If I only knew 10 years ago what I know today, so many lives would be changed and more might be saved.
The shock and awe of watching somebody you love get eaten up by a mystery illness is overwhelming and frightening.
We train so hard to be the toughest, to know how and why to be the best. When something unknown explodes in life and there are no tools to put the pieces back together, what do you do? How can one do their best with zero?
During the past decade, we learned how to create our own tools and survive. At this point in Blake’s recovery, we could easily lace up our boots, stand straight and never look back at this issue. Except for one thing: the man down was my son and the millions more falling are children and soldiers/warriors. We don’t leave anyone behind, that is unacceptable to us. We walk towards the fight, not away. We have learned a few tools and we can now hunt for more solutions. Walking away is just not an option for us. Our goal is to help others by sharing our journey.
HHV-6 is a virus that attacks the brain. Although most people carry this virus in their body in a latent status, what they do not know, is that it is like a grenade waiting to go Rambo at a given chance. This virus “reactivates” which means that when a human is hit with a bacteria, gets a severe flu, catches a pathogen in some 3rd world country or undergoes a physical injury/trauma the grenade pin might get pulled. The human body is then weakened just enough whereas this virus starts replicating. HHV-6 virus has been linked with Multiple Sclerosis, Autism, ALS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lyme Disease, Gulf War Illness and PTSD.
We have scientific proof linking HHV-6A to these diseases. This does not mean this virus is the sole cause of the disease; but what it does mean is that the patient has a shot at recovery by treating the HHV-6 virus by getting it lowered to within an acceptable and safe range.
HHV-6 virus loves to hang out with the Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) as well as a bacteria called Mycoplasma. They sound benign, but both are stealth pathogens and cause destruction to organs and the immune system. This may not mean much to you, but you might be surprised to learn that these 3 partners are rampant within the military, are contagious and may be linked with suicide and PTSD.
HHV-6 has been proven to be linked with schizophrenia and suicide. Viral antibody titers have been proven to spike dramatically around 6 weeks prior to suicidal behavior.
When Blake first got hit with these viruses, his “mood and character changed noticeably”. I mentioned this to doctors and they sent Blake for a psych exam and prescribed him antidepressants. Had we caught this one small “tell-tale sign” at early onset; we would not have needed to visit 100 specialists, spend a quarter million dollars and stare at the edge of death for years.
This virus likes to tango with testosterone and cortisol. We are seeing the highest percentage of suicides in men from the ages of teens through late 20’s. This could be due to the fact that men have testosterone and cortisol changes/activity occurring around those ages.
If the virus is in reactivation mode, many antidepressants will work against the patient instead of for him/her. This is because the patient is not clinically depressed, but rather is suffering from a brain disease. Psychologists and antidepressants are useful; but only in tandem with addressing and understanding the underlying neuro immune factor. The brains of those with TBI’s and brain virus need to be monitored by neuropsychologists who are skilled in brain trauma and healing.
The virus attacks the brain in a way that shuts off the inherited survival and will to live trait. It can cause unnatural behaviors in people who would normally never consider suicidal thoughts. The virus seems to hit the body hardest after the initial assault when a patient is pushing themselves to their emotional and physical limits; not knowing that their body is in trouble.
During combat, extreme athletic training or when recovering from an injury; the body is normally in replenish and heal mode during down or sleep time. However, if a virus is escalating in the blood and the person is pushing it to the limits; normal replenishment cycles malfunction. As this cycle continues, the brain disease targets areas of the brain thereby fostering suicidal tendencies.
One sunny day as I was heading out to the horse pasture, I looked in Blake’s window and witnessed him with a loaded shotgun in his mouth. He was sitting on his bed, he had a glazed and blank expression on his face. It took me a split second to figure out that I couldn’t run fast enough to get to him through the back doors of our house before he pulled the trigger. In the next hair of a second, I was tearing at a screen and hurling myself through a 4×6 ft. double pained window. At that point in time, nothing mattered to me except for getting that gun out of his mouth. I was able to accomplish that mission without any shots fired. Blake is alive and well today. Yet every time I read a Military report on our suicide numbers my heart fractures just a little more. Every casualty reported (and we know how many are not reported), news report and every email or call I get about this issue; never gets easier. This is one of the main reasons we are lacing our boots tighter, standing straight and walking towards you for support; tool trucks in tow.
