5th Year of Hosting

hookwormbitesspring2018

Hookworm Love Bites, Spring 2018

 

July 1st, 2018

I am now entering my fifth year of hosting parasitic worms.  Can you believe that ?  It seems like just the other day I was receiving my package of rat tapeworms via Royal Air Mail.   I feel… nostalgic.

At any rate, I have now officially embarked upon the long anticipated next leg of my worm journey !  Whoo-hoo !  On May 1st, I began hosting a second human adapted species – Trichuris Trichirua – or human adapted whipworm.   Unlike human adapted hookworms, which burrow through the skin as immature worms, you acquire whipworm by drinking a solution containing their microscopic eggs.  They hatch quickly after you drink them, in about an hour, and after a two week lay over in the small intestine, trichuris moseys on down to its more permanent home in the large intestine, where it threads itself into the lining of the colon and lives off its secretions.  I have now taken three doses of fifty trichuris, at the first of each month since May.   Only 10-20% of the trichuris eggs survive to take up residence in the colon, so that dose will soon give me fifteen to thirty whipworms in my colon.   They become sexually mature in about three months, again similar to hookworms.  It’s a all a bit of an inexact science, really.

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, 300 – 500 whipworms living in the colon is considered a “light infection”, and can be left untreated.   My provider recommends taking no more than 1,500 whipworm ova in one year to stay near that quota, over a rolling two year period, as human whipworms, like hookworms, tend to live only about two years in their host.  So, now I have hookworms in my small intestine, and whipworms in my large intestine.  I’m getting to be one wormy son-of-a-gun.

For those wondering where I would find whipworms to infect myself with, (I mean you can’t just buy them at Wal-Mart, right ?) my efforts to acquire whipworms were nearly as interesting as when I first acquired hookworms from shadowy world of “The Hookworm Underground”.  You see, I bought my whipworms, off the internet, from a person I’d never met, in a foreign country… using Bitcoins.  Yep, you heard that right.  Here is a link to my provider: http://www.symmbio.com/  The whole process was quite a learning curve for me.  However, on the bright side, I do have a decent microscope with 40 -100X magnification.  With my microscope, I was able to easily see that the eggs were indeed human trichuris, and further that they were embryonated (containing a small worm inside the translucent football shaped eggs, if the eggs are not embryonated, they will not infect you).   Having a microscope gave me some assurance that I was getting what I paid for.   The whipworms, also known as TTO (Trichuris Trichirua Ova), are a bit pricey, at one U.S. dollar per egg.   But, the process of isolating and embryonating TTO is a lot more complicated than growing hookworms in fruit jars, so it is probably worth it for me.   And Symmbio was helpful in serving me in every respect.

In regards to hookworms,  I applied 3 hookworms to my skin just a couple of days ago, but I don’t think they took for some reason.  I am probably going to do another culture, and try again in a week or so.   My last hookworm culture was a little hinky some how.  It just didn’t act right.  I had plenty of hookworms, but they all acted like deadbeats.  I’m going to toss them and try again.  I was a little lacks on sanitation this time.

I should mention that my hookworm inoculation  in April resulted in a very nasty rash.  It was scarlet red, large, and later formed oozing pustules that have scarred.  It was a problem.   Studying up on the matter indicates that some people react like this.  However, the rash usually becomes less pronounced with time.   I’m hoping that is true.

In addition, I haven’t been doing well overall.  I’ve had several attacks of rheumatic hip pain that were harrowing, and I just haven’t felt well at all for many weeks.   There are two ways to think of this:  #1) As with the HDC, I am simply getting too high of a worm burden.   This is possible, since I have a decent colony of hookworms (~ 35 under two years old), and have now added a new species.  Too, people like me, who have many sensitivities,  tend to do better with fewer worms, and can easily feel worse by hosting too many.  #2)  The second possibility is, the whipworms are hitting me right where I need hitting.  Since the lion’s share of the intestinal microbiome is in the large intestine, and since parasitic worms influence the microbiome towards a healthier profile, and since I have had terrible problems with my large intestine for decades, it could very well be that the whipworms are on the job and giving me a much needed, but unpleasant, adjustment.  #3)  Some have reported that, while human adapted whipworms do not seem to have a large systemic effect, working only mostly on the local tissues of the colon, they do seem to exacerbate disease symptoms initially, nonetheless.  I could be experiencing this.   Only time will tell.

Interestingly, as part of my “not feel too well lately” experience, I had a minor flare of psoriasis.  I’d never had anything quite like this before.  It was quite sudden and shocking.  After my first dose of whipworms, I had psoriasis spots appear in several places on my body.  They were scarlet and sore, and alarming.  Soon, they peeled like a bad sunburn, and revealed patches of funny looking pink skin.  This went on for a month, before finally resolving.  Thankfully, they are barely evident now, some 10 weeks later.  The point being, something is definitely going on inside my body.

A quick note on bathroom trips.   Whipworm hosting, as you might imagine, can cause some upset in the bathroom.  Diarrhea, in fact.  Fortunately, I have not experienced that end of things, perhaps because I am being quite cautious and only taken small doses, once a month.   Even with that, I have observed some changes.  I have a tendency towards constipation, esp. taking doxepin for my mast cell disorder.   That has definitely been better since hosting whipworms.  I am much more regular now, and so far, with not much downside, either.

