Healthier, Day by Day

I’m not healed yet, but I’m on the upswing. With cervical spinal stenosis, neck trauma, plus an ulcerative colitis flare up due to antibiotic use, I’ve felt awful since June, but am really pleased with recent progress. Three weeks ago I did a 1500-egg Trichuris Trichiura whipworm top-off dose. It’s a larger number than most experts would recommend (I would have taken 1000 if it were possible to split the contents of the vial), but everyone reacts individually to helminthic therapy, and I have had only mild side effects in the past.

This time around, vague abdominal discomfort and mild diarrhea were the worst of it. I only took 5 to 10 mg of hydrocortisone for the first 5 days, as a precaution, which is basically a physiological dose, about half what my body would produce in a day. After that, I took Zyrtec at night, on and off for about a week, and only when necessary. The goal here is to be drug-free! I’ve also supplemented with 3 mg of melatonin, which has helped me sleep.

Since I’ve got stenosis and degenerative changes to my neck, which has probably affected my autonomic nerve, it’s hard to know if the insomnia is related to whipworm or caused by purely biomechanical, neurological issues. My hunch is whipworm have increased my eosinophils a bit and caused a temporary nervous tension (different from anxiety, it’s more physical) during the day, resulting in sleep disturbances at night. Note the following document here. However, keep in mind the insomnia started, and was at its worst, when my neck was injured back in June.

Here’s the good news: starting two days ago, my dysautonomia seems to have improved. My mood is better, I didn’take any Klonopin yesterday (medication prescribed for transient hypertension after the spinal injury), and I woke up feeling more rested. What caused the change? I’m saturating with VSL#3 probiotics, am eating a very low carb, sugar and grain-free diet, having twice-weekly chiropractic adjustments, using cervical traction devices to undo kyphois, and… getting regular exercise. Yes, exercise! My orthostatic intolerance has improved dramatically, to the point where I can now stand for an hour or more, and ride an upright exercise bike for 40 mins at a time. It was merely two months ago I was bed-bound, hardly able to walk or stand, and unable to ride the bike for even 5 or 10 minutes, so the progress is nothing short of incredible.

Two days ago I was having another blood pressure spike, an ongoing, daily issue for me related to high catecholamine levels. I may have hyperadrenergic POTS , but require further testing for diagnosis. Anyway, these attacks usually last for a few hours, but this episode eased up after only 30 minutes. Then suddenly I felt a familiar, deep sense of calm, much like my initial HT “bounce” back in early May, 2011, for a blissful 15 minutes. Is this the “worm magic” returning? Relaxation this deep is unique to my helminthic therapy, it’s ground-breaking and wonderful, and one reason I have come to believe in the “old friends” and hygiene hypotheses.

Thinking back, I’ve probably had low-level POTS for years, and at the time I thought it was just allergies. Cervical stenosis, likely to be congenital in my case, and neck trauma from computer use, may have contributed. But there’s also a potential mast cell component to POTS. By addressing the autoimmune aspects with helminthic therapy, I hope to conquer the allergic/immunity side, while addressing the degenerative, outward changes with neck traction, stretching, and gentle chiropractic adjustments.

All I care about is getting better, and without resorting to pharmaceuticals like Klonopin, when I can use a holistic approach instead. Positive trends gather their own momentum: laughter, love, community, happiness and connectedness — it’s all obviously part of health. My goal is to heal my body enough that I don’t even need to think about it anymore, and I can focus instead on enjoying life. Simple enough!

More Whipworm for Ulcerative Colitis Flare

My gut has been doing incredibly well ever since starting helminthic therapy back in late April, 2011. On August 8th I had to take Levaquin antibiotics for 7 days, and this “stunned” my worms enough that they no longer were providing anti-inflammatory benefits. Three days ago I noticed the first hint of an ulcerative colitis flare: a little mucous, some heat in my left abdomen around the descending colon. Sure enough, a day later I had a slight bit of blood on the TP. Those who suffer from UC know all about this. It’s when you start trying to decide how best to get rid of the inflammation.

In my case, I’ve had good luck with dietary changes, but only for maintenance. The “big gun” of a decadron IV in the hospital works, as does Imuran, but each of these meds have horrid side effects. And with “dysautonomia” now affecting me, who knows how I would react, even if taking a small dose of prednisone.

So I started thinking about that 1500 whipworm top off dose in my fridge. Trichiura Trichuris to my rescue? I downed all 1500 in one gulp. If my immune system needs a “suitable target” for a distraction, I’ve certainly given it that. Speaking of, over the last 10 years, the luckiest I ever got was catching a cold of some sort while I was flaring. It was enough to take the immune attack off my gut, and focus it on the “bug” instead. Here it is almost week 20 after my first inoculation, and I’m aiming for a similar response with this 2nd dose of helminthic therapy.

