A marker of insanity

Look closely at this picture:

sheep, chair, hoof, trimming, animal, vet, husbandry, parasite, treatment

Did you know that you can purchase a heavy duty chair for a sheep?  Crazy stuff!  I cracked up when I saw it in the midst of researching online sources for parasite treatments.  This chair is for trimming the hooves of sheep.  I THINK I NEED ONE TOO!!!

“A sheep or a heavy duty chair?” you ask.  Who knows, maybe both!  Because that is just how insane things have gotten over here, trying to diagnose and treat a serious illness without a clear path to follow.  The latest example is trying to treat for parasites.  They harbor metals and toxins so it makes sense that my treatment would be so complicated, especially when markers for metals and toxins have been high for me at some point.  But try and define which parasite you have after numerous tests are inconclusive, you end up going down a dark hole of guessing or worse yet relying on alternative energy testing — neither one of which are appealing to me.

But I have seen parasites over here.  The worms you can see; the microscopic protozoa you cannot.  Over the past few months I have been treating them with a variety of herbals or limited doses of medications.  Some symptoms got better and my worst symptoms got worse for a day or two.  So what is it:  protozoans or worms?  Both?  Where would I have picked them up anyways?  Why have I gotten temporary relief with some symptoms and violent convulsive episodes and headaches with others?  The answers don’t come easily yet it appears that it is because I am on the right track after all.  Inflammation and brain swelling follows die off of parasites if they are in your brain, your central nervous system.  Many helminths can cause seizures.  Fortunately/unfortunately, brain scans have not found any cysts.  The only remaining diagnostic tools are more obscure labs or a lumbar puncture to test my cerebral spinal fluid.  I had spinal injections many years ago.  I don’t want a lumbar puncture!

So here’s how insane things have gotten lately:

  • If my Doctor’s office cannot find the right labs to process additional parasite testing then I am responsible to search for them nationwide and provide the office with all of the information, facilitate the referrals, and obtain the test procedures.  By the way, experience tells me that very likely I will have to follow up on getting the results to the Doctor’s office, confirming receipt as well figuring out how to fit reviewing them into my appointments already limited by cancellations 25% of the time by their office.  New appointments are 5 months from now . . .
  • The trial-n-error of a variety of herbal, over-the-counter, and drug options for treating parasites has left me having to manage virtually every aspect of this potential cause of illness.  Research continues to dominate my waking hours, trying to find the best review articles and treatment strategies for those that may apply to my care.  Thankfully my Doctor, after much resistance and lectures on his liability  concerns, will review this literature and make recommendations in light of it.  The newest step in me having to find appropriate laboratories seems too much to bear.  I guess I have no choice but to proceed and hope I find the right information online somewhere, Lord willing.  More time and dozens of more seizure attacks will follow daily in the interim.  At least Ibuprofen is helping now with the headaches!
  • The billing of two of three past treatment situations are my “special project” each week.  Looks like I just got the first one resolved from an ambulance trip in January so hey, let’s add two more, eh?  Getting pre-auth for a special injection and getting reimbursement for a specialized test in July remain.  No problem.  This is why we go through so many reams of paper around here dontcha know?  Printing out the documentation for tracking everything, following up, yada, yada, yada fills my days.  Just doin’ my job, ma’am!
  • My latest dilemma is the most crazy:  if I am convinced that parasite treatments are needed but I am unable to obtain the strongest ones via a traditional medical route then others in my situation have ordered medications from veterinary or international sources.  Ordering meds online scares the heck out of me!  Members of certain Facebook groups claim both are very safe options and have worked well for them when their Doctors poo-pooed their requests for treatment.  I just dunno about this . . .Systemic parasitic infections are often a clinical diagnosis just like chronic Lyme.  The latter seems to be more acceptable in illness-focused groups than the former.  But the evidence is growing (pun intended!) that one of the strategies opportunistic infections use to stay alive inside of you is to hide in larger parasitic organisms.  The body may even harbor parasites to keep these smaller organisms from killing us.  And the research confirms that parasites harbor toxic metals in possibly yet another symbiotic, protective mechanism. At some point you have to address both the chicken-and-the-egg in these toxic relationships.  Kill the parasites and out comes other toxins both organic and inorganic.  Talk about a “herx!”  At least now I have an Ultra Binder to minimize the herxheimer reaction.
  • Very simply, the only rescue remedy I have remaining to stop the worst of the convulsive episodes is a high dose of steroids.  Nothing else helps for more than a few minutes.  The problem with this is that my Doctor won’t prescribe but a few doses because of osteoporosis (that likely came from antibiotic treatment for chronic Lyme last year).  I understand his thinking.  However, he doubted me when I told him that I only used it sparingly even though I showed him the bottle with remaining doses still in the bottle!  He decided that it would be appropriate to use steroids when the convulsive episodes exceed 7 hours.  SEVEN HOURS!  That was what I did a week ago Saturday.  It was hell!  If I did not have those remaining few pills left, I would have landed in the Emergency Room again.  Holy cow.  Holy sheep?  What an insane treatment plan.
  • So I continue to stay up very late at night most nights because sometimes it lessens the convulsive episodes.  Often there are breakthrough spikes while I sit here with you and while my beloved sleeps soundly just beyond the door without me . . .

