Guest Post: Rosemary Wagler 

29 07 2016

Hi y’all! This is Rosemary, Andrea’s sister, posting here. She’s a little indisposed right now. And by little I mean a lot, and by indisposed I mean sleeping. 🙂 She says for the first time in years, she is able to sleep deep and feel rested when she wakes up. Our doctors say sleep is healing, so we think this is a good thing!

It looks like she left y’all hangin in the airport. So I will do my best to update y’all on everything since then.

Her appointment in Arizona was interesting. The doctor there takes a whole different approach to this sickness thing. But, in a way that’s encouraging because we’ve exhausted every other option and she’s still sick. She informed y’all of the protozoa that showed up in her blood work. In short, the doctor in Arizona didn’t know what it was, other than a similar one showing up in India. Her PCP said perhaps one day, they will be able to diagnose this unknown protozoa and name it bontrager after her.

How do you treat something you can’t identify? Mr. Arizona is going about it as he treated other similar cases. For one thing, she is going on a no-fat diet to starve the parasite. That means not even healthy fats like olive oil and avocado. She is also going on a plant-based diet. So basically no meat or animal products, no refined sugars, and no gluten. Yes, it is very hard to cook this way! We are so glad it’s summer and we can get fresh fruit and vegetables from the garden. She has been on it for about three months now, and bless her heart, is getting very tired of such a restricted diet!

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Mom’s gorgeous garden!

The challenge comes in when trying to mix the two diets. She can’t have dairy, so we try almond milk, which has 5% fat per serving. On the other hand, we can get non-fat cows milk. She can’t have white flour but the alternatives are coconut flour (5% fat), and almond flour (23% fat.) She obviously can’t have peanut or almond butter (not even the organic brand!). There are two items that make me happy. Both maple syrup and xylitol (sugar replacement) are 0% fat and they help a lot with sweetening things up! I could write forever about the things we’ve learned since she started this diet but i’m guessing it won’t interest you so i’ll move along. You’re welcome. 🙂

Sauna. Mom and I are pretty hopeful about the sauna, but lets just say Andrea isn’t too cracked about it. We bought an infrared sauna at the beginning of the year. It’s an amazing way to detox. We feel part of Andrea’s problem has been, we haven’t quite understood the importance of detoxing. It should be common sense right? I’m sorry to say that we missed that major point. She has been using Cholestyamine as a way to detox but we’re hoping the sauna will move things along faster. The reason Andrea doesn’t like the sauna? It sends her into a seizure every time. Her doctors stress the importance of it though, so we keep pushing it. The key is to build up slowly. When she started, she could only do about 3 minutes at 90* F. She’s worked up to 15 minutes at 100*. We’ll take any little improvement we can get!

We have a family friend that has offered to do a free chiropractic treatment every week. That has been such a blessing! Joe takes her to Spartanburg every Tuesday night. This is no ordinary chiropractor either, he trains other chiropractors and is quite brilliant! Plus he is from Australia and has a killer accent. 🙂 Speaking of Joe, it’s such a big comfort for us to see our sister/daughter in such good hands. He stays optimistic and is ever encouraging and does so good about meeting her emotional needs.

I think she is doing pretty well overall. She goes to church, although she sits in the back with someone. She comes home every day at three and mom feeds her no-fat, no-sugar, no-gluten, and vegan sorts of meals. After she eats, she goes into the sauna for fifteen minutes, has a seizure, then mom takes her home and she usually sleeps it off. She tolerates crowds and noise so much better. The other night we hosted a baby shower for my sister-in-law (I’m gonna be an aunt soon! happy dance!) and she sat right in the noisy, crowded living room and only had one seizure. Her seizures are mostly the absence seizures which sometimes she can pull herself out of them and isn’t quite so confused afterwards. Sometimes she has the twisting kind but she usually heads them off with ativan before they get too bad.

