Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sharing The Message Of Hope

The Holidays are here. It is a time for Family and Love, and a time to Share the Message of Hope for the coming year. If you are struggling, or know of someone who is struggling, with Chronic Lyme Disease, I would like to suggest  Nature's Dirty Needle as a Holiday gift. 

I have consistently been told that Nature's Dirty Needle is informative, easy to understand, and most importantly, Hopeful. My book not only sheds Light on Chronic Lyme Disease, but it also sheds Light on those who are sick and have felt like they were living in darkness. Now many feel Heard, Supported, Acknowledged, and Less Marginalized. One spiritual law says that if you focus your attention on an issue, it will Grow and Expand. Focusing Light and a Message Of Hope on the issue of Chronic Lyme Disease will allow Positive Awareness to multiply.

It feels as if there is a shift occurring. Awareness is increasing outside of the Lyme community. As a community those that know and understand Chronic Lyme Disease are there for each other. It is now time to get those that don't have a clue how many hundreds of thousands of people are sick with these infections, to become aware. My good friend, after reading Nature's Dirty Needle, was amazed at how under-reported and denied Chronic Lyme Disease is. She could not believe that something so devastating was not being acknowledged. My experience has been that once someone is aware of the existence of Chronic Lyme Disease and what is happening to those who are ill, they become advocates and educators, spreading the word. Like a ripple in a pond from a pebble, it becomes known when one person Speaks, and those that Hear tell others. 

Nature's Dirty Needle sheds Light on the subject of Chronic Lyme Disease and how to get help to become well. Stories from those who have suffered are told. Their stories are compelling examples filled with CourageDetermination, and Hope. Some have moved past illness, yet continue to be present for those who are still sick, shining Light and standing witness to the struggles of those with Chronic Lyme Disease. I am honored my book is seen by those who read it as a Light. I encourage everyone to read Nature's Dirty Needle and Share the Message Of Hope with everyone they know. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My Story: Guest Blog Posted On Lyme Chick and A Slice Of Lyme

I recently had the opportunity to guest blog on Lyme Chick and A Slice Of Lyme. These two women have brought an uplifting voice of strength to the Lyme community. It is truly an honor to be part of it. Thank You both! 

My Story: 

Hello, my name is Mara Williams and I am a Nurse Practitioner. Three years ago I was working for an Integrative Doctor who discovered her daughter had Lyme Disease. She decided to begin treating it and spent the next few weeks with LLMD's. Anything that she did, I needed to learn as well, so I dove right into it. I listened to ILADS workshops, studied power point presentations, and read whatever I could find about the disease. Needless to say, I was absolutely stunned by the medical controversy, the political conflict of interests, and the horrific marginalization of care that our current healthcare has bestowed upon those who suffer from Chronic Lyme Disease.

Eventually, I left this practice and moved on to work at Gordon Medical Associateswhere I began what I call, "Grad School" for CLD as well as other Chronic Illnesses. Then, about a year and a half ago, I was shocked to discover that my own daughter, Amanda, had Lyme Disease. She fell gravely ill, and our journey began in earnest on Sept. 26, 2010, when we first went to the ER for unrelenting vomiting and severe dehydration. Since that day, we have been gone an additional sixteen times for the same symptoms, and she has also been admitted seven times as well. We tried several different hospitals, but they were all the same in how they chose to address her condition.

On our seventh trip to the ER, I finally realized that Amanda was not going to get the support or treatment she needed for her illness. The only thing the hospitals were willing to do for her was to get the vomiting under control and give her IV meds for a few days until she was able to take food and fluids by mouth. Because her initial CT Scan and labs came back normal, no diagnostic work-up or antibiotics were given to her. One doctor wanted to diagnose Fibromyalgia, another Rheumatoid Arthritis, and most just saw Amanda as a Psych case.

I knew then that what was needed was a center where those with tick borne diseases could go for treatment and support in a compassionate setting and receive care as if they were in a hospital with 24/7 nursing care and other support.

