Monday, October 19, 2009

Neural Therapy and Naltrexone -- not for the faint of heart

"Ouch!"  My neural therapy doc really knows where the find the tender spots.  Each time I see him I get about 30 needle pricks, sometimes more.  He finds points on the hands, wrists, inner elbows, sternum, abdomen, pubis, feet, inner calves, neck and scalp, and above all, my gums.

The first time, I didn't have any reaction.  But since then (I'm going into my 5th week of treatments and have had 8 treatments so far), I feel something happen each time.  A few sessions past he injected my tonsils after asking me where I felt sick when I first got ME/CFS.  I could only remember the persistent sore throat; it was the last symptom to disappear as I made my first recovery.  That night I got a sore throat.  When I awakened in the morning it was gone.  Another session caused me to feel dizzy, exactly as I did the first 3-4 days of the virus that changed my life in May 1987.

Last Wednesday, I left his office feeling like my head was spinning.  It was almost like being high on some kind of drug --not that I've had much varied experience in this department, but I did enter college during the hippie years and wore the bell-bottom jeans, peace signs, beads, and long (ironed) hair-- but not as much fun as being high, especially since I had to drive in rush hour traffic.  The next morning, I woke up with a low fever (99.4) and immediately flashed to my first year with the illness, when my fever was constantly mildly elevated.  Hurray! I thought.  A healing crisis.

By late afternoon, I was not celebrating.  My fever had climbed to 100.6.  Every bone and muscle in my back ached.  My hips ached.  My head ached.  In hope of averting a flu (which CFS patients rarely get, and which I haven't had since the early 1980's), I started taking Sambucol elderberry extract lozenges.  My fever dipped the next morning, then climbed the next night and remained elevated at 99.5 the third morning.  I still had no other flu symptoms, nothing respiratory or gastrointestinal.

When my fever broke the third day, I was left with extreme tightness in my neck and occiput (where the back of the head meets the neck).  It was as if my head were held on by steel wires.  I remembered back after my 1994 relapse that I had this pain every day, constantly, for 2 years, unrelieved by massage therapy.

My optimistic interpretation was that all these recurrent symptoms were a perfect demonstration of the theory of homeopathic healing -- that we go backwards through the various stages of illness.  If that turns out to be the case, then in a short while, I shall burst forth like a spring flower, radiating bright yellows and reds with an abundance of energy.

My pessimistic interpretation, which flooded my brain for about 2 hours this afternoon after getting another EDTA push, was that I just contracted another bug that was "going around" and that all this traveling and expenditure of money was a big waste of time.

Fortunately, when the doctor came into the waiting room, he encouraged me.  "Feel this?" he asked, pressing on my spleen.

"Definitely tender," I answered.

"A sign your body is working hard to fight."  In addition to doing a variety of injections with homeopathics, he pulled out a bit of blood and mixed it with the homeopathic liquid in the syringe.  Then he shook it up (which in homeopathic jargon is called percussion), then he injected it into four points around my spleen.  This, he explained, is a way of making a personalized homeopathic, using whatever pathogen or antigen is circulating in my blood stream to further stimulate (and hopefully knock out) the guilty culprit.

Four hours later, at home, I feel GREAT!  My head and neck are still a bit stiff, but my temperature is holding steady at 98.5, and my energy is unusually good for the late hour after a very long day.

My fevers started before the neural therapy, about the time I raised the dose of Naltrexone to 3.0 mg and shifted to taking it at bedtime.  A few days before this bout with fever, I had increased the dose (which I've been doing gradually at about 1/4 mg a week) up to 4.5 mg.  I wondered if that could have pushed my body a bit too quickly into actively fighting some of the multiple infections with which it has been coexisting for many years.  Doc uses his own intuitive form of applied kinesiology, and determined that I'll be better off with a lower dose.  Hopefully, my healing with continue to move forward steadily.

He also put me on a daily regimen of T3, the active thyroid hormone, which he orders from a compounding pharmacy in an extended release formula.  His patients have to take it every 12 hours to keep constant blood levels.  He chose this because my temperature log had my average oral body temperature consistently below 98 degrees, even though my thyroid labs (TSH, T3 and T4) were in the normal range (not at optimal levels, as per my early September post).  The extended release T3 seems to be working!  Even on the natural thyroid extracts (Armour, Natur) that I've taken in the past, I never got my average temperatures about 97.8.  Now they are consistently above 98, and I don't feel wired.

So I'm putting my pessimism to rest.  Although it's hard NOT to think about people I've met in the office who haven't gotten well and worry that I could be one of them, what good does worrying do?  I might as well enjoy HOPE that I'll have a good experience, an experience uniquely my own, with results like the most fortunate of the doctor's patients.  I might as well imagine myself biking and skiing and traveling around Europe.  At least for now I can enjoy these fantasies, and if my happy mental state helps bring them into manifestation as the New Age gurus insist, so be it.

Sweet dreams to all.


  1. Hi there :)
    Just came across your blog and it seems we're experiencing pretty similar symptoms. You've mentioned you suffer from POTS, which I have only recently became aware of and I'm now pretty sure I have this syndrome too.
    In your first post you mentioned you have scoliosis - I was wondering if you've ever looked into this as a root cause of your symptoms?

    I have lumbar scoliosis which was diagnosed when I was 15. After this diagnosis I got progessively more 'tired' to the point of being completely bedridden. I was diagnosed with CFS/ME when I was 16. I feel that there's too much evidence linking my two 'chronic idiopathic' health conditions for it to be a coincidence... I just thought I'd let you know about this as I really this could be the underlying pathology. I'm 19 now by the way.
    You can read my most recent post on my blog if you like, I go more in depth there :)
    It looks like you have way more knowledge about nervous function than I do but I just wanted to get in touch. I have come across a number of people on blogspot with scoliosis and dysautonomia/CFS/ME.

  2. Hi Mollie,
    I do think lumbar scoliosis has a role to play but many people with ME/CFS don't have it, so it's probably not causative. It probably just exacerbates problems because, in addition to putting stress on muscles and other soft tissue,it can slow lymph drainage and put stress on nerves. But mine, fortunately, is mild (9% double S curve) and I've been able to work with it through yoga so I don't have any pain.

    I know I read somewhere that "everyone with fibromyalgia develops scoliosis". Don't know if this has any truth to it.

    I put a comment on your page and linked to your blog. Good luck on your healing journey. Feel free to private e-mail me.

  3. Mollie, I asked my doc (he's an osteopath) what he thought about the scoliosis ME connection. He didn't think it made any difference in our energy, said most of his ME-CFS patients don't have scoliosis and have the same symptoms. Just thought I'd share the benefit of his experience.


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