Lyme and a Coconut

chronic lyme disease with a taste of nut

A Bee a Day Keeps the Spirochetes Away

Man, I’ve promised you updates eons ago, didn’t I.Well, this is going to be a l-o-n-g blog post so get comfy. I’ve missed you; what can I say.

Honestly, things have been so busy with BVT (bee venom therapy) and I’ve been so up and down that I haven’t had much time or energy to write.

But today starts your day at BVT school. And at the end of today’s lesson, I would like you to raise your electronic hand and virtually ask any question you’d like regarding bee venom therapy.

Disclaimer, before I begin: I am not a doctor nor am I telling you how to treat your own illnesses. I am sharing all information based upon my own experiences and research.

So, onward!

Lyme brain has caused me to completely forget what I have already blogged about regarding BVT so I am just going to go with intuition.

Why am I doing BVT? Here is the easy answer:

I heard it’s cheap. Many people who have spent millions of dollars on unsuccessful treatments end up doing BVT as a last resort and end up going into remission.

       I didn’t want to needlessly spend millions of dollars on treatments that wouldn’t work.     I already knew I had a severe case of chronic lyme/MSIDS that would make it challenging to find the right treatment option and I heard that BVT covers all sorts of ailments and that folks with Lyme have found great success over a long period of time. I didn’t want to waste any more time or money so I jumped in – literally, overnight.

Bee Venom Therapy sure sounds kooky, doesn’t it? I have to hand it to my friends and family – I’ve received questions and some eyebrow raising, but I’ve not had them openly disagree or argue with my choice of treatment. I think they are as desperate for me to find relief as I am, so they want me to exhaust every option. Which is a good thing because BVT is a LONG commitment – two to three years!

 

I thought BVT was way too “out there” for me. I laughed it off and said I’d never try it due to my fear of multitudes of anything, much less bugs. Thank you very much, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

bigger

My friend, Sophie, told me she was going to start BVT. She is a dear friend and fellow Christian and I hold her opinion and experiences with lyme in high regard. So when she announced she was going to try this goofy treatment, I paid attention. We spoke on the phone and I remember hanging up and going,

erm no

And yet…

I woke up the next morning and just knew that was my next step. Why? How did I come to that confident conclusion?

Honestly, I can’t explain. I had this peace about it. Never mind my fear of bugs, of multitudes, of being in PAIN…I just knew.

So I began my research. I talked to Sophie, visited Facebook groups, talked with other folks with lyme who were doing BVT. I knew very little at that point, but I did know this:

I could not sting myself. And I could not keep the bees at home. Why? Do YOU want to keep bees in your house, cohabiting with your children and beloved, old kitty? Thought not. So it seemed pretty unlikely this would work out because I’d have to meet someone nearby who was also doing BVT, who would be willing to keep my bees, and also sting me. That seems like a pretty tall order, doesn’t it.

Enter God, the Creator of our universe and Giver of good things!

I went on a worldwide bee buddy locator site and scoured the land for someone who would be willing to do this.

Right away, I met “T.” “T” had been ill for decades and had just started BVT. She lived a half hour from me but in the city where I worked so it seemed perfect. And – get this – God threw in a bonus to an answered prayer: “T” was also a Christian. I had been praying for MONTHS to make a new friend because I was so isolated and lonely.

So I began stinging with “T.” She welcomed me into her home three times a week and we shared stories, laughter, tears, and shouts of pain (ok, that was me).

So what is this BVT? Many web sites claim to be able to explain it, debunk it, or just say it’s another wacko treatment option for those lyme people whose disease doesn’t exist anyway. So I’m not going to point you to web sites right away. Instead, because BVT is very experience-based and in the process of being understood, I am posting a video of a woman explaining her past with lyme disease and then receiving the actual stinging. She explains bee venom therapy very well. Heads up – it is graphic in terms of seeing ten bee stings causing swelling along the spinal area – but that’s what BVT is. Keep in mind that 10 is the maximum number of stings you do so Nancy is a veteran at this. Thank you, Nancy, for sharing your experience with the world.

 

Bee Venom Therapy, itself, is not a new practice. It can be traced back to ancient China and some think of it as the first form of acupuncture. In my opinion and research, I choose to follow Ellie Lobel’s protocol (see below) for lyme which means staying along the spine (because this dispenses the healing venom through the central nervous system to other areas of the body).

