Monday, November 4, 2019

Cowden Support Program, Take Two!

It has occurred to me for a while now that I never updated my blog as to where I'm at regarding the Cowden Support Program. As of my last post, I had stopped all the medication and was feeling better. My morning dizziness did continue until a day I believed the Lord healed me. I can't fully explain it, but after a night of crying out to the Lord for healing and waking up with an overwhelming sense of peace, I got up and the dizziness was gone and has not returned. I should note that this is different from my day to day feeling "off". This was the sensation of the room moving a bit upon first sitting up in the morning. It was not true vertigo, but rather a sensation I cannot fully explain. All I know is that is plagued me for a long, long time until it abruptly stopped. I thank the Lord for His healing! 

After a period of time off of the Cowden Support Program and feeling better as far as the head pain, pressure and dizziness I was experiencing, my Lyme symptoms returned. I decided to start the program again, but this time I took it much, much, much slower.  I did not follow their recommendation of increasing the dose of each herb daily, but rather took my time and listened to my body. I also decided to only increase one herb at a time so I could determine which ones were causing issues. I have to say that my handled it much better this time doing it this way, and I believe I'm at the right dose for my body with each herb. I am currently on Day 83 and my Lyme symptoms have been much better again. I still struggle with fatigue, but I'm living life normally and am thankful. I can't say I feel 100%, but I will take any improvements. I continue to walk by faith and pray that a few more months on this protocol will do the trick. 

I recently incorporated new herbs, Mora and Cumandra. I have to say that these two are powerful so I'm once again taking my time with them even though you don't take them for long on the protocol. At this point, I don't care if I don't reach 30 drops right away; I care more about making this tolerable so I can be in it for the long haul. 

That's about it for the update. I don't plan to blog about my experience this time, but if anyone reading this has any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to reach out!

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Cowden Support Program: Month 2, Days 46-51

If you read my last post, then you know that I had been feeling quite sick after a period of feeling better. Well, the horrible head pain, pressure and dizziness continued all this week too. It's so hard to fully explain how I have been feeling, almost like my brain is swelling inside my head. Every morning it's difficult to get up. When I first stand, I get really dizzy. I have to hold on to my dresser and wait for it to pass. After that, I seem to be okay as far as being dizzy, but I have been left with constant head pain and pressure. 

After speaking with someone who is knowledgeable with the Cowden Support Program this past week, I decided to decrease my dose of all the antimicrobials (Samento, Banderol, Takuna and Stevia) by half. I decreased the detox herbs (Burbur/Pinella, Parsley and Sparga) by 25%.  He told me that not everyone can handle the full dose and you have to do what is right for your own body. After doing that for several days with no relief, I decided it was time to make a decision about my treatment. I know people say this kind of feeling can be a herx, or healing reaction, but my gut has been telling me otherwise. It just doesn't feel like a typical herx, although I guess I can't know for sure. 

I have been praying about it, asking the Lord for wisdom as to what to do. I seriously considered stopping the medication just to see if I would get better. There is a Bible verse in the book of James that speaks to asking the Lord for wisdom when you go through trials, "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you" (James 1:5).  Well, I have been seeking this wisdom with others praying for me as well, and I feel I got confirmation from the Lord last night to try stopping the medication to see if I improve. 

So, as of today I am no longer on the Cowden Support Program. Yesterday was my last day taking my modified doses. I will take a break to see if I feel better. If I do improve, then I won't be resuming with the protocol. I didn't take any herbals today and I have to say that my head felt better today than it has in weeks! It was encouraging, but we'll see how I feel when I try to get up tomorrow morning. I'll see if I feel dizzy as usual. If so, perhaps it will take a few days or longer for my body to adjust to not taking the herbals anymore, but I'm going to give it a go. To be continued!

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Cowden Support Program: Month 2, Days 38-45

This past week has been a huge set back for me, or at least it has felt that way. I'm not sure why but I had a terrible week of extreme fatigue and dizziness. When my Lyme symptoms all started 5 years ago (before I knew what was wrong), my main symptoms were neurological in nature and that seems to be the most prominent this week. I've been having some vertigo, an all day off balance feeling, horrible head pressure and the inability to think straight. The weather has been extremely hot and humid though with low pressure, and the pressure always seems to affect my head, so who knows. Maybe it's a herx? It's anyone's guess I suppose. Taking Sealantro, which I've had trouble with from the beginning, made things 10x worse so I stopped taking it this week. I'm not sure I'll even add it back in but we'll see. 

