Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Coiling update, May 2012

I've been coiling for Lyme for five months, so I figure it's time for an update.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my initial experiments in coiling for Lyme resulted in brutal headaches and other symptoms followed by a few days in which I felt much better - and had more energy - than I had in a very long time.

After four sessions in January using 306 Hz, I decided to switch to 432 Hz. I made this decision because a friend stressed that, while 306 is more effective at killing Lyme spirochetes than 432, it's also harder on the body. "Doug Maclean said he was vomiting up blood," she told me.

[Update: I've since learned that it was 655 Hz, not 306, which made Doug vomit up blood. I've heard that Doug considers 306 Hz to be less effective at killing Lyme spirochetes than 432 Hz.]

So in early February, I started over at 15 seconds on 432. I didn't get much herxing at 15, 30, and 45 seconds, which is the longest I'd gone at 306. When I reached 60 seconds on 432, the brutal headaches returned, only now they didn't start until about four days after the coiling session.
As in the 306 herxes, I also experienced severe fatigue at the same time as the headaches. Other pain throughout my body, particularly in my back, which I had injured in September 2011, also increased significantly along with the headaches. By April, I was feeling really terrible almost all of the time, with very few decent days.

However, in May the herxing has been much less severe. I've had more days of feeling significantly better. My endurance, though still very poor, is such that I am able to sit up for several hours on some days. Grocery shopping is no longer quite the brutal undertaking that it once was.

I believe there are several reasons for the peak in April and the subsequent improvement. But first...

Bartonella

As I mentioned in my previous post, I began coiling for Bartonella in late October of last year. I have continued to coil for Bartonella at 832 Hz every other day. My goal was to increase the duration of my sessions until I reached a total of 33 minutes, but in January I had had to temporarily hold at 5 minutes at 13 amps per session on my abdomen, plus brief sessions at 9 amps on other parts of my body, because of a problem with my coil machine. The amplifier (which is one of the components in my coil machine) would overheat and go into clipping mode after approximately six minutes of operation.

The problem turned out to be a bad amplifier. Once the amp was replaced, at the end of January, I was able to resume the process of increasing the duration of the 832 Hz sessions. By late February, I reached my goal of five minutes at 832 on my abdomen plus 2 minutes at 832 on each of fourteen other points throughout my body.

I've continued this ever since. At this point, I don't seem to herx at all from these sessions, so I believe it's likely that I have killed most or all of the Bartonella in my body. However, I intend to continue these sessions for a while longer to make sure, because Bartonella's life cycle is so short, and because it is said to regrow extremely rapidly in the absence of Lyme if there is any left at all.

These sessions, during which I hold an increasingly hot coil against my neck, arms, chest, back, feet, legs, hips, and abdomen for a total of over half an hour, were quite tedious until I set up a computer so that I can watch videos during the session. I have a timer that I've set to go off every two minutes to remind me to switch the coil to the next position. I use a folded towel to keep the hot coil from burning my skin.

Going Deeper at the Lyme

By the end of March I was up to 2 minutes on Lyme. By then I found that significant herxing did not begin until 2 to 5 days after a session at 432 Hz, so I increased the intervals between these sessions to as long as 8 to 12 days.

While some people attack the Lyme quite aggressively, coiling at short intervals so that they are herxing continuously, I believe that it's important to give my body a rest, to allow my immune system to recover from the flood of toxins released by the dying spirochetes after each session. So I wait until a couple of days after the herx has passed before I coil for Lyme again.

This is also good for my spirits, because I get to experience a few days of feeling relatively well in between the herxes, when I feel absolutely awful. These good days remind me of how I felt when I was healthy, and how I will hopefully feel most or all of the time in the future, when all the Lyme spirochetes (and cysts and cell wall deficient/L-form bacteria) are dead.

I continued going up at 15 second intervals until April 13, when, after a 5 day interval, I went up from 2 minutes 15 seconds to 2 minutes 45 seconds.

For the rest of April I was significantly worse. I had severe headaches, bad pain, bad fatigue, and intermittent dizziness and cognitive impairment. It was so bad that I did not coil for Lyme again until April 30th.

However, I have not felt nearly as bad since, despite continuing to advance at 15 seconds per session, less than two weeks apart. As of May 12th I did 3 minutes 15 seconds at 432 Hz, and I developed severe fatigue on May 19th and 20th along with bad headaches which became more persistent on the 20th. These symptoms diminished on the 21st, and as of today, the 22nd, are largely gone.

The interval between a 432 Hz session and the onset of significant herxing now seems to be about seven days. I believe this is because I've killed most of the easy-to-reach spirochetes, and I'm now killing those which have burrowed deeper into my body, into tissues which are less accessible by the immune system, such as connective tissues, bone and perhaps even brain tissue.

I theorize that it takes longer for the toxins from the dead spirochetes to emerge from these more remote locations. Another theory is that the EMF doesn't actually kill the spirochetes, but merely stuns them, and that the immune system is what actually kills them. Since the immune system can't readily access the denser bone and connective tissues, it takes longer for this to happen.

Either way, it's a very noticeable change from when I first started coiling for Lyme, when the herxes came on within a few hours and were over within a couple of days. I'm taking it as a sign of progress.