I began talking to friends about creating such a place that I would call, "Inanna House" and telling them how I envisioned it. One friend advised me to write a book so that I would have some clout when I presented a business plan to those with the resources to fund the center.

This motivated me to write, "Nature's Dirty Needle". The book describes what it is like for those who suffer from Lyme and its co-infections, how it affects their families and friends, and how it impacts their lives on every level, and in every way. I wanted the book to be a resource for those still undiagnosed, and for those family members of Lyme sufferers who do not believe that they are sick, and mistakenly think it's all in their head. Reading story after story of cases with so many similarities brings home the reality of Chronic Lyme Disease, and how devastating it is for everyone concerned.

I have been asked many times to write another book with more stories after Inanna House is up and running and cannot wait to do so, and share all the success stories we will have to tell from it.

Inanna House will be a place of hope, healing, and peace. I envision a retreat-like setting in the country, private rooms, safe pathways for walking, pools and hot tubs, an infrared sauna, energy treatments, IV treatments, IV antibiotic treatments, detox programs, organic, healthy foods to eat, and emotional support. I believe that the mental, psychological, emotional and spiritual aspects need addressing in order to completely heal from any disease, and this will be a part of the program as well. I also plan to create an endowment so that those who have depleted their resources can still come and experience this unique type of healing. At this center, the best of all worlds of medicine will be incorporated into the program.

Inanna House will also have MD supervision. There will be treatment rooms, a clinic, and room for conferences and classes. I hope to be able to offer residencies for health care professionals so we can increase the number of Lyme literate providers. I also hope to use the clinical data we collect to further prove to the nonbelievers that we aren't crazy, and that these infections do indeed exist, and in epidemic proportions.

Currently, we are treating Amanda at home. We give her IV hydration everyday, and include amino acids and minerals, and phosphytidal choline, which helps bind the die-off toxins, clean cellular debris, and enables the liver to function better. We are giving her meds around the clock every four hours. 

Her pain with the Herxing is incredible, but after fourteen doses of Gentamycin for Bartonella, her eyes are more clear, her brain is more sharp, and her nausea is better. She is encouraged and feels that she is finally moving forward. However, it's unbelievably shameful that we are forced to do this at home because hospitals either don't believe she has an infection or are in fear of their liability. 

This MUST change, and by creating Inanna House, I believe that the Lyme community will be taking their first step in the right direction, and will soon be shown the acknowledgment they deserve in our current healthcare system.

Thank You,

Mara Williams, NP

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Author Interview On 50 Women Project By Jessica Buchleitner

