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How do you know?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A while back, maybe over the summer, I read an article in the New Yorker about Lyme Disease. In it, one of the patients who got interviewed said that she couldn’t be sure that the reason she was feeling better was her Rife machine (which is the category of technology that coil machines fit into). Instead she took the view of a scientist, correlation does not equal causation, and she considered the possibility that just the passage of time (or a placebo effect) was what was helping her recover.

I’ve thought a lot about the question of whether it is just “time” that is allowing me to recover, slow as it may seem. One of the ways I’ve inadvertently tested this hypothesis is to take breaks from using the coil machine. As I’ve written before, I tend to feel better for a week or even 10 days after I stop, I think because the bacterial toxins clear out. Then the symptoms start to come back. So in my mind, the passage of time still does what it did before I started treating Lyme Disease and the other tick-borne infections: it causes me to get sicker because my body can’t control or eradicate these infections without assistance.

I had a more clear reminder that the coil machine causes herx reactions when I came back from my vacation. While I was on vacation, I didn’t coil, and I decided not to go back on my super strict diet because I’m trying to give the dormant bacteria the opportunity to wake up. So I kept feeding the little beasties. This meant that I didn’t quite have the bounce I usually do when I stop coiling. I instead felt the infections getting slowly worse, even as some of the herx related symptoms died down.

Since I’ve been back (Nov 10), I’ve been coiling for both Lyme and Bartonella. When I came back, I was feeling tired and tingly and achy. My joints popped and hurt. My digestion wasn’t great, but at least I wasn’t constipated. I hadn’t had a headache since the early days of the vacation. More than my physical symptoms, I was feeling sat and upset about the death of my aunt. Then as the days progressed, the herx started for each illness.

Lyme

Lyme was pretty straightforward. I was super tired the day after each of the coiling sessions. The right side of my body would be tingly and have a dull ache the night I coiled and the day or two after, before the symptom subsided. I would be very twitchy the night I coiled, with whole limb or whole body twitches. These went away by morning. After the most recent coiling session, I started having achy joints and an achy spine again, as well as pain in my chest, heart palpitations and an irregular heartbeat, all of which lasted about 24 hours. Then as the herx waned, 3-4 days after coiling, I would get the uniquely Lyme-scented urine for a day. Then it would be over. After doing this for a few weeks, the amount of popping and cracking in most of my joints is starting to become less painful and less frequent. (This is the Lyme Protocol I was using, completed over the course of a day, every 4 days.)

Bartonella

Bartonella has been a little more involved. The symptoms have been building up over the last two weeks. I’ve been using the more intense protocol in which I coil each of the areas in my head and spine for longer but I only do each location once per day. Unlike Lyme, which doesn’t give me worse herxes if I coil for more than 3 minutes in each place, longer coiling times for Bartonella on my head and spine increase the intensity of the herxes. I can handle them, so I keep pushing the limits. I coil daily for Bartonella.  The current Barntonella Protocol is here.

The cascade of Bartonella herx symptoms went like this:

