From the second I awoke, I was acutely aware that yesterday’s IV cocktails, designed to stop me going through withdrawal, had not worked. I felt like I had been hit by a truck, and had extreme muscle and joint pain, heart palpitations, headache and nausea. I managed to get out of bed and make it to the bathroom, but then spent the next hour before having to leave throwing up every ten minutes. Not the best start to the morning, and even worse than any of those symptoms, was the extreme hypersensitivity I was experiencing. I started becoming hypersensitive to noise and touch a few months after getting Lyme Disease, and it varies hugely in terms of severity on different days and at different times. Some days it just means I have to turn the television volume down, but some days it means that every single sound causes me physical pain and inflammation. This morning was definitely the latter, and I actually had to ask Alex to stop talking to me because the pain and brain-pressure was so intense. I somehow managed the ten-minute car ride into the clinic, and luckily as soon as we arrived Dr Kim came to check on me. She was a little surprised that I was feeling so awful, so she decided that I should have another round of the withdrawal IVs in the afternoon to try and reduce the symptoms, and assured me that she would be back to check on me in a few hours.
First up on my schedule for today was a full-body energy-healing massage. My doctor in London had previously recommended that I do some energy-healing body work, but in all my organising to prepare for Infusio I hadn’t got round to it, so I had been really looking forwards to my first session. Energy-healing therapy has always been of interest to me and is based on the theory that by manipulating the body through massage, you can promote healing and restore balance in one’s health. I was still feeling so sick and nauseous, but I was able to relax a little and just tried to enjoy the experience as much as I could. De’Leon is so incredibly perceptive and talented at what he does, the massage took an hour and a half, and he focused a lot on my problem areas; the left side of my neck, shoulder and hips. It was quite painful at points when he was working out the knots, but then I would get incredible relief once he moved onto the next area. The massage was so peaceful with beautiful music and essential oils, and I didn’t realise how emotional I was getting until I left the room and immediately burst into tears in front of everyone in the foyer. De’Leon explained that energy-healing therapies can cause this reaction, as the massage is designed to release tension both mentally and physically. Everyone was so kind and caring as usual, and lovely Wendy fetched me some passionfruit tea whilst I sorted myself out. I then had fifteen minutes in the Nova Bed, before getting ready for the Lymphatic Air Pressure Suit. I was still feeling incredibly unwell and anxious, and willed the forty-five minutes to go quickly, whilst I tried to switch off and get some peace and quiet. Another patient had recommended I try CBD water to help with the nausea, so Alex went to Kreation to get some for me, and I tried to get as much of it down as possible, desperate to feel some relief
I was thankfully finished for the morning session, so at 11.30am we took an Uber back to the hotel, and I slept for over an hour before getting back to Infusio for 1.30pm. I was still experiencing vomiting so I was unable to keep anything down, but I kept sipping on the CBD water whilst I waited for Hollis to hook me up for my IVs. I had the same IV bags as yesterday, as well as some IV Zofran to try and combat the all-encompassing nausea I was still feeling. I facetimed with my parents for a little while which was nice to talk to them, but I felt bad that they had to see me so unwell and feeling down. The IVs were making me feel even more sick, and I was really struggling; the rest of the afternoon I spent lying on the lounger, and I was so grateful for the care and kindness from Alex, and all the staff and patients around me. Every so often I would be given liquid Zofran, which would help a little for around half an hour, but then the sickness would be right back, just as bad as before. As always, Hollis managed to still make me laugh by telling funny stories, interjected with pearls of wisdom and advice. He told Gena and I about a patient who had used a body lotion containing banned ingredients which interfere with the Stem Cells, and so slightly terrifyingly they had to repeat the whole treatment, and I made a mental note to triple check the lists of prohibited ingredients once I received them.
I eventually finished the IVs, and had my Thymus injection to complete the day’s treatments. Dr Kim had gone home but Hollis called her to update her on how I was doing, and she was really worried that I was still so feeling so unwell. I spoke with her on the phone and she explained that she was very concerned that I would not be able to have the Stem Cell surgery on Thursday as scheduled, as I was so sick and as a result of doing all the withdrawal IVs I hadn’t been able to have the preparation treatment that everyone else had been getting. She said that she needed me to stay an extra week to stabilise my medication dose, and so that I was well enough and strong enough to get the procedure. I was a little shocked at the prospect of having to stay longer; it naively hadn’t crossed my mind that I may be too unwell to get my Stem Cells on Thursday, but I was grateful that Dr Kim was looking out for my best interests and making sure that the treatment was going to work for me. I had also realised just how reliant I was on Amitriptyline, and how there was no way I would be able to lower my dose without the supervision and support of a medical team I trusted. If I was feeling this terrible even after having the withdrawal IVs, I couldn’t imagine how sick I would be if I was just reducing without any help. Although I wasn’t thrilled at having to extend our trip, I realised that I didn’t really have much of a choice. I had come all this way to get the Stem Cell surgery, and Dr kim was telling me that I was not currently in a fit state to get it, so trying to put logistical concerns around changing flights and time-off work for Alex out of my mind, I reluctantly agreed that it would be best to do this, and we decided to sort everything tomorrow when I would hopefully be feeling a little more human.
I called Gena on the way back to the hotel to tell her what Dr Kim had said, and by the time we arrived she was waiting for me, concerned about how I was feeling and what I was going to do. She spent ages talking everything through with me, listening, advising and being supportive, and I was reminded just how grateful I was to have met her and to be navigating this journey with her by my side. Even though she was supposed to be resting up in preparation for her procedure the next morning, she was so generous and loving in gifting her time and care to me in my hour of need, and I couldn’t have appreciated it more. She was scheduled to get her Stem Cells very early on Wednesday, so I wished her luck and headed back to our room. By this point my headache had got a lot worse, and I was still so sore, nauseous and throwing up multiple times every hour. I was also extremely anxious and terrified about being able to get to sleep. On top of all the physical side effects from withdrawal, Amitriptyline was originally used as one of the first types of antidepressant, so patients can also experience severe anxiety when adjusting the dose, and I was definitely feeling the effects of this. I was unable to eat anything, and after taking the reduced dose again I tried desperately to switch off and rest, but felt so unwell and anxious I wondered if it would be possible. I wanted nothing more than to take my full dose of medication and wake up feeling better tomorrow, but I knew this was the worst possible thing I could do, and after a couple more 5HTP pills, I somehow managed to fall asleep.