Alternative therapies for Lyme

Thanks for the informative article on Lyme [“Tick-borne diseases: Every man for himself,” May 17].

Suffering from cognitive dysfunction and other ailments for over a year and being told by a multitude of M.D.s that it wasn’t Lyme (“It doesn’t exist in Virginia!” one emphatically swore), Johns Hopkins’ Dr. John Aucott diagnosed me with the dreaded late-stage Lyme — sort of. He said he couldn’t actually put that on my chart because I tested negative using both ELISA and Western blot tests (sub-optimal tests, incidentally), and I had no “Target logo, er, bull’s-eye rash.”

So here’s where the fun began: Aucott said he could put me on I.V. antibiotics for months — but it wouldn’t cure me. It rarely does, he added. Plus they cost an arm and a leg. I pleaded and received the pill form, which, after four months’ use, didn’t cure me either but did induce the Herxheimer reaction from the die-off of bacteria (thereby confirming his diagnosis, Aucott said).

So what the heck was I to do now? What every sick person does when they get desperate enough: Alternative therapies. And after a year and a half of various treatments, my brain returned to normal and the extreme burning pain disappeared. Years later I was even able to be rid of the chronic lethargy accompanying Lyme.

My bottom line for readers is this: If God forbid you find yourself in “Late Lyme,” first see Dr. Aucott (who will most likely, yet politely, deem you as incurable). Then find yourself a good Naturopathic M.D. (N.M.D.) and Chinese acupuncturist who can figure out how to kill off the bacteria by supporting the immune system — as nature intended — versus using long-term antibiotics, thus killing off healthy flora in the gut where about 70-80 percent of the immune system resides.

Megan S. Smith, M.S. (biology)

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