Inspiring Me Now

  • "The Purpose of Life is to Be Happy" Dalai Lama

May 9, 2013

Still "hooked"

It’s been awhile since I’ve written about my little hook worm friends. I thought I’d share an update. As you may remember I got my first dose of hookworms in March of 2011. I got another “booster” dose in July 2011, June 2012, September 2012, and most recently in March. Let me explain further. After my initial does I opted to adopt 50 more worms. The staff at AutoimmuneTherapies and I discussed this option thinking that with the severity and stubbornness of my allergies, asthma and eczema, I might do better with a few more. The June 2012 dose was given with the same thought. I had seen great improvement but it has seemed to drop off a bit. Several weeks after that dose I realized I hadn’t gotten any of the “symptoms” I had experienced in previous doses. Sometimes the travel can be too much for the little guys so occasionally they aren’t viable when they reach their destination. The Autoimmune team and I agreed that another dose was in order.

This is a great representation of the
size of adult worms
 The winter months came on and I wasn’t feeling quite the same as I had in my first year. My eczema was flaring and my asthma seemed to be on the brink of bad again. In January 2013 I had an asthma attack that landed me in the hospital. On one hand this was sort of an awesome discovery. Before I got hooked up I was guaranteed at least one ER visit a year for my asthma. To have two years go by without one was awesome. The downside was that I didn’t think my worms were pulling their weight. I discussed this with Autoimmune Therapies and they requested I send them a “sample” so they could determine if I still had active worms producing eggs inside me. The “sample” was not so great to obtain. The only way to measure worm egg production is when they are expelled from your body… as poop. Yup, I had to send someone a sample of my poop. I countered the “ick” factor with the thought of what Jasper had to do get his worms… tromp thorough a latrine in a third-world country. At least I didn’t have to step in poop.
This is a how the worms migrate through your body.
Just replace the step where you get "Ground Itch" and put in
"applied larvae to arm". The larvae then continue on their journey.
When Jasper initially got his worms, he DID step in infested soil!
So I sent my sample off to England to be analyzed. The results I received back weren’t as great as I’d hoped. There were eggs present which mean that there were still live female worms in my gut. However, with the amount of worms I had been dosed with, they had expected to see more eggs. I ordered another round. That was April 8th of this year.

So I’m exactly one month in. It’s too early to tell if there have been improvements. My skin has cleared up pretty fast, but it’s around week 4 that allergies can worsen. I’m keeping an eye on this. We’re just approaching allergy season here in Minnesota. Tree pollen has been high and flowers and weeds and grass soon to follow (hurry up worms!!) I’ve also been trying to keep a healthier diet. I figure if my little worm friends are working their butts (tails??) off for me I should step up and do my part to help. I’ve started drinking green smoothies every morning. They usually consist of Kale, Spinach, orange juice and some fresh fruit, usually a banana or some strawberries. They are delicious and don’t at all taste like the sound they might. I think eating more nutritious foods will only help in this over all process. I checked with Autoimmune Therapies about taking a probiotic as well. I don’t want to take anything that will potentially lessen any effects the worms might have on my body. Probiotics are ok!

People still check in with me to see how I’m doing. When I take a step back to analyze where I am health wise now as opposed to where I was 2 or more years ago, the results truly have been life changing. This past January when I had the asthma attack that put me in the hospital, I hadn’t realized just how exhausting asthma can be. For the larger part of my 30 years here on earth I’ve struggled to breathe every single day. I didn’t know any different. I puffed on my “rescue” inhaler a few times and went on with my day. This past January my asthma started to get bad on a Friday night. I couldn’t think of anything that had tipped it off. By the following Saturday I was really struggling, taking my rescue inhaler and then taking nebulizer treatments. I was exhausted. My whole body ached from laboring to breathe. My shoulder and neck were in knots and I was sleep deprived. When Sunday rolled around I was too tired to fight it anymore and had my boyfriend take me to the hospital. I did have the choice of being sent home or staying overnight. In the past I would have gone straight home, but that was when I was more seasoned in labored breathing. It took less effort to recover back then. So I spent the night if only to get some rest. While hospitals definitely aren’t quieter than home, they are more relaxing to me for the fact that I know someone is right there if something happens. 
I went back to work the following Wednesday and it took me a good week before I finally had all my energy back. It was then that I realized just how much things have changed since I brought my little worm babies home two years ago.

