Friday, November 26, 2010

Heart tremors, brain drain, and hypoxia?

For the past week or two I've had an increase or recurrence of a symptom that had disappeared, thankfully, but it's back. It is trembling in my chest around my heart area, especially first thing in morning, upon waking up. It's accompanied by a feeling that something is terribly wrong in my brain and a feeling like severe depression, but it's more like just distress. It does not have any cognitive counterpart such as worry or upset over a particular circumstance. It just feels awful, as if something is wrong physically. Associated with it is a high-speed (about 6 cycles/sec) tremor around my heart area, and slower heart palpitations. This is one of the symptoms that disappeared after taking IV antibiotics last year for six months (ceftriaxone).

It may be related to Candida, and I am going to go on a strict anti-Candida diet and see what happens. It also may have something to do with lack of sleep that I'm beginning to experience again. I only seem to be able to sleep at six hours a night now, whereas I had been up to nine hours in the past.
At one point in the past, I suspected that this problem might be the result of low oxygenation or hypoxia, due to sleep apnea. I have been tested at the Stanford sleep clinic three times during overnight stays. It was determined that I do have moderate sleep apnea. However, I was fitted with an oral appliance much like a retainer that one wears after having braces removed. There is a retainer for the top and another on the bottom teeth, linked together by a small, steel rod. The function of this system is to pull the lower jaw forward, thereby repositioning the tongue forward so there is less likelihood of its falling back into the throat and blocking the air passage.

It seems to work quite reliably, and is much more comfortable than wearing a CPAP machine, which I tried for a while and found unworkable due to its discomfort and the fact that it caused air to come rushing out of my mouth rather than into my lungs. I tried various kinds of masks including ones that covered my mouth, and even tried taping up my lips, as suggested by the doctor. All of the arrangements were untenable, so I chose the oral appliance.

I have a pulse-oximeter that I have worn many nights, to test my oxygen saturation level. It takes a reading every second. In the morning I plug it into a computer and get an analysis. Only rarely are there hypoxic episodes. O2 saturation of the blood is typically above 92%.

So, what is causing these symptoms? One fact is that this symptom of brain craziness or feeling that something is wrong re-emerges from time to time in variance with the antibiotics. Daily administration of 500mg IV Ceftriaxone (aka Rocephin) seemed to knock it out. So, it is possibly due to a bacterium such as borrellia (Lyme). Then there is possibly a variation that correlates with the amount of sugar I am eating, and thus the amount of Candida in my system. So perhaps it is yeast that is to blame. In any case, I suspect that apnea it is not the issue.

Questions remain: Why has it increased post HBOT? How will my recent addition of Valtrex (to address Epstein-Barr and HSV-6 viruses) affect things? Should I go back on IV? Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dell Duo vs. IPad vs. Netbook

In case you haven't heard the buzz, the stylish Dell Duo is about to launch. Ah, the NEW, new thing. Sort of new, sort of repackaged netbook. Been considering it still, due to cool factor, but you see, I already have an iPad and just bought an Asus Eee PC 1005PE for $219. It has a 250GB drive, Atom N450 processor at 1.66 GHz, 1GB RAM, 10″ screen, 11 hrs battery life, weighs in at 2.8 lbs. Now, you gotta admit, that's a deal. The 64GB 3G iPad cost close to $800. Big premium paid for slick interface and App Store, and 3G service. Oops, and don't I pay a hefty monthly ATT bill for the 3G? $25. IPad = ouch. Eee = deal. But what am I writing this on, slouching in bed in the dark? Guess. IPad.  

I also have an HP TX 2500 tablet PC 13″ screen (supports pen AND touch input, has a terrific keyboard, DVD writer, fingerprint reader). The HP totally rocks due to touch and stylus (handwriting recognition, drawing, One Note, etc), but runs too hot and the fan is too loud. The Asus Eee PC, on the other hand, is quiet, light, quick enough, and does full speech recognition with Win 7 Speech Recognition software built into Windows 7. The Eee boots to web access, chat, or games in 5 seconds, without even running Windows. 

By contrast, the iPad is the best multi-touch interface currently available, hands down. It is smooth, intuitive, does what you expect it to do, and doesn't exhibit unexpected pauses or erratic behavior. I can whip through emails, search for emails and find them easily, delete undesired emails in a batch quite quickly, save photos sent in emails, forward web address to people via email, and so much more easily than I can in Windows using even a powerful program like Outlook.

I would love all these technologies in one device, but at this point there is no perfect solution. My current travel solution is to take iPad and the Eee, and my small folding bluetooth keyboard (made by Think Outside) for use with the iPad. With this combo, I have: Windows, Office, the App Store, WiFi, 3G access, iTunes music and movies, Flash, iBook store, Netflix instant movies, Kindle reader, Dragon dictation on iPad, and full speech recognition on the Eee netbook. Total weight <7 lbs. The iPad runs ~15 hrs on a battery charge and the Eee runs ~9-11 hrs. 

Too bad the new Dell Duo multi-touch-screen convertible netbook-ish Win 7 PC has a weak, unreplaceable battery. It could almost be an iPad killer. As it is, Apple has even me, a 20-year Windows veteran and author of over 20 Windows books, over a barrel and becoming a quintessential "switcher." it's getting to the point where I think using a mouse is soooo 2009.  