Mara Williams, RN, MSN, ANP-BC, has been a healthcare provider for 30 years and is the mother of a Chronic Lyme Disease (CLD) patient. She currently specializes in treating people with Tick borne diseases. Her new book, “Nature’s Dirty Needle”achieved bestseller status within the first few weeks of its release.
In her book, which serves as a guide for Lyme Disease patients, Mara featured the story of Mona Motwani, a woman I interviewed in April 2011 who is currently suffering from CLD and whose story will also be featured in “50 Women”.
I decided to chat with Mara about “Nature’s Dirty Needle” and her upcoming plans to build the Inanna House, a full treatment center for patients our healthcare system has failed to heal due to the conspiracy and corruption surrounding the diagnostic practices of treating CLD.
1. What motivated you to write “Nature’s Dirty Needle”? 
The idea came to me when I was sitting in the ER with Amanda, my daughter,  for the 7th out of 17 visits in the last year due to her struggle with CLD.  I realized the current system is so broken that it would never serve her or others like her. A friend encouraged me to write a book about my experiences helping my daughter through Chronic Lyme Disease and the book evolved from there. Since I have been told many times that the people who watch their loved ones suffer become motivated to do extraordinary things. It has certainly been a motivator for me! I am planning another book with more stories as I have been asked several times since it came out to do another with more stories in it by those who want their story told. Lyme patients are too overlooked and the current healthcare system is inefficient to help them.
2. You have a medical background treating CLD patients. What are common issues you observe in your profession for these patients as far as treatment obstacles?
Common Lyme Treatment obstacles I have observed are: Patients typically see between 10-30 providers before finding a lyme-literate practitioner. The western health care system does not recognize CLD as a legit disease, even though it is an illness caused by bacteria. For this reason, CLD is not a consideration for many of these physicians in their differential diagnosis when seeing someone. If they do think about it, then they run what is called an Elisa test which checks for antibodies in the blood. The issue with this test is that it tends to be negative as the bugs hide from the immune system and within fat cells. There is usually no further testing so the CLD patient is told that “nothing is wrong with them” or that its “all in their head”. Then the physician offers antidepressants because they then believe the illness is psychosomatic.
Once properly diagnosed, if they have been sick for greater than a year, which is too common, then treatment can be challenging as the bugs have had ample time to burrow into different tissues, disrupt the immune system, hormonal system, and nervous system. Also, detox pathways become disrupted and eliminating the die-off and toxins produced by the bugs complicates treatment. Other considerations are heavy metals, mold and chemicals which can increase symptoms and slow progress.
3. You mention the corruption in the medical community regarding Lyme Disease in “Nature’s Dirty Needle”. In what ways do you feel the system allows patients to fall by the wayside? What do you feel needs to change? 
The IDSA or Infectious Disease Society of America claims CLD doesn’t exist. This allows the western health care system to deny diagnosis and treatment. It allows insurance companies to refuse to pay for treatment and to go after providers who treat CLD and ruin them by threatening their license and livelihood. Insurance companies have sued some doctors for over prescribing antibiotics and won! When someone with CLD is forced to deal with this part of the system they are told it is all in their head and offered antidepressants. The way most providers practice allows them 5-10 minutes with a patient per visit. Someone with CLD requires much more intensive time and intervention. Most providers don’t want complex patients so frequently a patient will be given the Antibody test mentioned above for Lyme which is not reliable and usually is negative even when someone has Lyme.  If patients were correctly assessed initially they would be less sick and easier to treat and cure. If ER docs had better knowledge of Lyme they could treat more acute cases, prevent CLD and the years of suffering and years of money spent on care that wouldn’t be needed.
4. You included the story of Lyme Disease survivor, Mona Motwani, a woman also featured in “50 Women”. What made you decide to include her story in “Nature’s Dirty Needle”? What is your hope for Mona? 
Mona’s story is a classic Lyme story. Mona tells her story in a compelling way that grabs the reader. She is filled with passion for life despite her illness. Mona is getting better, getting her life back and it is my hope that she beats CLD fully.
5. Your eventual plan is to build a treatment center. Why is this necessary? Can you tell me about some of the programs and treatments you would like to include? 
Inanna House is necessary because the current system refuses to help with treatment. Just a few days ago Amanda (my daughter) and I went to see an infectious disease specialist at the local hospital and he repeatedly told us the hospital would be able to care for Amanda if  she needed support like IV fluids and meds to stabilize her but would not consider giving her IV antibiotics because of the liability of treating her for an infection she doesn’t have. He must have said at least five times that his group does not agree with the CLD diagnosis despite the fact that so many are sick with it. Thus the need for an inpatient facility to support patients and to start treatment in a safe and professional setting is crucial. As I mention in my book I had a vision for a healing center that I knew was a collective vision. This was in the early 1990′s. For a long time I had let it go and then when I was in the ER with Amanda for the 7th time I realized that the focus of the center needed to be for those with CLD and other biotoxin illnesses. Currently such a place does not exist. I plan to have 24 private rooms initially. Stays would range from a week to a few months depending on the needs of the person. Treatment could include several different options: detoxification, nutritional support both oral and IV, beginning Iv antibiotics in a setting with 24/7 nursing support and MD oversight, clean food and energetic healing modalities. It would be in a retreat like setting on land with open space and an organic garden would supply food to guests and the staff.  There will be a commercial restaurant that prepares clean organic food as well. This would allow 3 different income streams: patients, garden and restaurant. Someday we can include treatment for animals as
It is necessary to raise several million, about 25 million dollars , to support the center so those with no resources left can still come for help. It is common for someone who has been ill with CLD for several years to have lost their homes, and all their savings, owing over $100,000 or more in healthcare costs.
Additionally, we would not be able to take any insurance as that would limit the treatment protocols we could perform. We are creating a new paradigm to include the best of all health care worlds.
6. Can you tell me about some of the most revolutionary physicians you have worked with in helping Lyme Disease patients? 
The MD’s I work with at Gordon Medical have all practiced what I call ‘out of the box’ medicine, always looking for ways to help people get well. They are Neil Nathan, MD; Eric Gordon, MD; Wayne anderson, ND; and Azra MaEl, MD; who have traveled the world finding new ways to approach illness and help people. They are great investigators and researchers who refuse to give up and settle for the status quo or standard of care. They step up out of their comfort zone, are open-hearted, compassionate and willing to share their knowledge and expertise. They are not afraid to say ‘I don’t know”.
7. Question of the day, Mara: If you had the chance to give all women advice, what would you say to them? 
We all come into this life with gifts from God or our higher source, all of us. I would say-discover your gifts and find ways to use them passionately and for the highest good of all. The rewards are amazing! It is living a win-win life!
Order the book
Mara’s book “Nature’s Dirty Needle” is available for order by clicking here.
I recommended this book for anyone dealing with CLD down to those who think they may have CLD. The medical advice is sound and the real stories of Lyme survivors are uplifting and informative.

