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

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              “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

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This is NOT a Bull Fight! OR IS IT? CFS/CFIDS/GWI/PTSD

 In Spain, Bull Fighting traces its’ origin back to 711 A.D.   Nearly one million Spanish Citizens flock to watch bullfighting every year.

Originally accomplished on horseback by the Aristocracy, the sport changed to that of the commoners in 1724. Since commoners could not afford horses, they developed the art of bullfighting on foot, unarmed.

The start of the Fight begins by the sounding of  a Trumpet. Picadores enter the ring and engage in about a 10 minute ritual. During this ritual, spears are thrown into the Bull to weaken him. The trumpet sounds again and in walks the Matador.

There are more “players” in the Bullfighting ring in modern times. There are the Picadores (Lancers) whom are mounted on horseback. The Banderilleros (Flaggers), The Mozo de espada (Sword Servant) and the Matador.

In the final stage of the Fight, the Matador does a spectacular “Dance” with death as the crowd shouts “Jole!”  Then the Matador kills the Bull.

Bullfighting, although part of Spanish tradition and culture, is criticized by many animal rights activist groups. If the tradition of Bullfighting in Spain has raised such awareness for such activist groups as StopOurShame (SOS), I cannot help but wonder why our  Viral Issue and co-related diseases have escaped the art of Activism.

Could it be that we are in a Bull Fight in which The Picadores have thrown their spears into us and we have yet to be slaughtered? Or are we about to begin a new wave of advocacy called Activism?

The “Charging Bull” is a 7100lb bronze sculpture that stands near Wall Street in New York City. An artist named Di Modica spent over $360,000.00 to create, cast and install this sculpture. Following the 1987 stock market Crash, this Bull was to be a symbol of  “strength and power to the American People”. Di Modica created “The Bull” as an act of Guerilla Art. On December 15, 1989 he positioned the massive sculpture beneath a massive Christmas Tree in the Middle of Broad Street in front of the New York Stock Exchange. Di Modica handed out flyers about his art and gave the sculpture to the people of New York as a Christmas Gift.

The Police SEIZED The Bull and placed it in an impound lot. A public outcry ensued which Led the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to install “The Bull” back onto the streets of New York! The Bull was placed 2 blocks south of the New York Stock Exchange. The people in this instance, went from advocacy to activism to achieve bringing The Bull Back. They did so “with unity of purpose”.

You cannot buy unity. You cannot enforce unity. Unity has to come from a sense of passion for a united purpose. To push or proselytize will not be effective methods for bringing awareness or advocacy. The “hard sell” in not necessary to achieve a groups end goals.

If we look towards activism, it might be prudent to look at other models of success. Some of these models can be seen in Coups, Revolutions, Battles and other Activist Groups. We are in the age of heightened social media tools which are at our disposal. However, it would be (and has been) a vast mistake to think that any advocacy could be a success without “on the street” campaigning.

The recent Coup in Egypt was successful in part to the efforts of the AGYM.  AGYM has been cited in The New Yorker as well as Wired  as being so successful in their movements, due to their use of Social Media Tools.  AGYM has fervently made it clear that “using social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, etc. were extensions and traditional forms of interactions, NOT replacements”. Their point being that the BULK of their activism work is done “on the streets” by traditional means. (Flyers, Posters, WORD OF MOUTH,  Organizing Protests, Campaigning at Universities and Engaging with Neighborhood leaders.)

 Modern Activism takes Street Action, Social Media Tools and Political Lobbying to achieve a social and political movement. Be it The Arts, The Sciences or with a Health Issue; you must use Political Lobbying in a democracy to further your cause.

Many Governments have laws they will choose to enact to strengthen their security apparatus; should they need to. This is why it is important to strategize for a Peaceful Social-Political Movement.

Strategic Planning and turning our weaknesses into strengths only enhance our chance of voicing and winning the Fight For Our Cause. The extension to this arm is the realization that we need to do this in mass numbers. Infected Military and Civilians have both been left to suffer. Suicide rates amongst Soldiers now out number deaths in Combat. (For the past 2 years.)

 HHV-6A   is a  stealth brain virus that can be capable of inducing mania in a sane human being; under certain reactivation circumstances. This may be the most hideous and scary aspect of our illness. The fact that it could be Anywhere, Anytime, Anyone who could be hit with these viruses is frightening. The fact that a Normal, Healthy, Intellectual, Athletic, Strong and Stable human can revert to suicidal tendencies after being afflicted  is horrifying. This is across the board demographics in that it targets Pediatrics, Males, Females, Youth, Middle Age, Geriatric, Civilians and Soldiers.

Patients are being diagnosed with psychiatric or psychological disorders when in fact there may be an underlying biological Issue. It is cheaper and easier to diagnose an epidemic as “psychosomatic”. (CDC’s ruling on The Lake Tahoe Epidemic.)

 Some of the pathogens that piggyback with HHV-6A are defined as “Stealth”  due to their opportunistic behaviors.  Many people across the Globe are stumped by these diseases and the fact that CFS/Lyme/GWI/Autism are spreading at an alarming rate.  Belgium, The UK, China, Japan, The Netherlands, Europe, Australia,  New Zealand and many others are all wondering the same thing. What IS GOING ON?

So far, we know that we are dealing with an infectious disease. If this is 100% the case, then why are people who don’t touch, don’t live together, are neighbors, in the same church or just live in the same community contracting these viruses? This leads me to believe that there could be a “contagious”  period at some point.

In the book  “The Thirteen Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and The Next Financial Meltdown”,  by Simon Johnson and James Kwak; the authors identify why this current financial crisis on Wall Street has occurred. From Banking and Housing Policies to deregulatory ideology and Wall Street Political Influence, the authors diagram the unfolding.

Political Influence is the “Tipping Point” for all of us with CFS/Lyme/GWI/Autism and every other disease. If the tipping point for us as a collective patient whole is political influence, then it would be safe to say that advocacy, activism and political lobbying might get us the funding we all want and desperately deserve. Funding EQUALS Research which equals  Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention.

I was told the moment I stepped foot on a Cattle Ranch,  “NEVER turn your back on a BULL”.  To this day, those words ring true in my ears and I follow them implicitly.

WE ARE NOW THE BULL. Yet we have been weak and viewed as such; thus  Backs have been turned on us and we have been left to suffer. We have a choice.  We can stand in the arena with SPEARS in our back ready for slaughter. We can progress towards a United end goal. Frankly, I am not waiting for that “Second Trumpet”  to signal my FATE,  I am heading for the end goal.

GODSPEED.

JULIA  HUGO  RACHEL

VERY LUCKY GIRL ON VALCYTE