Tag Archives: helminthic therapy

Day 7. No bounce.

Hey folks.

Not much going on here that’s out of the ordinary. Just having a giant skin flare-up that’s causing me much grief today. I’m a huge, itchy, wanting-to-cry mess. I’m not sure if this is from the immune response to my new, still microscopic pets but I’m looking forward to better days. I know they’ll come eventually. I’ve also had some weird tingling/numbness in my hands and wrists that isn’t quite normal for me.

So, again, here is what could potentially be going on with me right now. This is taken directly from the document titled, Hookworm timeline: what to expect after inoculation with hookworm larvae, written by John Scott:

Day 6 to end of Week 2

Typically, not much happens during this period, unless it is a continuation of symptoms that started within the first few days. The only change that may occur is a possible ‘bounce’. This is a fairly unusual phenomenon observed in some subjects but not described in the literature.

The ‘bounce’ is a period in which all the subject’s usual symptoms (Crohn’s, asthma, allergies, etc.) disappear, sometimes completely. It typically occurs around the end of week one, perhaps as early as day five and even as late as week two. It can last about a week, but may appear for only 3-4 days, or, rarely, last for almost two weeks. Often this cessation of symptoms is accompanied by a wonderful feeling of calm, serenity, well-being and happiness.

It is easy to take a ‘bounce’ as evidence that the worms have ‘worked’ and that all will be well form this point on. Unfortunately, the ‘bounce’ never lasts, so one should not suddenly abandon whatever medications one is taking, or the diet one is following! This phenomenon is only temporary and not an indication that one has achieved remission in record time.

The appearance of a ‘bounce’ may be due to the fact that the body suddenly finds it has an appropriate target at which to aim its immune artillery. Alternatively, it may be due to something that the larvae are doing that elicits a strong response that quells inflammation. Either way, the ‘bounce’ is something to be enjoyed… while it lasts.

The worms are now maturing in my intestines. Soon they will be visible to the naked eye. Cool, huh?

I’ll post some more interesting bits tomorrow. In the meantime, if you’re reading this and would like me to cover a question you have or another related topic please comment and let me know.

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Day 5. This Week in Parasitism.

I found a really interesting podcast called This Week in Parasitism. Well, it may not be interesting to others but it’s extremely interesting to me. It’s two adorably nerdy professors who talk about parasites. This episode tackles hookworm. The discussion includes the history of hookworm eradication in the industrialized world.
….And it’s all John D. Rockefeller’s fault!

Other than that, no really crazy side effects yet. There are a few things to note though. I’ve had mild joint pain today, my hives are out of control, and I’ve had some weird red bumps on my face for the last few days. I’m not sure if any of these symptoms are worm related because I’ve had things like this in the past. Hives are part of my everyday life. But, many others have reported hive flare ups during the beginning of their therapy.

I’ll keep you posted.

Also, notice at the top of my page I’ve added clickable research! in case you’d like to learn more (like from actual experts) about helminthic therapy.

Day 3

Still alive here. Haven’t died from the worms yet.

I’m going to include some information I have here, and this will probably be a regular thing as the timeline progresses, from a document I have obtained from the wonderful Helminthic Therapy Support Group on Facebook. These folks know their stuff and have been a terrific resource for me and for countless others. Facebook isn’t always so bad. (Thanks HTSG!)

The following smaller italicized text is taken directly from the document titled, What to expect after inoculation with hookworm, written by John Scott, April 2012:

Days 3-5

Having migrated from the skin, via the bloodstream to the lungs, during the first two days, the still-invisible larvae then burrow through the lining of the lungs to join all the particulate matter – dust, smoke particles, pollen, etc. – being swept up along the ‘escalator’ of hairs that lines the inside surface of the lungs. This ciliary conveyor belt eventually transports the larvae to the throat, where they transfer from the airway to the gullet before continuing on their journey down to the stomach and on to the lower intestine, where they will spend the remainder of their 3 to 7 year life span (average 5 years). 

Occasionally, the migration of the larvae through the lungs may make some people cough, though this dose-related effect is actually quite rare. Coughing up phlegm and/or spitting should be resisted from days 2-5 to avoid expelling larvae that might be passing the throat at the time, on their way from the lungs to the gastrointestinal tract.

Common side effects at this stage are, in descending order or occurrence: a flare of the skin rash at the site of inoculation, fatigue, diarrhea, cramping and gas, nausea and vomiting. Children may display behavioral changes akin to those seen in a child with flu or allergies – lethargy, crankiness, etc.

(Yes. People do treat their children with helminths. Don’t judge.)

So far, no side effect to report here besides the inoculation rash. As I’ve mentioned before, the rash is not bothersome to me in the slightest due to all of the other skin eruptions I’m dealing with currently. The site actually feels a bit sore when I touch it. Maybe that’s to be expected? I did, after all, have 35 hookworm larvae crunching and munching their way through my dermal layers. Delightful, eh? I think so. Check out the photo at the top of this post and you can see their ‘dental plates’. He looks quite angry about something.

That’s all for today. I’ll educate you some more tomorrow.

Let Me Google That For You!