The Spring Bloom

There are several possible reasons that I can think of that I was so much worse in April. One, of course, is that I got more aggressive, going up 30 seconds after an interval of only five days after the previous session. However, there are some additional possible reasons:

1. The Spring Bloom. I'm told that Lyme bacteria go through a life cycle each spring and fall, in which they emerge from cyst form into spirochete form. The times I was told were early February (presumably through April or May) and August or September through as late as November. Since I'm in northern New England, perhaps this "bloom" of spirochetes peaked for me in April. Interestingly, my friend Sue, who lives at almost the same latitude an hour's drive from me, was also much worse in April and improved greatly in early May, just as I did.

2. Vitamin D. After reading about the Marshall Protocol in Bryan Rosner's new book, I stopped taking Vitamin D supplements and started avoiding foods high in vitamin D. If my understanding of Rosner's discussion of Marshall's theory is correct, this would have caused my immune system to become more effective, allowing it to kill more pathogens and temporarily making me feel worse. More on this below.

It appears that April was a "perfect storm" for me, with the Spring Bloom, aggressive Lyme coiling sessions, and a more effective immune system all ganging up to make me feel really terrible. I'm glad it's past, but I'm also glad it happened, because it means a lot more of those nasty little monsters that have been making me so sick for nearly two decades are dead.

Vitamin D and 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin-D

When I read about the Marshall Protocol in Bryan Rosner's new book, The Top Ten Lyme Disease Treatments, a light bulb went on for me. Essentially, Marshall says that too much vitamin D suppresses your immune system - and that the Lyme bacteria takes action to ensure that you have too much of it.

It's not quite that simple, however, and some of Marshall's model is counter-intuitive. I'll try to be succinct.

Vitamin D is actually not a substance which is directly beneficial to our bodies. It is merely a "food" that our bodies metabolize to create the beneficial substance, which is a secosteroid, or hormone, known as 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin-D, or 1,25 D for short.

1,25 D is biologically active and essential. At the proper levels, it helps regulate the immune system (and also helps retain proper calcium levels in the bone, preventing osteoperosis.) If its levels are too low or too high, you will not be healthy. Bottom line: the level of vitamin D in your body doesn't directly affect your health. What matters is the level of 1,25 D.

In healthy people, levels of 1,25 D track right along with levels of vitamin D. If you are low in vitamin D, your 1,25 D level will be low, so you need to supplement. If you've got normal a level of vitamin D, your 1,25 D level will be fine too.

In people with Lyme disease, the Lyme bacteria cause your body to produce too much 1,25 D. Too much 1,25 D suppresses the immune system, allowing pathogens such as Lyme (and many common coinfections) to thrive. This is one of Lyme's principle survival mechanisms.

The conventional wisdom is that vitamin D is good for your immune system. But if you have Lyme, consuming (or generating) vitamin D may actually be bad for your immune system. Counter-intuitive, right?

But wait. There's more. When your immune system is suppressed by excessive 1,25 D, you may actually feel better - because your immune system isn't killing things it should be. You're not getting the inflammation that should be present when those beastly little pathogens are gnawing away at you.

So when you decrease your vitamin D consumption (and/or exposure to sun) and your 1,25 D levels fall closer to the normal range, your immune system starts working again, killing Lyme and other baddies - and you start herxing. You feel worse.

I read Rosner's chapter about this in March, and I immediately stopped taking my vitamin D supplement, and deliberately began to avoid foods containing vitamin D. I believe this contributed to my terrible month of April. My 1,25 D levels fell, my immune system woke up, and more Lyme bacteria started to die, aggravating my herxes.

To see if I could confirm this theory, I got my vitamin D and 12,5 D levels tested. The blood was drawn in late April, several weeks after I'd stopped taking the vitamin D supplement and begun avoiding foods containing vitamin D. My vitamin D level was - as you might expect - below normal, just outside the low end of the normal range.

But my 1,25 D level was at the very high end of the normal range, just two points below the very top end of normal.

When I saw these test results, I was gobsmacked - and delighted. Assuming Marshall's theory is correct (and I understand it properly), these results are exactly what you'd expect, given chronic Lyme disease. Very low D, yet very high 1,25 D.

In all the years I've been sick, I've had many, many tests, and very few have given any sort of useful result. Most medical tests on me have been negative; the only positives I can recall are: Epstein-Barr Virus reactivation (twice, 15 years apart), extremely low cortisol (identical flat curves, twice, 15 years apart), neurally mediated hypotension (after 20 minutes with my body vertical and motionless, my blood pressure went to 0/60 ... yes, zero!), deficient blood perfusion in the left side of my brain (two years ago), and Lyme and Bartonella (two years ago). And now this.

Bingo.

Note: The above discussion is a brief synopsis by an amateur of Bryan Rosner's explanation of the Marshall Protocol. Please read Rosner's chapter on the Marshall Protocol, research this yourself, and consult a doctor knowledgeable about the Marshall Protocol, before reducing your vitamin D intake and/or sun exposure. In the full version of his Marshall Protocol chapter, Rosner points out that the Marshall Protocol does not work for all people who have Lyme, and the reasons for this are not understood. I believe you must be fully informed before you experiment with any aspect of this protocol.

DISCLAIMER

I am not a doctor or a health care practitioner. This blog describes my own personal experiences and opinions. It is presented for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure disease. The statements on this blog have not been evaluated by the FDA.

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