Monday, October 24, 2011

People With Chronic Lyme Disease Feel Terrible

People with Chronic Lyme Disease feel terrible. Imagine feeling exhausted most of the time, having no energy. You hurt everywhere, especially in your joints. The pain can be severe. You may be nauseous every waking minute and eating takes effort. Brain fog is persistent, and you cannot concentrate. Headaches are a daily occurrence, with light and sound sensitivity that drives you away from people and into your home. Depression is pervasive, and sometimes ideas of suicide enter your thoughts. Neurological symptoms, such as tingling and numbness, and electrical, painful shocks travel up your arms and legs, coming and going. It is hard to get out of bed in the morning and function in daily life activities.

Besides feeling terrible and having to struggle to get from place to place, you go to one doctor after another who tells you there is nothing wrong because all the test results are negative. Then you are offered an antidepressant because it must be all in your head. Unfortunately these are bacterial and parasitic infections affecting different parts of the body, antidepressants are usually infective.

Later you are sent to a specialist, a rheumatologist or an infectious disease specialist, and they again do testing which is negative; therefore, again it is believed you don't have any disease. Instead of looking at the clinical picture being presented to them, these physicians say there is nothing wrong. It is implied that it is all in your head. Over and over again, this scenario plays out until you feel like you are going crazy.

Family members look at you like you're going insane, and your loved ones begin to turn away from you. However, you remain caught in this horrible cycle of feeling terrible, not able to function on a daily basis, and in pain most of the time. It is devastating in every which way *Physically, Emotionally, Spiritually, Mentally, and Financially. The emotional cost to a patient and their families is horrendous. How does an ill person participate in life? People with CLD are dependent on family and friends to take care of them, to prepare food for them, to do errands, to pick up their medicines, to call the doctor and arrange for appointments, to help with their children, if they have any. *Basically any activity healthy people take for granted.

Since insurance will not pay for a problem that does not exist, the costs are extremely high. Not only must you pay for a health insurance policy and the attendant co-pays that go with it, you go to doctors who say nothing is wrong. Then you seek out, if you are lucky to find one, a Lyme-Literate provider who does not take your insurance. Most Lyme specialists have cash practices because they could not stay in business otherwise. It takes one to two hours in an initial visit to tease out the problems and begin to address them. At your primary doctor's office, you pay your co-pay, the doctor bills your insurance the remainder, and this doctor only spends five to ten minutes with you. How can anyone know what is going on in such a short period of time? It is not possible. Your story, your symptoms, how you live on a daily basis are important in diagnosing your illness and deciding on the first step in treatment.

