GWI/CFS/CFIDS/PTSD. The Heart of Our Fight.

At The Heart Of Our Fight is all of the players whom have been involved in this illness over the past 40+ years. The progress we are about to experience in regards to awareness and political-medical-societal change would not occur without all of the work that the Doctors, Scientists, Researchers, Groups, Patient Advocates, Alliances and Patients have accomplished around the World. It is obvious to me that this team of CFS/Lyme/Autism/GWI is Uniting and going forward.  It seems to me that everyone in this illness wants change and they want it now.

The only way I know how to change from the underdog to the winner; is to use Politics and the voice of the people; The Voters. Another way to inflict change is to go straight to Legislation.

If a governmental agency is not doing its’ job, then it is prudent to go to the Agencies oversight regulating entity. If the Oversight Entity is a Governmental Agency and does not do its’ job, then Congress must intervene. If Congress intervenes and the oversight entity does not adhere to what Congress has mandated, then The President can intervene.

There is an entire realm of Political Action that has never been utilized to date for these diseases. In order to make use of this political power, there must be a strong and unified force supporting this action.

 Our voices have not been heard in part because we have not had the strength of scientific knowledge backing us nor have we had the political strength to back us. Now we have enough  of the scientific and historic and unified strength to back us up; the time is ripe for change via political action.

It is ONLY through the Viral and Pathogen Links and Associations now known to occur in CFS/GWI/Lyme/Autism  and the  association of these Links with other distinguished diseases that we are going to further our political cause for  research, diagnosis,  treatment and prevention.

One of the Historic Health Ballot Measures to pass was the “YES on 71” Proposition; Californians say Yes to Stem Cells. This was an exceptional victory for Stem Cell Funding both on the State and eventually a Federal Level. Fueled by the Love of His Son who has Diabetes; Robert Klein helped to finance and assisted in writing this initiative. At that time; The Stem Cell Transplant was even more of a highly controversial and hotly debated issue than it is now. It took 87+ Million Dollars in Campaign Fundraising to get Prop 71 passed. The result was 3 Billion Dollars in funding over a 10 year period from The State alone. After this victory, the Federal Funding for Stem Cells began to improve.

At the Heart of This Fight for this patient population is the matter of our well being, the well being of our children and the well being of humanity. We are fighting to prevent a worldwide Pandemic. We are fighting for a cause that has refused to be heard. It is up to us to demand that we be heard. It is also up to Civilians and Military Patients afflicted with GWI/CFS/Lyme/Autism  to collaborate to ensure that all patient groups get treated.

Over 100,000 disability claims are reported a month to the VA. If even 25% OF THESE CASES get diagnosed as CFS/GWI/Lyme;  then this is already an epidemic and quite possibly we have let this spread beyond what is currently being predicted.

Blake and I have had vast improvements on anti-viral treatment with Valcyte.   We instinctively realize that we need phase 2 of treatment; possibly phase 3 for Blake. We knew the Valcyte was a necessary stop gap measure for The HHV-6A, to try and lower the EBV and to stop the CMV in me which has caused damage.

Many people think of CMV as affecting the eyesight only. This is a phallacy as CMV can cause High Blood Pressure and affect other organs such as the lungs and liver.

Blake was nearing admittance to the Hospice Program for CFIDS around 26 months ago. He had gone from 6’2″ to 6.0″; his shoe size shrunk from a size 14 to a size 11-12. He went from 180+lbs to his lowest at 135-140 lbs. He went from a 3.75 GPA to a 1.87 GPA and dropped out of College. He was bedridden on/off for nearly 6 years. He completed his High School diploma on a Home Health School Program, then eventually through the Alternative School. He experienced profound and debilitating fatigue with un-refreshed sleep, migraines, sensitivity to light, severe night sweats, ringing in the ears, vertigo, severe Orthostatic Intolerance, muscle weakness, joint aches, severe heat intolerance, panic attacks, anxiety attacks, withdrawn behavior, depression, suicidal tendencies, near complete cognitive decline (he was put at 1% of physical and cognitive abilities.)

Blake had played 5 sports first string and snowboarded black diamond runs. He became intolerant to physical exertion. During sports, he started losing his balance, he became dizzy when trying to catch the ball as a wide receiver under the lights of the field, he started clutching his chest in agony as he ran and eventually he began vomiting blood when he ran. He refused to quit track until he collapsed after a race at the State Finals. He used the hall walls to balance, was unable to stand up when showering and would stay in bed for weeks to months at a time. At the age of 19, he was unable to drive a vehicle safely. I was on suicide watch 24/7 for 2 years with Blake. I am aware of two occasions where I prevented him from committing suicide. I was determined to force him to live, when he wanted to give up. It is hard for Adults to get ill, harder for Soldiers to get ill, yet I think it even hardest on the Pediatric Group.

After 24 months’ on Valcyte, Blake is now Cognitively  60-70% better. Although he gets a 3.0;  he says he fumbles and is still noticeably deficient cognitively with simple mathematical tasks; especially when he is tired. We have found that mental pacing is as important as physical pacing. He will decline immediately if he overexerts; however his recovery time is 2-4 days on the Valcyte as opposed to 3-6 months prior to beginning treatment.

Blake is still unable to exercise or walk too much. He  is up and around every day; excluding crashes. He makes it to his school classes 80-90% of the time. He is more social. He is more coherent. He is able to walk through the airports to catch flights now; whereas we used to use a wheelchair for the distances. An incredible step is that he now lives independently at our Ski Cabin. He no longer needs 24/7 care; although he does need around 80 hours of assistance per month for chores, paperwork, medical travel, etc. He is still not capable of driving long distance nor could he cognitively traverse travel alone.