I've also seen marked improvements in my allergies. While I still have symptoms they are 100% better than they were. Before the worms, I always had a stuffed or runny nose. People were always asking if I had a cold. Since my first dose, I've seldom had a stuffy nose. It's so great to be able to breathe! I seem to be less reactive to other allergy and asthma triggers as well. While I am still somewhat reactive it has been far less dramatic then in the past. I gave my dog a bath the other day and came out of it hive free. That used to be a huge chore I avoided. I'd have to wear long sleeves and long rubber gloves to avoid getting her wet hair all over me. We dove right in last week though and I had no hives or skin reaction whatsoever. 

My MS (knock on wood) has been pretty much non-existent. So much so that some days (SOME days) I can almost forget about it. I am still very cautious to avoid potential triggers like excessive heat. I take care to listen to my body. If I'm tired, I take a nap. If I'm too hot, I turn on the air conditioner. It's taken me a long time to push aside the embarrassment of my health issues and focus on taking care of myself. I guess I've moved into a more accepting attitude vs. the hiding and denial I used to foster. 

I’m certainly not to the point I’d like to be, but I’m realizing that nothing is an instant cure all, but taking care of me mentally and physically will support the process. So I continue to take my meds – though I have been able to back off some. I see my wonderful therapist a couple times a month, and I try to focus on what I have right now.  

I’m hoping I keep heading in the right direction. The next few months will be a better indicator.
If you know someone who could benefit from this sort of treatment or if you’d like to learn more, click on the link here check out Jasper Lawrence’scompany, Autoimmune Therapies. He and his staff are truly wonderful to work with. I’m so grateful the universe put us together! 

May 7, 2013

Fuel Tank Full of Happiness

A couple years back I wrote a blog called “Man Wish List”. For some reason this evening I was thinking about that list. I started going through my head contemplating what I wanted now versus 2 years ago. I’ve grown quite a bit since I wrote that so certainly my tastes must have evolved. I started thinking about “what I want” and the answers that popped into my head were strange. I realized that they were no longer references to a specific man (ie: tall, funny, blonde…) they were references to how I want to be treated and how I want to feel in a relationship. Seems that maybe 27 year old Jacqueline was a bit more conceited than 30 year old Jacqueline.

When I had written my “Man Wish List” it was a compilation of things I had put up on dating websites.  I had gotten mixed reactions and quite a few negative comments, and I can’t really blame them – everything I wrote was pretty superficial. So I’m going to amend my Man Wish List. 

I believe that I am healthy on my own. I believe that I don’t need someone in my life to make me happy (see “Cherry”) however it would be nice to feel like the person I'm with, the person I want to love, can top off my happiness. I like to think of me as a gas tank. I’m almost full and I have enough fuel in me to keep me going, but that little extra support/love/kindness from my significant other just tops me off. It keeps me going longer.