What an insane treatment plan indeed.  So gather ’round anyone lost in the sea of forgotten medical mania and serve up a tincture of sheep elixir for a sorry night of seizing under the moon.   Or maybe not.  I have no idea at this point.  But I gotta tell ya that wrapping up in a nice wool blanket on a bark-a-lounger sounds pretty good right now.  Move over Sheepy.  This gal’s gonna need to rest more than you do right now . . .

JJsheep, flower, bug-eyed, big eyes, lamb

 

 

This but not that

woman with medication, supplements, too many, overdose, Lyme, chronic illness, naturopath, functional, medicine, supplements

Take the B Complex but not with Methyl B12 (met/met not val/val or met/val right?)

Twice per day not at breakfast and per your COMT SNP and not to excrete it by noon.

Add back the P5P because it’s not in my B Multiple as I once thought;

That was last year’s protocol and btw, change brands for the latter while you are at it too.

Again use folic acid already but not the one everyone else does

Lest you reject, binds or cancels out stuff with the rest, if you tolerate it of course.

What about that folate receptor antibody study from that lab

That your other Doctor told me about but did not do last year?  Duh, what?

And take the Sambuca all the time not just when battling a cold

Because it’s the only zinc I can tolerate but not with my newly found NAC dose.

Be sure to take the Claritin with manganese to fool the Lyme

Which I guess I have but only clinically and because my labs say this mineral is low.

Then there’s the magnesium I finally found that I could take or soak in through the skin

But take that one twice per day as well so it doesn’t go out with the B’s.

So if this makes any sense to you then you understand my plan better than me,

Because things are getting insane over here while still treating OP plus the P in the brain.

Oh yeah, the multi-factorial binder I took 2 hours after the new anti-parasitic

Must follow everything by 2 hours lest it cancel it out like a whiny kid who drops her stolen candy while running away.

Surely there’s more to know in this and not that:  just my brain dump for tonight

Can’t wait for my appointment next week when more test results will tweak this madness even further!

Stay tuned . . .

JJ

 

 

 

 

Smaller Moments Mean More

When the mist on the pond lifts up to the air

The morning hath come and I give witness to life once again.

For I am up through the night, my old haunts hath returned

A way of coping, of living:  just what I gotta do for right now.

So I edit a magazine, make charts of treatments, plan for when I will be well,

Most folks would not notice the shifts ever so small

The wretched episodes continue albeit with shaking, less overall.

I had to gain courage to take more meds/more remedies than ever before

Go rogue to kill the monsters within with faith and every tool from this road.

“Parasites in the brain” sounds pretty scary might you agree?

Yet that is exactly where I have arrived so be that as it may

Find me spacey perchance to dream when restorative sleep comes that way.

The smaller treats of life mean more to me now in my softened state

I get to see them in slow motion and savior their texture, their smell even when awful like glue.

What is before me fills every moment in much more detail

Healing comes small before big so intentionally I walk through most of the day.

Don’t get me wrong, the chores fill more hours than they used to years ago

That ‘s just one part of the plan so is rest and in times of rest I believe answers we have found.

Wyoming, clouds, blog, metaphor, analogy, Chistian, faith, majesty, creation, God, sky, big

One does feel ever so small next to God’s majesty revealed in the big sky over Wyoming . . .

Treatment Update: The Beasts Within

If you follow as many of the various functional medicine forums as I do, you probably have noticed the topic of parasites coming up more often these days.  In fact, there is a free “Parasite Summit” coming up in September.  This topic became a personal one for me within the past month.  Allow me to explain.

