Watching Over Blake. Eyes on Progress. CFIDS/ GWI/TBI/ PTSD

  • winslow (3)

              “The flight of the owl is slow, silent and solitary”

 If I could give my son anything,  I thought I would give him back the 12 years he lost of his youth. Since I cannot do this, I am determined to give him a future of unlimited possibilities.

When experiencing a chronic illness, it feels as if time stands still. In actuality, time is moving slowly and the flight is silent. Silence envelopes ones life after the combustion of life halts to a stop with a chronic illness.

I have taken the role as an observer in Blake’s’ life. He began independent living in November 2012. Two weeks after the start of his new beginning, Blake was hit by a car in front of the University he attends. The hit was gruesome, yet Blake managed to hobble away with minor injuries.

I watched and slowly waited as he fell into a relapse that amounted to a vast drop in grades, weight and cognitive abilities. I watched as he fought to overcome the slide in order to slowly recover his abilities. It took 8 months to recover fully from the trauma.

Although 8 months seems like a long time, it is a drop in the bucket compared to 12 years of ones life being ripped apart. Especially for a 24-year-old.

This relapse was different on many levels. This relapse was caused by a physical trauma, not a setback from an unknown factor. During this relapse, Blake never missed a day of school as a full-time University student studying Physics/Engineering. Although his weight and grades declined, he used every tool available to him to methodically step back up the ladder to his peak.

Blake has now successfully attended University full-time (without missing one day for illness) for 6 consecutive quarters. He has now achieved perfect attendance for the past 16 months. His classes include upper division mathematics, physics, engineering, chemistry, biology and geology. His GPA before the car trauma was 3.66 per quarter. His GPA today is 3.25 per quarter.

Blake began a mild physical exercise program of walking and lifting weights 14 months ago. He decided to join an Army readiness program and started running 11 months ago. He had to halt running and physical exercise for 2 months while he was hobbling on a sprained ankle after the car trauma. He began running again in February and by June was up to 4 miles, three times per week. He has also participated in vigorous ruck marches and tactical labs in the field under extreme conditions.

Blake was put on Valtrex as a therapy after his Valcyte treatment. Post Valcyte and present Valtex treatment, the opportunistic infections are now gone. The HHV-6 levels are lowered. The EBV are still high. Anti-viral treatment is like good endocrine treatment in that the patient is treated on “how he/she feels” not necessarily on “what the lab values say”.

On a recent check-up with his infectious disease doctor, it was determined that Blake may be eligible for military service in 6 months. Until then, he will be starting an antibiotic for progressive treatment for inflammation in the eyes which is starting to be recognized in patients. The tell sign is red lines in the eyes. I have noticed strata looking lines in Blake’s  eyes and attributed this to the onset of his illness.

Blake was diagnosed with a thyroid disorder in March. He has been on thyroid medication for five months and notices a great improvement. His endocrine values were slightly off. His thyroid ultrasound showed a small goiter and a cyst. His familial history on the Irish side shows he is a 6th generation thyroid patient. Many physicians diagnose thyroid issues on lab values only. It is imperative to find an endocrinologist that diagnoses on;  lab values + ultrasound + familial history + how the patient feels = diagnosis.

At this moment, Blake is at 85% of cognitive and 80% of physical capacity. The goal of his treatment team is to get Blake to 100%. Blake hopes that will happen in the next 6 months. His goal is to join the Military and to serve his Country.

For a long time, I fought and watched over Blake at close range. Now I find myself watching from a greater distance. I wondered if Blake would be able to “catch up” socially and if he could find his way. We had  three prior attempts at independent living. This fourth time has proven to be exciting, yet not without a few hurdles.

Blake has a faith that is strong and complete. He is a strong young man  with  dreams and goals. It is a pleasure to see him play sports with his peers, to participate in ocean and lake activities, to attend social functions and to give to others through community service.