  1. Headache – I had one severe headache the day I started coiling daily for Bartonella and a moderate headache the next day. The headaches returned again after two weeks of coiling. Again, I had two, the first one worse than the second.
  2. Butt Acne – it started the day after my first coiling session. It increased in severity over the course of the following days as I coiled. It has leveled off, with new outbreaks as the old ones resolve.
  3. Constipation – It started the day after the first coiling session and has been a daily issue, except for the first day of my period. In addition to constipation, I get pain in my intestines and pain prior to defecating, which started a week after I began coiling again. It seems to be the escalation of constipation.
  4. Kidney pain – It started the day after my first coiling session. I mistook it for PMS and the next day for menstrual cramps, but it didn’t go away. Then I remembered to increase to the full dose of Renavive (3 pills per day). After an additional two days, the pain diminished. These days, I have it some mornings, but it goes away by lunchtime.
  5. Bright (day-glow) urine – This started immediately after the first morning coiling session. It happens every day. I thought it might be from my supplements, but it even happened on the day that I forgot to take my supplements in the morning.
  6. Lower abdominal pain – This started after a few days. I initially mistook it for menstrual cramps, but the pain associated with Bartonella is more of a burning pain. It lasted beyond my menstrual cycle and has continued intermittently.
  7. Upset digestion – This included some nausea and upset stomach. It started a few days of coiling. After five days of coiling, I started having reflux and an inability to tolerate cool or cold drinks. This continues intermittently.
  8. Tingling in my limbs – This started a few days after I began coiling. It was a problem at the beginning of my trip when I wasn’t coiling, then it stopped being a daily occurrence during the second week of the trip. After about five days of coiling again, it got worse, with my arms falling asleep whenever I rested or slept and my legs falling asleep whenever I sat. Now, after coiling for two weeks, it is becoming less frequent, but hasn’t gone away.
  9. Pins and needles in the soles of my feet upon waking – This started six days after I began coiling again. It lasted for four days. Now it seems to have stopped again.
  10. Light night sweats – These happened for three consecutive nights, after coiling for a week. I’m still waking up hot at night, but not sweaty.
  11. Back pain and muscle tension in my shoulders, neck and face – This started again after nine days of coiling and hasn’t gone away yet.
  12. Urinary hesitation – This happened for the first time last night, two weeks into coiling for Bartonella.

I’ve had all these symptoms before when I’ve increased my Bartonella coiling. I keep wishing that I’m done with all this, but I know that as long as I keep getting these symptoms, the Bartonella hasn’t been vanquished yet.

Supplements & Diet

The next question is: how do I know the coiling is what is helping me, not the supplements I’ve been taking? The short answer is that the supplements have helped a lot, especially with making me feel okay from day to day. I took them when I was on antibiotics. They helped reduce the symptoms back then. But…

When I took supplements without doing some kind of bactericidal activity, the symptoms got worse. When used in combination with either antibiotics or coiling, they seemed to make the symptoms less intense than antibiotics or coiling alone. I’ve stopped most of the supplements. Now I take only four:

  1. Renavive – to  help detox my kidneys (3 pills per day)
  2. Milk Thistle – to help detox my liver (1 pill per day, 150 mg)
  3. DIM – to help regulate my estrogen (2 pills per day, 150 mg total)
  4. Vitex – to help regulate my progesterone (1 pill per day, 100 mg)

I’ve gotten rid of everything else, all the extra nutrients, vitamins and minerals, all the antioxidants and detox agents, all the digestive aids, everything. I can tell they did something because in their absence, I feel worse. And yet, even with the herx symptoms returning, I feel less worse than I did when I first cut them out.

Food is a similar story. I was on a very strict diet, one that preferentially starved the tick-borne infections. Now I’m eating food that the bacteria love to dine on. I feel worse. But as I continue to coil the reactions diminish. On vacation, when I didn’t coil but did eat those foods, the reactions to those foods slowly got more intense.

Menstrual Cycle

This topic is less clear cut than the ones above, but still points in favor of coiling making a difference. Taking metformin for several years did get my menstrual cycle back on track and less acute illness was associated with its onset. As time progressed, I realized that part of the illness was a flare of the infections as my cycle started. As my overall symptoms diminished with coiling, the acute flares diminished.

However, my cycle still does not regulate itself properly without any supplements, which is why I still take DIM and Vitex. Together these are less potent than metformin. I suspect my hormones won’t work properly until all the chronic infections are gone. So, although I’ve seen progress, I haven’t yet crossed the line that allows me to say that the coil machine and its bactericidal effects have allowed my body to heal enough to not rely on supplements.

Conclusion

After using the coil machine for almost three years, I have seen physical and cognitive improvements that did not occur with antibiotics or with supplements alone or with diet alone. When I have stopped coiling for periods of 2-3 weeks, I have seen the symptoms from the infections recur and increase. This suggests that coiling is the reason that my health has improved.

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