Tag Archives: chronic itching

Day 59. (Someone Else’s) Success Story.

Hello loyal readers. (I know there are at least a few of you!) As promised, I’m going to share a helminthic therapy success story. But first, I want to update you all on MY OWN progress because I’m selfish like that. It’s all about me, me, me!

Let’s look at our handy-dandy timeline, shall we?

Weeks 12-20

Although some hosts have reported experiencing the start of long-lasting improvement at 7 or 8 weeks, the worms only really start to ‘work’, and symptoms begin to ease, at around 12 weeks. Allergies and asthma, in particular, generally (but not always) resolve between the 11th and 13th weeks. By week 20, the worms are usually in their stride.

I was going to update last week on the state of my skin but I decided not to. What I’m about to tell you should really be HUGE but I’m going to make light of it because that’s what I do. I’m a cynic. Last week, my skin was clearer than it had been in about two years. I was only a tiny bit itchy in a few small areas. I was so amazed that I think I was in shock and I hardly mentioned it to anyone because I just didn’t want to get my hopes up. Even Andrew, who barely notices anything unless it’s a scantily clad babe, noticed my skin and commented on it several times. (Andrew is my almost husband for those not in the know.)

I’m really glad I didn’t get my hopes up. That little stint of relief lasted about 5 days. The hives came crashing back on Sunday in full force along with my menstrual flow. I talked about this with my friends in Helminthic Therapy Support and they reassured me that symptoms tend to come and go within the first 12 weeks of therapy. Andrew and I have both decided to take it as a good sign that the worms are doing their job.

And now, I’ll shut up about me and I’ll tell you about Courtney. Courtney is someone I met in the Helminthic Therapy Support Group on Facebook. She posted her story about a month ago and it got me all choked up. Courtney is a young woman who suffers from Crohn’s disease. She told me that her mom was the person who first told her about helminthic therapy and was encouraging her to try it. Like many of us, Courtney was afraid to try this therapy. She says that it took her two years after her mom first mentioned it to finally try it. What you are about to read was written by her and shared with her permission (and I may edit it a bit to better fit this screen). Courtney posted this success story just after her two-year mark of hosting helminths.

I just hit my 2 year anniversary with helminths (hookworm specifically) a couple of days ago. I’ve been treating for Crohn’s Disease, which I’ve had symptoms of for most of my life; I was diagnosed at 19 and started hookworm at 29 years of age.

For me the improvements didn’t start happening until several months in, and once they started they were VERY gradual and I didn’t even recognize improvement until one day I just realized I hadn’t had any abdominal pain for a while. That pain is something I lived with daily for YEARS and after eating ANYthing. And all of a sudden one day, I realized it was gone. I was eating without pain. And very slowly I started noticing other improvements as well.

When I started with HW I was having as many as 20-30 trips to the bathroom per day and through the night. I had a ton of intestinal bleeding. I was almost entirely home bound because I simply couldn’t be far enough from a bathroom long enough to get anywhere, including across town to pick up my son from pre-school.

In spring of 2012, my parents had planned on going on a cruise that they had booked ages before and my mom told me when she got back that she had been afraid to leave because she thought I might not make it. I was surviving solely on Absorb Plus at that time – no solid foods and was very under weight.

In Dec of 2012 is when I got my first shipment of 35 hookworm. It was around 4, maybe 5 months in that I noticed my abdominal pain had disappeared. Slowly my stools were becoming less frequent (10-15 times per day/night). Then they started firming up slightly. Then I was noticing less and less blood. I would have 1 good day out of 7, where I would only be in the bathroom a few times and I’d have energy and feel GOOD. Some kind of turning point happened this past summer and I started feeling human again. I was able to go outside and do fun things with my kids again without being exhausted 5 minutes into an activity and desperately wanting to lie down. I wasn’t constantly running to the bathroom. Now, I have really good days probably 65% of the time.

I haven’t had ANY blood in my stools in months now and my stools are mostly always formed. Most days I’m only having a couple of BMs which are not painful. The urgency is MUCH better. Despite having a bad stomach virus twice in November, I have been able to bounce back pretty well and I’m back to formed stools and no pain. I do still feel like I have some more healing to do but after being VERY sick for so long, I absolutely realize there is a lot of damage to heal, and that takes time. I also have 2 young boys, one who is still nursing; I’m not getting enough sleep because of those things, and I frequently feel stressed, so when those things are factored in, it’s really amazing how far I’ve been able to come!

For a while I was using LDN (low dose naltrexone) as well as helminths but now I’m using helminths solely (with the exception of some vitamins/minerals, and being careful with my diet) and I’m still seeing gradual improvement. This has been the single most helpful thing I’ve ever done for the Crohn’s that I’ve dealt with forever and thank goodness my mom kept bringing it up (I should know by now to listen to my mother, she has a good track record of being right.)

Cool story, huh? I think so. And yes, I agree with Courtney. Our moms are usually right.

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Day 49. Mega (b)itch.

I know, I’ve been MIA with regards to blogging.

No significant changes to report, pals. I’m the same with regards to the huge skin flares. I’m itchy all of the time. Itchy and red and raw. I’m also having some gut aches that may be worm related or may be related to killing all of the good bacteria in my gut when taking antibiotics.

The real truth is, I’ve been in a huge funk. It’s hard for me to openly admit that for all to see but… so be it. I censor myself enough in real life and on Facebook. The purpose of this blog is to let it all out and that’s what I’m going to do. (Well, sort of.)

When I say huge funk, I mean the big D word. It’s really rough having unrelenting issues like this. It’s rough on my family, too. I don’t want to sound miserable. No one really wants to listen to whining or be around someone who is so down. But, I’ve been miserable. I’m in a constant state of being uncomfortable. Being constantly itchy with really large burning plaques on my skin is wearing on me. It’s isolating. It’s hard to get up and face the day when the only time you don’t feel miserable is when you’re heavily medicated with sedating antihistamines and passed out.

To further validate the above, here is an article from ABC News with the catchy headline of ‘Chronic Itching as Debilitating as Chronic Pain’. It may put things into better perspective for anyone who thinks I’m a nut job.

That said, I do try to put on a happy face and just buck up and deal with it. I try my best. I’ve even been working out a bit. It does help my mood but not my skin. Winter in Cleveland isn’t so great for keeping cheery either.

I promise to have a more interesting, less whiney, and fun filled post coming up soon. I’m working on compiling a few helminthic therapy success stories that I think are quite uplifting!