Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Test Results Are In & My New Lyme Dr.

I'm a bit delayed in writing about my lab results due to catching a cold and feeling generally crappier than usual, but I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that my thyroid medicine hasn't been working, as my T3 and TSH are still almost identical to what they were a year ago and six months ago. Good news: increasing my thyroid medication may do the trick, and if not, in three months we'll try a different thyroid medicine. Also, I love my new Lyme doctor—more on her in a minute.

Bad news: My serotonin levels are still insanely low. The minimum end of the "normal" serotonin range is 26 units, up to a higher "normal" of 150 units or more. While a reading of 26 units would be considered the minimum "safe" amount, a reading of under 10 units results in unreadable amounts of blood serotonin detected—and that's where mine lie. One year ago, they came back unreadable, and in spite of taking homeopathic neurotransmitter support, 5-htp, tryptophan, Neuro-Antitox and other brain-nourishing supplements, I was bewildered to find my serotonin levels are still under 10 units. (This further supports that I have neuro-Lyme).

Good news: My doctor had pure serotonin capsules in the office's compounding pharmacy, so I came home with a bottle to try. The theory that serotonin can cross from the blood into the brain is controversial, with most experts claiming it doesn't work that way, and a minority crying foul with patients swearing by the serotonin pills. I guess it doesn't hurt to try something, if there's a chance it could work. It would certainly benefit me in many ways to get my serotonin levels up.

Generally speaking, my previously dramatically-low levels of iron, magnesium, Vitamin D, and other essential nutrients are slightly elevated. No longer out of range, they are now "low normal" with room for improvement. I'll keep doing what I've been doing—supplements, supplements, supplements (and eating well, of course).

Curiously, there's no test to detect progress in eradicating the damn Lyme spirochete. Likewise, there's no test to evaluate progress in killing parasites. For the latter, stool tests are notoriously unreliable. Evaluating progress in Lyme and parasitic eradication is strictly clinical, depending on symptomatic improvement. I'm nowhere near ready to cash in my chips on either of those, with a long journey still ahead of me.

As a matter of fact, killing Lyme is not currently my priority. As peculiar as it may sound—considering I use the term "Lyme" to sum up the entirety of my chronic illness—Lyme is neither my current battle cry nor the only source of illness. Lyme, the borrelia spirochete, may be responsible for many opportunistic and co-infections such as babesia, candida and heavy metal toxicity, and may amplify the destruction done by parasites and molds, but each of these conditions needs to be targeted specifically with its own treatment.

Most Lyme experts assert that hormones need to be balanced (including the thyroid) and parasitic infections, among other things, must be addressed before the Lyme itself. And nobody really knows if late-stage Lyme can ever be completely killed off, since the spirochete cleverly hides inside cell membranes and tissue.

Through a year of research, it has become my belief that a person with chronic Lyme can dramatically improve his/her health by addressing their hormonal imbalances, killing parasites, chelating metals, avoiding mold exposure, performing adequate detoxification, lowering their bacterial burden with a low dose of anti-microbials, and getting all their nutrients through diet and/or supplementation—even if they do not kill Lyme.

So, that is what I am doing. For now.

And my new LLND (not LLMD—because she is a naturopathic doctor) is totally on board with me. Her name is Dr. Nancy Evans and she works out of the Holtorf Medical Group's Foster City location. She specializes in endocrinology and Lyme disease. Not all endocrinologists are created equal. Far from it. She balances western medicine, including pharmaceuticals, with naturopathy, gives you a full hour of time, listens intently, and runs the proper tests to see if a chronic infection could be throwing off your thyroid. She's not cheap, and the office doesn't handle insurance, but you can always file an out-of-network claim with your insurance company for reimbursement. Good health doesn't come cheap or easy. She's worth the out-of-pocket expense.
 I highly recommend anybody in the Bay Area with thyroid problems and/or chronic fatigue—Lyme disease or not—make an appointment with Dr. Evans. 


  1. After taking porcine thyroid supplements I noticed improvements to my health. I can personally say that after using it for four months i feel like a whole new person. It gave loads of energy, it helped me lose 24 lbs and the best part of it i managed to grow my hair back i have lost 10 years ago.

  2. Hi Leila - have you heard of the (new) borrelia blood culture (http://www.advanced-lab.com/news/borrelia_culture_update.php)? I haven't done it yet -- you've got to be off antibiotics for a month before the blood draw -- but my LLMD seems to think it'll be clinically useful. My father (an open-minded yet conventional gastroenterologist) was looking for data re: the test's reliability before opining on whether it's worth my $595...reliability data wasn't posted on the lab's site but maybe they'll provide it upon request. The lab does say that time of day matters for the draw: spirochetemia is more likely in the afternoon. Given that, I suspect the test will be more indicative than definitive in gauging spirochete burdens...but that could be something. Anyway...to your health!

  3. Hi Leila - looking for every kind of help for myself and kids with CFS, Lyme and tons of co-infection found via bio-feedback sessions. Have HMO that is useless. Need lots of diagnostic labs, etc and no idea where to start.