I have struggled with parasite issues due to my Lyme compromised immune system. Many people with immune issues battle parasites, but most don’t want to talk about it. Our culture has built up a hyper-sanitized idea of health, and for someone to have parasites becomes a judgmental reflection on the poor lifestyle of the parasite host. That’s simply not true. All of us, even in the US, are regularly exposed to parasites through our pets, through the soil, and through our food supply. Most people, however, have healthy immune systems which are usually able to fight off the parasites. Those like me whose immune systems are compromised aren’t so fortunate. Our bodies can’t easily kill foreign invaders. Thus, the parasites are able to establish themselves causing a great deal of trouble for the host.
Parasite testing can be an effort in futility. I’ve run multiple parasite screens through many companies in 2004, 2011 and 2012. Only one of those eight tests came back positive for parasites despite the fact that I had obvious symptoms of parasitic infection and applied kinesiology had pinpointed parasites as the cause of my misery. In one lecture I heard by a Lyme literate doctor, the doctor said that he estimated only 40% of parasites are caught through testing even using the “better” independent testing companies. I’d guess that estimate might actually be too high.
So what do parasite symptoms look like in humans? Digestive woes of any sort are often the first symptoms. That includes abdominal cramping, vomiting, diarrhea, food sensitivities, flatulence, and burping. Diagnoses of irritable bowel syndrome may be misdiagnoses of parasites. Parasites can cause anemia and other deficiencies that will show up on routine blood work. Furthermore, parasites also can trigger severe anxiety and depression, mental symptoms that are usually not thought to be due to parasites by mainstream practitioners.
When it comes to treating parasites, Western medicine is lacking. The only thing most doctors know how to do is prescribe metronidazole or its cousins, and metronidazole is the devil’s drug for many people. It is very difficult to tolerate due to the severe neurological symptoms it can cause. My general practitioner works frequently with people with compromised immune systems, and he said that 95% of his patients don’t tolerate metronidazole. I was one of those who didn’t. It caused me to lose feeling in my arms and to lose basic vocabulary. It took about a month to regain what I had lost once I stopped taking the metronidazole. However, most GPs don’t have many other options at their disposal to treat parasites.
This is one area where natural medicine can be superior to Western medicine. There are many natural treatments for parasites. Among the many things I’ve used for parasites while under the care of health practitioners are medicinal turpentine (NOT the stuff from the hardware store), cloves, pumpkin seeds, essential oils, black walnut hulls, artemesia, homeopathy, vibropathy, acupuncture, crystals, and much more. My practitioners and I use muscle testing to figure out which of the available options is the best means for me to attack each particular species. However, treating parasites is still an uphill battle because my immune system is compromised by Lyme.
So when my older son was 10, I was doing parasite testing. I had collected stool samples to be tested by a company in another state and was in the kitchen boxing them up for the overnight carrier to pick them up off my front porch. My son walked in and saw me labeling the package. He asked, “What’s in the box?” I paused for a moment before I replied, “Poop.” He cheerfully replied, “Ok!” and then went on to whatever activity he had planned to do in the next room. I stood there for a minute thinking, “Really? I tell my kid that I’m shipping poop and he doesn’t question me? Does this mean he thinks I’m totally crazy? Or is this what living with chronic illness has devolved our lives to that my child thinks shipping poop is a completely normal activity?” I was able to see how absurdly funny the situation was even then, but it still was bittersweet. Such is life with Lyme, a compromised immune system, and a constant battle for health.
© 2014 Green Heart Guidance