Postpartum depression and chronic migraines
I’m a 56 year old woman living in the US and was a healthy, happy person until the age of 28.
After the birth of my second baby, I had postpartum depression and chronic migraines, both of which went away after my doctor put me on an SSRI antidepressant. But I had to come off this drug a few years later when I developed serotonin syndrome. I was then okay for a while, but the migraines eventually came back, and, by the time I was 34, they had become chronic daily migraines.
I saw four neurologists, tried every drug for migraines that was available on the market, and was even hospitalized, but nothing helped. So I started looking into alternative medicine, trying acupuncture, Rolfing, cranial sacral therapy, Ayurvedic therapy, energy therapy, Biofeedback, meditation and diets, etc…. I even had experimental surgery on the scar tissue around my occipital nerves by a neurologist from Johns Hopkins University, and was interviewed on national television after the procedure. While this did help a little, it didn’t make a significant difference.
My first big breakthrough came when I was 39 and I read "Heal Your Headache" by Neurologist David Buchholz MD, and "The Magnesium Solution for Migraine Headaches" by Jay Cohen MD. This made me realise that having the babies had left me deficient in magnesium, and when I started taking lots of this mineral I began having some headache-free days. This was the first relief I had had in years, and I realized then that, if I wanted to feel better, I had to research cures on my own and try to figure out the root cause of my pain.
Eventually, I worked out which foods were triggering the migraines, and which other triggers were involved, like weather and hormones. This helped me stabilize for many years, during which I was able to get the migraines under control for most of the time.
Dental treatment triggers autoimmunity
When I turned 50, a tooth cracked and my dentist treated this by filing down the broken parts of the tooth along with the mercury amalgam filling, exposing me to mercury vapor and mercury dust. I quickly started having symptoms of autoimmune disease. I had a frozen shoulder, all the symptoms of hypothyroidism, my joints would swell up for no reason, my hair started falling out, I was cold all the time, I gained weight very quickly, I was very constipated, I had restless legs and depression, and fatigue began to set in.
I started reading everything I could to figure out what the heck was happening. I believe the mercury exposure triggered Hashimoto’s and made me borderline RA. My migraines also worsened during this time, and going vegan made me even worse!
I found that the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) diet, although very restrictive, made me feel much better. Unfortunately, over time, I started reacting to more and more of the “safe” foods and I began to worry that I would run out of foods to eat. I just kept reacting to everything. One bite of dairy made me sick for 10 days. It was very scary.
Encountering the Parasite Paradox
Then I read an article entitled The Parasite Paradox.
I thought it was fascinating and looked promising, so I started researching helminthic therapy, and that’s when I found the Helminthic Therapy Support group and my life changed.
On Thursday 16 May 2019, I applied 3 NA to my arm. After about 6 weeks, I started feeling a little better and foods weren’t making me feel quite as bad. I slowly added small amounts of “forbidden” foods and I was okay.
On 19 July 2019, I added 250 TSO and slowly increased that amount every two weeks until I was taking a fortnightly dose of 2,500 TSO.
After 5 months, I felt so much better that I couldn’t believe it! I accompanied my husband on his work trip to the UK and had the best time. I realized I wasn’t depressed anymore! I had more energy, I ate every good thing - delicious dairy, grains, eggs and nuts in restaurants and didn’t get sick! I continued to stay away from most gluten because it was still giving me a migraine, but this wouldn’t last for a week like it had previously. Overall, it was so wonderful. It was truly the closest thing to a miracle cure that I’ve ever experienced. I wasn’t 100% yet, but I was so much better than I had been.
Supply failure triggers setback, but brings further understanding
I did find that my symptoms would start coming back around 8 weeks after a dose of NA. The group thought that maybe my immune system was killing off the worms, so I started taking them every 7-8 weeks instead of every 12 weeks. And this worked.
But then, in October 2019, my dose of NA didn’t arrive. I begged the provider to send me another dose, emphasising that I needed it every 5-7 weeks, but he didn’t. I only got that dose on Nov 30th, when it had been 4 months since my last inoculation and all my symptoms had returned. I had completely lost my NA colony and it was devastating. First my restless legs came back, and then hip pain. The fatigue returned, my headaches became much worse and I reacted to every food. I was still taking TSO but that wasn’t enough.
I thought at the time that TSO didn’t do anything, so after I finished my last dose in January 2020, I didn’t reorder. I took NA every 5-7 weeks but responded very slowly. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever feel well again but I did slowly get better. However, it wasn’t until I started taking TSO again that I regained the wonderful health I had achieved before. I had stopped the TSO for at least a year but realized they were essential for success, especially with the depression, anxiety, and even with the food intolerance, provided that the NA were also still there.
Now, 4 years later, I fluctuate between 500 and 1,250 TSO every 2 weeks. They are absolutely key for my depression, anxiety, and joint pain. I take 5-10 NA every 7-8 weeks, and they take care of everything else. I have learned how to grow my own supply of NA, so no longer need to panic about suppliers or shipping delays.
Despite a few side effects, helminths have given me back my life
Helminthic therapy has given me a few odd side effects. For example, after a dose of NA or TSO I would often get one or two puffy eyes for a day or two. And TSO often gives me stomach cramps and gas for a day or two after a dose.
In the beginning I would also get an odd toothache from time to time. There was nothing wrong, nothing the dentist saw, but it was a strange occasional feeling that appeared in that first year on this therapy. There have also been the odd rashes, some of which were like little blisters and would have little scabs.
Each new dose of NA causes a very bad rash at the site of inoculation that oozes a clear thick fluid for about three days. I have found using 4”x 4” hydrocolloid bandages very helpful for holding in the fluid and keeping it from staining sheets and clothes.
While I’m still not yet 100% and still get a lot of headaches, they are much better and now usually respond to migraine drugs.
Helminthic therapy has definitely given me my life back and I am very grateful for this, as well as for the Facebook Helminthic Therapy Support group. I’m not sure I’d still be here if it wasn’t for them.
Telling others and continuing to learn
I have recently helped a few friends start therapy with NA, and their results have been impressive.
I’ve also told my functional medicine practitioner, who, although surprised, was open-minded and willing to look into the therapy. He still runs labs for me a few times each year and recently asked me to read a book called The Iodine Crisis by Lynne Farrow.
I have fibrocystic breast disease, and am at very high risk for breast cancer, which my mother died from when she was only 68. So I’ve started the iodine protocol, which is very helpful for healthy breasts. One of the parts of the protocol is to increase unrefined salt intake and, since I did this, something unexpected is happening. My headaches are getting even better! I don’t know whether it’s the salt, or the iodine, but I think this might be the next positive discovery, reminding me that we can always continue to tweak things to feel even better.
By Lorrie S, March 2023.