Monday, February 21, 2011

End of vacation and more

The last two days at Manuel Antonio, I finally got to see monkeys. They were coming to the wet bar by the pool in the late afternoon for bananas.  I managed to hang around long enough by resting up earlier.
We had 2 spider monkeys and 3 white-faced monkeys, all adorable. The spider monkeys were within 2 feet of me as I stood by the railing next to the guy tempting them with pieces of banana. One dropped a piece of banana which I quickly picked up and set on the railing a few inches away. The monkey was afraid, so I stepped back; immediately it swung down, picked up the banana with its tiny fingers, and stuffed it into its mouth.  My sister got lots of great pictures.

At night we watched a sloth denuding a large tree of leaves.  I was feeling much better and climbed up 3 flights of stairs to get a good look at it.  It should be the CFS mascot, as it moves pretty slowly.  Here's one crawling upside down.

There were lots of beautifully colored birds.  I don't remember the names of any of them, but here are some pictures.  The most common were the yellow and red ones.  I only saw the blue ones once.

I made pretty good progress over the course of the week, although the 2nd time we went to the beach and I took a walk for 5 minutes or less, I was wiped out all the rest of the day and too tired to go out to dinner.  I felt well enough the next day to walk to a great restaurant, El Patio Cafe Milagro, which was 2 blocks from the hotel and required a climb uphill on the return.  The food was worth it though, absolutely top notch, with interesting combinations.  

I hoped to maintain that good level on the trip back, but as soon as I got into the van there was a funny smell.    Within half an hour, I was freezing cold, then sleepy.  Finally I wised up and we turned off the A/C.  The outside air helped me to feel better until we got behind a truck.  By the time we arrived in San Jose, I was congested and sick.  The hotel had air fresheners polluting the air in the hallways but it took about 3 hours before we figured this out.  By that time, I had swollen glands and had become hyper.  Not surprisingly, I didn't sleep at all that night, and with my stress hormones and inflammatory cytokines pumping out all night, I felt exhausted and hungry the morning of the trip.

The amazing thing was that the air on the airplane actually felt pretty good to me once we got up in the air.  And by the time we arrived into Washington DC, I was okay, just tired from lack of sleep.  Alas, Reagan airport (DCA) is not a great building for mold sensitive individuals, as Shoemaker points out in his recent book Surviving Mold.  By the time we got through customs and baggage claim, I was coughing.

Again, I recovered within about 3 hours of being in my Mom's apartment.  I slept about 9 hours and was tired when I woke on Monday.

I had a surprisingly long consult with my doctor Alan Vinitsky.  I'm extremely impressed with the breadth and the depth of his knowledge.  He's been helping me with methylation, but this time, with my awareness of mold and other toxins and their dramatic impact on my brain, breathing, immune and endocrine systems, we talked quite a bit about Shoemaker's work.

Dr. V has seen people do much better once they get their methylation working.  He ordered a gazillion tests in order to get a complete picture.  I could sense his desire to get to the bottom of it, to help me identify toxins in my environment and find ways to get my endocrine system working more efficiently. Right now, two of the most important regulatory hormones in the body, in the part of the brain called the hypothalamus, are extremely low.  This leads to low adrenal hormones, low thyroid hormones, low digestive hormones, and poor immune regulation.  He has some ideas of how to work with all this complicated stuff, which really impressed me.

For now, I'm going to start on very low doses of his basic 6, namely B12 (hydroxy), Folirinse, B6, taurine, Vit C, Mg.  I'm also going to do a small amount of 5 MTHF (Folapro) and some decaf green tea.  Apparently the ECGC in green tea helps to reduce inflammation and helps reduce some of the toxic byproducts of serotonin metabolism.

Wednesday I go back home with my ERMI test kit, ready to look for sources of mold in my living space.  I'll let you know what I find.  If it's not fixable, I'm wondering if I can afford to move to some temperate climate where I won't need to bring a winter coat and snow boots.  How lovely that would be!

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