Here is a small excerpt taken from the web site “Bee Well Therapy” that explains how Bee Venom Therapy works:

The healing potency of bee venom is initiated after a sting, when it stimulates the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, a natural human hormone that has anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, BVT jump starts the immune system to produce a healing response through the hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal glands, and spurs the production of endorphins, the body’s natural pain killer. The antibacterial and antiviral properties of bee venom make it a unique weapon in fighting bacterial and viral ailments of the central nervous system and elsewhere.

Furthermore, recent research with laboratory rats in South Korea has shown that melittin, the primary peptide in bee venom, can block inflammatory genes that are inherent with degenerative diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

The most remarkable characteristic of bee venom is the presence of the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine, which along with the peptide apamin, facilitate nerve transmission and healing in conditions involving nerve disorders. This gives bee venom the ability to travel along neural pathways from the spine, to various trigger points, and injured areas to help repair nerve damage and restore mobility.

The LYME PROTOCOL for Bee Venom Therapy was discovered and researched in a trial-by-fire sort of way by Ellie Lobel. The woman was accidentally attacked by killer bees. She had gone to the mountains to die and the episode of bee stings began to improve her severe case of chronic lyme disease. Her story is amazing, heroic, inspiring, and you can find it in many google searches. Here is one site (more links will be given below) that tells of her origins with BVT. She is a huge advocate for BVT and lyme and can be seen around the country helping sufferers with her “Bee Bus Mission” (links for the Bee Bus Mission below)

Interview with Ellie Lobel and Nancy Dolan:

 

So after my research, I decided to start Bee Venom Therapy. I collected my tools of the trade:

Epi-pen, Reverse Tweezers, Bee Buddy (where they will reside), and finally – I ordered the bees. 10 female honeybees – queen bees in the last 2 weeks of their lifespan. So before you bee-sympathizers get on my case, know that these girls are spending what is already their last weeks potentially saving a body endless pain and hopefully, in time, helping it go into remission.

Bee Venom Therapy is still a new mode of treatment (be sure to read about Ellie Lobel and her journey). We must learn from what she has accomplished and what those she’s trained have reported – which is complete remission. Isn’t that amazing? Yes, it is a long haul and a marathon, not a sprint, but people are seeing results! It is more cost-efficient than years of antibiotics or tinctures and it uses natural resources – the honeybees that God created.

So here is a picture of my medication box BEFORE I started Bee Venom Therapy:

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Over 30 pills a day – antibiotics, supplements, vitamins, antidepressants, you name it.

I am now on 10 pills a day and most are supplements I am slowly going off because BVT replenishes my body with what it once lacked. Over time, I hope to be able to go off all medication. “Over time” being the key words.

The first time “T” stung me, I was excited and petrified. I had a surge of hope, though, because I just knew this would be “it.” I have no rational explanation. I just know that this is God’s creation; it’s natural, pure, and feels right  (though the actual stinging does not “feel right” – I’d choose other words).

For safety reasons, we start with a test sting with an Epi-Pen nearby. After your test sting and no allergic reaction, you start with your first sting. Voila!

 

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Day 1

I started December 18, 2015.

BVT causes a herxheimer reaction just like antibiotics do. If you think about it, it makes sense. You are ridding your body of toxins. You are retraining your immune system to recognize the “good guys” from the “bad guys.” For those with lyme and many other autoimmune disorders and ailments, our immune system is fighting both guys. When you first sting with a honeybee, you may get a swelling around the stinging site. It’s a good thing because it means your immune system recognizes it as a threat and is acting on it! The bee venom creates a “healing crisis” which basically means that your body is put into emergency-gotta-heal mode. That is part of the re-training process. Some people don’t get that swelling their first time stinging, but I was lucky and did. That is a reason to celebrate.

With chronic lyme, you get really weird reasons to celebrate.

