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Welchol vs Colestid

Monday, May 23, 2011

Over the years, especially during my time on antibiotics, I used several different “bile-binding agents” to help diminish the Herxes. Some have been useful and some have been problematic.

My least favorite was cholestyramine. It was too strong. I took it during a round of antibiotics that killed off a lot of Lyme bacteria, leading to a long lasting, ever increasing Herx. The cholestyramine did reduce the symptoms of the Herx. But it wasn’t enough to really get rid of them, even though I was taking it daily. It had some pretty horrible side effects, primarily because it was so good a binding up bile and cholesterol. First was that my menses disappeared the entire time I was on it. The lack of sufficient cholesterol disrupted my endocrine function. The other was that my neurological symptoms increased! That was the opposite of what we were hoping for. This, too, was probably from insufficient cholesterol in my blood and nerve tissue. Nerve cells are protected by myelin sheaths which need plenty of cholesterol to function. When they aren’t intact, neuropathy ensues, or in my case, got worse.

When I started coiling, I tried colestid, aka colestipol. It is a much milder bile-binding agent. It, too, reduces cholesterol. I’ve used it differently than the cholestyramine. I only take colestid when I have a severe headache. I’ve discovered I need to take 2 pills at 1 gm each with a fair quantity of saturated fat (coconut milk ice cream) for them to have an effect. They kick in after about an hour. The effect lasts about a day, then, if the Herx isn’t over, the headache comes back. Colestid doesn’t really address any of the other Herx symptoms: fatigue, joint and spine pain, muscle pain, nerve pain, or earaches. It helps a little with the light sensitivity. I’ve been careful to take it only when the headaches are very intense because my cholesterol is already too low.

I tried welchol, aka colesevelam, for the first time on Friday night. I took one 625mg pill with a high fat snack. It started working a lot faster. The headache is only returning tonight (Monday). The light sensitivity started up last night and was a bit worse today. Even now, the headache isn’t that bad yet. Like colestid, it didn’t really address any of the other symptoms. The fatigue didn’t seem quite as bad this time, but I couldn’t tell if it was because I was running on adrenaline to keep up with a visiting friend over the weekend. Today as the light sensitivity returned, I needed a 2 hour afternoon nap.

The disappearance of the headache made me understand why people who take welchol might be tempted to coil too much. When the headache is super intense and impedes my ability to function, I know I’d better be careful about coiling again. Without it, I feel like it’s easy to ride out the Herx, even that I could handle a much worse Herx than this, so why not coil again? I know better to pay attention to small things that indicate an unhappy liver and kidneys. That’s why I continue to coil at a moderate pace, even though the Herx hasn’t hit me like a ton of bricks.

One cautionary note about welchol, colestid and cholestyramine. I’ve been told (and it says on the monogram that comes with the prescription) that I should take it 2 hours away from other medications, vitamins, supplements and nutrients (like juiced greens) because it can bind to them, too, before my body can absorb them.

Another note is that these are prescription medications, so a doctor’s supervision is not only required to use them, but needed to monitor their use for people who don’t have high cholesterol.

Coiling

I’m back on the regular schedule after missing yesterday. Since I’m still riding out the Lyme Herx, I didn’t add or increase any treatments.

  • Bartonella, abdomen, 5 minutes; chest, 2 minutes
  • Babesia, chest, 5 minutes; liver, 5 minutes
  • Candida, abdomen, 10 minutes; chest, 2 minutes; face, 2 minutes

Detox

I went to yoga today. The weather was colder than it’s been in a while, so I never got overheated and sweaty during the class. When I got there, I was pretty wrecked. My lower back was killing me. My spine hurt, each and every vertebrate. My joints, especially my shoulders, were achy. Everything was making popping and cracking noises when I moved. But I went anyway. It was totally worth it.

During yoga class, we focused on the third eye, breathing in clarity, noticing that “we are exactly where we need to be.” I was able to almost all the poses. I did a reduced-impact, modified version of the basic flow (downward dog, plank, knees-chest-and-chin, baby cobra, downward dog), and learned a new, less stressful way to get from baby cobra to downward dog. We worked on opening our hearts while at the same time, oxygenating our shoulder sockets. I felt like the class was designed for me. Then, to make me realize how far I’ve come, I did my first warrior 3 pose since 2005 (this time with my hands by my sides). I almost felt like I was flying (actually, I was closer to falling!). Something moved during class. My eyes started hurting and I had a headache at the end. But within 10 minutes, it had mostly resolved. Yoga class is definitely more interesting than physical therapy.

  • homeopathic support
  • kombucha
  • juiced greens
  • artichoke (2, fresh)
  • skin brushing
  • BioMat
  • daytime nap (2 hours on BioMat level 1)
  • castor oil pack on liver
  • yoga

Body

I couldn’t sleep last night. I was too wound up from the weekend and from a beautiful email I saw at 11pm. So I was up till ¬†1:30am trying to get my body and mind to relax. I had one night sweat.

I did not want to get up this morning. My body felt like it was made of lead. My spine hurt. My lower back felt chilled and achy. My arms and legs felt heavy and achy. My mind felt like I was in the fog of a hangover. (I’m just guessing what that feels like since I’ve never had an alcohol hangover.)

I gave myself some time on the BioMat and forced myself to yoga class.

When I came home, I was dead tired. I had a few ideas of what I wanted to do, but I could really only sleep. I woke up with a lot more joint pain than I’ve had in a while. My fingers on my right hand were numb then tingling. It seems like the Lyme Herx is in full effect. My hands and hips, shoulders and knees, neck and elbows all hurt. My muscles are tight and have very focused areas of sharp pain. My jaw is poppin on the left side. Light sensitivity warning is in effect.

When a friend came over for a visit, I found I just couldn’t sit up. So we got in my bed and had a daytime sleepover, all the whispering and giggling of a sleepover, nice and warm under the covers. No sleep of course, but a fun way to spend a drizzly afternoon.

Tonight, in addition to everything else, my right ear is killing me, as is my whole right arm, which is wrapped in a dull pain. I’m having a gas attack. I have a lot of floaters in my vision. Typing is difficult, like my fingers forgot which key is which. I’m just falling apart…as predicted…and as desired, since it is evidence of a Lyme bacteria die-off.

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