Navigating the Mine Field of Recovery

Those of you in treatment for a serious illness know what this title is all about:  trying to figure out what will bring recovery or remission without making you feel worse!  Oh yeah.  Patients battling chronic illness talk about “herxheimer reactions.”  That is where either die-off or some kind of healing crisis brings on worsening of symptoms and even new, noxious symptoms.  Not fun.  So what is a person to do?  Unless otherwise advised by your trusted healthcare practitioner, here are some things that have been helpful for me:

  • Slow down your treatment protocol or take a break in treatment.
  • Try only one new thing at a time and at a lower dose if possible.
  • Take binders such as benonite clay, activated charcoal, chitosan, and binders of heavy metals (e.g. Intestinal Metals Detox).
  • Drink extra fluids especially pure water.
  • Add some hot lemon water first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
  • Eat bitter foods which help support liver and kidney drainage channels (such as select herbs, radishes, dandelion root tea).
  • Do what you can to keep your bowels moving at lease once every day, minimally!
  • Step up your preferred method of detox such as salt water baths, infrared sauna, colon hydrotherapy, and exercise as tolerated.  Even massage, physical therapy, and chiropractic care can help release waste products trapped in your tissues.
  • Add nutritional supports for detox as you can such as glutathione (or precursor of lactose-free whey powder), vitamin C-rich foods, and minerals (such as magnesium, Dead Sea salt baths, Celtic sea salt, Quinton Quintessentials, and the like).
  • Make rest a priority!  Healing takes a lot of energy!
  • Pray.  The Lord cares, hears, and will lead you unto Himself if we but call upon His name:  Jesus Christ.  There is no greater comfort than this Gentle Reader.

So this is where I am at these days.  Last month I had to take a nasty antibiotic for the same infection and it hurt me badly so I ended it at the short end of the recommended treatment range.  Then I stepped up nutritional supports before adding a new treatment.  I tried to add a new biofilm-buster when treating a gut infection and reacted poorly, so I will take a break from it for now.  This month I was able to tolerate hot lemon water with manuka honey which is a combo I have not tolerated in years!  Changing brands of glutathione helped me to start taking this critical element in the 3 phases of detox, yeah God!  Also, using a combination of binders has helped slow down some overnight convulsive episodes.  I hypothesized that killing infections  released  toxins inside of the bacteria and fungi targeted, contributing to an increase in episodes.  So these days I am really glad for the leading of the Holy Spirit, and a myriad of webinars from really smart researchers who suggested binders.  “Yeah God” for the relief that has followed.

Psalm, 7, 37, rest in the Lord, wait, patiently, Him, Lord, peace, Christian, healing

I guess then it is time for a nap.  No matter that it is a beautiful day outside.  Naps are a beautiful thingy too ya know.  Lord willing, I am going to get well!

Take care, JJ

 

Do No Harm They Say

25 I know that my redeemer lives,
    and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
26 And after my skin has been destroyed,
    yet in my flesh I will see God;
27 I myself will see him
    with my own eyes—I, and not another.
    How my heart yearns within me! (Job 19)

I was transported from my home via ambulance to the emergency room in the closest hospital on the evening of Tuesday, January 3rd.  My husband, Steven Horney, had called 911 when frightful and unusual writhing movements would not stop.  The emergency personnel lifted me off the floor where I had been in distress for about 30 minutes:  straining to breathe with my body twisting and contorting in positions of postural extension (choreathetoid-like movements that look like a child disabled with severe cerebral palsy), struggling to communicate, unable to keep my eyes open, bumping into kitchen cabinets and floor, pained by the overhead lights and banter of the personnel, and chilled to the bone.  They rolled me out into the wintry air without a coat, shoes, or blanket and with the rain sprinkling down on my exposed skin.  “We will turn the heat on once we get into the ambulance,” the man said.  I hung on for the ride not knowing what lain ahead of me.

I tried to communicate to the paramedics in broken phrases that the episode that they were witnessing began hours earlier after a scheduled dose of Gabapentin (Neurontin). That drug was prescribed for me September 18th at the main hospital when I was admitted for management of the complications of shingles.  Gabapentin was helping reduce the searing nerve pain in my face.   But for some reason starting on Monday, I started to have little tic-like shaking episodes within an hour of taking it.  And for some reason on Tuesday, within 2 hours of taking it, things escalated out of control from episodic tic attacks to non-stop writhing on the floor of our home. I had never had symptoms before like what was happening on that Tuesday evening.  Having an extensive medical education myself, I suspected an adverse reaction to Gabapentin.  Regardless, I was terrified.

