Adjusting To New Holiday Traditions

In 16 years, not a single snow storm or blizzard deterred me from seeing my family during the Christmas season.

Dating back to my freshman year of college, I would pack the car to the brim and drive to Minnesota. I usually brought a giant pile of dirty clothes to wash at my parents house, as I had typically run out of quarters by the end of the semester. In the years I had my job as an Occupational Therapist, I loaded the car with gifts that I had proudly purchased for my family. When I got married, my husband became part of my holiday traveling tradition also.

By 2011, I was no longer well enough to take those trips.

Christmas with my family is huge. Parents, sisters, brothers, cousins, children, grandchildren and friends all congregate at my Aunt’s house in what invariably turns into a 2-3 day marathon of food, fun and some serious card playing. Games like Canasta, Continental Rummy and Nuts have been a family tradition as far back as I can remember. I grew up playing cards and learned to count while playing poker with my grandmother. My cousin, Julie, is the undisputed card-playing champion of the family. Her hands move so fast, at times they’re blurry.

I miss those days.

Not yet strong enough to endure the Christmas festivities, I find myself trying to create new traditions in Chicago.

In our apartment, we have a small, buy carisoprodol canada decorated tree that sits on our mantel. We tried a 7 foot tree one year, but my beagle tried to eat it so we had to downsize.

Every year, I pose the beagles in costumes just long enough to snap a pic or two. I have a reindeer, a Santa suit and a snowman costume. The costumes are decided based on their cooperation. This year, I had a pocket full of yummy treats so I had their full participation.





Like last year, my mother will be coming the day after Christmas. We will partake in our annual tradition of driving around looking for the best displays of Christmas lights. We have been doing this since I was a child, first in my hometown of Winona, and now in Chicago. This is one of my favorite Christmas-time activities.

There are moments however, where I realize I am not yet adjusted to my life with Lyme and such an uneventful holiday season. There will be no big, family meal and no presents to unwrap, as every spare cent we have goes towards my treatment. Such quietness seems foreign to me.

Hopefully, I will one day soon be able to enjoy Christmas and the busyness once again!


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from me, Tom, Seven (15 yrs) and Caylie (12 yrs)!


My Holiday Treatment Plan

The sign that I have the right health practitioner is that I can leave our appointments feeling encouraged. I am not confused or doubting our treatment strategy. She answers my questions and I can see that there is a plan with lots of good options. Having options is so important to remaining hopeful along this extensive road to recovery.

Yesterday, I had a follow-up consultation with my nurse practitioner to discuss my treatment plan over the next two months. I would like to enjoy this holiday season as much as possible. As of now, the detox and die-off reactions are manageable. Thankfully, Nurse P. agreed with me and we decided we would only make some minor adjustments.

These are the areas that need attention over the next two months.

1. Currently, I have an elevated liver enzyme.

I have been taking Rifampin for almost four months. The national website, LiverTox, reports that 10% to 20% of patients can experience a short-term elevation in liver enzymes while taking this medication. In my case, my ALT enzyme (Alanine Aminotransferase) is mildly elevated. The exact mechanism is not well-understood as to why this occurs in some people. At this time, I do not need to discontinue the medication, but I need to carefully monitor my liver enzymes while taking it. I have begun to take a liver support supplement called Hepa Plus to help my liver metabolize this medication better. I will also be having blood work done every 3 weeks to see if my level has remained buy soma online cheap stable or perhaps even lowered.

2. I am still exhibiting signs of hypothyroidism.

Although I am taking Nature-Throid, my previous dose increase did not seem to bring my thyroid levels into the normal range. In fact, there was no change.

Enter Rifampin again.

Rifampin has been shown to induce cases of hypothyroidism in some patients. This is very likely why I did not see an improvement in my numbers despite increasing my thyroid medication. I will be raising my dose again and will also have to keep close tabs on my thyroid levels. Hopefully, getting my thyroid into the normal range will improve my energy. This has been difficult to achieve.

3. I am currently in the midst of doing a second cycle of Alinia.

Alinia is a medication that has activity against parasites, bacteria and some viruses. With one pill, we have been able to target multiple organisms. When I finish this course of the medication, I will be switching to treatment using colloidal silver. I have some limited experience with colloidal silver in the past, so I am interested to see how it combines with the rest of my treatment.

© NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

© NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

We will revisit my treatment plan again at end of January. At that point, I anticipate some significant changes.

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love to hear how you prepare for the holidays. Will you be changing treatment strategies or keeping things the same?


In March, I had my thyroid and iodine levels checked.  The blood tests had indicated sub-clinical hypothyroidism.  What this means is that I have a TSH level that is slightly out of the normal range, but my T4 and T3 levels remain in the normal range. I also showed a slight deficiency in iodine levels.  For whatever reason, I have difficulty tolerating any type of supplement or medication that can potentially be stimulating.  I had been on thyroid medication before, but with great difficulty.  Not wanting to derail any progress I had made, my nurse decided she would gently treat me for a few months with iodine to see if I could get my TSH levels back into a healthier range.  Despite taking the iodine and continuing on my Lyme treatment plan, I have continued to experience some mild symptoms of hypothyroidism (weight gain, muscle pains, dry skin, etc).

© Com Salud

© Com Salud

Two days ago,  I had my routine, monthly follow up with my Lyme Nurse Practitioner.  After some careful discussion, she confirmed that I was still exhibiting symptoms of hypothyroidism and that the iodine had not done enough to restore optimal thyroid function.  In the past, I had used Armour, a natural thyroid preparation made from porcine glands (such a lovely thought).  My longest stretch of Armour usage was about one year, during which I continually experienced nervousness, jitteriness and a few other strange symptoms for the duration of time I was taking it.

My nurse practitioner felt that since Armour is made with both T4 and T3, perhaps I did not need the extra T3 and had begun to experience symptoms of hyperthyroidism instead.  Since no one had ever bothered to re-check my blood levels, we can only guess this is what had happened.

We decided my best course of action this time around would be to try a T4 only preparation in the form of Levothyroxine, beginning at the lowest dose of 25mcg and working up if need be.  Excited about this new treatment plan, hubby and I swiftly went to the pharmacy and I gulped down my first pill before I was even out of the store!

One hour went by.  I felt nothing.  Feeling nothing is usually a good sign with me as it means I am not reacting negatively.  I thought, “This is it.  This will finally be the right medication.” As the next few hours progressed, I had forgotten I had even taken the pill.

Approximately three hours after I had taken the medication, I began to feel buy soma online without prescription burning pain up my spinal cord and a severe sense of achiness right down to my very bones.  I shivered with chills and had to cover up with a blanket.  I tried to go to sleep, but despite taking my normal sleep medication, I was unable to catch even a wink of sleep.  At 4:00am, I was up dry skin brushing and taking an epsom salts foot bath trying desperately to calm the burning sensation that was occurring throughout my body.  I rubbed some calming essential oils on my wrists,  took some additional sleep medication and finally fell asleep for a few hours.  This was not the intended reaction to the medication.

As is often the case with Lyme Disease, nothing is ever very simple.  This can get very confusing and actually quite frustrating.

Yesterday, I opted not to take the medication.  I am not sure I feel brave enough to go through that again.  It just may end up as yet another addition to the ever-growing dizzying spiral of medications and supplements.  It takes a lot out of me when I have to endure those excruciating flare ups of burning in my brain and spinal cord mixed with sleepless nights.  I am meeting with my local LLMD (Lyme Literate Medical Doctor) next week and will run this scenario past him for a second opinion.  I don’t know why I have this sort of reaction to thyroid medication and I am feeling a little bit dismayed at the moment.  Since all of my doctors and nurses visits are paid out-of-pocket, I hate having an unproductive visit and that is currently how I am feeling about this last one.

Hopefully, I can get this piece of the puzzle in place soon.  Progress has been made but it is very slow going.  I will be investigating an interesting new treatment approach during the month of June that may help to direct the next steps of my treatment that I will be writing about.  In addition, next month I will also be writing a full 8 month treatment update so I can compare my current progress from that of 4 month ago.  Until then, I will be brushing up on the anatomy and physiology of my thyroid gland.

Don’t be jealous.

I would love to hear from you about your experiences taking thyroid medications.  Has it been helpful?  Did you have trouble tolerating the medications?  Please feel free to leave me a comment.

To read the update to this post, please click here.