20 September 2017 Update:
I should have known the sticker price was too good to be true. Now that I am here at the clinic receiving treatment, and they have a better idea of what all is required, the revised estimate has grown dramatically - almost threefold to $15,000. I'm a tough old bird, and I will kick booty on the pinche lyme disease, but it looks like I need more help than I thought.
To know me is to understand just how painful it is to reach out for help. It is more painful by far than seeing one of my four-legged babies sick or injured. But here goes: I need help, I cannot do this alone.
In November 2016 I became one of 300,000 Americans diagnosed with Lyme disease. Lyme disease is a very complicated and controversial diagnosis, the tests are woefully inadequate and the CDC does not approve the most common treatment - long-term antibiotics. Additionally, many insurance companies will not cover treatment, including mine. My story is all too common amongst Lyme sufferers. I was sick for nearly four months before I found a doctor who concurred with my diagnosis. Since then I have been doing everything within my power to heal myself, including mega-doses of antibiotics, handfuls of vitamins and natural supplements, a completely modified diet, even a weekly shot in the behind of vitamin B-Complex. Still, I have more bad days than good. I am looking for help to fund a trip to Lyme Disease Mexico , a specialty clinic in Puerto Vallarta that offers intense treatment and hope for a cure. The cost of the clinic, room and board, and transportation will be roughly $7,500.
I hope you will consider joining me in my journey back to health. What is pocket change to you can change my life.
If you would like to learn more about Lyme disease check out ILADS.org and LymeDisease.org .
After twenty years I left my successful but stressful cycling apparel business in the Bay Area and traveled Mexico and Central America in search of a new place to call home. Last year I found that place, a mango farm in Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, Mexico. I felt it was time to slow down, dig my hands into the earth, and take the time to connect more fully with the world and people around me.
I arrived in September, greeted by the blazing heat of the Baja Summer. I was determined to transform a derelict mango orchard into a beautiful oasis, replete with gardens full of organic vegetables and glorious flowers. In early November, the transformation nearly complete, I fell deathly ill with a flu that was like no other. After a week in bed, my friend dragged me kicking and screaming to the local doctor. My friend was even more concerned about my welfare. I was living amongst creepy crawlies of every variety, in a country that was foreign to me, protected by nothing but a flimsy tent and my four faithful hounds.
November 9, 2016 was the day my world fell apart. My lab results came back positive for a Rickettsial infection, one of the tick the borne diseases. My doctor diagnosed Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and put me on a ten day course of antibiotics. I went home and spent hours on the phone with my loved ones, trying to make sense of this. Next I spent more time on the internet searching for information on tick borne diseases. Based on my symptoms I was convinced I had Lyme disease. Finally, I cried myself asleep, hoping I would wake up and put a horrible nightmare behind me. A few hours later my friend poked his head into my tent and told me there was something I had to see. The sun was setting and the most glorious double rainbow filled the sky. It dawned on me that maybe my life had not ended and Lyme disease was just another obstacle I would overcome.
Those first few months of being sick were the most horrible. I was completely exhausted all the time. I went from toiling alongside my workers in extreme heat for eight hours a day (pulling weeds, picking up rubbish, pruning trees, erecting fences, digging garden beds...) to being unable to drag myself out of bed, all in the span of one week. The pain in my fingers was unrelenting and spread slowly to other joints in my body. Most days I felt on the verge of throwing up after every bite I ate. My blood pressure was so low I would nearly pass out every time I bent over to pull a weed. I was horribly sensitive to light, sound, and touch - no loud music, hat and sunglasses at all times, and “please don’t touch me, ever!” My brain went to mush, always an avid reader I couldn't focus on the simplest of airplane books. A basic hike with my dogs became an epic challenge, I would become winded and light-headed on the most moderate grade. Probably the worst thing about it was the irritability, depression, and the rage, made worse by the fact that nobody believed I was sick, I didn’t look sick and I did not have a proper diagnosis. Even I began to doubt if I was truly sick, maybe it was all in my head.
The frustrating thing about my Lyme disease was that it comes and goes. The days I felt good I figured I was well and didn't need further medical care. The days I felt bad were so bad it was impossible to reach out for help of any kind. In February I finally found a holistic doctor who believed me when I told her I had Lyme disease. She prescribed a protocol of mega-doses of four different antibiotics and a slew of natural supplements. In addition to my new "protocol", I completely changed my diet in the hopes of eradicating the borrelia bacteria. I gave up wheat and sugar completely, and cut my consumption of dairy, caffeine, fruit, and alcohol to almost zero. After nearly four months, I was finally on the path to health, even if that path was more like a roller-coaster than beachside stroll.
Sadly, it would seem that my pill-popping and sacrifices are not enough. My bad days still outweigh my good days, and while many of my symptoms are better, others are the same or worse.
While living life in a foreign language and dealing with Lyme disease have taught me a lot about patience, a subject that was never my long suit, I don't have the patience to be sick for another three years or more. I want to get back to creating my new life, growing a sustainable working farm, writing the books that have been in my head (and on my computer) for a couple years, earning money, riding my bike again, running the long distance trail races that are popping up around the Baja Peninsula, feeling like a normal human being, maybe having the energy to once again help the street dogs of Todos Santos again. It is time to get myself checked in.
I am fortunate that there is one ILADS-approved, Lyme Literate Doctor in all of Mexico He is in Puerto Vallarta, a short flight from my home. Lyme Disease Mexico is a state of the art treatment facility that focuses on treating and, hopefully curing, Lyme disease. I've booked myself for one month of treatment beginning September 18, 2017, six days per week, eight hours per day. They start your visit with a battery of tests then tailor your treatment to the specifics of your Lyme disease. Am I scared? Sure I am. The treatment includes low-dose chemo, quantum therapy, IV ozone, antibiotics, and hydrosol silver, homotoxicology, photonic light beams, lymphatic drainage, and mega-doses of vitamin C. Do I want to get well? I'm prepared to do whatever it takes.
The good news, the cost of medical care in Mexico is much more reasonable. The bad news, it still costs a pretty penny. One month of treatment in the clinic will run around $6,000. In addition, room and board will be an additional $1,000. Transportation will add another $500. I had set aside money for the clinic, but the cost overruns on my new casita ate up all those savings. I decided that having four walls and a roof would be critical to my health and well being come hurricane season. I'm pretty sure my current "house", a tattered tent, would not give me shelter from a storm.
Every donation, no matter how small, makes a difference. Five dollars will buy a month of multi-vitamins, ten dollars enough probiotics to keep my gut flora happy. Twenty-five dollars will pay for my initial battery of tests and thirty-five dollars will pay the initial doctor visit. Two hundred dollars will pay for one quantum therapy and three hundred dollars will pay for one chemo treatment. Any money not spent directly on the clinic will go towards ongoing treatment, if necessary, and completing my sweet oasis here in the desert of Baja California Sur.
Thank you again for joining me on my journey. Financial assistance is wonderful, but your support and kind words of encouragement are priceless.