TOUCHED BY LYME: “Lyme complex” triggers pandemonium in immune system
In 1996, Dr. Daniel Kinderlehrer had practiced integrative medicine for 17 years, focusing heavily on food sensitivities, digestive issues, and nutritional supplementation.
Then, he suddenly developed a serious illness himself. It started with fever, chills, and muscle aches, which waxed and waned with alarming frequency. Eventually, this ailment would spin his life and medical practice into an entirely new direction.
During Kinderlehrer’s initial search for what was wrong, he tested positive for Lyme disease. At first, that diagnosis brought relief. The standard medical advice was that a short course of antibiotics would clear the infection. Soon, he thought, he’d be good to go.
Uh-oh. That’s not how things turned out.
“The lab must be wrong”
Kinderlehrer started the suggested treatment and promptly got worse. Intractable insomnia, anxiety, violent shaking of his body. Finally, he contacted a prominent physician with a reputation as an expert in Lyme disease. Here’s how he summarized the conversation later:
“You don’t have Lyme,” [the expert] concluded.
I was confused. “Well, then, what do I have?”
“Something else,” he replied.
“But what about the lab tests?” I asked. “Using the Western blot technique, the assay demonstrated the presence of antibodies highly specific for Lyme. I even repeated the tests one month later, and they confirmed the initial results. Isn’t this the CDC criteria for the diagnosis of Lyme?”
“The laboratory must have been wrong,” he informed me.
“Why do you think I don’t have Lyme?” I responded.
“Because if you had Lyme, you’d be better by now.”
(Many people with persistent Lyme symptoms report being told something similar by doctors. I well recall the infectious disease “expert” my own family consulted early on in my daughter’s illness. This prominent member of the IDSA stated point blank that since she had completed 30 days of antibiotics with no change in symptoms, that “proved” she didn’t have Lyme disease.)
At that point, Kinderlehrer set out to find answers for himself. In time, what he learned would be shared with hundreds of patients who eventually flocked to his practice, which now focuses entirely on tick-borne infections. And it led to a new book called “Recovery from Lyme Disease: The Integrative Medicine Guide to Diagnosing and Treating Tick-Borne Illness.”
“Recovery from Lyme Disease” has 25 chapters, divided into the following five sections:
Section 1: Anatomy Lessons (anatomy of an illness, an epidemic, and the Lyme wars)
Section 2: Meet the Bugs (explanation of the different microbes involved with what Kinderlehrer calls “Lyme disease complex”—in which the Lyme bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, plays only one part.
Section 3: It’s all Connected (endocrine dysfunction, gastrointestinal issues, nervous system disorders, inflammation, detoxification, fatigue, diet and nutrition)
Section 4: What Else? (other considerations, alternative treatments, frequently asked questions)
Section 5: The challenge (discussion of what it will take to get us where we want to go); appendices; acknowledgements.
Chapter 18 (in Section 3) includes an excellent description of the immune system—particularly germane in this time of COVID as well as Lyme disease complex.
As the author puts it, “Lyme and its co-infections trigger pandemonium in the immune system, resulting in excessive systemic inflammation and auto-immunity as well as immune suppression. A multisystemic approach is necessary to control inflammation: avoiding allergic triggers, healing the gut, balancing hormones, calming the nervous system, enhancing detoxification—as well as treating infections.”
Kinderlehrer gives good explanations of tests, treatments, and alternative approaches to dealing with these issues.
The following links give free access to two different excerpts from “Recovering from Lyme Disease.”
“Recovery from Lyme Disease: The Integrative Medicine Guide to Diagnosing and Treating Tick-Borne Illness” (Skyhorse Publishing), is available for pre-order now.
TOUCHED BY LYME is written by Dorothy Kupcha Leland, LymeDisease.org’s Vice-president and Director of Communications. She is co-author of When Your Child Has Lyme Disease: A Parent’s Survival Guide. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.