I have continued to walk by faith, trusting the Lord to help me each day but it's getting discouraging. I know I have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and crying out to Jesus for help. I can't buy into the lie that it will always be this way or I'll never feel better. It may seem that way right now, but it was not true in the past and is not true now. So, I'll keep forging ahead in prayer and will check back in again next week.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Cowden Support Program: Month 2, Days 31-37

Here I am one week after I posted my first month recap and I'm still feeling fairy well. I actually had a long week of volunteering for VBS (Vacation Bible School) at my church and I'm praising God that I felt well enough to participate. I rested during the day when I could (VBS was at night), but it was a pretty hectic and fast paced week. I was asked to help the kids make crafts to bring to a nursing home. It was a lot of fun and a really blessed time. 

However, today, Day 37, I am back to feeling that old familiar comatose tired feeling!! I'm hoping that a full day of rest will get me back on track. I know in the past anytime I have served, I have always had a set back in my health, but it doesn't stop me. The Lord gets me through what I need to do in His strength (2 Corinthians 12:9), and I know He has His purpose and plan for why it always seems to set me back when it's over. 

I haven't had any other symptoms this week other than the fatigue, so overall I feel I'm doing pretty well! 

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Cowden Support Program: Month One (1) Recap

I can't believe it's Day 30 on the program. This is my monthly recap. 

The first two weeks on the program, I honestly felt like I was dying. I felt much worse and was a bit fearful. I know enough of treating Lyme to know that you do feel worse before getting better, so I remained hopeful, stayed in prayer, and kept forging ahead. (I did realize a few days into the program that I was accidentally taking a double dose of Burbur-Pinella, and taking Sealantro every night instead of every other night. When I corrected these errors, I didn't feel nearly as bad, but still pretty darn awful). After about two weeks of a seemingly non-stop herx, I finally started having some more normal days. Not to the point where I felt a whole lot better, just not deathly! Every day felt like a roller coaster though with highs and lows. I was pretty much extremely tired throughout the whole month which varied between feeling like I was drugged, to the typical Lyme exhaustion. There were days where I felt it was affecting my mental health too. I would feel angry or like I wanted to cry for no apparent reason. It honestly felt as though my mind were taken over by something. I just sought the Lord through prayer and His promises from the Bible and reminded myself that these feelings were not based on reality, and I got through it.  I did take Alka Seltzer a few times to help with the herxing, but other than that, I didn't do anything extra to detox. 

I had to increase my dosage a bit slower than recommended, even staying on the same dose for a few days here and there. I am currently on the full dose of everything, except for Sealantro. I had the most trouble with Sealantro, the metal detox. You take this herbal every other evening and at first I tried the full dose as recommended, which is 40 drops. I could NOT handle that. I kept waking up with a massive headache and my head feeling like it was filled with helium. I literally could not function. I knew it was from the Sealantro because that would only happen to me on the days after I took it. I decided to decrease my dose down to 20 and work my way up from there. I am currently at 25 drops and so far I seem to be tolerating it better.

I followed the diet almost completely. I have not eaten any gluten, dairy, soy, corn or peanuts as recommended. However, although I'm not adding pepper (which is also excluded on the plan) to anything anymore and avoid it when I can, I don't stress over things that do contain it like my organic salad dressings or condiments. I am also avoiding added sugar as recommended except for the few occasions where I had some maple syrup, and whatever small amount is in the organic ketchup I use. For the most part I have kept up with drinking 100 ounces of water every day. But there have been a handful of days where I only made it to around 86-96 ounces. I am not going to stress over it. I am a small person so maybe a little less here and there is okay for me. I personally live my life walking by faith and by the strength of and trust in the Lord's promises to help me. I fully believe I can still overcome this illness through the protocol, if it is the Lord's will, having had some pepper, maple syrup and a little less water here and there. The Lord is in control. If He tells me to do otherwise, then I will make the necessary changes! 