I’ll mention one last thing before I move on.  Whipworms, like hookworms, can cause anemia.  However, unlike hookworms, which cause anemia through straight up blood loss, whipworms can cause anemia, via some unknown mechanism (probably a bioactive peptide they secrete), through central bone marrow suppression.  Let me be more clear on that point, they suppress blood cell progenitor cells in the bone marrow, through some unknown mechanism.   Since I have a mast cell disorder, and mast cells originate from progenitor cells in the bone marrow….   You see where I am going with this ?   Could it help a mast cell disorder in an unexpected way ?   Unknown.  But I think it is an interesting thought.

On another topic, I am getting fat !   Fat !   I’m 55 years old, and I’ve never been fat in my life.  I’m fasting 36 hours, every Wednesday and Sunday, freezing my butt off every day, crawling with parasitic worms – and it all makes me fat !   Go figure.  After topping out at  over 192lbs, with no end in sight, I decided that this has got to stop.  It is no longer amusing me.    So, I am currently trialing various forms of calorie restriction in an attempt to shed a few pounds, while still maintaining high nutrient intake.   We’ll see how that goes.

As a Segway to the next topic, a family member was with me when I went to the physician for an annual physical exam last April.    The physician remarked seriously, “You’re 26 pounds heavier than last year.  What’s going on with you ?”   The family member looked up from their notes, and they blurted out, “It’s the cold !  His body is trying to protect itself from the cold with blubber, like a seal !”   The physician turned slowly towards them, and said, “What ?”  Thus began a rather interesting and surreal hour long discussion.   You never get a doctor around here to talk to you for an hour about anything.   So, that was kind of interesting.   Anyway, on the Wim Hof/Cold Training front, I have had to suffice with twelve minute cold showers for most of the period.   The water is not so cold frankly, and neither is the outside temperature now, even in the mornings.   I’m hoping that, at least, I will maintain some of my gains into the next fall and winter.   I began last fall struggling to make out an hour at 55 degrees F (12.77C) without shivering.  I finished this spring going over two hours at the same temperature, without shivering.  As they say, your body gets used to it.

I continue to temper my hands and feet in ice water.  I have added more ice, more chilled water, and more time to this exercise.  It is a much deeper experience now, and gives me more insight into more advanced Wim Hof practices.

barefootinthesnow2018

Frolicking Barefoot in a Dusting of Snow, 2018

 

I’ve also gotten deeper perspective on the Wim Hof breathing methods.  I suspect most of the magic is from intermittent hypoxia.  First, the deep breathing expels CO2, creating tissue hypoxia.  Then the subsequent breath holds create blood and tissue hypoxia (perhaps with a respiratory burst of oxygen to the tissues in between).   I suspect all these goings ons induces a building of tissue anti-oxidant defenses in the body, leading to better over all health and resilience.   Interestingly, with repeat rounds of Wim Hof breathing, you reach a point (usually after three rounds of the simple technique), where your O2 depletes faster than your CO2 rises.   In fact, you can deplete the O2 so low, that you black out before your brains says, “OK.  Time to breath now.”   It’s an interesting quirk of nature that occurs because the breathing center in your brain is monitoring CO2 levels in your blood, not O2 levels.   Drive those CO2 levels very low, and you can deplete enough O2 that you black out before you breath again.  I think this is what is happening to me as I “blitz out” on the third round, going over 3 minutes on my breath holds.   And it is why there are multiple warnings not to do the Wim Hof breathing method in an unsafe environment.   Several people have already died from drowning by not heeding this advice, and one person had an automobile accident.

So, that’s it for now.  The big news is that I’m starting to host another species, and I’m not feeling so great.  I’m trying to lose weight by restricting my calories.  And every thing else is continuing as usual.

The journey continues

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October 1st, 2018

 

For the period July 1st, 2018 – October 1st, 2018, I experienced a lot of volatility.   In an attempt to control my weight, I experimented with several different fasting schedules.  I continued to practice the Wim Hof method, with cold showers and breathing exercises.  I added an new herbal treatment in the form of CBD oil.  And, of course, I continued to host two species of parasitic worms, Necator Americanus hookworms, and Trichuris Trichirua whipworms.   I experienced one bad episode of crippling rheumatic hip pain during this period.

Fasting:

First, the fasting.  As related in the last quarterly report, I was getting fat doing a 5:2 fasting program, i.e. fasting 36 hours every Wednesday and Sunday.  In an attempt to curb my expanding waistline, I opted to fast three days a week, rather than simply reducing my calories on eating days.  For the month of July, I fasted 36 hours every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.    This was a little bit difficult, but I did begin to lose weight.  And since I was “down that way”, for the month of August, I fasted every other day, 36 hours.  This was not as hard as I anticipated, and I lost even more weight.  By the end of August, I had lost from 192 lbs, down to 181lbs.  (87.09kg to 82.10kg).   This was a pleasing result, but felt I was losing more weight than I would like.

