Well here it is, some 9 months later, in a most confusing presentation. My nose is running, I'm cold, especially around the ankles, and my bowels are loose. Sounds somewhat like a cold, doesn't it? And that's what makes it confusing.
Is this what people on some of the internet discussion groups describe as detoxing viruses? If so, then I am getting rid of critters I've harbored for years. On the other hand, my own, skeptical voice says this feels way too much like the constant colds I've have throughout the course of this long illness --whenever I would get overtired or stressed. It feels like I'm just getting worse.
The detox-masquerading-as-cold (or cold-masquerading-as-detox) started a few weeks ago. I thought it was because the weather had turned cold. We've had an amazingly cool summer with nights and mornings in the high '60's, low '70's and no humidity. The house is always cool in the morning due to the thick green wall of trees on the east that block the sun from reaching the windows and roof until well after 10 am. So I bundled up in leggings and wool socks and a sweater. By afternoon, I could no longer put off my errands. I'd see people dressed in shorts and tee shirts and begin to wonder what was going on with me. Then, as the car overheated parked on asphalt lots in the sunk I too would warm up. I'd return home, change into shorts, and stay warm until I finished yoga and the sun began to approach the horizon.
The skeptical voice argues that something in this protocol is weakening my immune system and making me more susceptible to viruses.
I remember when I did a juice fast in early 2000. Within a day or two, I had a herpes eruption. The ordering physician assured me this was detox: your body is getting rid of the virus; a good sign. But, alas, over the nine subsequent years. that I had similar outbreaks whenever my body was unduly stressed. What I'v learned since is that many viruses, and especially the herpes virus, hang around in the cells of the nervous system where they are encapsulated to keep them inactive. During periods of stress, the capsule disintegrates and the virus becomes active once again.
The next theory I entertained was the detox of Coxsackie B. I have "first year med student syndrome" whenever I read about some new finding in ME-CFS. Coxsackie B came into my awareness when I read an interview with Dr. Chia, who in treating his son for ME-CFS, found the Coxsackie B enterovirus. He has subsequently found it in 80% of his CFS patients. Coxsackie B is known to be prevalent in Ohio, where I live. As the Wikipedia article states,
Symptoms of infection with viruses in the Coxsackie B grouping include fever, headache, sore throat, gastrointestinal distress, as well as chest and muscle pain.I think back to the summer of 2007, before this most recent relapse, and remember that I had frequent bouts of chest pain, some of them so intense that my doctor ordered a halter study and a heart sonogram. In support of my self-diagnosis, I remember that a practitioner using the Bio-Meridian electo dermal screening device identified the Coxsackie virus as one of my problems and gave me some homeopathic drops based upon its frequency. Those homeopathics were the first thing in a month that seemed to make a tiny difference in the intensity of my symptoms (at the time, chest pain, tachycardia on being upright, and orthostatic intolerance)
Now I'm thinking about a third possibility directly related to the increase in B-12. I'll explain.
Back in January, I had a hard time increasing my dose of B12 as I wrote in Two B or Not Two B (12' that is). It was excitatory, keeping me awake at night (as I am now awake at 5 am). I cut back to 1 sublingual lozenge and slowly increased by taking 1/2 or 1/4 lozenge a day. I worked up to 3 lozenges without symptoms. I patted myself on the back for being able to tolerate 6000 mcg of B-12 as I read of terrible bouts with detox on the part of my online ME-CFS friends.
Then I read of those taking twice or three-times as much B12 as I was. Should I increase? I wondered. I wanted to see if there were any contraindications from taking too much B-12 and did some research. No problems showed up, except for a few rare individuals who get cyanide poisoning from taking too much cyano-cobalamine, the inexpensve form of B-12 sold in the U.S. [Cobalamine is just another name for B12)
But I am taking a form know as aqua- or hydroxo- cobalamin, which has the property of breaking down to water plus cobalamine, without toxicity. It has has the property of scavenging peroxynitrite radicals (work which Dr. Martin Pall has documented in his book Explaining Unexplained Illness) and website. People with CFS have way too many of these free radicals damaging cell membranes and mitochondria, thereby creating a problem with oxygen use. Pall has argued that high peroxynitrite (ONOO), resulting from an upregulating of the nitric oxide cycle, is both the cause and explains the chronicity of ME-CFS, PTSD, MCS, and FMS.
So I increased to four lozenges a day. That's when the cold-virus-or-detox started. Tuesday, I did an intramuscular shot (2.5 mg). Today, a sub-cutaneous injection. That's a huge increase in B12, since injected B12 is much better absorbed than sublingual.
If all the hydroxo B12 I am taking is clearing out toxic ONOO, I ought to feel great. Right?
But oops! ONOO does some good things too. Like everything the body makes, a certain amount is good, too much and too little are not good. It just so happens that ONOO is made by the immune system to neutralize viruses. Oh! No-o!
It's actually a little more complicated, or more accurately, a lot more complicated -- so horribly complicated I can't even begin to summarize what I've been reading in Peter Parham's textbook, The Immune System. [Even if I could, would you want to read about complement C this and expresser cell that?] The bottom line is that the immune system has to break apart cells, not only the cells of parasites and bacteria, and our bodies very own cells infected by viruses. It does this by using small amounts of toxic chemicals. That runny nose, loose stool, fever, and swelling we associate with infection is actually caused by the release of cells in our own body as it tries to fight the infection. If this is the case, then with all this new B-12, and with reduced ONOO slowing everything down, my immune cells could be working frantically to get rid of some infection that I've been harboring for years.
Whew! Now I feel better, or I should say, I 'think' better. Although my nose is still running (not as rapidly due to the Benadryl capsule I took an hour ago), my head has slowed to a leisurely walk. It is time to return to bed, and catch a few hours of sleep before the sun rises above the height of the trees to the east.
On the other hand, maybe the B12 is just speeding up my energy production enough to create stress and make me more susceptible to those viral critters floating around in the air....