Yes. I got welts on my back.

celebrate meme

Like antibiotic treatment, I will get worse before I get better. Neurotoxins are being released into my body as my body fights the bad guys, so I must detox, detox, detox! Similar to antibiotic treatment:

epsom salt baths, lemon water, castor oil packs, milk thistle, and more! Detoxing is just as important as doing the Bee Venom Therapy treatment, itself. Unfortunately, it’s a trial-by-error process. For instance, I found out that I don’t process magnesium well so I have to give up the epsom salt baths and substitute hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. You find what works for you. You want to learn some really weird practices? Read up on castor oil packs. I swear by them!

So here are some answers to common questions:

  1. Does it hurt? Heck, yes. But only for the first minute or so. The first TIME “T” stung me, it was a very shocking experience and I did cry like a baby. Remember – scared of bugs. Don’t judge. After a month of stinging, it became a lot easier. It would hurt when the stinger would go in, but during the 20 minutes you leave it in, the pain left and only came back in maybe one or two waves, if at all. Now, three months into treatment, the venom is finally targeting “nests” of lyme and Bartonella and Babesia and who knows what other critters – so it’s hurting a lot more. In fact, I think tonight was the worst night for pain. I was sobbing the whole 20 minutes. I do know, however, that you do get more used to it and it becomes quite easy. My husband told me I was brave tonight. I disagree, but appreciate the sentiment. I guess if I keep coming back to the bees three times a week, I must either be brave or a glutton for extreme punishment.

  2. I think this is dumb – it’s dangerous, you crazy woman! Why do it? Actually…if you take proper precaution, it is quite safe. It seems scary, I’ll grant you that. And if you don’t follow the protocol, you can end up with a trip to the ER with an allergic reaction. With the 1st stinging, remember you must always have that epi-pen. In fact, you need that sucker on-hand every time you sting. It is highly unlikely that people have allergic reactions, but you must be prepared. And the plucking the bees with the tweezer part? You just learn. This is the last treatment option in my arsenal. This has to work. I’m staking the next 2-3 years on it and a back full of marks. I’m desperate enough to get over my fear of multitudes and when you are desperate, you realize just how resilient and capable you are.

  3. Do the poor wittle bees die? Yes, I’m sorry. They die. Some people put them in soapy water to drown them in a more humane way. Some just sting and drop them in the toilet and flush. Remember – they are on death’s door anyway. They are giving their lives to a good cause. I do pray over the bees often and am so very grateful for the healing properties they carry inside their tiny bodies. It’s miraculous, really.

  4. Does “T” still sting you? Interestingly, no. Hubby jumped right in and learned from “T” because we quickly realized that with “T” being so ill, herself, it was asking a lot of a her to sting ME three times a week when she had to sting herself, too. Plus, she lived a half hour away and there were a few times that I was literally herxing and Hubby had to drive me to her house to get stung. It just wasn’t practical to have her continue stinging me. So Hubby and I learned (as did our eldest – who wants to be a doctor one day) and I am proud to say that we now house two bee buddies (holding about 40 each) and I have overcome my fear so much that I now stare into their house out of curiosity and interest. I feed them and care for them.call george                                 As for “T,” God gifted me with a great friend in her and, as God often does, she became a ripple effect that gave me numerous other godly female friends. I meet with “T” weekly and we text and talk on the phone a lot. How cool is that? See how God provides?

  5. How do you get bees? I order my bees from a bee ranch on the west coast. They come in a little crate inside a larger USPS box labeled “LIVE QUEEN BEES.”I’ve gotten inquisitive looks and a few bold questions from the local post office. They kindly hold the bees at their location because if they were to deliver the bees, the cold weather would surely kill the bees (or hot weather; they can’t do extremes). I now receive 40 bees per week.

  6. How many stings do you have to do? You do this process slowly – since you have 2-3 years. The highest amount of stings you do along your spine is 10. I am currently straddling 6 and 7 stings. I’ve tried to go up to 7 but each time I do I get so horribly sick that I must go back to 6 just to give my body a break. Truthfully, even at 6 stings I am still herxing up a storm. I’m told the 5-6 month mark is when the fun REALLY starts.herxing not sillies

6. Kewl. Can I see your back with 6 stings now? Sure. Those who are squeamish must leave the room, however. My back is now and shall be quite pock-marked. Battle wounds for a healthier me!

