV starts in my hand. Needles in my mouth? Nope. Needles in my face …. Not as bad as I expected.
The face has a major nerve branch and the goal was to access these with the procaine + homeopathics. She did two points over my eyebrows and another in the middle. To get the the other ones near the sinuses she informed me that the need would go in my mouth. Up into my gums it went…. The right side was fine, but on the left side I heard a “whooshing” noise as it was injected. I had a moment of panic and she assured me it was fine and normal for some people to hear it. Next she moved to two points on my chin, as well as at my TMJ and behind my ears. To my surprise all of these points actually pinched less than when she did it to my stomach.
We moved onto my neck and shoulders. She had me turn my head left and right. It was much harder to move to the right so that side went first. After about 6 injections I tried again to move my head side to side and the right side was now much easier than the left. She began to repeat the same on the left side and then I realized my lip and cheek were tingling and going numb (similar like when you have freezing at the dentist). She told me not to worry, that the left side injection in my mouth was just closer to the nerve and it would pass within 15 minutes. It did.
My next appointment was I-Therm. It is non-invasive and feels like your laying on a heating pad but it is actually two square plates. This therapy is a local hyperthermia that reaches up to 15cm into the body heating it up to about 44°C but the outside skin temperature is about 39°-40°C. It can be used to destroy heat sensitive cells like cancer, and in my case borrelia (the Lyme bacteria) as it is not tolerant of heat. It can also decrease inflammation and support cellular repair – its used for viral and bacterial infections as well as rheumatic diseases, metabolic and neurological disorders. It was positioned along my low back all the way to my neck.
Today started with something I had built up in my head and even had bad dreams about the night before. Thismight be uncomfortable to read about but this is my reality. First thing this morning I had colon hydrotherapy (aka: a colonic). I can’t say what I expected but it was so much less invasive than I thought it would be. I expected the machine to suck everything out of my guts and be really, really gross looking.
Simply put the procedure is a very sophisticated enema. The reason for doing these is multifactorial. First is the obvious: we poop cause that stuff isn’t supposed to be in our body. It is waste and if stuck inside our gut it causes toxins to be reabsorbed. Second is that our intestine is home to up to 80% of our immune system. By removing the toxic garbage in it and through taking oral and rectal probiotics it re-establishes the gut with healthy bacteria that will ultimately help our bodies absorb nutrients better, etc.
Next I met with another doctor, this time a Naturopathic doctor who’s actually American. This made communicating a lot easier and I felt like I was getting better explanations and he explained things in a more clinical way that made me feel much more comfortable.
I like to be able to understand everything that is happening within my body and then I can better understand why we’ve picked certain treatments, and I can then also educate myself to be able to ask better questions. I’ve gotten the impression this isn’t normal the doctor-patient relationship here – and I am not used to this, with my family doctor and at the Jemsek Clinic I feel like I play an equal role in my health care – but I wasn’t getting that feeling and that made me uneasy.
This doctor reviewed my lab work again with me. He is quite a fast thinker and fast talker … he puts my conversational speed to shame with how quick he can talk. He was really helpful. I think the easiest way to explain this is to use bullet points for this appointment:
- My heavy metal test came back and isn’t good but also not outrageous. I have very high levels of cobalt and nickel. Mercury is high and moderate levels of arsenic, copper and strontium.
- They grade the overall toxicity at the high-end of moderate.
- I’ll likely be doing oral-chelation therapy, but we need to talk to the my MD first
- I’ve had a new infusion protocol added for detoxing as well that has 15 different vitamins, minerals and homeopathics in it but two are directly related to reducing the metals
- The heavy metal report also confirms a number of other tests that have told us my zinc levels are quite low
- One of the new diagnosis’ that came from this is Hashimoto’s – this means my body is attacking my thyroid. He explained that this is most likely related to toxicity (especially of arsenic and mercury) vs. an organic condition. It can be improved by getting rid of the metal toxicity and by getting high levels of selenium.
- Hashimoto’s can also be worsened when a viral infection kicks up. As a kid I had mono and it has been recently more activate in my body.
- The good news is that once we can repair my body and improve my immune system (and all the little pieces in between) I can look at decreasing Synthroid and replacing it with something natural.
- We identified two major goals in this appointment: detoxify and build my immune system. He confirmed my suspicion that part of the reason I was too ‘weak’ and got so sick is because I couldn’t be breastfed as an infant – which led to many infections as a kid, resulting in a lot of antibiotics over the years which further damaged my immune system.
- He explained that I’m still having issues with Bartonella as the lab value is very elevated.
- To address both bacterial infections, low immune function and toxicity I asked if more heat therapy would be beneficial and he immediately agreed and said I should have whole body hyperthermia. This is different than the IRA-Therm I did the other day: you’re heated up to 40°C and it is held for a couple of hours. He was able to get this into my schedule as well as asked me to take some heavy metal binders before my heat treatments.
- I was concerned about poor lymph flow as well, especially after heat treatment my body swells up. I’ve been scheduled for a lot of lymph drainage massage, but we can do this at home and I felt that there would be better options for this while I am here. He suggested we add two other therapies instead which I’ll write about when they happen. These will help with the damage to my gut, adrenal function and lymph system.
- I’m continuing to take iron, my body doesn’t seem to be able to absorb it even with good supplementation. He said to have my levels rechecked at home in 3 months and if it still isn’t better that we should consider IV iron supplementation.
The morning finished with the Pulsating Magnetic Field therapy followed by PAP-IMI.
After lunch I met with their nutritionist. She gave me the details of what I’ll be doing to follow their liver-detox-week and she’s going to call ahead to my new hotel with the breakfast instructions to make sure that it will be taken care of and I’ll only have to prep for my dinner.
Meeting with her was interesting – I was reluctant about meeting her, I wasn’t sure if she thought poorly of Canadian Dietitians (there are misconceptions that our education and opinion are ‘bought’ by big business and not based on science) but she treated me as an equal. I’ll meet her again when the results from the stool sample comes in and she will discuss the findings (yay?!)
Next I met with a psychotherapist who I really liked. She combined acupressure and reiki techniques for about 30 minutes. Initially I managed to stay awake … and just like when I’ve had reiki done at home I found I was having big body twitches. This is really interesting to me as reiki is an energy therapy and the goal is to open blocked energy pathways. It is almost as if those blocks are releasing and I’m responding to it in a way we can actually see. Eventually I fell asleep and woke to my own snoring (as usual and embarrassing) or to body spasms. I started this session amped up and excited from the previous doctor’s appointment … I couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel and organize my binder and get my notes written so they were legible. After my session I was able to stay completely calm and didn’t feel the need to rush into getting things done.
I finished my day with oxyvein therapy with a procaine infusion plus now adding a detox infusion. Next week I’ll start the new therapies and liver detox week.