Man Down. Millions More Going Down from PTSD/GWI/CFIDS

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.

 Please visit us at: http://juliahugorachelmomentstoremember.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/a-decade-later-a-fresh-start-begins-july-4-2012/

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.

Examining GWI/CFS/CFIDS/PTSD. Getting Intimate with our Viruses. Part #1

As with any  disease with a potential newfound etiology; there are wide variations of treatment options and choices available to the patient afflicted.  In the beginning stages of a disease, we look to the plethora of Scientific Researchers who study  and explore every possible avenue of the disease at hand in order to find viable treatment options, routes and cures.  It is through studying all branches, avenues and options that these researchers are able to narrow down specific and/or possible etiology as well as possible treatments and cures. I commend every researcher, scientist and doctor who has devoted his or her time and energy in the efforts to discover laboratory methodologies, causations, subsets, treatment options and all else involved with CFS/CFIDS/GWI/PTSD As patients, we owe our lives to these Advocates, Researchers, Scientists, Doctors and Groups devoted to our cause.

In the mean time, these separate branches of research can take decades if not longer to get end results. Identifying Disease etiology is a Giant Step; then exploring and finding out what routes to take for diagnosing and treatment are the branches of the tree that are time consuming and full of endless research. Along with research; comes Trial and Error, Successes and Failure. Then if a new drug needs to be created for treatment, the time frame for treatment or a cure increases exponentially.

Word of mouth about possible treatments options, cures and causations have been our primary “Bamboo Telegraph System” for the past 3 decades. This word of mouth system has kept many of us going through the toughest of times. Up until NOW,  all we have had to go on thus far as patients  is through our community based websites and word of mouth. We have been shunned and ignored by most of the medical, societal and familial realms, thus we turn to these support groups for encouragement and information. The lack of trained CFS/CFIDS/GWI/PTSD specialists in the Biological field to treat the millions of  patients of these combined diseases in the United States as well as the tens of  millions of  patients worldwide  is now at a critical point and time.

We now find ourselves at “The Crossroads”.  Viable Scientific studies on Viruses and Pathogens have been published that now give us more hope, more advantages and more options than at any other time in the past with our Diseases. The time is now ripe to get “Intimate” with our diseases. Now is the time for understanding. Now is the time to gain momentum towards lobbying for our disease. Now is the time to really understand what has happened to our bodies; how this has happened and how we can move forward with treatments available right now.

If we are to fully grasp this disease that has taken a hold of our Brains, Central Nervous System, Heart, Organs, Immune and Endocrine Systems and that has virtually destroyed our quality of life; it is time that we get to know this illness on a deeper level. It is time for us to get Intimate with our Viruses. Some of us do not have the luxury to wait another decade; let alone another year.

What we do know for sure is that  a percentage of cases are caused by A) a genetic predisposition and then B) activation occurs by a virulent trigger, a chemical/toxic trigger or a pathogen. We know that there are AT LEAST 2 subsets of CFS disease; if not more. We know that viral reactivation occurs when :  1) immune dysfnction occurs; 2) cellular dysfunction occurs; then 3) viral reactivation occurs of  HHV-6A, EBV, CMV and other co-infections.  It is imperative that the patient understands what subset of this disease they are in, for without this information they are literally flying blind.  It is only through this course of gaining knowledge and power that we can make informed decisions as to what viable  and sound treatment options we choose to go with.

I originally started writing Very Lucky Girl On Valcyte because I felt I was lucky to have been diagnosed and treated for the underlying causation of my Illness, which is Virus and Pathogens Infections.

 I also started writing this blog, because my son had contracted an illness at 14 years of age and by 19 years of age he was about to be enrolled in the Hospice Program and was given a form to fill out by IHSS for his “Last 5 Wishes in Life”. Watching my son, an extreme athlete, a top student, a top gun, and a passionate-handsome, loving and beautiful soul shutting down cognitively and physically ignited me to explore every option, every avenue and every viable scientific possibility for treatment to save his life. Being on 24/7 suicide watches on his behalf for nearly 2 years only made me more resolute to battle this hideous disease. My son was a passionate, fun loving, humorous soul who turned to suicidal thoughts and tendencies in order to escape the wrath of this disease. They say, “No soldier gets left behind.” My motto was and is, “My son does not die on my Watch.”

