Combo Therapy, the New Frontier

In an ideal world, we’d probably all get our helminths shortly after birth, in a broad array of various types, and never develop the autoimmune issues that call these “old friends” to our rescue later in life. But in the moment, we sick people do what we think is best, especially when it comes to saving the travel time, and the money, this therapy requires.

If I had it to do all over again, I think I would have inoculated with 55 Necator Americanus hookworm first, and then waited for my immune response to stabilize. With that accomplished, as a distinct step 2, I would have done my 500 Trichurus Trichiura whipworm. In my opinion I stand a good chance of benefiting from each type of worm, given my medical situation, but doing both at once may have presented some increased challenges. Keep in mind I’m just speculating.

Right now, those trying “combo therapy” with hookworm and whipworm are the new pioneers of HT. From what I’ve been told, there’s not enough data yet to predict what the side effects phase will be like for us. And, to make matters even more complex, everyone reacts in their own individual way — even to doses with hookworm, or whipworm, on their own. In my case, the immune response to the combination has been intense and prolonged. This is not surprising given my history of ulcerative colitis and allergies to foods, pollen, mold, medicines, etc. But that very response is the basis of the therapy. This current “pain” might become my eventual “gain”, since being very reactive to helminths is most likely what provokes their “good chemistry”. In other words, without the helminths pushing my malfunctioning immune system off course, it cannot correct itself.

There are inexact ways of quantifying this. On an absolute count, a year ago my eosinophils were slightly elevated at 580, so the HT probably began when I was already mounting several allergic responses to things I encountered in daily life. A very recent blood test, using a differential count, shows my eosiniphils at 14% (normal range is 0-5%), which seems to be typical for a parasitic infection. I interpret that as good news, actually. It means the worms are alive and kicking. And remember, I’ve got two parasitic loads inside me, so there may be some synergies, for better for for worse.

Right now I’m just trying to figure out how best to cope with these symptoms, which include slight edema (more often at night) in my hands and ankles, beginning a week or so ago. After a 3 day reprieve from diarrhea the GI trouble is back again, and so are the cold sweats. Do I take prednisone again, for a brief time, or do I continue to ride it out and medicate with lots of buffered vitamin C? What’s going to serve me best in the long run? I feel like I’ve got access to really smart people, with good ideas, but nothing is absolute here. We’re all individuals and pioneers, finding our way.

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