He does not have the extreme phobia of crowds and central nervous system overload with over stimulating situations (severe anxiety.)  Yet, he remains guarded and cautious to avoid too many of such situations. He practices self care a majority of the time. He fixes at least one of his own meals per day. He has grown 1.5″ since starting Valcyte and is up to holding steady at 160lbs.  His shoe size is now a 13.

 Blake’s EBV titers: (on The Quest Lab Scales) The EBV-VCA is dropping. The EBV Nuclear are still too high to measure progress accurately at this point. His levels began over the highest measurement scale of 5; they have waivered up and down to about 4.71, then back over 5 again. This still may be an improvement because we do not have the technology to read levels greater than 5; so theoretically speaking he could have started out with levels that were 7 or 10 or 30 when he started the Valcyte.

 The HHV-6 is wavering. They went from 3X positivity to 1x positivity, then back to 3x positivity after a relapse and after going off the vitamin regime. These HHV-6 levels seem to reactivate with stress and infections (he has had Pneumonia several times.). DHEA is nearing normal after daily supplements of pharmacy compounded DHEA Sulfate of 35mg per day.

Julia Update

Due to Major surgeries and post surgery infections my EBV and HHV-6 viral titers and updates will not be available to publish for another 3-6 months.  I will say the viral titers for both dropped significantly over the first year. I have now been on Valcyte for 18 months. My CMV was over the highest measuring limit and it is now within normal range. Like Blake’s, My HHV-6A and EBV have fluctuated during stress, injuries and illness that have occurred secondary to my CFIDS.

There is no doubt in my mind that Blake and I have the same illness, but that it acts differently in both of us.  Sometimes I wonder if Testosterone is a player in this maze of debilitation in the Pediatric Group or a Subset.

The stealth  opportunistic Infections that piggy back with theses viruses can cause illness. Micoplasma  can cause liver function abnormalities, nausea, diarrhea, headaches, migraines, fever, rash and prolonged fatigue. This microscopic organism has no cell wall and is the smallest free living bacteria. Like the virus, it depends on its’ host for survival. Due to the small size and lack of cell wall this microorganism can infect a great number of cells in any part of the body and live as a parasite on the surface of the cells. Because there are no cell walls present, immune cells cannot see them; thus infected white blood cells are not killed, but rather disabled. This results in the immune system being under the false impression that there are enough white cells in circulation. This in turn leads to both under and over activity of the immune system, both of which cause problems.

There are many different species of Micoplasma and these have been linked to as a direct cause or significant co factor to many chronic diseases including CFS, Arthritis, Lupus and Candidiasis. Once Micoplasma becomes parasitic in the cell, morphologic and physiologic changes develop and it takes on the appearance of various diseases. It can also invade cells promoting chronic infection which can be difficult to eradicate. Many chronic diseases may prove to be due to infectious bacterium which transform in to the Micoplasma state in order to better adapt to the body. Recently, Micoplasma has been discovered in diseases such as Gulf War Illness, AIDS and certain forms of Cancer. Its’ been associated with Fibromyalgia, Psoriasis, Urinary Tract Infections as well as many other diseases including CFS.

Cytokines are basically immune modulating agents. Biochemists are researching and debating which cytokines and hormones should be labeled which on the molecular level. We know that the IL-6 Cytokine is well defined and known to increase in concentrations up to 1000 fold during an Infection or Trauma.

TNF is a cytokine involved in systemic inflammation.  The primary role of TNF is the regulation of immune cells. TNF is capable of inducing apoptical cell death, inducing inflammation and to inhibit tumorigenesis and Viral Replication. TNF has been connected with numerous diseases; it has a number of actions on various organ systems, generally together with IL-1 and IL-6. Local Increase in TNF causes inflammation. Low Concentrations of TNF can cause Cachexia; a wasting syndrome.

The nuances of these  diseases are complex and they change with each subset within each disease. However,  getting intimate with the viruses and pathogens we have tested positive for and trying to understand the roles of Cytokines, Hormones and TNF all help me to better understand and cope with what has happened to my body as well as my sons.

As CFS/GWI/Lyme/Autism patients, change is one thing we have gotten used to. Change in Lifestyle, Change in Families, Change in Jobs, Change in Beliefs.

The Heart of Why We Fight is to Change Our Conditions. We can do this by learning about our illness, sharing this information with each other and Uniting Politically to support all of those who are trying to treat and cure us.

Blake wrote a poem about change the other day. He wanted to share this with you.

Change:
It falls from great heights
It pools and collects and forms
Then sinks, sinks to its lowest point
But as it sinks, it rushes forward
Eroding away the rocks
Sweeping away the trees
Falling off the edge of perceivable worlds
To fall with great force and still have the motivation to continue
To flow rapidly till the point of expanding
Building deltas that support unity and life
And finally it spills into a vast ocean
That’s movement is constantly determined by the Moon

26 months ago, Blake would not have been capable of producing this poetry nor would he have wanted to share. The fact that he is opening up, improving and showing a desire to write on this blog in the future; gives me great hope for both his and my future prospect in battling this disease.

At the Heart of Our Personal Fight with battling these viruses and pathogens, we decided to go on Valcyte. I know in Blake’s case, that this decision saved his life.

 
JULIA HUGO RACHEL
VERY LUCKY GIRL ON VALCYTE
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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