This wasn’t my first trip to the Emergency Room in recent years. Another type of shaking episode [diagnosed by Lyme Literate Medical Doctor (LLMD) as symptom of chronic Lyme disease] has required treatment on an urgent basis with intravenous fluids.  Other medications were sometimes administered in the ER for pain or symptomatic relief only to exacerbate the shaking episodes.  In all of these situations, nothing has helped as much as a minimum of 1,000 ml or more of fluids.  So I was pleased when Dr. P evaluated me in the ER at the local hospital on the night of January 3rd and ordered 2,000 ml of IV fluids.  No labs were drawn. I was not pleased with how he or his staff treated me, however.

How can I possibly describe to you how terrifying it feels to be coherent and aware of one’s surroundings yet unable to communicate fluently or control one’s bodily functions above bowel and bladder? You fear you will stop breathing, have a heart attack, not survive.  Then again for me, I knew that I had survived severe episodes of frightful symptoms in the past and feebly hoped my body could take yet one more massive assault to my weakened frame.  However, when pressured to answer questions over and over again by (condescending) medical personnel doing their periodic “evaluations,” all of this did not come out of me with pretty language.  I am sorry for my swearing and inability to communicate clearly.

Perhaps my clinical presentation didn’t make sense compared to say a classic case of epilepsy or maybe the disorientation that goes with a textbook definition of dehydration? I wonder what things looked like to the emergency personnel who came to our home?  Or the emergency room staff?  The long list of medications, allergies, and diagnoses in my medical records surely confounded things a bit for the Doctor.  At least one of the nurses present that night had seen me in that ER before.  Would he be able to separate out the prior visits with this one?  After all, Gabapentin is used to treat both shingles and seizures, isn’t it?  What if this indeed was an adverse drug reaction to Gabapentin? Were procedures followed to rule out an adverse drug reaction?

All I know is that I was horrified and further frustrated by the scornful treatment of Dr. P and the nursing staff in the Emergency Room of our local hospital on the night of January 3, 2017. Dr. P claimed that I should be able to stop the involuntary movements because I had been able to speak at all.  He claimed that the involuntary movements had stopped when I was able to push out a response to his question albeit with pressured speech.  That simply was not true.  (The involuntary movements never stopped until much later.)  Dr. P argued this point and others with me!  My distress increased.  He finally left the room only to return to pressure me some more.  Eventually the treatment was administered and completed.  Eventually he left the room and did not return.

The involuntary writhing movements did not slow down until nearly ¾ the way through receipt of 1 liter of normal saline via IV. The acute contortions slowed first and were followed by tic attacks:  the various involuntary movements became intermittent, flared again, repeated this pattern a few times then finally stopped for a while.  I finally was able to lie on the gurney motionless.  My dear husband Steve sat nearby.  I was exhausted and I think he was too.  I felt dejected by the staff.  I was afraid to move for fear of retriggering some kind of return of symptoms as this had happened in the past after a neurological event if I tried to move or speak or if the treatment ended too soon.  At some point a nurse started a second liter of fluids.  I nodded and might have muttered a few words.  I needed to use the bathroom and was assisted in the use of a bedside commode.

At this point I was weak but beginning to feel some hope. Sometimes voiding helps these kinds of symptoms.  I returned to the gurney.  To my surprise, the primary nurse then notified me that the fluids would stop and I would be discharged.  Approximately 1,500 ml (of the 2,000 ordered) had been infused and they said that 1) since the shaking had stopped and 2) I had voided a large amount, 3) that constituted proof that I was rehydrated.  I still could not speak but may have nodded again.  What became clear to me a day later was that the hydration ended WAY TOO SOON. I still could not function when the fluids were stopped.  And further, I definitely was not yet stable enough to tolerate what followed next.

Several members of the nursing staff came into the room and tried to help me get dressed while the IV was still connected to the pump and tubing was still connected to my arm. I muttered something about this and the gal next to me stopped tugging at my clothing.  The primary nurse (who had brought the commode and each bag of fluids) began RIPPING OFF THE DRESSING from the IV in my arm in one swift motion before I could ask her to go slowly or place my finger over the insertion point to maybe help prevent what would happen next.  Even my husband noted how fast she was ripping off the IV!  The needle/tubing inserted into my forearm became dislodged with the Tegaderm dressing displayed to one side, still stuck to it!  Immediately and violently a searing knife-like pain ratcheted from the back of my right hand to directly to my brain.  Welcome to the increased sensitivity of underlying neurological illness!  Involuntarily, screams of holy terror erupted from my mouth.  Soon Dr. P was standing over me at the foot of the gurney, scolding me some more.  Why?  Just why was he speaking to me this way?  My brain felt like it was on fire.  These sensations and symptoms had become markedly different than those that had brought me to the hospital 3 hours earlier yet were equally severe.  A new type of episode had started. And all the gains I had realized just moments before were erased by that searing pain in my hand.  I was still aware of my surroundings yet powerless to help myself.  The grief in my spirit was great.  I thought I was getting better!