All of this would not be possible without Valcyte treatment. The alternative immune treatments he participated in look to be responsible for stimulating the energy to exercise; but only after primary healing had occurred. The Valtrex (or other long-term anti-viral) is a necessity for treatment to continue fighting the viruses after the heavy hitting Valcyte treatment. Clearing up any opportunistic infections is critical to success. A patient will never attain a moderate level of health if a thyroid illness is present and remains undiagnosed.

We have no idea what the next year will bring. We are certain that whatever this illness throws at us, we are willing to fly slow and defeat it.

JULIA HUGO RACHEL

VERY LUCKY GIRL ON VALCYTE

Advertisements

Shooting Straight On CFS/CFIDS/GWI/PTSD

Although we do not have definitive biomarkers for CFS right now, we have proof that two subsets exist within the disease. Up to 75% of  patients  have elevated antibody titers to HHV-6,  EBV  and CMV.

This subset is known as CFIDS.

 We know that these CFIDS  patients  have viral reactivation  and are prone to opportunistic infections such as Mycoplasma Pn., Chlamydia pn., Coxsackie, Echovirus plus  plethora of other pathogens. We are  at the beginning  stages of diagnosing and treating these infections within these patients.

The subset of patients who do not test positive for  pathogens is known as CFS. CFIDS  patients have the luxury of being treated for their viral and pathogen infections, yet CFS patients are left without any available treatment protocol. One protocol that may pan out for CFS patients is Rituximab. Apparently, Rituximab  may work in up to 12% of patients who do not test positive for viral reactivation and who do not have active opportunistic  infections.  This medicine seems to work best on  those patients who previously contracted  mononucleosis; yet  further clinical trials are  needed  to  verify  this  drug  as  a  viable  treatment.

I originally began looking at Rituximab back in 2009 as a treatment for myself.  This was a drug that would have been harmful for Blake, as he had pre-existing infections which precluded him from safely taking this drug. Yet, I  thought it may be an option for me. I was eventually found ineligible for Rituximab treatment  due to pre-existing autoimmune conditions. Although the onset of  my  CFS began with Mono at age 15, I had since acquired 7 auto immune diseases, viral infections and  my body was riddled with opportunistic infections including  insidious blood infections.

When I first learned that Blake could die  from CFS, I sought out a CFS specialist who had access and extensive experience with  the drug Ampligen. From what I had read and “heard through website chats”,  Ampligen was the drug that could cure my son. I  was  extremely determined to get my son on Ampligen,  no matter what the cost was to our family.  On our first visit to the CFS specialist in San Diego I  asked  that  my  son  receive  Ampligen. The  specialist  informed  me  that he would not administer this drug to any of his patients, including Blake. I asked him why and his response was clear.  According to this specialist,  he  had  used  Ampligen  on  many  patients and  all of the patients ended up in worse condition over the long run.  He had known these patients for years and he still stays in contact with those that are alive. This was a drug he had thought would be helpful and one in which he had high hopes for.  This specialist was devastated  when he discovered  patients had long-term negative effects to Ampligen.  At  first,  it seemed  Ampligen  was  a miracle cure for CFS patients.  At first,  patients made remarkable recoveries.  Yet Patients began having severe side effects  and  in his experience, the drug  became dangerous as treatments  continued.

I  trusted  this  specialist  explicitly as he had come highly recommended.  I trusted his opinion  to go with a different drug for Blake’s’ treatment called Valcyte.  In our case, we fit the exact criteria for the Valcyte treatment protocol, so we were in the subset that had a fighting chance for recovery. Valcyte had been FDA approved for transplant  patients  thus we  felt comfortable with the associated risks.  Blake was on the verge of shutting down and we were left with few options. One thing I did appreciate about Valcyte, was that it was not a life-long therapy.

