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Counting on One Finger

Thursday, March 12, 2015

There are some lessons to learn over and over again. Each year for the past three years, I’ve tried to figure out how to coil for Bartonella in the most effective way possible. Each year I’ve come to a similar conclusion, though I’ve reached it in different ways. The conclusion is this: In my body, Bartonella is primarily an infection of my central nervous system, with some infection at the juncture where my nerves exit my spinal cord.

I learned this again yesterday. I’ve recently learned that a lot of my symptoms, the ones that are in my various organ systems, are likely mediated by some kind of dysautonomia. In other words, my central nervous system is unable to regulate the autonomic functions in a normal way. This causes problems with my heart, my kidneys, my intestines, and on and on. In addition, I’ve known for a long time, from reading as well as my various treatments with antibiotics and using the coil machine, that much of the peripheral neuropathy I’ve experienced, has come from the Bartonella infection. This has included pain in my arms and legs that borrows the shape of gloves and knee-high toe-socks, tingling, numbness and so on. I’ve also had to deal with poor coordination, when I can’t quite control my limbs the way I expect to: stumbling, balancing, dropping things, not being able to type, etc. There are also the mood disturbances and cognitive problems that flare and recede. None of this is news, it is the basis of my understanding of Bartonella infecting my central nervous system.

Then I was left with some questions, do I really have an infection everywhere in my body? Do I need to coil everywhere? Or is it enough to coil just my central nervous system and the areas where the nerves become part of my peripheral nervous system?

As I learned more about dysautonomia, I started to wonder if I really need to coil all my organs. Would it be enough to get at the neurological source? Unfortunately, I don’t have a straightforward answer. As a neurologist explained to me back before I knew I had Lyme Disease (and two co-infections), when you pick up the phone (back when most people still used landlines) and you get no dial tone, there is no way to know, just from the lack of dial tone whether there is a problem with the line in your house, the transformer on your block, or at the main switchboard for your city. In other words, with peripheral neuropathy, you don’t know if it’s the small cells at the skin’s surface, the nerve bundles that connect those nerves to your spine, or a problem in your central nervous system.

I still don’t have a conclusive answer, so I’ve coiled my whole body regularly.

More recently, I’ve been concerned because I have joint pain. The worst of the pain is in my shoulders, elbows, wrists, and knuckles. In the past, I’ve also had pain in my knees, and sometimes my ankles and feet. The first thing I do is to coil for Lyme, just in case, even though with Lyme on my body, it’s usually everywhere at once, not a single contiguous area. But that doesn’t always resolve the pain. So I make sure I coil for Bartonella over the joints.

Yesterday, I was having hand pain. All my knuckles hurt. Every knuckle on every finger, plus my thumb. I was confused as to whether this was Lyme or Bartonella. Moreover, I was wondering why my knuckles weren’t swelled at all (which they sometimes do with Lyme). I happened to go to the acupuncturist for other symptoms (urinary tract, heart, digestive tract), and mentioned the pain in my hands, which was worse than usual.

The acupuncturist offered to treat my hands by putting needles at the base of each finger. I was nervous, since I expected it to hurt. She managed to put one needle in the base of my left index finger. I almost shot out of the chair. It was horrible. Even after she took it out, it still felt like I had a needle lodged deep into my bone. (She had barely entered the surface of my skin.)

Fast forward 30 minutes to when the acupuncturist took out the rest of the needles she managed to put in after the hand fiasco: my left index finger didn’t hurt. The three knuckles were pain free. The rest of my knuckles on both hands were still in agony. I was floored by how striking the difference was.

I happened to be at a clinic where there were other patients. There was no way I could go through that amount of pain without making noise, to do the other fingers. So I’m thinking about seeing the acupuncturist privately, so I can take care of my hands without scaring off the other patients.

Anyway, the first thing I thought about as I walked home was that the pain in my knuckles might be nerve pain. It might not be swelling inside the knuckles or some other knuckle-based pathology. One needle that clearly struck a nerve resolved pain in the joints peripheral to where the needle was placed.

That was a clue that Bartonella is all about the nerves, and all the other symptoms are really manifestations of a neuro-pathology. I’m coming to believe that more and more.

The next question in my mind was: are the finger problems in the nerves in my fingers or somewhere further up the line. I had no answer right away, but the initial evidence of all the joints hurting at the same time made me think the problem was not in the nerves of each individual digit.

The closest piece of evidence I have is that the pain has returned, in a different form, to that one finger, while the joints on all the other fingers still hurt the same way. My left index finger has a pain running up the back, towards my middle finger. It is as if the nerve pain signals got interrupted and rerouted.

This has me thinking that I might make more progress if I concentrate solely on my central nervous system. Maybe do 5-6 minutes on my head, spine and shoulder knobs (which has given me big herxes). I may try it out this weekend, or after I take a break for a week to visit my sister’s family.

Disclaimer

2 comments

  1. You are doing some great detective work!


    • Thank you. I only wish I could design a clean experiment (with a control) to test my theories. I’m learning, slowly but surely.



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