Jan 2, 2018
*If you are paying attention, you can tell that I got mixed up on my years, and how long I’ve been hosting. I am currently over midway into my fourth year of hosting, so I thought it would be appropriate for me to start posting on a new page. Forgive the mix up in chronology.
For the period Oct 1st – December 31st, 2017, I continued to host one species of parasitic worm, Necator Americanus, human adapted hookworms. I have now achieved my goal of hosting a colony of ~ 35 hookworms, all under two years old. In addition, I still enjoy sleeping in my very dark room with the tracked room darkening blinds, and I’m still fasting two days per week. I also have gone deeper in my interest in cold exposures and the Wim Hof Method. But, I have seen no improvements in my major symptom, I am sad to report.
Firstly, I added 4 new hookworms to my colony during the period. My total colony should now stand at 37 worms, all under two years old. A family member also added 4 more worms at the same time. I anticipate that adding 4 new worms every three months will be my practice going forward so that I can maintain a healthy colony of 28 vigorous worms over a rolling two year period – remembering that it takes three months for them to mature and hit their stride at influencing your immune system. I decided to be conservative in this regard due to hearing of the struggles of other sensitive cases that got overly aggressive in their dosing and colony size. To add a bit of humor, I timed out my last cultivation so that we would be applying hookworms on Christmas Day. Give the gift that keeps on giving ! We joked, “I got up on Christmas Day, looked in my stocking, and Santa had left me hookworms ! I don’t know whether this means I was naughty, or nice ? 🙂
I also continued my 5:2 plan of intermittent fasting during the period, fasting on water only, 36 hours, every Wednesday and Sunday. I continue to tolerate this practice well, finally gaining back all the weight that I had initially lost ( I lost from 178lbs at 6ft. tall, down to 150lbs. in the first few months.). I now weigh 180lbs. I eat well (within the limits of my food sensitivities), and feel well pleased with what I have accomplished in this area. I was able to regain weight by eating slightly more at each meal, until I was able to replace basically all of my previous caloric intake. In a sense, I now get to have my cake and eat it too. I eat heartily and feel satisfied on five days per week, then fast for two days per week without difficulty.
Finally, a lot of this three month period has been taken up with focusing on cold exposures, and practicing the Wim Hof Method. I had a significant cold exposure, and also did at least 100 breaths in the simple Wim Hof breathing technique, each day during the period. This took quite a bit of commitment. 85 days, of the 90 day period, I had outside environmental cold exposures almost always before sunup, and often even before dawn, with temperatures ranging from a high of 65 degrees F (18.33C) down to 7 degrees F (-13.88C) (*Astute readers will know that the 7 degree F temp was actually on Jan. 2, 2018. I just wanted to add that in, because it was the coldest temperature that I have trained at to date.) The remaining 5 days of exposures consisted of 10 minute cold showers. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any snow. But there was plenty enough wind and rain to go around. Being steadily rained on at 42 degrees F, for 45 minutes, is a memorable experience, I assure you. I set many training records during the period, even staying outside nearly as long, and with greater ease, at 7 degrees F for twenty minutes, than I had stayed outside at 18 degrees F for twenty two minutes the previous year. I have also engaged in several methods of active and passive training outside of daily official cold exposures. I sleep with less coverings (75% less than before I began). And I have gone barefoot about the house constantly. In addition, I began a Wim Hof “homework assignment” in mid-October. Everyday, I dip my hands and feet in a container ice water for 5-6 minutes. This tempers them, and helps them deal with longer out of doors cold exposures. I have found this practice to work very well. In previous years, I have struggled to remain barefoot in the house in the winter, usually throwing in the towel in early December. But since I do the homework assignment of tempering, my hands and feet are much more comfortable in cold conditions, and going barefoot in the house is now remarkably easy. Also, since doing the hand and foot ice baths, I can now make a tight fist with virtually no pain. The worms had helped a bit with my long history of finger stiffness and pain, but the ice tempering has helped even more. Very interesting. Some may find this hard to believe, but I have had no colds, or flus, during all this period of daily cold training – not even so much as a sniffle. I did have a mild sore throat once for about three days, and also some attacks of rheumatic hip pain, which also make me globally sick in an odd way, but I just kept on training nonetheless, and it really didn’t seem to make any difference positive or negative to the course of these ailments.
During the Christmas holiday, there was a discount offered on the Wim Hof Fundamentals On-line course. I couldn’t resist. So, I am now two weeks into the Wim Hof Fundamentals course, in addition to everything else I’ve been doing. Were I a younger and fitter man, I’m quite sure that I could train everyday for the rest of the winter and spring into the month of June. However, I am not a spring chicken, and to be perfectly honest my daily cold training has been fraying my rope just a bit. Really, it is not so much the cold exposure that is fatiguing me, but I am losing a lot of quality sleep by having to beat the sun up everyday before the temperature starts changing. In the new year, I’m going to have to alter my training program to get more sleep, and also take a few days off to give my body a break.
In conclusion, I regret to report that all these efforts, the worms, the darkened room, the fasting, and the cold exposures, have still not made any significant inroads into my major symptoms. I still have mast cell issues, and a very limited diet. And I still have attacks of crippling, rheumatic, hip pain. With that said, I do not dislike in any way the things that I am doing. In fact, I find them pleasurable. It is not hard, after all, to continue to do things that bring you pleasure, so I will likely keep doing them. Going forward, I still have quite a few tricks up my sleeve. I won’t reveal my plans for now. So, stay tuned. 🙂
The journey continues.