PTSD awareness is on the tongue of many right now. We know this is stress related, but what we didn’t know is that some, or many of these cases might be related to HHV-6 and/or Traumatic Brain Injuries. When we look at high-resolution MRI’s of these patients, white spots are seen on the brain. These spots can be caused by this virus. The spots can go away with anti-viral treatment.
The only known medication scientifically proven to effectively treat HHV-6 is an anti-viral named Valcyte. In a 2006 research study, Valcyte was found to be effective in lowering HHV-6 titers in a subgroup of patients having high antibody titers to HHV-6 and EBV.
Why does this matter? Because this information could save lives. If you notice 3 OR MORE of the symptoms below, please read our prior blog called “Getting Intimate with Your Viruses Part 1 & Part 2”. The tests and tools listed in that Blog took us 10 years to figure out.
Symptoms to look for include: 1) Change in moods or outlook in life; Anger, Depression. 2) Fatigue with unrefreshing sleep. 3) Insomnia 4) Memory loss. 5) Cognitive decline. 6) Migraines. 7) Weight loss 8) Flu like symptoms that linger 9) Joint/Muscle pain. 10) Very low blood pressure.
Sometimes all we “see” is the depression at first onset. But if you can look beyond that and notice any other symptoms noted above, you then have biological options to research. The sooner you catch this virus and seek treatment, the greater your chance for a successful and timely recovery.
We have 10,000 disability claims filed to the VA each month. We have unusually sky-high suicide rates. We are looking at high numbers of deployed coming home within the next 18 months; which some predict up to 50% could be afflicted. All three of these groups need to know that if they present with 3 or more of the symptoms above, they have the right to a blood test for this virus and all of the others linked with it. These are high risk groups.
It is up to us, toolbox in hand, to be walking towards those that need us. Please support those at high risk because very few, if any, are getting the support they deserve and need.
Our team will be arriving with a convoy of tool trucks. (More on that program to come).
JULIA HUGO RACHEL
VERY LUCKY GIRL ON VALCYTE
VLG on Valcyte has added a complimentary Blog about our Journey Towards Healing.
Blake Update: Blake made it through school without missing one day for sick time. This is the first time in 10 years that he has been able to make it through a school term, uninterrupted. He also received a 3.66 gpa this quarter while studying Physics/Engineering as a major and Military Science as a minor.
Blake’s weight is at 188 lbs and holding steady; he is 6’2″. He is starting to regain muscle mass. He has gained back 58 lbs. He looks healthy, yet the cognitive decline is still noticeable when he is tired.
We attribute this remarkable acceleration in recovery to the initial Phase 1 of treatment: vitamin therapy, diet change and 3 years of Valcyte treatment.
Phase 2: has been long-term use of Valtrex for the chronic EBV. Unexpectedly, an incredible benefit has been weekly IV’s of Vitamins/Minerals and Glutathione administered by a well versed Natural Path. This is not a Meyers Cocktail, but rather a formula based on Blake’s needs. We feel these IV’s may be essential for many patients and plan on focussed research on this treatment in coordination with antimicrobial treatments. More information to come on these IV’s. We have heard of great success stories from military and civilian patients receiving these IV’s and are excited. Blake would not have excelled as much as he has this past 3 months, had it not been from the combination of holistic and western medical treatments in tandem. This was duly noted and planned from the onset as Blake needed something to boost the immune system; we just did not know “what” that would be.
Phase 3: will be adding cardio physical exercise into Blake’s routine as well as starting on medication to address bacterium and viruses that surfaced as the HHV-6 and EBV lowered. This is a long distance run, not a sprint. We were told by our original Doctor, to be ready for the long haul. Blake was too far down the ladder. Thus we prepared for a journey, not a jaunt. Doc warned us that as the HHV-6 was lowered, other viruses that invaded when Blake was so weak would rear their heads.
Blake will try summer school to get a calculus class completed. After that, he has 4 weeks to rest until Fall Quarter. Blake is taking on a more serious leadership attitude about getting well. He is nearly independent. He is motivated constantly by the fact that he cannot wait to have 100% health and to ultimately serve his country.
A few days ago, on a sunny summer day, I took a chance and looked through Blake’s office window on my way to the vegetable garden. I smiled. His stubborn Yellow Labrador was at his feet and I noticed he was intently looking at a video just posted by Mr. Don Shipley of Extreme SEAL Experience. I could tell by the expression on Blake’s face that he has a new dream. His life long dream changed from going to Annapolis and flying planes. He switched over to linguistics and jumping out of planes. The fact that Blake is even dreaming about his future was worth that sacred glance through the window.