In an ideal world I would have had a spare vial of Necator Americanus hookworm, and inoculated with those instead. I think my body tends to get along with them a bit better than the TT whipworm, but I have no solid proof of that, only a hunch. Anyway, so it goes — we work with what we’ve got. Now I’m pondering the coming wave of side effects. Since my body already knows these critters, having taken 500 of them in late April, I don’t anticipate the same intense reaction, but time will tell.

I’m hoping this latest batch of “old friends” keeps me healthy until the initial round (55 hookworm and 500 whipworm) perk up from the antibiotics. It usually takes about 6 to 8 weeks, so they should all be “online” and laying their eggs again by October 15th. Meanwhile, goooo, worms. 🙂

Hyperadrenergic Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome

What a mouthful. I’ll say it again: Hyperadrenergic POTS. According to one cardiologist I spoke with recently, who sees a lot of similar cases, this is what I may have. Some blood work was done 3 days ago and I am heading off to see another cardiologist as soon as my health plan authorizes it. This feels like progress. My primary goal now is to control the blood pressure spikes, which tend to happen most often when I am under physical or emotional stress.

I sense I’ve had “hyper POTS” most of my life, and it has flared up at various times, usually after an emotional shock, like the death of a parent, friend, etc. This last time, 7 weeks ago, it appeared to get worse after the neck injury and subsequent chiropractic adjustment that made it hard for me to walk, type, etc. Now the neuropathy in my extremities has resolved, for the most part, but one neurologist I’m seeing thinks my autonomic nerve is still “bruised” by that trauma.

Yesterday, I did my first session (19 more to go, over the next 10 weeks) with the LENS neurofeedback system. It didn’t cure me overnight, but I do feel remarkably better. My mind has been clearer, brighter, with an increase in short term memory and a more upbeat mood. I’m looking forward to how this progresses. Even if all it does is reduce my symptoms and allow me to go back to a normal, slightly “potsy” life, that would be wonderful.

How does this all relate to the helminthic therapy? In my opinion, the HT was making it all a lot better. Between weeks 7 and 9 I felt great. Better than I had in years — calm, relaxed, focused… healthy. What appears to have upset the apple cart was the biomechanical failure of my neck. Oops!

Some research indicates POTS may be triggered by these types of events, but have an autoimmune component too, much like MS, chronic fatigue syndrome, etc. I’m holding out hope once my hookworms and whipworms are ready to give me longer term benefits, the POTS will improve due to the “worm magic”. Meanwhile, my gut is doing really well. Despite being on Levaquin for a puncture wound in my finger (1 week ago, and 3 days left of the antibiotics), so I would say this bodes very well for the future.

Gooooooo, worms..!

Cervical Spinal Stenosis?

We shall see, but (ulcerative colitis and some food allergies aside) I think the true cause of years of my health problems is about to be revealed. I go to my doc  in a few days and will get an MRI done to assess what’s going on with my neck. At this point it appears the most intense “allergic reactions” I thought I was having to the HT were actually nerve pain and respiratory symptoms emanating from my cervical (upper) spine. Wearing a foam neck support for a few days has helped a lot, especially as a diagnostic tool. I was intrigued to read there even seems to be a connection between TMJ and cervical spine injury.

My chiropractor suggested I do some imaging studies, and thought a narrowing of the channel for the spinal cord in the my neck, or “cervical spinal stenosis”, might be the culprit: nerve pain in extremities, and muscle weakness, plus low blood sugar episodes, tinnitus, anxiety, and poor muscle coordination at times. Even my “exercise intolerance” may be related, since the movement of walking, and especially running, aggravates this fragile part of the body. In my case, a few minutes of brisk walking was enough to trigger a very stuffy nose, and an asthma-like attack, which would make my heart race. A cold sweat often followed.

Vitamin C worked as a powerful medicine for this “worm flu” I thought I was having, due to its anti-inflammatory qualities. I can confirm it still works, and for the nerve issues, because when the pain and other symptoms are at their worst, the same moderately high doses of vitamin C (five to ten 1,000 MG tablets) clear it up quickly.

From what I can gather now, the only side effects of mine that appear related to the helminthic therapy is some diarrhea (with attendant dehydration), and fatigue. Neither appears totally resolved yet, at this, day 69, but it’s much improved from a month ago.

If I’m lucky, maybe the HT will help reduce inflammation in my neck on an ongoing basis. During my bounce, in week one post-hookworm and whipworm inoculation, I felt incredibly good, and was quite active. So let’s go, worms. Onward and upward!