By Annette Hinkle
The nurse practitioner specializes in the treatment of tick borne diseases and is the author of “Nature’s Dirty Needle” a book about the co-infections and symptoms of Chronic Lyme Disease. She will speak on the topic at the John Jermain Memorial Library in Sag Harbor at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, October 30.
You say Chronic Lyme Disease can manifest 10 years or more after an initial infection. Why is it so much harder to treat further down the road?
Retroviruses morph – that’s what they do. Lyme is a retro bacteria that can morph into all different shapes. One antibiotic may not get all of them.
You go to a doctor, they do this test, say you don’t have Lyme, then you get sicker and sicker. You go to cardiologists, rheumatoid arthritis experts, and on down the line and then they say you need an anti-depressant. Sometimes people see 15 to 30 doctors before they see someone who is Lyme literate.
So the longer you have it, the more complicated it becomes to treat.
If you treat these infections within a year of activation, we can help people much easily and much more quickly than if it goes on and on.
Infections greater than a year have changed to burrow into tissues, hormones, brain, nervous system and into your immune system and start wreaking havoc. You might go along and be OK, then something happens — a car wreck, or a spouse dies, or something else traumatic. After that, the entire disease is triggered and your body doesn’t know what to do.
And that’s where you come in.
The job of a practitioner is to figure out what co-infections might be there and which layer the immune system is trying to address. If there’s a parasite, for example, we deal with the parasite first, get the gut and immune system working then go on to deal with the next issue.
In your current practice in Santa Rosa, Calif. you and the doctors use an integrative approach to treating Chronic Lyme — large doses of antibiotics with nutritive and holistic therapies. Can you explain how that works?
You have to support the liver – people who are really sick and not coping with treatment well have detox pathways that are not working. That compounds trying to treat the disease. You kill the bugs and when they die, they put out neurotoxins. If there are not strong detox pathways they continue to circulate.
We give them nutritive formulas for detox — something to bind the die off and toxins. If the adrenals have collapsed or thyroid is not working, we’ll use replacement hormones. We do what we can to balance the system and kill bugs.
And then you move on to treating the other illness?
It’s like peeling layers of an onion. The complexity is that that layer is different for everyone. One’s person’s cure will make other people feel like they want to die. People feel like guinea pigs. In a way they are. The big guns [in medicine] have not looked at this. We’re frustrated — we’re very few people doing all the work.
How might someone know if they have Chronic Lyme?
Being diagnosed with MS or rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and any auto immune disease are big red flags — especially if a neurologist says you have atypical symptoms.
You’re currently developing Inanna House, with a first facility planned for Sonoma County California and a second for the East Coast that will treat Chronic Lyme Disease. How did that come about?
It’s an inpatient treatment center for people with tick borne disease. I had known for years we needed a change, but it wasn’t until my daughter came down with an intractable case of Chronic Lyme that I really became motivated. She’s 37 and bedridden. She lives with us, as does her 12 year old daughter. I was so appalled with how we were treated [by the medical establishment], I thought this is what I need to do.
What do you suggest people in this area do if they suspect they have Chronic Lyme Disease?
There are some Lyme literate doctors in New York City. People can go to the website for International Lyme And Associated Diseases Society ILAds.org – they have a list. They can also contact me at my website www.marawilliams.net.