April 1st, 2018
For the period Jan 1st, 2018 – April 1st, 2018, things have pretty much remained the same with no major changes in any direction. I am still only hosting one species of parasitic worm, Necator Americanus, human adapted hookworms. I am still fasting 36 hours every Wednesday and Sunday, and continuing to gain weight, I might add, in spite of this. And I am still practicing Wim Hof Method cold exposures and breathing exercises. While I have seen no changes in my health, a family member, who is also hosting Necator Americanus, has very likely seen some positive changes in their health.
I am still hosting the same number of hookworms as in January, thirty-seven. On April 12th, the second anniversary of my initial infection with hookworms, my original cohort of ten worms will be moved to the geriatric column and considered no longer active. No ones knows if this exactly the proper calculation, or not. It is just playing the law of averages. I have not yet boosted my colony with new worms, as I will be going to the doctor for an annual physical soon. Last year, the doctor noted my high eosinophils, and questioned me about them. Not wanting to frighten him, I mumbled something about “having a lot of allergies”. This seemed to satisfy his curiosity. An inoculation with parasitic worms is know to temporarily raise eosinophils, so I will not add more worms until my blood work is safely back in.
As I have mentioned before, another family member has joined me in hosting hookworms. This person has had lifelong “stomach problems”. For the last few years, they have been particularly bad. They were diagnosed with GERD, and gastritis, and they even had to have their esophagus stretched during a upper GI scope. Their diet was very limited due to all this, and they had lost a lot of weight, becoming quite weak. They were also constantly having to take antacids and even PPI’s. They were really struggling. Remarkably though, within the last two months, their health has taken a turn for the better. They have even began eating small quantities of raw fruits and vegetables. We were both puzzled by this improvement. Then it dawned on us – worms ! Of course, one cannot know for sure, but I believe it is very likely that hosting enough worms, and for a sufficient length of time, has helped this loved one to turn a corner with their chronic G.I. inflammation.
On the fasting front, I now weigh nearly 12 pounds (5.44 kilos) more than when I began fasting two days a week, 21 months ago, and up almost 40 pounds (18.14 kilos) from my lowest weight about one year ago. (I am now six feet tall, and 190lbs., or in metric 1.82 meters, and 86.18 kilos) And I’m not just gaining fat, either. A lot of it is sinew, muscle, and bone. It’s really quite remarkable, and I cannot explain why this is occurring. A friend of mine joked, “Gee, if you stopped eating altogether, you might weigh 400 pounds !” 🙂
In regards to Wim Hof, I have backed off my previously rigorous training schedule, and now train only five days per week. Remarkably, I have experienced no colds, or flus, during this whole period of cold exposure training now measuring from Sept. 1st – April 1st. Typically, if it is 39 degrees F (3.88 C), or less, then I will just sit outside in shorts for an environmental exposure. However, if it is above that temperature, then I will douse myself with cold water from the garden hose for at least ten minutes. Depending on how I’m doing, I will then, as Wim Hof says, “Go as you feel”. Typically, I will stay under the garden hose an additional four to eight minutes. Then I will stand around outside and drip dry for another 10-20 minutes. Even at 55 degrees F (12.77C), this can be a brisk and refreshing morning routine.
For several months, I’ve had a “fantasy exposure” brewing in my head. I thought, “If I could stay outside, at 32 F (0 C), barefoot, for one hour, perfectly calm, with no shivering…. Then that would really be a great milestone in my training.” I’d been pushing the envelope for some weeks, working towards that goal. Several times, I’d gotten very close, with temps of 34F (1.11C) for an hour. Then one day, I was feeling particularly froggy, it was 29 F (-1.66C), and I just decided to go for it. And remarkably, I did it. 29F, barefoot, for 1 hour, perfectly calm, no shivering. I thought I had really done something. And I had. But it turned out to be more of a stunt, than an achievement. I was very depleted for the next three – four days, with sore, twitching muscles, and tremendous fatigue. So, that was “interesting” in a bad way. I concluded that, I’m not quite ready to train at that level just yet.
But, Wim Hof is not just all about cold exposure. There are many facets to the Wim Hof Method, most notably, the breathing techniques. While I generally do not like the breathing aspect of Wim Hof, I find it be a chore, rather than something I look forward to, I must admit I’m getting better at it. I normally do the simple technique, three rounds of breathing, plus I add three minutes of power breathing at the end for a kicker. My retentions are typically 2:00, 2:45, and 3:00 minutes. And frankly, I often “blitz out” on the third round and lose control of my retention. Several times, I’ve freaked out a family member when they’ve seen my hands locked up for several minutes with tetany from hypocapnia. What does it all mean ? I’m really not sure. I can only say that, the breathing is powerful and interesting, it’s free (except for your time), and there have been enough anecdotes of remarkable healings from serious injuries just from the breathing techniques alone to give one pause for thought. In recent scientific studies, the Wim Hof breathing techniques have been shown to prime the periaqueductal gray region of the brain (when used in conjunction with cold exposure) to release endogenous opioids and cannabinoids, in addition to previous studies showing the release of anti-inflammatory IL-10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29438845 Does this all mean anything for my case ? I don’t know. Only time and dogged commitment can tell.
In conclusion, things are pretty much the same as my last report. I’m still hosting only hookworms. I’m still fasting (and still gaining weight !) I’m still doing cold exposures/Wim Hof. And I’m very pleased to see, perhaps, some improvements in the health of a close family member due to hosting hookworms. I’ve been planning some major changes the last few months to shake things up a bit. But, unfortunately, I’ve been slow out of the blocks in implementing these changes. Hopefully, I’ll get it in gear and have some new things to report in future missives. As for now…
The journey continues.