As I conclude the recap of my first month with all of the above considered, I would say that I definitely see an improvement, and I am so thankful. I had some days this last week where I had more energy than I knew what to do with! I was rejoicing!! The past day or so though, I was back to feeling quite tired, but such is the nature of the beast called Lyme! My fevers, muscle twitching and pins & needles are completely gone. My fatigue and off balance feeling remain the most prominent symptoms, while my POTS, chills and joint pain have significantly decreased. When I started this protocol I felt a horrible 10/10, but today I would say that most days I feel around a 7.5-8/10. I know this may not seem major, but it's only the first month and it's a big deal to me. I feel as though I'm moving in the right direction after feeling so horrid for so long, and I look forward to month 2! 

From here on out I think I will do weekly posts rather than daily or every few days. If anything significant happens, I will share sooner. If you're reading this and have gone through the program, or are planning to start, I would love to hear your thoughts!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Cowden Support Program: Days 22-26, and dealing with burdens!

I'm thinking maybe I should do these blog posts more frequently, as I can't really remember the exact details of how I was feeling from day to day when I wait so long.  We'll see. The end of my first month on the program is coming up and I plan to do a summary so I'll probably wait to blog again for that.

I do know that I've had my typical highs and lows from day to day, with fatigue and feeling "off" in my head being the worst of the lingering symptoms. There was a day where my chills came back for a while, and also some joint pain. Yesterday, Day 25, was a day where I had the most energy I can remember in a really long time. I was so thankful to the Lord! I would say that day was a 7/10 for fatigue and feeling like garbage, rather than an 11/10 when I first started the program! I was able to go for two walks, do my Pilates, clean my house and go grocery shopping. I did take my usual nap, but I noticed I haven't been feeling comatose tired lately, just really tired. Yes, there's a difference to me! The comatose tired made me feel like I was drugged. There were also a few days over the past several where I felt my mind was being affected. This has happened before, I'm just not sure if I mentioned it. It's like I get angry or want to cry for no reason at all! It definitely feels like something is altering my mind and I remind myself that I am not a slave to those feelings that have no basis in reality! I get into prayer and the word of God and speak His promises, and that always helps me feel better. 

I posted something on my shop's Facebook page recently that I wanted to share here. It has to do with giving our burdens to God. His word says: "Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you" (Psalm 55:22). I wrote a brief post elaborating on this verse and I hope you find it encouraging, as it encouraged me! I have the sign pictured below for sale in my shop, Living Word Decor

Is there a burden you need to give to the Lord? In the original language this verse can literally read: Throw your burden upon the one true eternal God and He will nourish, protect and defend you, and cause you to endure. 

So, throw the weight of what you're carrying off of your shoulders and onto the One who wants to carry them for you, then rest in His sweet peace and provision!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Cowden Support Program: Days 18, 19 & 21

If you're wondering what happened to Day 20, I skipped it. Well, technically I should be on Day 21 so I didn't really skip Day 20. If you've been following my journey so far, you know a while back I said I "repeated" a day, but looking back I now consider that just increasing my dosage slower. I don't want to be behind even a day in case it causes me to run out of any herbals. As of yesterday I am on the full dose of all herbals all day, so moving forward a day doesn't mess up anything. I hope this explanation makes sense!

The past few days have been the usual fatigue and an increase in my dizzy/spaciness. I think this is because I'm now getting hit with the full dose of all herbals consistently since the night before last. As of the evening of Day 18, Tuesday, I am at the maximum 30 drops of all antimicrobials and 10 drops of the detoxes. I was nauseous yesterday afternoon and into the early evening, and I do feel that way again today so far. I wonder if it's from the high dose of herbals, or herxing? I'm still going strong with my water intake, but there have been days here and there (2-3) where I only made it to around 90 ounces, but I am not stressing over it. That would be worse for me than not getting enough water! 

I'm not sure if I have posted this yet or not, but I noticed that I no longer have the chills and my joint pain is A LOT less frequent. My POTS symptoms have slightly improvement, although they wax and wane. The two main symptoms that are still really affecting me are the fatigue and the dizzy/spacey/off balance feeling. I hate it, it's like my mind is stuck behind a brick wall of fog that I just cannot break through. I'm not sure how else to explain it, but I'm sure my fellow Lyme sufferers will understand. 

I think I'm going to start doing weekly recaps instead of daily, or every few days. We'll see how it goes. I'm off to take a nap now!