After 6 months on Valcyte, I knew my main mission was to write this Blog and to continue to explore every avenue, every nook, every crevice,  every sliver and every ray of hope for treatment and recovery from this disease that wipes out and erases entire lives. My heart acknowledges and grieves for those of you who have lost children to these diseases. I am continually saddened by each death I hear of due to these diseases.  I am committed to doing everything in my power to save lives of these patients. My main focus is Pediatrics and Military Personnel. Yet, hopefully through our work; more patient lives will be bettered as well as saved.  More patients will realize when they have been hit by a Virus and/or Pathogen  AND  to get tested if their symptoms PERSIST.

Howard W. Newton once said, “People don’t give a hoot about who made the original whatzit. They want to know who makes the best one.”  This is truth. Whatever treatment option you choose, whatever protocol works for you; make it the best informed choice for you.

The Branches of scientific research of  GWI/CFS/Lyme/Autism and viral outbreaks have encompassed research such as Natural Killer Cells involvement, Viral Reactivation, Tumor Necrosis Factor-Alpha, The Zero sed Rate Factor, Pathogens such as Micoplasma and Chlamydophila Pn., as well as a host of tick borne and rare pathogens.  Environmental Triggers such as   chemical, mold, toxins, vaccines and food sensitivities are equally as important in this research.

We now have VIABLE  SCIENTIFIC  Data linking and associating genetic predisposition, virulent triggers and viral reactivation to GWI/CFS/Lyme/Autism and Viral Outbreaks.

IF YOU GET HIT WITH A VIRUS or a “FLU” AND DO NOT RECOVER SUBSTANTIALLY within the Doctors prescribed frametime, PLEASE GET TESTED FOR THE VIRUSES AND CO-INFECTIONS LISTED IN PART #2 OF THIS BLOG.

 If you have been diagnosed with PTSD  or a TBI and exhibit 4 out of the 6  symptoms below: PLEASE GET TESTED.

If you have been diagnosed with Gulf War Illness and exhibit 4 out of the 6 symptoms listed below: PLEASE GET TESTED. Test codes are listed in Part #2 of this Blog. HHV-6A at 3x positivity or greater plus opportunistic infections are a sign of immunological breakdown. Central Nerovous System Meltdown happens as well. The HHV-6A  is a virus which takes action and causes failure in our Brains.

If you have an Autistic son or sibling: PLEASE GET THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY TESTED.

If you have Lyme Disease: PLEASE GET TESTED.

Once diagnosed with GWI/CFS/Autism/Lyme, the beginning protocol is to be tested for HHV-6A, EBV and CMV Viruses along with all Pathogens specific to the Disease. The HHV-6 tests should be done through Quest Labs or Focus Labs ONLY so that results can  be compared to recent proven published scientific studies that used Focus Labs in the clinical trials; which proved anti-viral treatment works on 70% of a certain subset patients .

 Patients around the world are at risk for a false-negative if tested at any other laboratory other than Quest/Focus for HHV-6A. Major Universities are using their own labs and telling patients they are “negative”. These same patients are then tested through Quest/Focus Labs and are showing up at 3X-8X positivity for HHV-6A.

 Quest Labs will send the HHV-6 tests to Focus Labs directly. If you test positive for HHV-6, a repeat test will need to be done exactly 4 weeks after your first positive test.  It takes 2 positives  at  a  4  week interval apart to  equal a true positive for treatment protocol  standards.

 Most doctors do not  know about HHV-6A  Virus or that Quest/Focus Labs are the Leader in this testing. Very few Doctors have any understanding of HHV-6; the fact that it can integrate by chromosome into the brain and the potentially disastrous CNS and Immune System Meltdown  this Virus can cause when activated above normal titer ranges. We are now seeing HHV-6A to be associated in neorological diseases such as CFS, MS, GWI, Autism, Lyme, Lupus, some forms of Cancer and many other diseases. We are seeing high suicide numbers in Patients who just cannot cope with the massive wrath of this CNS and Immune System illness combined with the effects on The Brain and the lack of medical attention directed towards diagnosing and treatment.

