Reborn as Lyme-Free Michelle

I am about to celebrate my new birthday in life on the second of October, the third anniversary of my complete recovery from a disease that had nearly destroyed me. If I could go back in time and visit my former self, in despair at how decrepit I had become, I would explain that my body could be the doctor; that my body was capable of autophagy that incinerates diseased cells. In my quest to recover from late-stage Lyme disease, I had been so intent on putting substances into my body to heal that I hadn’t considered taking things out of my body would be the cure.

Three years ago, after years of protesting the phrase “get accustomed to your new normal,” I found a Siberian doctor who purportedly cured patients with serious diseases through extreme fasting methods that activate cells to burn bacteria and viruses in the body; through his methods, inflammation is eliminated.

Close to committing assisted suicide, I had nothing to lose. But this doctor’s radical treatment consisted of dry fasting—refraining from eating or drinking anything including water—for an extended period of time (that one builds up to through shorter fasts and a stringent protocol).

Although my family fretted about this treatment that may be unfathomable to most of you, I had no fear of autophagy. The science made sense to me. My body felt as if it were full of debris from the inflammation, so I was ready for what my new doctor called “natural surgery.” But the skeptics told me I would die, that I would destroy my body. They had never tested the science of cellular degradation on the human body before, whereas my doctor had perfected this treatment over thirty years.

To illustrate that my family was at rock bottom in the battle against Lyme, my Russian husband—who had stood in line as a child for bread and milk and had an innate fear of starvation— convinced the Siberian doctor to take me on as a patient. So, I went on a journey to the remote mountains of Siberia to spend two months with a wise medical doctor whose methodology was the antithesis of every specialist that had ever worked on my spirochete-ridden body.

Instead of filling me with antibiotics, he supervised me as I put absolutely nothing in my body—no food, no liquid, no pills—until my body ate my diseased cells.

I was told that dry fasting would be a battle, but Lyme had already trained me to be a warrior. Over short dry fasts, my doctor prepared me for the extended one that would eradicate Lyme once and for all. I had begun to think of it as marathon training. I was training my body to increase its endurance for dry fasting similar to how a runner trains for a marathon.

Determined, and witnessing dozens of his other patients endure nine days and nine nights without coming in contact with food or water, I persevered through the fast. What fueled me when food and water didn’t, was my gentle doctor’s words: “Dry fasting has colossal power to heal the body, and to enhance one’s natural system of immunity.”

I woke up each day and affirmed: I am stronger than these diseased cells and spirochetes. I set the intention: If this radical treatment of starving myself in Siberia works, I vow to share it with others who might be close to burning out their wicks, too.

As the days passed under the Siberian sun, I grew stronger rather than weaker, as I recount in my memoir Starving to Heal in Siberia. By the time I was told to start drinking hot spring water after the pivotal ninth night had passed, I looked radiant. By the time I left Siberia, I felt like I was shining and bouncing, and I have never looked back.

Autophagy cleared my debilitating joint pain completely (and it hasn’t returned in the three years since). The persistent chronic fatigue, sinus congestion, tinnitus, migraines, psoriasis, and candida: all gone. My chronic back pain: also gone (and it, too, has never returned). My memory and my ability to think critically returned to me, as well.

I reincarnated back into the same lifetime, but in a new body, a body and mind that allowed me to hike again, to write, to remember what I once knew, and to stay upright all through the day without any fatigue. Now I don’t even tell anyone I meet for the first time that I ever had Lyme; I shed the identity marker of being ill as part of my radical recovery.

I hope that the science of dry fasting can save fellow Lyme and autoimmune patients from the fate that was almost mine. Even though my Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins is not in the realm of the sciences, I have conducted extensive research on this subject with the help of my doctor. In my memoir, I aim to elucidate the science of dry fasting and dispel myths and misconceptions. For, I feel a moral obligation to share my remarkable experiences and pay it forward.

The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


A Vignette from the Lyme Timeline

This week’s post is an excerpt from my unpublished memoir Starving to Heal in Siberia: My Radical Recovery from Late-Stage Lyme Disease, chapter one: Vignettes from the Lyme Timeline. It recapitulates a theme from One Me: Lovable As is.

Michelle’s Point of View, June, 2015: Jackson Hole, WY

And poets are what we need when ill, not prose writers. In illness words seem to possess a mystic quality. –Virginia Woolf, “On Being Ill”

I awoke from the stupor of sleep to see the sun rise in shades of periwinkle through the window, filtered through my fog.  I felt no trace of my characteristic delight in the sun’s beauty, though, nor did I feel my early morning optimism about the day. In fact, I wasn’t sure where I was, or who I was.

Then, I heard Dmitri’s familiar voice having a work conversation on his phone. There was an anniversary card with a photo of a boy holding a rose in his teeth standing on my bedside table. “Ah, Jackson Hole,” I sighed as I remembered.

As the sun rose higher, I felt mocked by the hope of its raspberry rays. For, there would be no horseback riding together through rugged rivers that day, nor would there be any vigorous hiking below the spires of the Tetons. Dmitri waved at me from the balcony, his Slavic grayish blue eyes smiling at me. Our long-standing code on vacations was that early mornings were for working, and we would meet up later; we had always respected one another’s work ethics. Only I had no work to do.

In largo tempo, I pulled on my jeans and sweater. I ambled down to the coffee shop on the corner, journal clutched in my aching hands. I sat down with an almond milk latté to scrawl out some words, desperate to chart my heightening sense of disorientation. With each sip and each written word, I tried to find my way out of the fog.

My brain, or is it still a brain,

and is it my brain,

is floating away in largo tempo,

as if on a lethargic current of air.

Strident calls from my psoas and lumbar

mute my thoughts.

All I hear is their crescendo through my back and limbs,

reminding me that I am in this broken body,

and it is mine.

The sun is rising in Jackson Hole

but I am in its shadow

for no raspberry rays shine in these parts.

Where have I to go this morning?

There is no manuscript to write,

There is no class to teach.

Replete with the angst of purposeless,

I make the attainment of coffee my primary goal.

Tabula rasa after two Master’s Degrees and a Ph.D.

How does one confront a blank slate, when

one’s brain has been replaced with a stranger’s brain?

When one’s brain is the other?

What can be written on a blank slate when one doesn’t have the

crittheory brain,

the music brain, the lit brain that one once had?

And this slate? It is broken.

The pieces have been saved,

but they don’t fit together.

Shards are missing.

Tabula rasa, on a broken slate,

a failed synecdoche.


This discursive narrative

leaves me cleaving to a new handmade

axiom, “One Miche: Lovable As Is”

as if I were a used commodity. As Is.

Crittheory brain, music brain, lit brain, could not love this Miche

as is.

Too slow, memory faulty, fallible, unable to produce,

but broken-slate Miche with the other’s brain

has had it with these Sisyphean pursuits and echoes

“Lovable As Is.”

As is.