So here are the things that can top off my tank:

I want someone to make me feel like I am one of the most important parts of their life

I want someone to let me know they think about me as much as I think about them

I want someone who I can lean on when things get tough

I want someone who will know when I say “I’m fine” that I’m really not fine

I want someone to romance me and make me feel beautiful

I want someone to take the lead instead of letting bossy me make all the decisions

I want someone who will support me in my endeavors, no matter how crazy they may seem

I want someone who will cheer me on when I’m down

I want someone who will leave me love notes and send me unexpected texts because they know it’s the little things that I love the most

I want someone who will stand up to my bullshit and tell me "no" when they know I need it

I want someone who will not judge me for my shortcoming or flaws

I want someone who will push me to be better than I am

I want someone to make me feel like their equal instead of their inferior

I want someone who will every once in a while say “aw, fuck it!” and go with the flow

I want someone who will push me to say “Aw, fuck it!” so *I* will go with the flow

I want someone to respect my feelings and opinions even if they might not agree

I want someone who can challenge my feelings and opinions with healthy conversations

I want someone who I will still be able to laugh with in 60 years

I want someone who will be as honest with me as I am with them

I want someone who will take me on expensive shopping trips to the mall and who will show up at my house with a romantic love poem and flowers and a giant stuffed animal of some sort and then serenade me with an angelic voice and I’ll cry tears of joy and we’ll kiss and he’d tell me that he thinks I’m hotter than Kate Upton and that he’s so sorry it’s taken so long to find me… Wait, maybe I’m getting a little off track ;) I guess in the end what I’m getting at is that it’s not the money or the stature or the good looks that I’m seeking. I’m seeking someone to compliment me, not to fill a void. Just to clarify though, I’d never turn down a giant stuffed animal ;)

May 2, 2013

Serotonin Boosters

I've been too emotional lately to listen to much music. Every song has a hidden message reminding me He is gone. But last weekend, enlightened by the wonderful weather, I cranked up my jeep stereo. This song came on, by an artist I'd never heard of. It's got a pop-ish almost 90s feel to it and I almost turned it off until I heard the lyric "I've been dipping in my darkness for serotonin boosters". It's not often you hear the word serotonin in a song.

By the time it was over I was noddin' my head (like, yeah ;) ) and drumming out the beat on the steering wheel. Breaking up sucks and sometimes I swear it's the long recovery period that is the worst. So I was a little jazzed when I heard this. Some of the words made me wonder if Frank Turner himself had pulled memories right outta my brain. I'm enthralled with music for just that reason. Just when you think no one else could possibly know what you're going through, someone puts your feelings to music.

"Recovery" by Frank Turner

Blacking in and out in a strange flat in East London. Somebody I don't really know just gave me something to help settle me down and to stop me from always thinking about you.

And you know your life is heading in a questionable direction when you're up for days with strangers and you can't remember anything except the way you sounded when you told me you didn't know what I should do.

It's a long road up to recovery from here, a long way back to the light.
A long road up to recovery from here, a long way to making it right.

And I've been waking in the morning just like every other day. And just like every boring blues song I get swallowed by the pain.

And so I fumble for your figure in the darkness just to make it go away.
But you're not lying there any longer and I know that that's my fault.

So I've been pounding on the floor and I've been crawling up the walls. And I've been dipping in my darkness for serotonin boosters, cider and some kind of smelling salts.

It's a long road up to recovery from here, a long way back to the light.
A long road up to recovery from here, a long way to making it right.

And on the first night we met you said "Well darling, let's make a deal.
If anybody ever asks us, let's just tell them that we met in jail." And that's the story that I'm sticking to like a stony-faced accomplice. But tonight I need to hear some truth if I'm ever getting through this.

Yeah you once sent me a letter that said "If you're lost at sea, close your eyes and catch the tide my dear and only think of me."

Well darling now I'm sinking and I'm as lost as lost can be and I was hoping you could drag me up from down here towards my recovery.

If you could just give me a sign, just a subtle little glimmer. Some suggestion that you'd have me if I could only make me better.

Then I would stand a little stronger as I walk a little taller, all the time.
Because I know you are a cynic but I think I can convince you. Yeah, cause broken people can get better if they really want to. Or at least that's what I have to tell myself if I am hoping to survive!

It's a long road up to recovery from here, a long way back to the light.
A long road up to recovery from here, a long way to making it right.

So darling, sweet lover, won't you help me to recover, darling, sweet lover, one day this will all be over.