I want to begin by saying that everyone experiences Lyme differently, and what worked for me and my body may not work for everyone. I was lucky and was diagnosed early and have had wonderful medical care since my diagnosis. Also, it took nearly 9 years of treating my Lyme before I stumbled upon essential oils. I cannot live without them now!
My Lyme story starts in 2006. In May 2006, my sixth grade class took a field trip to the YMCA of the Rockies to hike, do ropes courses, careen down the side of a mountain on alpine slides, and roast marshmallows over a fire. It was an all around, grand, end-of-the-year field trip. Prior to this trip, I never thought twice about ticks and I really thought they only bothered dogs and deer. Then, during our afternoon hike my teacher found a tick on the back of his vest and he showed it to all the students with a cautionary tale about why these itty-bitty critters are actually no good, blood sucking, evil arachnids. I assume the tick that my teacher found was a black-legged deer tick, and because the Rocky Mountains are densely populated with deer, I’m sure there were ticks everywhere. (I would like to say here that, YES, Lyme Disease and other tick-borne diseases do happen in the western United States).
So, I had a great time on the field trip and then about a month later I started having odd symptoms, especially for a 12-year-old. My neck was stiff, I was lethargic, I lost my appetite, my left elbow stiffened up, and my left knee swelled up to the size of a cantaloupe. That was when the doctors visits started. Luckily for me, I have a wonderful primary care doctor who practices as a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) and utilizes natural forms of medicine and was open to looking at less common illnesses.
My dad thought to check for Lyme and my doctor confirmed it with a blood test. My diagnosis came in August of 2006 approximately 3 months after the bite. I was diagnosed with Lyme, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichia, and Babesia. It was obviously one very nasty tick.
The diagnoses came from my primary care doctor after being misdiagnosed by the Denver Children’s Hospital with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis and/or Lupus. I was misdiagnosed for several reasons. One being that the MD’s simply said that Lyme Disease doesn’t happen in Colorado, it only happens on the east coast. Another reason was that we never saw the classic bullseye rash (later my mom found a streak of white hair in my otherwise blonde locks and we learned that tick bites can kill hair follicles, leaving the hair without color). I had been bit on my scalp and, because of that, never saw a rash.
Immediately after diagnosis I began several course of antibiotics. I will be honest, the antibiotic treatment was intense, 4 days per week in an IV alternating with oral antibiotics and I got sick. At my sickest, I was about 5’3” and around 88 pounds. I continued antibiotic treatment for several years. Occasionally taking a break before beginning a new round.
That’s when my love for my wonderful primary care doc comes in– she always ensured that I was doing supplemental treatments to offset the effects of heavy-duty antibiotics. I took probiotics, digestive enzymes, supplemental vitamins and minerals, I spent time in a hyperbaric chamber, I got regular chiropractic adjustments, I ate a high-fat diet (when I had an appetite, that is), I used Colloidal Silver, I used aroma therapy and massage therapy, and most recently I used essential oils.
It has been a 10 year battle to rid my body of the spirochete bacteria. The spirochetes like to hide out in the lining of the red blood cells. We are talking microscopic bacteria. When I was first diagnosed, if you looked at my blood under a dark spectrum microscope, you would’ve seen over 500 spirochetes per slide. If you looked at my blood today, you would see 2…maybe even less. My point is that these spirochetes are stubborn and resilient. They will fight back against any antibiotic invasion, and because of that (in my case) we had to use a dozen different antibiotics and no traditional methods of killing the bacteria.
Using essential oils is something that I did lots of research about on my own, with the support and guidance of my primary care doc. The oil that worked the best for me was frankincense. I started using 2 drops under my tongue in the morning for the physical symptoms (knee swelling, joint pain, neck stiffness) and within 2 months my symptoms were nearly gone. I used to have to take 1200mg of ibuprofen daily, but I stopped taking ibuprofen and completely replaced it with frankincense.
The reason essential oils are so effective is because, on a molecular level, they are so small. The molecules that make up essential oils are small enough to fit easily inside my red blood cells, for example, or to go through the blood-brain barrier.
I would recommend doing research about using essential oils medicinally if you are interested in making some changes in your medicine cabinet. Frankincense was tremendously helpful as an alternative medicine for me.