You are a candidate for Valcyte if you have ALL THREE of the Following:

1)  Your  EBV-Nuclear AG IGG is 3X positive or higher.   (The EBV-VCA IGG needs to be done as well, but treatment depends on the Nuclear test)

2) You test at least 3X positive or higher  for HHV-6;  at Quest/Focus Labs.

3) You have at least 4 of 6 symptoms listed below.

The Symptoms are:

1) impaired cognitive Function

 2) slowed processing speed

 3) sleep disturbance

4) short term memory deficit

 5) fatigue (profound fatigue with unrefreshing sleep)

6) symptoms consistent with depression.

This information is according to the Stanford Protocol: Journal of Clinical Virology 2006; 37:S33-38. Your physician can look this study up. You have the right as a patient to ask your doctor to run these blood tests mentioned above and you have the right to receive a copy of your lab results.

 I have listed a copy of the blood test lab codes in Part #2 of this Blog.  If you test High Positive for the CMV virus, then the only known treatment for this Virus at this time is Valcyte. The CMV can cause retinitis as well as  high Blood Pressure. If you have High Blood Pressure, it is advisable to get checked for the CMV virus  (Harvard Study).

Most physicians are unable to read nor understand HHV-6 results, thus they cannot interpret them and are in the Dark. Here is the positivity scale for  Quest Labs:

POSITIVITY IGG AB Titers for HHV-6

  • 1X…..1:10
  • 2X…..1:20
  • 3X…..1:40
  • 4X…..1:80
  • 5X…..1:16
  • 6X…..1:320
  • 7X…..1:640
  • 8X…..1:1280

Many infectious disease doctors are familiar with Valcyte and its’ usage for CMV.  Sales topped 36 Billion Dollars last year for this Drug and it is a well-tolerated and studied drug whose usage is mandatory in transplant patients (Excluding Liver Transplants). Valcyte is also FDA approved for Pediatric Patients.

In addition to the above-mentioned viruses, it is imperative to be tested for piggyback co-infections (Pathogens) such as Micoplasma and Chlamydophila Pneu Panel. These Pathogen  infections alone and/or in conjunction with Viral Reactivation can make  patients very ill.

 Our patients are notoriously low in DHEA-S. Laboratories list “normal ranges”  for DHEA-S  that are inadequate for those of us with CFS/GWI/Lyme/Autism. Young adults optimal range is between 300-790 depending on sex. Adult women’s optimal range is between 160-340. Although DHEA-S can be purchased OTC, it is best monitored by blood tests and a  compounded  prescription written by a licensed doctor for the correct dosage.

 Additional standard  tests include CBC W/ Differential; Comprehensive Metabolic Panels; Testo Free and Total; Cortisol, Serum L: C/MS/MS and of course Lyme disease. Ana Choice cascading reflex test is advisable. The Tumor Necrosis Factor-Alpha is also a definable test as it shows higher in patients and is strongly correlated with Natural Killer Dysfunction. Some scientists predict the Tumor Necrosis Factor-Alpha Test might be a strong indicator test to prove this illness in the future. Normal Range for this test is 1.2 – 15.3 pg/ml. I am at 222.8, which tells you how my natural killer cells are getting along.

It must be mentioned that a percentage of patients who test high and are in need of treatment will suicide with the HHV-6A Brain virus  if they do not get medical attention.  Our military suicide numbers in the past 2 years now outnumber Death in Combat.  GWI is rampant in the Military amongst both the deployed and non-deployed.

 The HHV-6A virus along with the other viruses and Pathogen infections are like a nuetron bomb to our Brain as well as our Immune Systems. Thus, we call these Stealth Viruses and Pathogens.

Getting Intimate with these Viruses and Pathogens and knowing what to test for is the first step towards gaining more knowledge of  the illnesses they correlate with.

I’ve been warned that  “It is not the Valcyte alone that gets the virus it is working on but a combination of both the medication and the body’s immune response in conjunction.” Diet plays an important role in combatting this monster. Environmental Triggers are essential to look at. Physical and mental stressors are damaging on the cellular level and can be life threatensing; this aspect of these diseases is essential to understand how to cope and to progress successfully.  Immune uptake regulators may be essential for certain subsets.

If we get Intimate with our Viruses and Pathogens and determine what we are dealing with; the chance of our personal treatment success is greatly expanded.

JULIA HUGO RACHEL

VERY LUCKY GIRL ON VALCYTE