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Postpartum Flare Up of Chronic Lyme

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A look at my postpartum flare up of chronic Lyme disease and a couple of “new” diagnoses.

Postpartum Flare Up of Chronic Lyme DiseaseIt has been a wild last few months.  Learning how to be a mom is hard.  Learning how to be a mom when you do not feel well is even more difficult.

If you have been around for a while, you know I have been facing health issues since 2012.  It was not until this past Fall, when I was about three months postpartum, that I received a a diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease.  At the time, it was a bit scary, but I was also relieved to finally be getting some answers.

Beginning in late November, additional symptoms outside of my “norm” began to pop up here and there.  I was having a lot more headaches, moments of nausea, and just generally not feeling well.  I attributed this to the Lyme, but just kept pushing through.  I wanted so badly to breastfeed my son to the one year mark, so I had decided to continue nursing and put off treatment until that time.

Fast forward to February and I was feeling significantly worse.  My headaches were constant, I had a lot of head pressure and face pain, I was weak and exhausted, felt dizzy almost constantly, and had moments where I felt I might pass out.  The best way I could describe it to my husband was that I felt like I was drunk.  Understandably, this made working and home life rather difficult.  I had several days where I had to leave work to go home and sleep.

Since I was feeling so terrible, I went to see my functional medicine practitioner for a check up and to get lab work run.  She let me know that it was common to have postpartum flare-ups of Lyme symptoms.  Based on my Igenex lab tests from December and the lab work I had run more recently, she also diagnosed me with Babesia (a co-infection of Lyme) and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.  If you are not familiar with Hashimoto’s, it is an autoimmune thyroid condition where the body attacks the thyroid resulting in hypothyroid symptoms.  I have long suspected an autoimmune thyroid condition, but apparently it just took postpartum hormonal changes to trigger enough of an antibody response for it to finally show up in my blood work.

So where am I at now, a week after receiving this news?  Honestly, still not feeling great.  But I am taking things one day at a time and am working hard to support my immune system.  My husband and I made the very difficult decision to wean our son off of nursing so that I can start treating the Lyme and Babesia.  It has been about a month since we slowly started introducing formula and a week since I completely stopped breastfeeding.  He is now eating an organic, non-GMO formula made in Germany alongside frozen breastmilk from our freezer stash.  I am hoping our stash will last us the next couple of months.

As far as my treatment moving forward, after a great deal of research I have decided to try the Buhner herbal protocol.  I have been reading his latest book and educating myself on the uses of the herbs and which ones might work best with each of my symptoms.  I have chosen to use herbal tinctures so that I can slowly introduce the herbs to try to avoid a herx response and carefully monitor how my body responds to them.  So far, I have begun with Japanese knotweed and just added in cat’s claw on Sunday.  With the wide array of symptoms I present with, healing will likely require quite a few different herbs, so it will take some time (and money!) before I am on the full protocol.

To address the Hashimoto’s flare up, I will be starting Low Dose Naltrexone soon and plan to take it for six to nine months to help repair some of the damage to my thyroid.  I have also fully transitioned back to a Paleo diet and may dabble with AIP again if I need to.  I think an updated food sensitivity test may be in order, too!

One other test I want to mention that I had run was the HLA-DR genetic test.  Once they are back, I am going to use these results to see whether or not I might need to further explore the possibility of mold toxicity and Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome.  Mold issues very commonly accompany Lyme, so it is a path I definitely want to look into more.

So that’s where we are with things!  Postpartum flares are so tough and even more difficult when you have an infant to care for.  I know treatment will be slow, so I suspect the results will also be slow going.  But as long as I can start moving toward improvement, I will be happy.  I am ready to feel like a healthier, happier, and functioning person again!

If you have an autoimmune or immune-related disease, did you experience a postpartum flare up?

Postpartum Flare Up of Chronic Lyme Disease + Hashimoto's Diagnosis #lymedisease #healing #Hashimotos Click To Tweet

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  • Marion Ellenburg March 6, 2018, 8:21 am
    Look into Anthony William and his methods for healing Lyme disease naturally. He has helped SO MANY people heal from chronic illness. Much love to you.
    • ClnEatingVegGrl March 6, 2018, 8:38 am
      Thank you for your thoughts. I have heard of him and certainly plan to do more research!
  • Lesq March 6, 2018, 2:03 pm
    Do you follow Aimee’s blog The Healthy Apple she is amazing! She suffered the most severe symptoms and she cured herself. Her story tugged at my heart and she has turned her whole health around. Give her blog a look. She’s written a book and is available for consultations.
    • ClnEatingVegGrl March 6, 2018, 9:14 pm
      Thanks so much for the thoughts and idea. I will check it out!
  • Cassie March 7, 2018, 5:24 am
    You *definitely* made the right decision to focus on your healing in lieu of breastfeeding. You have to be well to be a good Mama. Period. End of sentence. And I'm doing a modified version of the Buhner, too, and I'm SO glad to hear you are using tinctures. I started off using pills, and had a nasty little herx just from the JK—so I 100% believe tinctures are the way to go. Some people think that herxing is necessary, but my doctor and I both agree that gentle is the way to go with this Lyme thing. Your body didn't get this way overnight, and you're not going to fix it overnight. If you ever want to talk about being a Lymie mama, I'm here. <3
    • ClnEatingVegGrl March 8, 2018, 10:51 am
      Thanks so much for your thoughts, Cassie! I appreciate it. It often feels lonely in the Lyme healing world, so I am grateful that social media and blogging can connect us. And thank goodness for the tinctures. Other than them not tasting pleasant and being uber pricey, I am really liking them so far. Introducing them is such a slow process, but I'm trying to remind myself that going too quickly with it would likely result in a herx :(
  • Alli O March 7, 2018, 8:14 am
    So sorry to hear about the symptoms flaring. Wishing you a speedy recovery!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl March 8, 2018, 10:52 am
      Thank you, Alli! I SO appreciate your support!
  • Amanda March 14, 2018, 1:51 pm
    Thanks for sharing your story Hannah! I also have Lyme and CIRS (mold toxicity) and it can be so tough. I am worried about if I have children someday. Some people say they feel really good when they are pregnant because of the hormones and their body kind of resets, but then they have a relapse afterwards like you. How did you feel when you were pregnant. I have been working on healing for a couple years and it can be so frustrating so it's always great to have a community of people to share ideas and stories!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl March 14, 2018, 2:00 pm
      I would have to say I agree with that. Other than morning sickness, I really did feel quite good during pregnancy (and for about three months postpartum). I was not eating Paleo at the time either, so I think the hormonal and immune changes related to pregnancy definitely helped. It is certainly nice to find others who can related. Feel free to e-mail me if you have anymore questions!
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