A day-by-day diary of my experience.
Here are the details of the progression of the tick bite I first noticed on my leg on 12th September 2019, (which I probably picked up from a walk on 7th Sept, when I went through some low undergrowth and was infected almost certainly by 9th Sept which I take as: Day 1) and what I did day by day* to treat it, just in case you have been searching for information on what to do with a bite you ‘suspect’ is a tick. I will continue to update this page as time goes by and symptoms change/lessen and I add new treatments and protocols (if needed):
Tick bite progression (in photos):
Tick bite protocol (day by day):
Day 3: I first saw a rather angry red blotch on the lower half of my leg (photo 1). I never saw an attached tick during the days running up to this, so I dismissed the mark as a spider bite because I had been spending a lot of time in the garden (in shorts) around that time. I took antihistamines for the next two days but they did not seem to make any difference at all.
Day 7: I had a realisation that the red blotch could be from a tick. I knew that I had been on a walk about 11 days before that and had walked through some undergrowth but I am always carfeul to check for ticks (as we live in deer country) and obviously, had not seen anything on me at the time. The mark was not going away and looked angrier than ever, which I thought was rather strange. I was feeling fine but I started to keep a very close eye on it, spending several hours on the internet researching photos of tick rashes, both classic and unusual.
Day 9: I made an appointment at the doctors. By this time I had researched all I could on tick bites, bullseye rashes, non-bullseye rashes etc. and I just was not sure if it was a spider bite or not. The blotch had become a little bigger and the centre was turning blue (photo 2) so I thought it only safe to get it checked out. I was still feeling absolutely fine, no ‘flu or headaches or joint stiffness, which the doctor informed me may come later on. She also was very unsure that it was actually a tick bite and because I have a history of IBS, she was not keen to start antibiotics unless it was very clear it was from a tick and was not resolving itself. She told me to wait a week and if it had not gone away, to come back and she would prescribe antibiotics (I really did NOT want to take antibiotics!). The doctor suggested I draw a line around the mark to see if it was spreading (photo 3). I came away from the appointment feeling cheerful; if she was unsure, then perhaps it was only a spider bite after all🤞🏻.
Day 13: started Astragalus and Japanese Knotweed. The bite had got slightly better, the edge had grown by about 1 cm but the central area was getting smaller and turning blue, which I thought was a very good sign (photo 4). Even so, I wanted to be proactive whilst I was waiting to see if I needed to return to the doctors. I had already read Stephen Harrod-Buhner’s books on Plant Intelligence and Fasting a few years back and knew that he had written a book on treating Lyme naturally, so I turned to his protocol to see if there was anything I could take immediately. He suggests Astragalus (1,000mg x3 per day) for new tick bites (as soon as a bite is detected and for a month after that). In addition to this, because I thought I needed an antioxidant boost, I started taking Japanese Knotweed supplements (250mg x3 per day) also from the Buhner protocol. The bite calmed down a lot after I started taking these supplements (photo 6) and I was feeling good about the whole situation, thinking that it probably was not a tick bite after all.
Day 20: started Antibiotics and Saccharomyces Boulardii. This morning, I noticed that the bite had changed; it looked redder again and a ring of blotches had separated from around the central point (photo 8). I hadn’t really noticed the rash expanding out into a defined circle of spots until now. It was not the classic Lyme bullseye but near enough (godammit). I figured that the Astragalus must have broken up the infection somewhat, so it hadn’t formed a complete ring but even so, this was NOT a good sign. At this point, I was under no illusions that I could treat this myself. I went back to the doctors for the antibiotics (Amoxicillin 500mg x3 per day for 14 days) that afternoon and also got a prescription for S. Boulardii (200mg x1 per day) to help my gut cope with the onslaught of drugs. When I got home, I researched some more and ordered some extra supplements to help me get through the trauma of the strong antibiotic regime and for some extra help against the Lyme infection itself.
Day 23: started NAC and Nattokinase. I found out that in order for the antibiotics to get right into all the nooks and crannies that the Lyme maybe hiding in, I needed to take a biofilm disruptor. There is evidence to show that when certain bacteria are attacked they can go into a dormant state and hide themselves in an ‘alginate’ layer that can be found in various places in the body, so that later, when the body is clear of antibiotics, the bacteria can become active again. I have sensitive guts and chronic rhinitis, so I know that I more than likely already have active biofilms inside me, so I started taking NAC – N-Acetyl Cysteine (600mg x3 per day) and Nattokinase (500mg x3 per day) to disrupt them. This was on day four of the course of antibiotics, when I also found out that the mitochondria in the cells of the body may start to get damaged. Fortunately, NAC is also a very powerful antioxidant (along with Japanese Knotweed), which has been shown in clinical trials to protect these mitochondria, so I started taking it specifically for this dual purpose. For the first time, the rash on my leg was showing signs of disappearing (photo 10); the central mark had become much smaller and nearly all of the outer blotches had faded. One side of my throat started to become uncomfortable and I knew that this was more than likely a swollen lymph node.