Steve tried to explain the nature of this complex illness to Dr. P outside of the room. I understand that Dr. P spoke graciously to Steve.  That’s nice.  I am glad.  I did not get to experience grace in any form from Dr. P.

The seizing was now a rapid, violent, involuntary tremor. Three nurses insisted that it was time for me to go and started to take off the gown and put on my shirt.  I blurted out that I would do it myself.  I really don’t know what I was thinking when I said that. I do recall being afraid that the sensation of them touching me might add to the hypersensitivity and neurological distress.  Someone brought in a wheelchair.  Another problem surfaced:  my initiation of movement from trying to put on my shirt increased the amplitude of the seizing, violence of the shaking, difficulty pushing out words coherently.  My back arched against my will as screeches of terror erupted from inside me:  half dressed with my bra exposed, crying fiercely, and horrified at the indignity of it all.  (Much later I would wonder if they would have treated me like this if, say, we were working together in home health care earlier that day? I was an occupational therapist for the Network of the main hospital long before I got sick with this wretched illness that no one still completely understands.  Never mind.  No one in that emergency room except Steve appeared to care about me anyways.)

About a half an hour later, I discovered that someone had graciously turned off the lights in the room we were in. Thank you, whoever you are.  And thank you to whomever gave me more time to recover.  We eventually went home.  I felt horrible. Dried tears stained my face.  I was very hungry.  I still had no coat or shoes to wear but hey, my beloved’s car has heated seats and I knew they would warm at least a part of me quickly.  Out into the cold, damp air of night we went.  I was also “shell-shocked.”  I felt traumatized.  Things could have gone so much differently don’t you think?

*********

UPDATE:  It is now about 3 weeks later.  Last weekend an adverse reaction to another medication sent me to a walk-in clinic who sent me to the emergency room of another hospital in another Health Network.  My husband was out of town and dear friends took gracious care of me.  The hospital staff cared well for me.  It now seems like I am finally starting to stabilize, but hey, who really knows what the future holds?  My hope rests in the person of Jesus Christ and His promise to His servant Job who endured far more strife than I can ever imagine.  I end with His words, His promise once again.  Praise be your name and in your name I will trust:  Jesus Christ!

25 I know that my redeemer lives,
    and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
26 And after my skin has been destroyed,
    yet in my flesh I will see God;
27 I myself will see him
    with my own eyes—I, and not another.
    How my heart yearns within me!  (Job 19)

 

Vampire Diaries 1

The slew runneth through my veins

Three times per week, no less

Mixed with this concoction, drug, or natural element

Sigh . . . I hardly get a break ya know.

Mr. Herx visits more often now

Not a friend nor enemy per se

He just stays and goes to torment at will

Hi torn and tattered calling card left with me.

The blood letting continues in test tubes of hope

For finding the answer, the cause:

Is it toxo, tuli, or tricho in cahoots with Lyme

Or a known co-conspirator that eludes capture?

Maybe in another lifetime or appointment next month

Will I find more to Google in this Hide-n-Go-Seek

Followed by a witches brew so dastardly I seize

Within seconds of pounding it down in faith perhaps displaced.

Aye, is not therein the rub or the salve to quiet my soul?

My Lord sees it all and stands nearby knowing the time,

The place, the reason, the meaning, the end

And will show me what I need to know and when

It says so in His Word:  better written than a vampire diary ever could.

So reject that a proclaimed healer bearing a wooden cross

Will know more than the Spirit of assurance in which I rest

Who will answer these questions, not you nor I.

My vessel may not go on or somehow come into its needed repair

But my being shall live on as it should in Christ

With a testimony, Lord willing, to bring glory to Him Who made it so.

Yes, therein I shall rest.  He holds my tears filling the river of life

And turns beauty from ashes in the dawn of the coming day

For “hope beyond’ as this blog will continue to attest.  Come along with me Gentle Reader.

The day of His return and our restoration is coming soon.  There is hope!  JJ

 

Psalm 41.3

Spacey but upright

There’s no pretending when the story gets bizarre.  I mean who could make this stuff up?

As the grace of the Lord has blessed, I am not bedridden thus far in the ramp up of treatment for a serious protozoal infection.  Just headaches, increased convulsive episodes at night or morning, achiness, and fits-n-starts of my ability to function.  While this is certainly awful, I was sick like this every day for the middle years of these 4.5 years of illness so I am kind of familiar with it.  This time we can call it a “herxheimer” (die-off) reaction and temporary!  I am thinking that I have benefitted from a pretty comprehensive protocol that has finally come together:

  • Ongoing IV Rocephin and fluids via home infusions 3x per week for the treatment of chronic Lyme disease, per my Lyme Literate Medical Doctor (LLMD).
  • Weekly injections of a compounded B-vitamin and prescribed nutritional suspension.
  • Weekly injections of a bio-homeopathic treatment for a newly diagnosed autoimmune disease (to start in 2 days).
  • Additional IV fluids now pending to combat dehydration and the effects of the anti-fungal protocol.
  • Supplements to improve calcium trafficking as prescribed by my naturopath and genetic coach.
  • Pharmaceutical grade supplements including an iodine protocol.
  • A switch from filtered water to non-fluoridated, purified bottled water.
  • Anti-fungal and biofilm busting treatment of protomyxzoa rheumatica (formerly known as FL 1953).
  • Continued mold/sugar/sweetener/dairy/gluten-free, low oxalate and glutamate diet.
  • Mineral baths and celtic sea salt supplementation.
  • Detoxification via far-infrared sauna, nutritional binding compounds, and periodic colon hydrotherapy.
  • A fabulous support system.
  • Rest.  Gardening when possible.  Rest.

Unfortunately the bills are piling up as Steve and I go along.  At some point we will need to decide how comprehensive of a plan is really needed long term due to the significant expense when insurance covers virtually nothing.  For now all I can say is that I continue to move in a direction of recovery and we will figure out the rest as the Lord leads.  Our prayers, your prayers are being answered.  Thank you for praying.  Praise the Lord!

 

Thank you Jesus for the hope we have in you and that I can see in my life.  And please bless my faithful husband, Steve!  Lord willing, I am going to get well!  :JJ

Psalm 20:7 (NIV)

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
    but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

Anticipation

One could say that the days before a cross-country trip are usually filled with a multitude of tasks and anticipation of the good times to come.  I’ll give a “yes” to both accounts and now we are back from coastal Alabama with pictures to share.

20160523_181947
Paddling the Stellar S16S felt good in Perdido Bay off Alabama/Florida waters
20160526_104127
Steve and I congratulated Elizabeth and her husband Daniel as she earned her wings to become an Army Blackhawk helicopter pilot

 

 

20160522_131937
Our happy travelling companion Elle
helicopter, flight, pilot, family day, Army, ride, flight, school
Elizabeth piloted a helicopter ride for each of us after graduation. Awesome!

I did a lot better travelling this past week than our last trip in November of 2015, that is for sure.  I was able to attend all but one planned activity by pacing myself, meticulous planning, and some improvement in my overall health.  The convulsive episodes that still accompany the serious illness I am battling kept themselves largely to the overnight hours and travelling in my truck.  And they were much less!  Yeah God!  It’s amazing how much life can fit in between the setbacks these days . . .

Now that 11 loads of laundry are done, the travel trailer and vehicles are cleaned, and even some garden chores completed I am ready.  A nasty new treatment begins later this week.  Resuming the infusions of IV antibiotics, a few scheduled appointments, grocery shopping, and making sure our support systems are in place come first before the darkness falls.  It really could be that bad.  Or maybe not?

They say that breaking up stealth biofilm and killing protomyxzoa rheumatica (formerly known as FL1953) can render a person useless.  Or bedridden.  Or really, really sick.  Then after around 4 weeks, there can be miraculous improvement.  My trial run 2 weeks ago of 1 capsule of the anti-fungal brought dizziness, light-headedness, and cognitive slowing.  My Lyme Literate Medical Doctor was thrilled when I told him.  (He is kind of kooky that way!)  “It’s affecting your brain!  That is good!” he exclaimed in a way that only a master diagnostician can.  Oh boy.  “I wonder what the full dosing will be like?” was all I could think about.  And how will I eat?  Get to the bathroom?  Keep up with all of the treatments while home alone when Steve is at work?  So many questions remain unanswered at this point.

This is what I know for sure.  In a way, the break in treatment for a week of vacation came too soon.  I was not ready to go without the IV antibiotics and daily routine that has facilitated this turnaround without some extra struggle.  There was a lot of stress amidst the good times.  In another way, the break fed my soul!  I got to see what living was like for everyone else while being with everyone else.  I got to kayak with my beloved River Bear . . . . TWICE!  I did more than one thing each day and did alright trying to do so.  When we got back home I got to work in our garden two days in a row.  Wow, Lord.  Then I read an adventure novel in 2 days!  How lovely it was to immerse myself in a bit of life again.

So for the unknown treatment coming in a few days I will say this:  bring it.  I have faced worse than lumbrokinase and prescription Lamisil.  I will go slow if I can and employ every herxheimer (aka die off) remedy I have in my arsenal if needed.  The Lord has brought me through near-death experiences, daily hell on earth, despair beyond belief.  I have been given a taste of life again to encourage me and those around me as well.  It is time to dig a little deeper, literally.  We have found The Beast in the recesses of my brain tissue.  This is war.  Lord willing, I am going to get well.

If we don’t chat for awhile, please pray for me and Steve, k?  Thanks a bunch Gentle Reader.  I am grateful for you.  With love, JJ

Julie BH Crop