It is time for something new. There are many differences between the way Western health care and Eastern health care deal with Lyme Disease and other co-infections. While most of the providers who practice in our current system fail to acknowledge CLD, it is often an acupuncturist or naturopathic physician that suggests the possibility of CLD to a person and gets them to begin looking for other providers who understand what they might be going through.

In an integrative practice, the best of both worlds are utilized in a blended way by using herbals, neutraceuticals, and antibiotics. Using nutrients and herbals, instead of drugs, can control many chronic conditions, as they have fewer side effects and are accepted by the body more readily. There are herbal tinctures specific to the treatment of Lyme and the co-infections that work well in combination with antibiotics. A well as other supplements utilized to help the body clear toxins from the bugs and support the lymph and liver system.

As a knowledgable health care provider and Lyme Literate, I find it incomprehensible that the current medical system shuns and marginalizes people with CLD. The suffering this disease can cause exemplifies this wrong and shows the need for a place those with CLD can find Solace, Support, and Respect, as well as treatment that moves them toward a healing state.

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Vision For A New Paradigm In Health Care

Inanna is the queen of Heaven and Earth and the Goddess of Love from the Sumerian Civilization that existed in 3000 BC in what is now known as Iraq. 

In the first chapter of "Nature's Dirty Needle", I mention that the current health care system is broken, possibly beyond repair. A new health care system is needed. The time is now. It is necessary to address all aspects of an individual * Physical, Emotional, Energetic, Mental, and Spiritual * at the same time. There is not one way to accomplish this. Complexity demands that each individual be considered separately * As An Individual

In the current health care system, there is no place for the millions who are ill with CLD to get help when they are in need of more intensive support and care. No hospital exists that recognizes and treats these infections. For hyper-sensitive people, there is no place they can go to start IV antibiotics and get the needed hydration and IV medicine to control their symptoms while they react to the die-off and toxins. The costs for treating TBDs are staggering and insurance companies refuse to pay for them.

Every person that I have spoken with  who is ill with CLD has mentioned their frustration that there is nowhere for them to go to get help when they are relapsing or herxing.

It is time for a change, a different way. It is time for a new paradigm for true health and healing. Inanna House will offer an oasis of Peace, Health, and Healing.

Over 20 years ago, I was in Mexico on the Pacific coast of Oaxaca, floating in the water late one night, when I had a vision. I do not have visions very often, but this one was like a movie reel playing in my head, showing a place where people could come and receive the care needed to heal. I was aware that my visions was not unique, that many others would have a similar experience because it is so important and the world needs a new paradigm of health that truly serves everyone. For years, I held this vision. When my daughter was lying in the hospital, in agony, being under treated and misdiagnosed, I realized that the time has come to create my vision. It became clear that this population of people with CLD desperately needed a place to go for help. A place where there would be competent care and treatment that would move them forward and help them to heal.

Inanna House will be a residence for debilitated chronically ill individuals, a place to receive supportive therapies in many modalities and to start treatment with IV antibiotics in a safe environment. The program is designed in one week modules, although extended stay beyond one week would be very common. It is a program designed to address all aspects of healing * Physical, Emotional, Mental, Spiritual, and Energetic.

An endowment will be created in which people can invest, so that those who have depleted their resources can get help as well. Inanna House will not be able to use any government or health insurance monies, because then the government would be able to dictate what could be done and what could not. It would unacceptable to limit my vision of what should be possible. The intention is to blend all the best of what health care has to offer, using various modalities in a synergistic way to build and support, cleanse, and detoxify the body so that treatment of TBDs can be maximally effective.

Inanna House will be the first facility of many to model the new paradigm. It is part of the vision that Inanna House be built around the world. Many of these centers are needed as millions are in need of help.