Day 25: I had begun to have diarrhoea at this point, so I upped my intake of Saccharomyces Boulardii to 200mg x2 per day. I started massaging essential oils into my throat to help drain my lymph nodes (grapefruit, rosemary and ginger) and it gave me some temporary relief. I was starting to feel the effects of the antibiotics and just wanted to rest; I was so wiped out (I knew that this would be the case). I felt very below parr, with added intermittent kidney pain, nausea and headaches. I started dry skin brushing to try and help the toxins move through my body I also did a coffee enema to support my liver and flush out my bowels. The marks on my leg continued to diminish; the central spot was now turning blue and was drying up with the outer blotches continuing to fade (photo 11). At no point in the 23 days had the bite become swollen, itchy or had throbbed, it had only felt hot to the touch.
Day 27: I reached a bit of a low point; cancelled some plans for the next week and just wanted to rest. My intestines were still all over the place but I believed the extra dose of S. Boulardii was helping keep the diarrhea at bay. The bite mark looked much better today though, so that was a relief (photo 12). I increased the coffe enemas to x2 per day and was massaging my neck regularly with the essential oils. I spoke to my doctor about the lymph node swelling, as I was concerned that it was an indication of Lyme spreading throughout my body but she believed it to be just a secondary infection that would resolve itself with the antibiotics. At this point, I was still taking the Amoxicillin, Nattokinase, Astragalus and Japanese Knotweed all at x3 per day, the S. Boulardii at x2 per day and because I had been suffering from nausea on and off for the last few days, I decided to reduce the NAC to x2 per day for the time being.
Day 29: today was definitey the worst so far. I now had a full-blown cold (I couldn’t call it ‘flu). This is another one of early Lyme’s classic symptoms. Thankfully though, my lymph nodes had returned almost back to normal. I felt very sick throughout the day; bone broth seemed to alleviate the nausea for a while and I was down to eating scrambled egg and a bit of coconut yoghurt. The previous night I felt my skin crawling as I fell asleep and I even had to get up again to check myself for more ticks, even though I had not even ventured out onto the lawn for a couple of weeks! I had a call out of the blue from a friend who is a herbalist and as it happened, he had just made up some Teasel Root tincture, which he would send to me straight away.
Day 30: the cold continued. The morning was tough. I dragged myself into town to stop at the market and go to the pharmacy again. I had been listening to a podcast about Bach Flower Remedies for animals and decided to get some for myself. I chose Elm – ‘at times there may be periods of depression when you feel that the task you have undertaken is too difficult, and not within the power of a human being‘ and Pine – ‘even when successful you think that you could have done better, and are never content with your efforts or the results’ – those were the ones that resonated most with me and seemed to fit in with what I was going through emotionally right then. I sat in the car and took them straight away and I have to say, they made me feel better within minutes. I had gone from the most brutal to the most ethereal of treatments (and everywhere in between) over the past few weeks and these essences seemed to just take the edge off the anxiety and stress that I realised had been building up during this time. I also started to add some detox measures to my protocol with some chlorella (x10 200mg tablets per day), epsom salt baths (x1 per day) and a glass of lemon juice and water (x3 per day). I was also still continuing with all the medicine listed on day 27 and the coffee enemas (x2 per day).
to be updated again soon ….
Other things I did during this time:
During this time, I also changed some elements of my diet and lifestyle, which I feel I should mention. I immediately came off all forms of sugar (sucrose, fruit, honey, maple syrup, sweetners etc.) when I started taking the antibiotics. I figured that sugar would only encourage opportunistic (bad) bacteria to colonise my gut and I wanted to avoid this at all costs. I had already been on a FODMAP diet for six months, so I made sure I stuck to this diet impeccably. I had always been in the habit throughout the year of full-body sunbathing for about 20 minutes on the days we had some sun, so I made sure I continued with that too. I read that antibiotics can increase your sensitivity to the sun so I stayed out for only 15 minutes or so (it was autumn so the sun was much weaker than normal). I started drinking bone broth everyday, to help heal my intestines (with added miso) and made sure I ate homemade sauerkraut for the beneficial probiotics.
*Please do not take any of this as bone fida medical advice. I decided to start with these herbs after many hours of research on the internet; making sure to read the findings of experts who have done thousands of hours of research (such as Stephen Buhner). Before you start on any regime, please do your own research into each supplement and always buy from a reputable manufacturer. I have no idea if any of this is helping, although I’d like to believe it is; in fact, I am making it my business to believe it is. I would never have refused the antibiotics – as my alternative practitioner told me – ‘don’t start playing a mental torture game’ and he was right. Save yourself the stress and realise that allopathic medicine has a crucial part to play in infections of this kind and I was definitely going to do everything I could to minimise the chance of contracting Lyme, period. Stephen Buhner advises that antibiotics should always be seriously considered as treatment alongside his protocol.
I believe that my ’emotional protocol’ was just as important as the ‘physical protocol’ and I made sure that I lived as mindfully as I could during my recovery, this included spending time outdoors with animals, birds and plants, meditating and trying to keep away from social media, TV and EMF sources as much as possible. Please also understand that the Buhner protocol (and others) is very different if you are suffering from late-stage Lyme – for instance, Astralagus is contra-indicated for this phase of the disease, so please make sure you do your own research if your circumstances are in any way different from mine and make sure you talk to an alternative health practitioner/functional medicine/lyme literate doctor for ongoing support.