What a difference a herx makes

Lyme bacteria are squiggly little bastards called spirochetes. When medicine starts working, causing spirochetes to die, they release toxins. These toxins can make the patient feel pretty terrible, which is called a Herxheimer Reaction, or herx for short. At my first appointment with my Lyme doc, she said, “Have you heard of herxing in your research? Okay, good. It’s real.”

During the first month of my treatment, I had moments where I thought, Hmm… Is this a herx? Maybe this is a herx?  Well, I’m here to tell you today, I NOW KNOW WHAT A HERX IS.

Exhibit A:herx

It was a tough weekend, folks. I could barely leave my bed. On Sunday morning, the headache was so horrendous, it was hard to form words, or get my body to move where it wanted to go. I thought about posting here to document my miserable state, but even opening the laptop seemed too arduous. Just for added fun, my wife came down with a cold, and my son got pink eye! Two sick moms wrestling a preschooler like an alligator in order to administer eye drops (which we luckily had on hand a from a recent pink eye false alarm), was a sad, sad sight to behold. A weekend to remember!

Monday brought some improvement. The morning was a challenge, but by the time I made it to my music class, I was able to teach and feel pretty good doing it. I was definitely tired for the rest of the day, but the headache was back to my usual moderate level, and I no longer felt like I might die at any moment.

Which brings us to today, Tuesday. It felt like kismet that the sun was shining and temperature rising because I felt…good! Sure, I’ve had a mild to moderate headache all day, and I needed a cat nap between teaching class and picking up the kiddo from school, but I felt Pretty Good for the whole day!

Exhibit B:

post herx

Look at me! Wearing jewelry and smiling! Hooray!

The road to recovery from Lyme is paved with many a herx. As spirochetes die off, the toxins they release build up and bring the hurt. You get through it, and on the other side, you can feel pretty darn good. This is a process I will likely repeat over and over as I continue treatment. Having this experience feels like a Lymie milestone, and in this moment, it gives me hope about moving forward.


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