Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Back from the dead!

All Hallow's Eve approaches and many friends are telling me that they are feeling like death warmed up.
It is normal to be worn down by fatigue and and moan that this is a horrible time of year. We wish all these stomach bugs and infections on our chests would go away...and quickly.
I am also “full of cold”, falling in to a deep exhausted sleep for hours at a time, and struggling to write through an aching body and head which has continued for a week. But I am excited and happy about this.

Why??? Why would I be so perverse?
To shorten a difficult explanation: because it is a sign that my body is alive and kicking!

You see, I have now been through years of these phases of increased immune response with aching bones, upset stomach, mucus-production, sinusitis and headaches. I made them happen by embarking on a radical and tough immune-stimulating drug protocol called the Marshall Protocol. This is the opposite of many mainstream immune-suppressing medical treatments for chronic pain and autoimmune conditions.

The result after 17 months has been a huge reduction in my chronic pain, diagnosed as fibromyalgia, and the recovery of my ability to maintain a stable body temperature (At times in the past three to five years the number of clothing layers I needed was ridiculous and any exposure of my skin to cooler air led to uncontrollable shivering and blueish nails).

I am now able to think about working again because the cognitive dysfunction I experienced for a few years seems to be lifting gradually like a curtain.
I fully expect to face more ups and downs during my recovery, but now I sense that my body can basically cope with what is thrown at it.

In the last month or two I was feeling quite good, sailing along, no longer struggling to walk more than short distances, and able to use my muscles more often without post-exertion pain.
I consulted my two doctors and we agreed that I would make a certain medical adjustment which they predicted would cause my immune response to increase again. This is sometimes called a Herxheimer reaction. We all felt that I was ready for this next step change.

Hence I am now sneezing, coughing, aching and trying to clear my poor sinuses.....and I am rejoicing as I take the next steps in my recovery! I haven't “caught a bug” - my body is responding exactly as planned, to control the chronic infections already at home inside my body.

I want to write a whole series of blog posts about natural immune responses of different types (subject to my own daily symptoms!). If you don't think I am explaining in a lot more depth what I believe is happening in the body, contact me and tell me!

Good health everyone!

Friday, 1 October 2010

Naming names

What's in a name? Well, if someone called you by the wrong name you wouldn't hesitate to correct them.
And humans do so love the naming of things. Whole books are written about those individuals who have come up with naming systems for different scientific areas such as Carolus Linnaeus for botany. 

Much effort is spent these days in testing and identifying the name of the bacteria that may have caused an infection. Once the doctor knows what it is then s/he feels able to prescribe the correct antibiotic. Or that's the theory.

But a new paper has shown how difficult it can be to put a name on something as shape-shifting as microbes. 
The genes from one microbe may be quite useful to another nearby microbe - especially if they convey antibiotic resistance - so they parcel it out in a generous way apparently. This is called horizontal gene transfer.

In Nature News magazine this week they reported on the important discovery of the mechanism by which microbes do this, and also revealed how amazingly quick it can happen. Overnight 47 per cent of marine bacteria had taken the genetic make-up of an introduced modified microbe in to their own genetic make-up. Now that makes naming microbes a bit tricky.

Evolutionary biologist Jeffrey Townsend at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, told the magazine: "In order to understand antibiotic resistance, pathogenicity, or the beneficial things that bacteria do for us, we need to understand how they evolve through horizontal gene transfer — knowing about this process can help us live in a world full of microbes."

And most of us want to carry on living in this microbe-crammed world, don't we? I think we need to pay less attention to naming things, and start applying our knowledge to understanding important processes in and around us.