I awoke once again feeling really nauseous, shaky, anxious and with heart palpitations. I was realising that the withdrawal symptoms were consistently much worse in the morning, and then would improve throughout the day, so that by the evening I would feel so much better, only for the cycle to repeat again the next morning. I was extremely swollen from my head to my toes, which although was to be expected after two weeks of intensive IVs and treatment, was still causing me feel really sore and uncomfortable. We ordered some breakfast to the room, and then I washed my hair (other chronic illness sufferers will relate to how much of an achievement this is!) and got ready for the day ahead. As I was originally due to finish up treatment today, we had booked to transfer to the Viceroy in Santa Monica for a few days of recovery before flying home. Now that I wasn’t getting my Stem Cells until next week we had obviously had to amend our hotel bookings, but we had decided to go down to Santa Monica for the weekend anyway to get a break from Beverly Hills, and so Alex stayed behind to pack and check out, whilst I took the car to Infusio with Gena and Kenny.
I was scheduled for IVs first thing, and Hollis had no problems getting a vein which was such a relief after the difficulty of the past few days. I was feeling much less dehydrated as well, so all in all I was hopeful that I was on the road to recovery, and over the worst of the withdrawal side effects. Today was my first day back on the pre-Stem Cells treatment protocol, and I was due to get Dioxy-chlorine, Cell Prep, Liver Detox, Folic Acid and Glutathione. Whilst I was getting my IVs I got to spend some time with Ashley, which was really lovely as she was finishing up treatment today and heading home to New York. We talked a little about Mast Cell and Histamine issues which we both suffer with, and the diet adaptations we would need to implement once we got home. It had been such an eye-opening experience meeting so many other Lyme patients and hearing each person’s story. I was amazed at both the similarities and differences between everyone, and I had been reminded that each person’s individual journey was so unique, but there was a lot of comfort and support to gain from the shared experience of battling this disease. Alex arrived at the clinic mid-morning, just as Hollis was about to give me the Phospholipids push. I’m still not entirely sure how it works, but he needed to mix the solution with my blood, so tried to get some out from my IV vein. However it just wasn’t working so he took it out of the other arm without too much trouble, although I was definitely feeling a little queasy looking at all the blood.
By the time I had finished my IVs the sun had appeared, and I ate lunch outside on the terrace, with Gena and I sharing food from Panini Kebob again. We talked about coming back for our 100-day follow-ups and the second part of the treatment – the ACT, and resolved that if we could make it work to come back at the same time, we would. Infusio recommends that ACT should be done at around 4 months post-Stem Cells, so we decided to tentatively book in for the week beginning September 17th, and change it if necessary nearer to the time. After lunch I had a fifteen-minute session in the Nova Bed, followed by my final Global Diagnostics Scan for the week, and then the Lymphatic Air Pressure Suit for forty-five minutes to finish. I found it really painful today with how swollen and sensitive I was, but I chatted to Caryn whilst the cycles completed, and the time passed pretty quickly. Finally, after saying an emotional goodbye to Ashley and the others who were also leaving today, I had my last Thymus injection and I was good to go – another week of treatment down! We walked back to the hotel with Gena and Kenny, and then had a final drink on the rooftop before saying goodbye. Words could not express how much I was going to miss her, I could never have imagined it would be possible to become so close with a stranger in just two short weeks, but it had been a truly life-changing experience and I knew we would remain in touch and close going forwards. It helped to know that we would hopefully see each other again in September, and made the very daunting 100-day post-Stem Cell period seem less scary to know that I would not be navigating it alone. Gena gave me beautiful flowers to take with me to our new hotel, and it made me really happy to take a little piece of her with me.
We ordered an Uber to get down to Santa Monica, and fortunately even with LA traffic we were there in forty minutes. I knew being in the car for even that long would be challenging, and I felt incredibly travel sick, but fortunately managed to get there without throwing up which I counted as a win. The hotel was beautiful, really different to the one in Beverly Hills with a much more relaxed vibe, and after checking into our room and recovering from the journey, we headed out to get something to eat. We walked along Santa Monica Boulevard, and even in the dark it felt completely different to the (albeit limited) parts of LA we had seen so far. We ended up finding an Australian restaurant called Little Ruby which had gluten-free pasta, so we enjoyed a lovely meal sitting outside and debriefing from what had been such a crazy and intensive week. After dinner, we slowly walked back to the hotel and watched some of the Social Network on TV before falling asleep before 9pm.