You can read in more detail of my plans and what type of treatments Inanna House will offer in my book 

Click To Buy Nature's Dirty Needle Here!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Why I Wrote "Nature's Dirty Needle"

As a Nurse Practitioner, I have been blessed to work with some amazing and courageous physicians who practice "out of the box" medicine. Using herbals, neutraceuticals, as well as pharmaceuticals to offer the best of both natural and allopathic ways of health care, this group of providers gives their best to help people discover the root cause of their problem and get well. They listen and take the time to understand what is going on with a person, what their story is telling them, and the clinical picture being presented. The past three years, I have focused on Chronic Lyme Disease (CLD) and other illnesses that cause chronic and debilitating illness. Then a little over a year ago, I realized that my daughter was very sick with CLD. It was a stunning moment. Fortunately, I work with providers who can help her as I had to assume the role of mother once again. What our family has endured when it becomes necessary to interact with the current health care system is a horror story. It is this experience that has compelled me to write "Nature's Dirty Needle". My daughter's story and the others that are in the book must be told. Hopefully, this will lead to a greater awareness of the worldwide issue of CLD, the politics around it, and how to get and help and feel better.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Nature's Dirty Needle: Book Review

Book review for "Nature's Dirty Needle" written by Dorothy Kupcha Leland.

"The image of heroin addicts sharing dirty needles is a strong one. Most people understand it’s a bad idea, an easy way to spread diseases like HIV and hepatitis.
The image of ticks as “nature’s dirty needle” is also dramatic. Ticks stick their mouth parts into mice, birds, squirrels, deer and untold other wild animals, picking up viruses, worms, protozoa and oh yes, bacterial infections like Lyme disease. By the time the tick sticks its dirty needle into you, you risk contracting a variety of different pathogens, some of them not even named yet.

In her book, “Nature’s Dirty Needle,” Lyme-literate nurse practitioner Mara Williams explores the topic of chronic Lyme disease as the end result of this toxic soup transmitted by tick saliva. The Lyme spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi, is only part of the mix.

The complexity of chronic Lyme, with its myriad coinfections, is one reason it can be so confounding to diagnose and treat this disease. And why it’s essential for Lyme patients to find a knowledgeable practitioner. Williams describes symptoms, treatment and some of the politics surrounding Lyme and coinfections.
She interweaves personal anecdotes from individuals with Lyme, spelling out how difficult it was for them to get properly diagnosed, as well as the ups and downs of their experiences with treatment.

Ultimately, she sums up a bleak picture: “In the current health care system, there is no place for the millions who are ill with CLD (chronic Lyme disease) to get help when they are in need of more intensive support and care. No hospital exists that recognizes and treats these infections….Every person that I have spoken with who is ill with CLD has mentioned their frustration that there is nowhere for them to get help when they are relapsing or herxing.”

At the end of the book, Williams lays out her ideas for a healing center called Inanna House, which she would like to build in Sonoma County, CA.  It would be geared to the needs of chronic Lyme patients, a place to receive supportive therapies and start IV treatments in a safe environment. It would offer both in-patient and out-patient care, as well as workshops and classes. It would incorporate a range of healing modalities, both western and alternative.

I don’t know how far along her plans are, or what it would take to open and run such a facility. But as I read the last chapter, where she describes her vision for Inanna House, I could imagine Lyme patients everywhere giving the idea a standing ovation."

About Me

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"We all strive for balance in our lives. If you find yourself striving for inner peace and a sense of harmony, it takes more than a good attitude. Our sense of self is regulated by neurotransmitters, hormones, and many other cellular functions within our bodies that influence our stamina, immune function, sexual drive, and nervous systems."

Nurse Practitioner and Energetic Healer, Mara Williams has been a health care provider for over 30 years. For 15 years, Mara worked in Hospice, helping people at the end of their life. For most of her life she has been devoted to a spiritual practice and developing her gift of working with energy. Eventually she returned to school at UCSF to earn a Masters and become a Nationally Board Certified Adult Nurse Practitioner so she could have a greater impact in helping people heal. Currently, she specializes in treating people with Tick Borne Diseases (TBDs), using an integrative approach to help them attain greater health and well-being. The secret to healing is discovering the root cause of the problem, and this is what Mara does best.

Besides being a provider, Mara has personal experience as a mother of a child with Chronic Lyme Disease. It has given her a greater understanding of what patients with TBDs experience in the Medical World of Western Medicine and how difficult it is to find a Lyme-literate provider who recognizes and understands the complexity of these chronic diseases.

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