 

7. Ew. Sorry I asked. Why are you sharing all that??? To educate, advocate, and share what I’m going through with others – the good, bad, and ugly. And yes, my back is quite ugly. And yet…if this is what gets the lyme and friends into remission, then bring it on! And you see those white lines in the second picture that look like stretch marks? Those lines are Bartonella streaks that people can get. They look so much like stretch marks that people often mistake them, but that’s good ‘ol Bart having a field day right there.

More questions? Ask in the comments and I will do my best to answer them.

Want more info? Here you go!

There is a great article for you medically and historically-minded folks:

http://www.ijoart.org/docs/Studies-on-Bee-Venom-and-Its-Medical-Uses.pdf

 

A video Ellie Lobel made regrarding her findings with bees and lyme disease:

More Bee Bus Mission information:

https://www.facebook.com/BeeBusMission

https://www.gofundme.com/TheBeeBusMission

It took me around 2 months to write this blog. Mainly because of my herxing symptoms:

  • severe brain fog (can’t articulate, put words together, make complete sentences, can’t remember much of anything) – this has gotten so much worse; sometimes I get so discouraged, angry, and even scared. I’m a writer – a very articulate person. When my ability to express myself becomes compromised, this world feels very dark, indeed.

  • Bartonella symptoms – especially lately, BVT must be giving Bartonella a run for its money. The symptoms assault me directly after stinging so it’s easy to understand this is a herx reaction. I have neurological distress (brain floor dropping, ptewing…see old blog posts about that), dizziness, incredibly stabbing pain in the soles of my feet shooting up my legs and all over my lower torso, psychological distress (severe depression, intrusive thoughts that make no sense whatsoever, high anxiety, paranoia), and more of the brain fog.

  • chills and sweats, aka Central Nervous System Fun – I still have no temperature regulation. My right side is now completely icy, especially when the seizures are coming on. Even when I’m feeling rather “normal,” I don’t have feeling in my right pinkie and my right hand, arm, and leg and both my feet are forever freezing. I get clammy, sweaty,and freezing within a few minutes of each other. Blankets thrown around a lot. 

  • this new eye thing – so I hear it’s common for folks with Bartonella who do BVT to develop this stabbing pain behind one or both eyes. Around month 2 this happened to be. It is one of the worst types of pain I’ve experienced. I’ve known people who have nearly lost their sight so I take this seriously. However, with most “scary” things, they go away with treatment just as mysteriously as they came.

But enough dwelling on the icky stuff. What has improved?

Well, I’ll be honest. In this stage of the game, not much has improved in obvious ways. Some people see no improvement until after the first YEAR of treatment. Stinks, huh? But I will say this much – I’ve been missing less work. I still am able to have my very part-time job and I cling to that tightly! I do have days where I need to call in because I can’t walk or I’m having seizures or having the stabbing eye pain and migraines. But I’ve missed less work! Somehow I’ve managed to be a little more mobile and able to be out in the world. I still can’t do big box stores for very long and going to a big event is still quite iffy…but I did make BOTH kids’ parent/teacher conferences this year and I was NOT able to do that last year!

So here’s to parent/teacher conferences, honeybees, and pock-marked backs!

May the healing continue!

BTW…

I am no longer ending blog posts with “lymie out” because I realized I was labeling myself as a lymie instead of me – someone who just happens to have lyme but who is so much more – most importantly, a child of God. So I will henceforth end with:

Take a bite…

(as in “take a bite out of lyme” which is the phrase many use for chronic lyme awareness)

(hey, at least I won’t end with “bee well.” I’ve seen so many bee puns I’m going to bee poking my eyes out soon)

Thank you for reading this epic tale.

Take a bite…

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2 comments on “A Bee a Day Keeps the Spirochetes Away

  1. bonafidejasonjason
    May 6, 2017

    Hello are you still doing the BVT? If so how many months now? Any improvements? I’m at about 4.5 months.

    Like

    • LymieLovesJesus
      May 7, 2017

      Hey, wish I could say I’m better or that I’ve seen BVT improve a lot of symptoms. I did do a follow up post, although still waiting a long time in between. I know BVT works for many people so I wish you all the best! I’m still doing BVT, but had to start over after one and a half years. Going slowly now. Also investigating other options because I just want my life back. Best wishes to you!!

      Like

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