Okay, okay. I know. *sigh* I’m being asked by more than one reader to explain how helminthic therapy works. I’m sorry. I thought you were all mind readers. Or that you would just friggin’ Google it.

There are countless articles out there written by much better writers than myself. That’s the real reason I didn’t explain it. But anyway, I’ll quit making excuses. Here goes….

How does helminthic therapy work? 

Helminthic therapy works by reintroducing organisms to the body that we have evolved with. It’s intention is to correct an imbalance within the immune system.

The developed world has become obsessed with hygiene and the elimination of germs and parasites from our society as a way to keep the population healthy. Little thought and understanding has been given to the consequences to our immune systems as a result of these actions.

Humans evolved alongside parasites as well as a whole host of protozoa, bacteria, and germs. The importance of this close relationship between man and the organisms we have evolved with forms the basis of the Hygiene Hypothesis.

Our immune systems have evolved to expect parasites to be present in our bodies. When we cleanse our bodies to such a degree that the immune system has nothing to work against it does not simply stop working. It starts reacting in inappropriate ways and this is when it’s possible for diseases involving allergies and autoimmune issues to arise.

The reintroduction of parasites, such as hookworm and whipworm, is a step in redressing the natural evolutionary balance of the immune system; giving the immune system a target to work against, thus halting the destructive actions of the immune system on it’s own tissues or benign substances such as pollen, animal dander, etc.

It is also known that, in order to live in our bodies unharmed by our immune system, helminths secrete substances that turn down the immune response. This is believed to result in a better regulated immune system; one less likely to attack it’s own tissues or benign substances.*

And I’ll continue on with some more information that I have at hand…

Who can benefit from helminthic therapy?

It is possible that anyone with a chronic inflammatory condition or one involving autoimmune related inflammatory diseases, autoimmunity, or atopic diseases such as asthma, could benefit from helminthic therapy. It is impossible to predict if any one person will respond to the therapy in advance. The only way to test it is to try it. Diseases/disorders that have responded include: asthma, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, eczema, psoriasis, hay fever, irritable bowel syndrome, migraine, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, Sjogren’s Syndrome, and allergies. 

It’s worth noting that the above list of diseases/disorders does not cover all success stories. There are many more conditions that helminthic therapy has helped. I’ve read a pretty extensive list myself.

A few more things before I sign off for the night…

So far, no side effects which is to be expected on day 2. Just the little inoculation rash which you can see at the top of this post. In case you forgot, that’s where the worms crawled into my skin.

As always, thanks for reading. I sincerely appreciate the love and support.

* the italicized text above was not written by me; I reworded it a tiny bit. I do not want to give actual written credit to the source due to my strong stance on not mentioning the name of my provider in this blog.

Inoculation Day: Take 35 helminths and call me in the morning!

Well, I did it.

My worms arrived this afternoon.

I had considered posting photos of all of the materials that arrived but I thought better of it. As I’ve mentioned before, I won’t do anything that could potentially jeopardize my providers operations. I’d like to continue to receive therapy from them and I’d like for others to be able to continue as well. So, I’ll have to do it the old fashioned way and describe it all in writing. Don’t worry, I’ll throw up a few photos to keep things interesting.

After allowing the materials to come to room temperature, I started to prepare for inoculation. Two small vials, one bulb pipette, and a gauzy bandage were received. (No instructions come along in the package in case of interception by unknown entities. You’re sent all instructions via email.) One vial contained 35 hookworm larvae (which are not visible to the naked eye). The other vial was an unknown solution of perhaps saline that was simply used to rinse out the larvae vial and bulb pipette after placing all of that material onto the center of the bandage. After all of this was complete I slapped the bandage onto my inner, upper arm.

inoculation bandage!
inoculation bandage! there are worms in there!

That’s really all there is to it friends! But wait, I haven’t really gotten to the good stuff yet.

In my instruction packet, I had read that you should start to feel a stinging/burning/itching sensation right around the 7 minute mark. This proved to be fairly accurate in my case. This is how you know your larvae arrived to your home alive. You’re feeling them burrow into your skin. No big deal, right? Honestly, it’s not a big deal at all. It’s much less horrifying than it sounds. And for me, a person who has burning/itching skin on the regular, this shit has NOTHING on what I deal with daily. For example, the hives I have elsewhere are much more bothersome to me right now. So much so that I don’t even feel the inoculation rash at all. However, I’ve read and am told that the inoculation rash can get worse as the treatment timeline progresses.

The photos below show the current state of my skin. I have other areas that I haven’t photographed out of decency. These photos show the reasons why I’ve infected myself with parasitic worms today.

crook of my arm; urticaria/eczema.
crook of my arm; urticaria/eczema.
stefarm2
crook of my other arm; urticaria/eczema.
stefchest
chest, shoulder,neck,breast; urticaria/eczema.
stefhand
hand and wrist; urticaria/eczema.

 

I’m about 6 hours post inoculation and I’ll be leaving the bandage on for a full 12 hours. All larvae should have wriggled into my bloodstream by now.

