I’ve been back on antibiotics for about two months now. I started out with daily rifampin and azithromycin. A month ago, due to an interaction issue, we switched out the zith for minocycline. My doctor conferred with the lead doctor at the practice about my case and decided that if I felt ready to, I should switch to pulsing both the rifampin and minocycline. They recommended taking both antibiotics for two weeks, then take a break for a week, then repeat. I have mentioned here before that research has shown pulsing antibiotics to be very helpful in treating Lyme. Part of the reason Lyme Disease is so difficult to eradicate is its ability to linger in dormant persister cells. By pulsing antibiotics, you sort of trick the persister cells into thinking the antibiotics are gone, so they “wake up” or reactivate, and just as they do, BAM – more antibiotics! It makes good sense, has done well in lab tests, and anecdotally, has helped many patients.
In theory, my doctor also sees it as a way to continue my treatment while giving me some “breaks.” In practice, it sounds to me like a herxheimer rollercoaster on a loop, as each time I resume antibiotics, I can expect a flare in symptoms to follow.
In addition to the antibiotic pulsing schedule, I am doing biweekly IV therapy, with just a couple of key ingredients to keep cost down. One of those is glutathione, which is sometimes used in treating diabetes and Parkinson’s, and also to help lessen the negative side effects of chemotherapy. Less items in the IV means not only less cost, but less time in the chair. My old IVs took a good two hours or so to drip, this one takes about 45mins to an hour.
Regular blood tests to monitor my progress and keep an eye on things like kidney, liver, and adrenal function (all of which could be impacted by Lyme and/or antibiotic use), continue to be important.
Also continuing are the necessary supplements and vitamins to help strengthen my immune system and lessen some of my bothersome symptoms. I am also taking an enzyme that functions as a biofilm buster – biofilm being the protective coating that can keep antibiotics from getting to Lyme bacteria. This enzyme needs to be taken away from food. Probiotics need to be taken away from antibiotics. Another immune boosting supplement needs to be taken first thing in the morning. All this is to say that I am now (again) on a schedule of taking pills of one sort or another at 6 different times of day. Over the last several months, I was able to pare down to 4 times per day which was much simpler, but this current protocol just has too many can’t-take-that-with-this restrictions, so I dusted off my FOURTH pill sorter and am back to six times per day.
This past week was my first “off” in the pulsing schedule. It was nice to have a few less pills to take, and was a bit easier on my stomach. I also felt somewhat better overall than I have the past few months. I had one very good day, and the rest were in the realm of okay, with many symptoms not bothering me too much until the evenings, which always tend to tough.
So with one “off” week under my belt, it’s time to go back on the antibiotics. I’m mentally bracing myself for a rough week of herxheimer reactions, but hoping for the best!