I grew up in the woods and prairies of Southern Wisconsin. As kids, were bit by ticks all the time and no one in my family ever became ill. So, I wasn’t overly cautious about tick exposure or protection. In 2010, unbeknownst to me, I was exposed to Borrelia (Lyme Disease) and several other tick-borne infections. Initially I did not have any overt symptoms. However, within a few months I was debilitated, in a great deal of pain, exhausted all the time, experiencing brain fog, heart palpitations, fever, chills, sweats and extreme neck and joint pain. I sought help at clinics covered by my insurance, and met with many doctors who wanted to help but were unable to diagnose me. I was tested for Lyme Disease, but it came back negative. I was prescribed immune suppressing medications that actually increased my symptoms and unfortunately, allowed the infections to spread uninhibited by the drug-induced suppression of my immune system. Finally, I found a Lyme Literate Medical Doctor (LLMD) outside of my medical insurance coverage, who was able to run Lyme and other tests at an independent lab, and diagnosed me with multiple tick-borne infections. Once the full independent testing was done, I was diagnosed CDC positive for Lyme.
A year after my initial infection,I finally began appropriate treatment. As is common in chronic Lyme Disease, I had developed an autoimmune disease in response to the infections. The autoimmune disease itself couldn’t be addressed until the infections were gone. During my treatment it became clear to me that even though I was slowly getting better there was something missing. I was exhausted all the time and had extreme reactions to treatments, some of them contradictory. No one could figure out why this was.
Two things helped me to recover from the infections: traditional Western Herbalism and spirit healing (shamanic healing).
Using plant medicines that were accessible and affordable, I started to get better more quickly and didn’t have extreme reactions to my infection treatments, I didn’t break out in full-body hives anymore and I had a lot more energy and less pain. (Understanding that most people have problems with liver and kidney detoxification functions, the herbal approach opened up these pathways and helped my body learn to do the work more effectively. ) It took several years of comprehensive care to treat these infections. The herbs worked with the medications from my LLMD, as well as other supplements I was taking.
Another important aspect of my recovery was addressing spiritual healing. When an illness or imbalance affects us, we need to heal all aspects of our being. We all have a spiritual inheritance that many times needs healing work to break patterns in your ancestry, clear energies that are not yours and return lost personal power. For most people, there are layers of healing that need to be addressed. For some, the reason why you aren’t able to clear the infections is rooted in the spirit and your ancestral inheritance.
Addressing all aspects of your being in healing a serious illness whether it is Lyme or another illness, is necessary if you want to become well again. Addressing only the physical body, when the body is being informed by a spiritual inheritance, may bring some relief but will not bring about a full return to wellness.
The reason I became a clinical herbalist was to help people with chronic illness and infections. It took me four years to resolve my infection, and my hope is to help others recover more quickly. I have been studying Lyme Disease, co-infections and other infectious disease ever since I became ill myself ten years ago. Since then I have kept up on current research, read books by experts about Lyme Disease and co-infections, attend conferences focused on Lyme Disease and have trained with herbalists and ND's who specialize in Lyme in their practices. I have been an advocate for Lyme awareness in my community, giving many free talks each year. Over the years I have witnessed the struggles of many people, listened to their stories of illness and healing, what worked for them and didn't work for them. I have personally worked with many people with Lyme Disease and other infections in my clinical herbal practice.
People who are ill have shared with me that they are not being served well by insurance-covered doctors. For others paying a private practice doctor isn’t possible financially. When working with clients who are chronically ill, we work together to find herbs and an approach that works specifically for them. If my clients are interested, I can teach them how to make their own medicine at a fraction of the cost of buying it. Herbs can be grown yourself, sustainably wildcrafted, bought from local growers or ordered on-line inexpensively. Being an active participant in making your medicine is also healing. I also provide my clients with referrals to LLMD’s (Lyme Literate Medical Doctors) and other practitioners who support healing the body. As I say to my clients, you need a team to get better.
I do free talks in the community to help educate people about Lyme Disease and other tick-borne infectious disease. Check the classes page for upcoming talks or for information on how to schedule a talk for your group.
New! Starting in 2020 I will be offering on-demand classes about Lyme Disease and co-infections. These classes focus on infections, herbs and other beneficial therapies. By growing the field and sharing knowledge, I hope to make support more accessible and affordable for those affected. Sign up for the newsletter to stay informed.