I suspect the new crop of Android-based tablets are going to give the iPad a run for its money. They are way cheaper (albeit smaller) and the Android app store is becoming respectable in size and variety of offerings. If you like portability and touch and good battery life, another place to look is towards the touch-screen netbooks such as the Lenovo Ideapad S10-3T or the ASUS 

10.1" Eee PC T101MT Touchscreen Netbook


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Lyme disease update

Yesterday I had a 2-hour session with my neurologist.  I had not seen her for some time, a couple of months.  We went over whole lot of lab tests, and discussed the outcome of the hyperbaric therapy so far.  Looking at some lab tests it appears that there may be some viral infections (EBV and HSV 6), so I will begin taking Valtrex, starting at 1 g per day and increasing up to 3 g per day has tolerated.

A common problem for people with Lyme disease is their tendency to accumulate heavy metals.  We will be doing some additional heavy metals testing to determine what my current load is.  Past tests have shown concerning levels of mercury, lead, aluminum, manganese, and uranium. We're likely to do a challenge using DMSA to help free up the heavy metals and release them into the urine.  My doctor said it's important to make sure the methylation pathway is working properly before using the DMSA because of potential irreversible brain damage that could result from freeing up the heavy metals for the test.  This was a little alarming to hear, because I have used DMSA before. The plan is to ensure that adequate amounts of key nutrients necessary for detox are in the blood, and that the excretory system is working properly before beginning chelation.

I have been feeling very shaky  and rigid (i.e. parkinsonian) since finishing the hyperbaric therapy, as noted in my previous blogs.  I have began having heart palpitations and poor sleep again.  I am hoping this is a Herxheimer reaction, and not a regression to things as they were years ago.  Time will tell.

Monday, November 15, 2010

HBOT finished. Now what?

My last HBOT session was Wednesday, November 10. Today it is five days post my 40th session. So far I have little to report. My parkinsonism is just as bad as it was, if not worse than when I started the sessions. My eyesight is blurry, as expected, which should clear up within 4 to 6 weeks or so I am told.

My hearing feels somewhat strange, but I do not actually know the cause. Some hearing strangeness did begin with the HBOT sessions, I can say that. For a while, my tinitus was quite a bit worse than usual. (I have had ringing in my ears for about 20 years). It was significantly worse last week, now but it has calmed down. I thought I had lost some high-frequency hearing for a while, because I used to be able to hear very subtle sounds such as the sound of rubbing cloth or water coming out of the faucet--that kind of thing. Or the ambient sound in the room, which is pretty subtle, such as the slight echoing sound that a room makes when you speak or walk. So sounds seem to be attenuated. However, when listening to my stereo system, I can tell that high frequency hearing has not been affected. I can hear very high frequency sounds when music is playing. It seems to be mostly that there is little loss in acuity across the board.

The tests I had done at the audiologist before about the 20th session of HBOT, shows that I had a decrease of about 30 dB in the 8 kHz range. That is a significant drop. But that may have pre-existed before the HBOT sessions, I'm not sure.

Meanwhile, joint swelling in the toes on my left foot, degraded eyesight, rigidity in the right arm, and tremors everywhere (except head and left arm) continue. I feel very sick, have short energy supply, balance problems, and a lot of anxiety still. The HBOT doctor suggested my next stop should be metals chelation and possibly stem cells taken from my hip and injected into my bloodstream. I will investigate those this week.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

HBOT Herxing getting worse

I have been experiencing a significant increase in symptoms in the last few days. I have completed about 37 sessions of hyperbaric oxygen at this point. In the last few days the tremors, rigidity, depression, insomnia, nightmares, balance problems, weakness, brain fog and anxiety have increased significantly. The nurse at the hyperbaric oxygen clinic suggested yesterday that I should skip my session and instead go for colon hydrotherapy for detoxification. The belief is that the symptoms are being worsened by toxic overload in the system. The toxic overload would be the result of die-off of Lyme disease bacteria from hyperbaric oxygen. So I did that, and there was some relief last evening, but this morning things are back to feeling quite shaky, and sleep was not very good. I am having to write this with voice recognition as a result of the extreme rigidity in my body this morning.

The peripheral neuropathy is the worst. My toes are cramping and curling, as well as shaking, both feet are shaking, my right hand is particularly shaky, and right arm is rigid. The only way to get some relief with my feet is to stand. If I am sitting or lying in bed reclined, then they have nothing to push against, and this makes the tremors and cramping worse.

There is clearly a correlation between the hyperbaric treatment and the worsening of symptoms. This leads me to believe that it is true that just as with antibiotics, hyperbaric oxygen will cause die-off of Lyme or other related bacteria. However, in addition to killing the cooties, hyperbaric oxygen heals and causes revascularization of the body. So, unlike antibiotics which can have deleterious side effects, the hyperbaric oxygen will have beneficial side effects and presumably can do no harm. There are very few contraindications with hyperbarics as regards medication, which is also good. I have not yet begun using antibiotics simultaneous with hyperbaric oxygen treatment. I am cautious about doing so, because of the strong Herxheimer reaction I am already having with hyperbaric alone.

I believe my next step is to look into heavy metal detoxification. A number of tests have shown that I have a high amount of a various assortment of heavy metals such as aluminum, mercury, lead, cadmium, manganese, and uranium. Yes, uranium! That was a surprise. For some reason, for reasons unknown, people with Lyme disease have difficulty excreting heavy metals. Therefore, metals build up in the system and have to be removed one way or another, such as by chelation. Supposedly, once the body becomes healthy again and the Lyme bacteria are eradicated, the ability to excrete heavy metals normally returns.

One theory about metals accumulation is that the Borrelia bacteria sequester the heavy metals as part of its manufacturing of the biofilm that it hides itself in (cyst form of Borrelia) when its environment becomes hostile, such as after antibiotics are introduced. When using a "cyst buster" such as Flagyl (or perhaps even hyperbaric O2), heavy metals can then be released into the system and cause toxicity with various side effects.