One of the conversations that most CFS doctors do not like to have  with  their patients, is the role of HSV-1 and HSV-2  as  definitive catalysts in  reactivating  pathogens in  chronically ill patients  suffering from infections. CFS/GWI/Lyme and Autism patients have not been properly informed that  if  they  carry HSV-2 or HSV-1 at high antibody levels, they need treatment for these viruses as well  as  their  standard  illness  protocols.  Shooting  straight  from  the hip,  we need to know this  information  if  we are to get  well  from  these  diseases.

The time for the “sex talk has arrived”. The  infamous “sex” talk that has been given by most parents to their children, needs to be given by doctors to their adult patients. If  HSV-2 titers  rise above 3 or more in a chronically ill patients, there  is a good chance that  unless  these elevated titers are lowered with antimicrobial treatment,  the patient may never recover from CFS/Lyme/Autism/GWI or Epilepsy.  What was once thought of as a simple nondestructive STD that warranted treatment when an outbreak occurred;  is now recognized by top microbe hunters as a factor that accelerates and will  fuel the fire in pathogen reactivation  thereby  prolonging chronic illness.

This is the “sex” talk that every doctor in America should be having with their patients, yet mainstream medicine has yet to recognize the role the 8 herpes viruses play and have underestimated their potential to cause and/or ignite disastrous chronic illnesses and further a  pandemic which has begun.

Many Gulf War Illness, Lyme Patients, Autism and Chronic Fatigue Patients do not understand why this  blog has focussed on  tying these particular chronic diseases together as a family. Although we share different genetic findings, although our brain dysfunctions are not exactly the same, although our behaviors are similar yet not exact; we share one thing in common. A high percent of us have elevated viral antibodies, known as viral reactivation to HHV-6, EBV and/or CMV.  We also share many of the same opportunistic co-infections (see previous blog for full pathogen list). These pathogens may be seen in PTSD as well.  We suspect PTSD is a mix of TBI’s, MTBI’s,  stress and  pathogen  infections  leading to  CNS  and  immune dysfunctions.

Whether these infections compound our chronic illnesses; are a starting point for our illness, delay progress in healing from our illness or further our illness to fatality; one thing is for certain. All of us must address these pathogens by getting them diagnosed and treated so we may research and explore all of the reasons underlying our illnesses in order to prevent and cure ourselves and our future generations.

If step One is pathogen testing and treatment, then the following steps will open the doors to discovery for answers and cures. In order to  take Step One,  we must unite as one group to lobby for antimicrobial treatment for this pandemic.  Stop The Pathogen Infections in us; Save the World.

JULIA HUGO RACHEL

VERY LUCKY GIRL ON VALCYTE

Blake Update:

Blake was hit with an unusual crash during his second quarter at  University. He was able to maintain one class with a 4.0 GPA average,  yet took a drop in his other 2 classes.  He woke up in the 3rd week of school and could not remember what he was studying.  At first, we thought he had a stroke.  He was studying math and engineering but had suddenly lost the ability to recall the theorems and calculations; literally overnight. We suspected PANDAS and had the appropriate lab tests done.  His handwriting had declined and there were behavior issues that were out of character.  If Strep A had been active in Blake’s brain since onset of illness at age 14,  he will still need treatment for this infection. This summer,  he will be undergoing consultation for this issue as well as beginning treatment for chlamydia pneumonia.  He started Trace Mineral and Vitamin IV’s with glutathione 1x weekly. He is also taking Monolaurin and Cortrex for adrenal support.  Blake now weighs 188 lbs and is 6/2″. He has gained 56 lbs.  He is able to walk and swim,  yet he has pressure in his head when he runs.  He is able to hike a few miles without fatigue and is active daily.  He is currently enrolled at University 3/4 time.  With each “setback”, Blake has learned to bounce back by utilizing more resources available through the disabled student program and he is adapting well by learning  from past events.  Strep A in the brain, also known as P.A.N.D.A.S. is thought to be seen in adolescent children only.  However,  we believe if the onset of the chronic illness and infection begins at the pediatric stage, this infection may linger in the patient until it is eradicated.  More research needs to be done on P.A.N.D.A.S.