A friend and her sister were receiving some complex treatments for serious health issues that they have been battling most of their lives.  Shortly after their focus turned to testing and treatment remedies from outside the United States, my friend suggested I look into parasites as the potential cause of the seizure attacks I have been battling for over 5 years.  I looked into it.  Their provider would not be for me yet the topic launched me into some new research about the time my hubby and I were set to leave on an extended vacation.  Imagine realizing during your first day away from home that you have a new infection that requires attention IMMEDIATELY!  Yeah, well when your bum itches making you crazy insane, ya gotta fix it FAST!

So right before heading out to my River Bear’s kayaking nationals 2 States away, wifey-poo requests hubby-poo stop at a local drug store for an over-the-counter medication.  Thank the Lord he said yes!  My symptoms diminished within hours!  The problem was not a yeast infection but a nasty pinworm/parasite infestation!  How did I get it?  Who knows?!  Pinworms are highly contagious and you can pick them up almost anywhere.  The big shocker was that the seizure attacks virtually disappeared for the next 24 hours after treatment!  I wasn’t expecting that!  No episodes falling asleep or waking up; barely a little tic-zip broke through here or there.  What was going on?

Three weeks have now passed and I have repeated the OTC remedy a couple of times.  I found that clove essential oil with coconut oil provides some topical relief with the added benefit of killing the parasite eggs.  Who knew?  And now my Functional Medicine Doc is testing me a couple of different ways with a couple of different lab tests to see if we can capture all the critters that may be wreaking havoc “down there,” in my body, and brain.  Yes:  in my brain.  Parasites can move to any tissue in the body once they hit the bloodstream or lymphatic system.  My MRI and CT scans have been negative for typical markers that would suggest Central Nervous System involvement, however, allergies to contrast dyes have prevented use of same in diagnosis.  In the end it really doesn’t matter to me if tests show anything or not.  The idea of parasites just makes sense to me.

Simply stated, parasites develop a symbiotic relationship with their human “host.”  They can actually help the body by balancing blood sugars or harboring heavy metals/toxic chemicals (that would be toxic if left to circulate freely).  Parasites are not a good thingy though.  They can also harbor infectious elements (some have suggested Lyme disease bacteria) setting up resistance to treatment, to eradicating the infections.  And I thought it was the cysts and biofilms that were the biggest issues in treatment resistance!  As they continue to live in our bodies, they drain nutrition and mineral resources in addition to creating a host of negative symptoms that mimic a wide range of diseases.  Gut dysbiosis is a big example to which I can relate:  my Doc wonders if parasites are causing my belly pain which has not changed much after two different treatment protocols for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth.  He says that worms/flukes/bugs can favor the right lower quadrant and where the trouble lies for me.

But the Palo Alto Toxoplasmosis Serology Lab testing was negative.  Pinworms don’t typically cause neurological problems.  Stool testing hasn’t found anything in the past even when I put a WORM in the sample cup!  Oy vey!  Maybe these two new tests will yield something useful?  In the meantime, I am taking lots of anti-parasitic herbal formulas with a concoction of binders with gratitude that neither trigger seizure episodes as they have in the past.  Lord willing, I am going to get well!  Indeed there are parts of days where I feel some positive changes for the better as a result of these additions to my care.

If you have followed this blog for awhile then you know I am always looking for answers, for hope.  I do hope to get well and am working every day towards that goal.  Overriding everything however is this guiding principle:  that my true hope is in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who will one day make me whole, here with you or when we meet in heaven.  Nothing will change that.  He is gracious and good to me even on my worst of days.  I am so humbled to feel His presence on my bed of sickness as well as the moments where I can have a little fun here and there.  Speaking of fun, did I tell you about white water rafting 2 weeks ago?  Yeah, you heard me!

Stay tuned Gentle Reader.  Pictures and more stories to follow that will blow your socks off . . . or at least get them a little cold and wet!  The Snake River is about 60 degrees even in August dontcha know!  More on that one next time.  Gotta take some stuff and get to bed.