When she has these absence seizures, her eyes glaze over and she will fall if she can’t pull herself out of them, or if we don’t stop it. It used to only take a quick wave in front of her eyes to get her to snap out of it, but recently her eyes have begun to roll back and we have to shake her head a little or use cold water for the longer ones. The longer she is “out” the more she tends to be very confused when she snaps back. She will often speak in an exaggerated whisper, call Joe “sir” and use very formal words like “mother” and “father.” Long ago, we learned in order to cope in these situations, you have to laugh or cry. Crying isn’t very practical most of the time. Who wants to spend five minutes in a parking lot crying as you try and convince her to get in the van as she emphatically whispers “Stop treating me like a child!” She also doesn’t mind if we laugh so that’s our coping mechanism of choice.

That is the current state of the union! If someone has a recipe you think is inside her limitations, please share! Mom is having a hard time coming up with food ideas.

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12 responses

29 07 2016
Josh Lehman

Hey! Anything that makes the smallest improvement is cause for rejoicing! Awesome!
Hope and pray the improvement continues!

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30 07 2016
Andrea Wagler Bontrager

absolutely! Thanks for your encouragement!

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29 07 2016
Ada stoltzfus

I just want to share what I have been doing and seem to be doing a lot better . I was diagnosed with Lyme disease it will be two years in October . I was very sick for years didn’t know what was wrong with me got so bad I couldn’t hardly get around anymore. Then I found out I had Lyme disease. I have a vitamin supplement that I take it’s called prodovite. And I bath in you put 1 cup of 35% Hydrogen peroxide and your bathwater and you bath for 30 minutes . And I also take 12% food grade hydrogen peroxide start out very slow with just a couple drops once a day work it up to where you can take more it made me very sick on my stomach when I first started made me feel bad but it’s just amazing how much better I am kind of having a Herxheimer symptom right now. There is hope I didn’t think anything worked until this I was on antibotics for about 1 1/2 years even shots. I also take colon everyday an probotics .

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30 07 2016
Andrea Wagler Bontrager

Thank you for sharing your story. I’m glad you are doing well! We have used the peroxide method as well. Not real fun!
One thing that wasn’t real clear in this post is that currently we are not dealing with Lyme. Twice now my labs have shown the all clear and my doctors feel it is in remission. Unfortunately, it seems that when a person deals with long term illness, it opens the door to a multitude of other health problems.

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30 07 2016
Miriam

Just want to bless you in your journey. I know nobody else knows how hard it is at times. And the only reason we dont understand is because we arent there. Sooo glad for the support you have with your wonderful Mom and the rest of your family! Keep on keeping on!!!

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30 07 2016
Donna

Loved reading all these details! And I could have heard more! 🙂 thanks, Rozi

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31 07 2016
Christy

Thanks for updating us. I’m glad for any bit of progress, and ache for the pain and long hard journey this has been for all of you. Hugs.

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1 08 2016
Kim Stoll

Wow Andrea! So glad you’re getting maybe a little bit better, but sooo wish for good health for you! =/ Hang in there!

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1 08 2016
Elva Fehr

Thanks Rosy for the update, its good to hear how things are going! Andrea so glad for any improvement Blessings to you ,Joe & your family for all the perseverance in this journey! Elva

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5 08 2016
Roseanna

U amaze me … I know it’s your God , however we all are human and have choices to make on how we are going to deal with our cross . U … My friend are a example of struggling victoriously !

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10 08 2016
Ronnie

Praying for your complete healing as the Master Physician touches your life, and you trust in Him through the trials. Nothing is impossible with Him. God bless!

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25 08 2016
Marcia Zimmerman

I eat a plant based diet and find simple foods comforting. Potatoes topped with salsa, steamed broccoli and cauliflower with strips of BBQ tofu in it (I can tell you how I do it), brown rice pasta mixed with water sauteed peppers, mushrooms, onions, garlic, zucchini and pasta sauce. You can do rice and beans with fresh pico de Gallo. I have lots more ideas if you are interested! Blessings.

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