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

 

 

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

 

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 you see me?

I shook for almost 3 hours in that clinic recliner chair after a treatment that was supposed to help me.  Why did the nurse wait to answer the call light when I finally figured out what I needed to do?

treatment, recliner, hospital, bark a lounger, adjustable, IV infusion

I couldn’t speak properly but had to go to the bathroom greatly, knowing it would require transport via wheelchair and considerable physical assistance.  Why do I have to risk the episode worsening as I attempt to blurt it all out and even help operate the dang chair?

My left arm and leg were too weak and unstable as they seized with the rest of me so pivoting on a leg opposite the grab bar was the only way to land on the toilet dontcha know?  Why do I have to keep repeating that initiation of speech or movement makes the convulsions worse then be forced in a situation to have to do both anyways?

Each jolt repeated hundreds of times that night made the headache spike while wrenching my neck, spine, low back but alas I could do nothing to stop it or change its course.  Why did not voiding alleviate the symptoms like it had so many times before?

The infusions of fluids were supposed to help me treat the dysautonomia they said and address the dehydration but instead pushed me deeper into an exacerbation of my worst symptoms.  Why did not both doctors return my calls about my care that week, that day?

My beloved rescued me, drove me home, and helped me start the decontamination procedures to minimize the influence of exposures that could make the episode persist.  I feared falling in the shower after mumbling that I thought I could do it myself after he left.  Why do these heartaches keep happening to us?

I am still so very sick a year post IV antibiotics, genetic coaching, IV and compounded nutritional treatments, testing and treatments beyond that most experts would ever comprehend.  Why am I still at this level of strife FIVE YEARS down the road with no money for a big new direction, a possible cure?

The symptoms concerning me most recently are the ones where my cognition becomes dulled.  Why . . .  How in the world will we figure this out if my mind goes dim now?

I place this need to know “why” at the foot of my Lord’s cross who crafted this journey for me and my beloved for this time in our lives.  Thank you Jesus for Steve’s love.  I surrender my questions, my suffering, the thorns in my flesh, and the weakening of my mind to Your mighty hand with trust o’ God of the universe Who reigns!  Whether the battle is in the heavenlies or in my heart, my flesh, I let it all go to you now and ask for your covering my Jesus Christ.

God’s Word captures the submission of Job to the Lord in His time of suffering:

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. (Job 19)

“I know that you can do all things;
    no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
    Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
    things too wonderful for me to know.

“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
    I will question you,
    and you shall answer me.’
My ears had heard of you
    but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself
    and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42)

Me too.  I trust that You always see me.  I will trust in you.  JJ

The Space Between

Perhaps this was a movie title or that of an old business card

Ah, the lingering spaces between events good, bad, or ugly

Do hold some value despite their lack of measurement on scale.

I spend them wandering through the hallways of our home by day by night

From bed to couch to chair to bed, ahhhhh not much going on here

When sickness marks the hours wanting for an answer, something new.

Antibiotics are on hold from now til whenever as this past year ends

With little change beyond fewer hours of the worst of the hell, I guess

And the unwelcome addition of thirty-four new diagnoses to boot!

I have learned so much of what to do and what not to do as well

My stack of papers tell a long tale witnessed by ERs, a few friends,

A weary husband, and scores of medical peeps paid by someone to care.

My goal to find meaning in these places between crises, visits to hell

Has gone dry like a wellspring once filled with life now bone on bone dry

Stained with spent tears, one worn-out puppy, and a purse now threadbare.

The money went away with five years of living the, uh, alternative life:

Don’t call me “disabled” for there still is a bit o’ fight within me, down deep

To endure this long “medical leave” on my way to a makeover not yet revealed.

So as I breathe in the goo between the more defined places of this life

I take note that here is where energy can move along unencumbered

And one day may bring me to my own railway “Station” or at least my next big stop . . .

Gentle Reader, I hope you will be there waiting for me, won’t you?  JJ