I never use the word “cure” with my patients because it sets up an expectation that people are going to be fully rid of Lyme with never a trace and never another symptom ever again. I do believe that if acute Lyme is caught within a few days, then the right antibiotic treatment can get rid of it entirely. But in my chronically ill patients, I talk about recovery and about being symptom free, but I don’t say “cure”. I also use the analogy of having mono – if one has had mono there will always be some traces of the Epstein-Barr virus, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it will make that person unwell.
I have seen some very ill patients experience remarkable improvements, many getting to the place of symptom-free, which is always my goal. It is always a long, arduous process taking far longer than any of us want, but in chronic Lyme there are many pieces to address and elements to overcome. It’s not just about treating the infections themselves, it’s about correcting adrenal and hormonal imbalances, detoxing adequately, rebuilding gut flora and healthy digestion, balancing brain chemistry, supporting genetic deficits and managing inflammation in the body. Then there is the process of repair and rebuilding from the ravages of such a hostile disease.
I do believe that people can get to the point of being symptom free – I have seen it many times. I will say though, that remaining well requires time and effort – good ongoing nutrition is key, stress management is key, and taking care of one’s immune system is key. Staying well becomes a lifestyle and requires some decisions that may not have applied prior to Lyme disease. I also point out that if someone experiences a flare of symptoms somewhere along the way, that that can just be a bump in the road, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re back to square one.
I find people can get the majority of their functioning back. And for those who get to 90%, most are happy with that because in comparison to the way they were before, it is a world apart and they’d choose that any day of the week.
About the Author: Dr. Nicola McFadzean Ducharme is a Lyme-literate Naturopathic Doctor and medical director of RestorMedicine, in San Diego, California. She is the author of The Lyme Diet, The Beginners Guide to Lyme Disease, and Lyme Disease in Australia, and is a chapter contributor to Connie Strasheim’s book, Insights into Lyme Disease Treatment: 13 Lyme-literate Health Care Practitioners Share Their Healing Strategies. She can be found at www.restormedicine.com.