Monday, August 29, 2011

Wrapping up ten weeks -- real "Worm Flu" hits the fan

Since getting my tooth filled back on August 10, it seems my 25 Necator americanus friends have had a rough time of it and my immune system has been back to its boffo self. I have been very tired. I notice this particularly in a desire to sleep in mornings. I'm sure it will be getting better, but I've had a few days of being quite exhausted. It comes and it goes. In no way do I feel as terrible as I did before getting inoculated and that's a major relief. It's kind of horrifying to realize how bad I felt all the time.

The redness of my eyes that I noticed started right when I was inoculated is also coming and going. The redder my eyes, the more my hookworm buddies seem to be doing their thing. So now I'm actually happy to look in the mirror and see that redness when I'm feeling good. I had a day of feeling quite fantastic a few days ago and I'm hoping to see my worms getting better and better.

My daughter is doing pretty well. She's had a few bad days. We've probably been too liberal with the food experimentation, but it's very hard when the poor kid has spent years dying to eat like a normal person, especially after months of eating nothing but soy pancakes. It's interesting, her primary food incursion symptom presents as extreme grumpiness and agitation. She's not consciously aware of being in pain, instead she becomes hypersensitive and very irritable. But overall, she's doing quite well. I'm so looking forward to seeing if she gets major traction in the ability to eat. I'm so happy to see that she's willing to eat and experiment and she's not afraid of eating most of the things that have been no-nos for her. She has told me repeatedly that she feels her appetite is much better. She's also sleeping well, which indicates lower levels of pain. She's grown since being inoculated, her feet are much bigger than they were two months ago. Considering she's eight and a half years old and wearing toddler size shoes, this is no small thing.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Eight weeks in August 10, 2011 -- I get a tooth filled with lidocaine anesthesia

Unfortunately, I didn't make it to the dentist before going and getting inoculated with worms. I thought I didn't have that much to worry about, only having had one cavity in the preceding 45 years. Dealing with a very sick kid doesn't leave a lot of discretionary time or money for things like going to the dentist. Being so sick and exhausted yourself doesn't make it any easier, either. Our financial situation has not made it possible for me to go to the dentist for years but I'm lucky to have pretty good teeth.

I went in for my cleaning and exam appointment and found out I had a huge cavity in my farthest back molar on the upper right side. First I thought I'd get the molars on that side extracted. The dentist wasn't too thrilled about that idea because of my "advanced age" and I was even more concerned about the anesthesia choices. When my provider told me that my worms should be able to survive novocaine, I decided I'd go that route and just have the tooth filled. Skipping anesthesia would be out of the question, given the extent and severity of decay in my tooth.

I hope this account will be of interest to those considering hosting or actually hosting helminths. I have seen no one else actually write of the experience of having a local anesthetic and what it did to their hookworms. The conventional wisdom is that the hookworms will be compromised in their ability to function for as little as four or as much as eight weeks. This account should provide some specifics, though it's still unfolding as I only had the tooth filled three days ago.

The cavity I had was so huge, the dentist spent over an entire hour just drilling the decay out of this one tooth. I was very lucky that the decay was diffuse around the tooth and it hadn't gotten into the pulp chambers, the nerves or the blood supply. It took an additional hour to put the filling in. Fun times!

When the lidocaine wore off, I had pain in my sinus nerves, not the tooth that had been filled.

Day One after having my tooth filled, I felt horrible. Exhausted and achy, instantaneously back to the way I felt all the time before I got inoculated back in the end of June. My ankles and wrists are swelling. My sinuses were painful through my eye teeth on both sides. The exhaustion is unbelievable. No caffeine helped at all, it just makes things worse, a sign of my adrenal fatigue rearing its ugly head. I also felt brain fog seeping back in. I was so tired that I could barely drive home at 6 p.m. and went straight to bed at 6:30. I had to get up and deal with kids from 9:45 to about 10:45, but I slept through until 6:30 the next morning. A woman I work with asked me why my face was so red and sure enough, my rosacea was in full bloom.

Day Two, got up at 6:30, went to Starbucks for coffee and came back home and went back to bed to sleep until I had to leave for my job at 11 a.m. Still exhausted and achy, still beset with brain fog. I think my adrenals and thyroid are affected as I feel noticeably colder, especially in the evenings when I'm going to bed. I would have moments of feeling like, "Hey, I'm OK, the worms must be doing better" and then feel like I was crashing and had to go to bed immediately five minutes later. I anticipate quite a bit of that in the future. I can feel the squishiness in my tissues on the tops of my arms, below the wrists and towards the elbows. My husband said he can feel it too, but that it's far less severe still than before inoculation.

Today is Day Three and I woke up with some of the generalized anxiety that was part and parcel of life before hookworms. It sucks. I sure hope my twenty-five old friends start feeling a lot better very soon.

As miserable as this experience is, it leaves no doubt for me how much the hookworms were affecting my body for the better. It is the difference between night and day.