Take care, JJ

white water rafting, Snake River, white water, rapids, Class II, Class III, raft,trip, Mad River, living, in the moment, one day at a time, break, chronic illness, fun

Snake River, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

 

Treatment Update

Time for a treatment update and some good news!  Yes, things aren’t as bad.  🙂

My major focus with my health since I started this blog has always been to stop the residual, daily convulsive episodes that have plagued me for over 5 years.  More recently my treatment plan has centered around treating a gut infection that appears to be related.  Some call it Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) and specifically for me it might be due to a clostridia species infection.  Regardless, the gut-brain connection is real and affects neurotransmitters in the brain.  A myriad of neurological issues can result when these chemicals are deficient or out of balance.  Specific medications and nutritional supports directed by a functional medicine doctor in the past nor my genetic coach/naturopathic physician more recently seemed promising but did not help.  Over the past 5 1/2 years, my medical doctor and I have also addressed or ruled out a plethora of other avenues (biotoxin illness, Lyme disease, mercury and lead toxicity, nutritional deficiencies, dental factors, epigenetic expression, pain/structural complications, the endocannibinoid system with CBD oil, psychological issues, ruling out brain or cardiac anomalies, sleep issues, etc.).  But what about the dull ache in my tummy?

SIBO, small, intestinal, bacterial, overgrowth, abdominal, pain, tummy, stomach, appendicitis, clostridia, infection, test, OAT

I did an experiment with a hand held far infrared (FIR) device designed to treat pain.  I used to sell the KenkoWave when I was an Independent Wellness Consultant for a Japanese health technologies company called NIKKEN.  Pain in the right lower quadrant of my abdomen has persisted for over a year.  A comprehensive medical workup yielded no clues so I decided to shine the FIR light onto my tummy.  After just 2 minutes, I had a 2-hour, violent, non-stop convulsive episode that would not respond to any remedy we tried!  I hung on for dear life!  I experimented some more the next couple of days with the same result:  an hour of non-stop episodes after only 60 seconds!  Holy cow!  Maybe the cause is in there somewhere?  By this time I had gotten the results for the THIRD SIBO test coupled with an Organic Acids Test (from Genova Diagnostics and Great Plains Laboratories, respectively) with severe and high markers respectively.  Over the next month, a plan of attack came together.

Somehow treating SIBO last year with an antibiotic (that stays in the gut called Xifaxan) was not enough to solve the problem.  The current round began with about a week of a powerful bio-botanical followed by a nasty antibiotic called Flagyl or Metronidazole.  The drug makes me nauseous so I take another pill for that.  I am not fond of drugs but at this point I will do it if it KILLS THE BEAST!!!  Gratefully, the abdominal pain has already come down.  This leads me to the good news:

  • One-point reduction in the 1-10 pain scale.
  • Less reactivity to noxious stimuli and pain that used to trigger seizure attacks.
  • Shorter episodes that are generally less violent.
  • One less episode most days at my most vulnerable times:  falling asleep or waking up.
  • Clearer thinking for some part of more days.
  • Less stress, fear, sadness, and anxiety.
  • Fewer headaches.
  • Less food sensitivities slightly expanding my food choices.
  • Increased ability to tolerate more supplements prescribed by my doctors per my test results.
  • Ability to work in the garden about once per week.
  • Ability to get to bed before midnight up to 3 nights per week.  (I often stay up late to avoid seizure attacks falling asleep.  Sometimes this has helped in the past.)
  • Movement in a better direction on several laboratory test and scan results.

The changes also appear to have been impacted positively by taking Low Dose Naltrexone.  Persons with autoimmunity diseases and fibromyalgia often use it to reduce a variety of symptoms.  I did not do well on a different dose in the past but I believe the Lord led me to do some research and prompt me to try it again at a lower dose.  This started the list of improvements noted above with the reduction in chronic muscle and joint pain.  Praise the Lord!  Treating the gut infection followed and here we are.

I am encouraged and hope you are as well, Gentle Reader.  Lord willing, I am going to get well!

If you are someone reading this who is struggling with severe illness, please let me know so I may pray for you.  And please don’t give up!  If I can make it through hours per day of head-banging, you can make it through what you are dealing with too.  You are not alone.  Keep trusting in the Lord to see you through each moment, to guide you and comfort you as only He can do so.  He promises to never leave us or forsake us and will always be near if we but call upon our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  He sees us on our bed of sickness.  He hears us.  And one day He will come again in glory for us, taking us to a place where there will be no more suffering or weeping.  He promised!

Thank you for following my journey dear one.  Take care, JJ