I have access to a great document (written carefully and expertly by a fellow helminth host) that includes a rough day by day timeline of what to expect post inoculation. It contains information on where your larvae should be in your body and when and what side effects you’re likely to experience on certain days.

I’ll be documenting all side effects and anything that I feel at all here. I’ve been in touch with my provider this evening and have let them know that my worms arrived alive. My next dose of hookworm should be arriving in 3 months time. Exciting!

Stay tuned until tomorrow when I post photo(s) of the inoculation rash. I’m afraid it(they) may pale in comparison to my urticaria photos from today.

 

 

 

Introductions

Hi everyone!

A little about why I’m starting this blog:

I suffer from a condition called chronic idiopathic urticaria and also what I would call severe eczema. For those not in the know, here is a definition: Urticaria (from the Latin urtica, “nettle” from urere, “to burn”), commonly referred to as hives, is a kind of skin rash notable for pale red, raised, itchy bumps. Hives may cause a burning or stinging sensation. They are frequently caused by allergic reactions; however, there are many nonallergic causes. Most cases of hives lasting less than six weeks (acute urticaria) are the result of an allergic trigger. Chronic urticaria (hives lasting longer than six weeks) is rarely due to an allergy. The majority of chronic hives cases have an unknown (idiopathic) cause. In perhaps as many as 30–40% of patients with chronic idiopathic urticaria, it is caused by an autoimmune reaction.

For roughly 20 years, I’ve been dealing with these skin issues. Recently, however, my skin has been in a near constant state of flare up. For the past year, I have had mostly no relief besides a week here and a week there when I was prescribed a short round of steroids. Having itchy, red, burning skin on a regular basis is maddening and frankly very depressing. In fact, this condition has become rather debilitating in that it is affecting my quality of life and mental state. My sleep is always disturbed. I scratch until I bleed. I look like and feel like a leper. I’d rather not have my skin showing out of fear that people will think I have an infectious or contagious disease.

Doctors are of little to no help. Few of them want to listen when presented with a skin issue as most of them are difficult to diagnose. They all tell me the same thing: “see a dermatologist!” And then I’m prescribed various topical steroid creams that don’t help much if at all and also cause long-term issues such as skin thinning and stretch marks. (Cause yeah, I totally want more stretch marks!) Antihistamines are also of little to no help. I’ve been taking a cocktail of them for months and I’m beginning to worry that I am now a “pill-popper”. So far, the only thing that really helps is prednisone. One cannot exist on prednisone for the rest of her life. Side effects are awful, especially when taking it long-term.

Fast forward to now. For months, I’ve been researching an “experimental” therapy that many people with various autoimmune illnesses have tried with success. Helminthic therapy. By definition: Helminthic therapy, a type of immunotherapy, is the treatment of autoimmune diseases and immune disorders by means of deliberate infestation with a helminth or with the ova of a helminth. Helminths are parasitic worms such as hookworms and whipworms.

So yes, there you have it. In the coming days, I’m going to be deliberately inoculating myself with parasitic worms in the hopes that my skin issues and misery will come to an end; or at least improve some.

I want to make it perfectly clear that this was not a decision that I made overnight. I researched for several months and said research included personally speaking with several people who are undergoing this treatment and have been for periods of months and/or years. My research also included going over studies/clinical trials and various scholarly medical articles written by physicians. Helminthic therapy is not approved by the FDA. My worms are being obtained from a provider outside of the United States. To protect my provider, I will not mention their name or relative location at all in my blog. If you wish to know more about my provider, you can email me privately and perhaps we’ll discuss it there if I deem you trustworthy. That last part isn’t meant to offend anyone. There are people out there who are against this treatment (or anything that can’t be regulated by the FDA and therefore will not put money in certain pockets) that they would go to great lengths to find things out and put a stop to them.

As I mentioned above, I am in contact with others who are using helminthic therapy. I am part of more than one online support group and I will be in close, regular contact with my provider. I will also be under the care of a physician even though this therapy cannot really be supported by the American healthcare system. In the event that I need medical intervention, which is doubtful, my physician has agreed to treat me.

There is a chance, 25% actually, that this therapy will not work for me. If it does work, it will not be a quick fix. My understanding is that it will take several months until I see any sort of improvement, if any at all. I may experience side effects which include diarrhea, cramping, fatigue or even anemia. Or, I may experience no side effects at all. I will most certainly, provided my worms arrive here ALIVE, experience an itchy rash at the inoculation site. I’ll explain more about that in an upcoming post. The title of this blog should not be taken literally. I will not be EATING worms as my adorable little title suggests. The worms will simply be crawling through my skin. Much better, right? I think so.

A little about why I am NOT starting this blog: 

  • to gain sympathy or attention (Frankly, fuck that.)
  • to promote helminthic therapy (I am not offering medical advice nor is my provider..)
  • to gain anyone’s approval (I don’t need it.)

I’ll be tracking my progress here throughout the course of my therapy. As I mentioned above, I’ll be inoculating within a few days provided that my worms arrive ALIVE. If they are exposed to cold for too long they can die. I expect that my worms will arrive by the end of this week and I’ll be updating here with photos and more interesting bits as I go along.

Thanks for reading!