Childhood biome destruction
As a child, I had a lot of ear infections that were treated with the new wonder drugs. From the age of two (or younger), I was given penicillin several times a year for ear infections. This lasted until about age 6, when I developed a penicillin allergy. Then they were stuck with the old antibiotic, sulfa, but, at age seven, I developed an allergy to the sulfa also. In 2nd grade I was kept in the house for two months, only stepping out of the door twice a week to go to the doctor. This was because I had developed mastoid infections and they were afraid I would become deaf if I caught a cold. However this was the last of my issues and, apparently correlating with the cessation of antibiotic treatment, the infections finally cleared up. In 1967, I was hospitalized for 2 weeks with a lacerated liver and IV antibiotic cephalothin.
My mother, who died last year, well into her 90s, had grown up on a dairy farm in Minnesota and lived by herself, in a cabin in the Ozarks, until just a couple of years ago. Although she was a nurse and totally believed the science of the day (wonder drugs, processed food, etc.), she never lost the benefits of her early exposure to the biome of the earth. My father had basically been a street urchin in east Texas, and I believe his lifelong health also reflected his early, barefoot exposure to the planet. Their children, however, are demonstrating systemic disease that the parents, born in 1930, never experienced.
I believe trauma (and everything else) has a direct effect on the immune system, although the exact relationships is unclear. But while my parents both had very traumatic childhoods, this apparently didn't wreck their immune systems.
Alcoholism and its sequelae
I had a strange and sometimes abusive childhood. I went to 27 schools in 11 years - from kindergarten to 11th grade, when I gave up and tested out. That wasn't actually traumatic for me although it was harder on some of my siblings. However, when I was 10, my mother left my father and we all drove off with a man who became a minor cult leader in the early 70s. He was all about sex, with children as well as his young hippie followers. Mixed up in this was a cheesy "spiritual" line of bullshit. At 17, I found a peer group that drank and used drugs - mostly, but not entirely, marijuana. I soon became an alcoholic - a situation that continued until I walked into an AA meeting at 33.
When I quit drinking, I started experiencing severe and continual body pain and, at 50, a year after the most stressful year of my life, the pain was so severe that I became bedridden. Various doctors came out with different versions of, "You are healthy. All your labs are normal." One or two accused me of personality and other psychological disorders, but those tests were normal too. I was healthy, but I couldn't turn a doorknob, couldn't work, couldn't think, and couldn't remember living without pain.
By this time, genome sequencing hadn't found all the answers to all human disease as they had hoped, but the developments in genetic research had led to the discovery that the gut was *not* a sack of poison the body had to defend itself against, but was actually an integral partner in creating and maintaining life and health.
Autoimmunity and helminthic therapy
Beginning around 2008, I was diagnosed with various autoimmune disorders (30+) of which the most debilitating was rheumatoid arthritis. Lab test results began to show out of range. Methotrexate caused severe neurological problems, and most other medications had no effect at all. Biologics were scary, and most of them had no lasting effect - if any at all - although one or two caused neurological symptoms that really scared me, already living with neuropathy from the methotrexate. They have since found that methotrexate can cause neuropathy in children, but back then I was psycho for suggesting it causing my 24/7 crying. The pain came later.
So, for a few years, my medical journey was (a) ignoring it as much as possible while taking prednisone as little as possible, interspersed with (b) trying another biologic. In 2015 and 2016 I had two strokes. Thorough testing and investigations at a world class brain center failed to find any cause at all, and it's clear to me they were caused by inflammation.
I came across helminthic therapy on Facebook probably 5 years ago, but instantly dismissed it as a fringe cult. I didn't remove the group, and, a few years later, accidentally came across it again. This time, I read the wiki and it was clear I had been so wrong about the cult thing.
I chose Necator americanus as my species, not just because it is effective for RA, but because it is a human helminth and I like the idea of human helminths for my human body. Also, NA are easy to cultivate at home, which not only has financial benefits but provides freedom from outside restrictions, whether these be related to supply, shipping, politics, or whatever. However, my first few doses appeared to be dead as I had no reaction to them, except for once when I got a few temporary dots upon application. Because of this, and since I happened to have a full course of 10 bottles of 2500 TSO at home that had been bought for someone else but unused, I began taking these while I was trying to get live NA.
The TSO changed my life, literally. I almost immediately discovered I had had a mood disorder-- when it went away. This happened before the third dose. The extreme insomnia that I had lived with for decades disappeared over a couple of months. There were lots of other, less dramatic, effects that I don't recall. Oh, an endoscopy about 3 months after starting treatment elicited a pathologist's opinion that the other celiac endoscopies may have been wrong. I had been eating wheat for a couple months by then. Sadly, the TSO had no clear effect on the RA. Though I suspect that it would have, given time and higher doses.
Biotherapy experiments with positive results
NB. If you read the following, PLEASE realize that my dosing needs are NOT NORMAL. I am afraid that people will make themselves sick by thinking they are.
I continued plugging away at trying to get viable NA doses and, still believing my shipments had died in transit, I asked my supplier to just send me 45 larvae to complete my purchase agreement, whether this dose would arrive dead or alive. And this large dose finally produced a clear response with a skin rash, along with GI symptoms requiring me to take Imodium once a day for maybe 4 or 5 days. And I experienced several weeks completely free from rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.
My next dose, not quite 3 months, and maybe only 6 weeks, later, of 25 NA, also produced a slight rash, and I have since realised that the earlier doses had probably not been dead after all, but that I appear to only produce a response to doses of more than around 20 larvae. This was last November/December and, for the past year, I have been trying to find a best dosing practice. At the moment, it looks like about 20-25 worms every month. As my home incubation skills develop, it is getting easier. The other day my sister said to me, "I can tell I need worms again, my heels are cracking." I know exactly what she means.
Having temporarily had total relief from RA symptoms, with an apparent need for astonishingly high worm doses, and having been on this journey for 2 years already, I decided to add a further therapeutic species. However, I didn't want to commit to another helminth, so I tried leeches to see if they would give my NA the boost they needed. Unfortunately, there was no immediate effect on my systemic autoimmunity, but the leeches are delightful - strange though this might sound - and they did have a dramatic effect on the quality of my blood. I have had high platelets for years and these are still high, but leeching has clearly done something good, and there is research that they reduce the stickiness of platelets. But that’s another story, and this one is already too long.
So I added TTO in July, which brought a fast positive effect (on RA) that then seemed to fade somewhat. I took a break after the initial course of six doses and quickly discovered that the TTO has been helping more than I knew.
A confirmed helminthophile
The other day, my RA symptoms were beginning to return but I had given away the remaining stock from my last NA incubation and hadn’t started a new one. I had to wait a week to incubate and dose again. Still, minor RA symptoms for a week are no big deal. I'm going for a cure. Those RA genes were not turned on until that stressful year when I was younger, and I expect them to eventually get turned back off. NA and other helminths are showing some effects on gene expression, and I’m fine with lifelong dosing if that's what my body needs to keep those genes turned off. I understand it has been battered by drugs forever.
By Laurel Fitzhugh, October 2022.