You see, most of my adult life, I have been very thin – painfully thin even –  and that is not just a figure of speech.  Due to my illness, and my inept attempts to treat it, I have been as low as 109lbs (49.44kg), and was often around 140lbs (63.50kg).  When you are very thin, there may be no comfortable position for you in life.  Lying down was not comfortable because of protruding bones.  Sitting was unacceptable also, for the same reason.  And standing was difficult, because I was just too weak !   Understandably, I did not want to go there again.  That place is a deep, deep, hole to climb out of.   So, I actually did an intelligent thing and found a calorie calculator on-line.     https://www.calculator.net/calorie-calculator.html   Using this site, I was able to calculate the number of calories I needed daily to gain, lose, or maintain, my weight.   I saw that it was impossible for me to maintain my weight doing alternate day fasting, unless I weighed 125lbs (59.70kg), and I certainly didn’t want go back there again.  In order to stay at my desired weight of 185lbs (83.91kg), I would have to eat nearly 5,000 calories per day, on eating days, to accomplish this.  I made several valent attempts to eat that much.  But I would always end up just making myself sick at my stomach.  Finally, I concluded that, with my illness, and limited diet, alternate day eating was simply impossible for me to do now.   The numbers didn’t work out at fasting three days per week, either.   So, I’ve ended up back where I began for now, with a 5:2 fasting program; but slightly modified to eat less in the evening so I can stay at my desired weight.

Three things I’d like to point out about this experience.  1) Alternate day fasting was not as hard as I expected it to be.  In fact, I found it simple, and rather pleasing.  If I could easily eat 5,000 calories per day of healthy nutritious food, I would definitely consider adopting this eating plan.  2) The on-line calorie calculator was invaluable to me in working out how I was doing.  3) My results in real life closely followed what would have been predicted by calorie calculator.   It’s hard for people in my position to go by how I feel in this regard.   Numbers are very helpful.

Wim Hof:  

I also continued to diligently pursue my Wim Hof practices.   During my last report, I neglected to mention that I had been, as we say in the South, sleeping “necked”, since the middle of May.  I began sleeping without bed clothes, or coverings, because I was trying to maintain my ability to withstand the cold that I had gained last winter during the warm months of summer.  While it seemed a bit odd at first, I soon began to like it, and I even seemed to increase my ability to withstand cool temperatures whilst sleeping.   Currently, I am only within a few degrees of being able to do this all winter, in fact, as I have withstood typical winter time temperatures in my sleeping chamber for several hours already.  However, I’m not sure I am willing to push this much further, as I am concerned it might be too big a drain on my overall health.   Sleeping all night, naked, at 70 – 72F (21.11-22.22C), in addition to the deep cold exposures I have in mind coming up this winter, might just be too much for me.    I will probably err on the side of caution in this regard.

I continued taking 12 minute cold showers outside under the garden hose for the whole period.  I got a shower head attachment for my garden hose, which as nice, but frankly, it really bores me from a cold challenge standpoint.   Cold water from the garden hose in summer dose not phase me now, even in the cool of the morning.   I need more of a challenge.

However, in regards to the Wim Hof Breathing Techniques, I did continue to progress and achieve a number of milestones there.   I had said before that, I had trouble tracking my breath holds over the three minute mark, as I would pass out at some point from low oxygen to the brain.  But, I finally got a confirmed and conscious 3 minutes and 22 seconds during the period.  I was pretty amazed by that.  But then weeks later, I got a confirmed and conscious 3:45, then 4:00, and then a 4:10.  I would remind readers that, these are breath holds after exhaling, not after inhaling.  I’m actually not quite sure what to make of this.   I feel a bit of a sense of pride about it, because I have worked so hard on the breathing techniques.  On the other hand, I’m not sure I care anymore about my times.   Wim Hof himself says not to be concerned about the times so long as you are getting over 1 minute 30 seconds.   And you realize in a powerful experiential way that you are in rarified territory when you get past 3:30.  The ego seems satiated at that point.   We will see where things go from here.  I am less concerned with times now, and just want to keep practicing to see what benefits might accrue over the long term from intermittent hypoxia.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28850251

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4505534/

CBD oil:

During the period, I finally found a brand of CBD oil that agreed with me, and was able to incorporate that into my lifestyle.   As readers here know, I’ve had a problem with inflammation for a long time.  I felt if I could use CBD oil, it might really help me.  But, CBD from cannabis is still illegal in my state, and CBD from hemp never seemed to agree with me.  Nevertheless, I gave it one more try, and ordered some CBD hemp oil from a place in Colorado called CBDistillery.  https://www.thecbdistillery.com/   Remarkably, it worked.  It lowered my levels of pain from the very first day.  It does bother my mast cells just a bit.  I now have to take a small amount of antihistamine even on the days I fast to reign in my twitchy mast cells (where as previously I did not have to take any medicine on my fasting days), but it is still tolerable.   It’s not a perfect solution, but it is an improvement, I think.  I can only imagine how much better it would be if I had safe access to actual CBD oil derived from cannabis, rather than hemp.   It is widely known in the patient community that CBD derived from cannabis works much better, and esp. when combined with a small amount of THC.   (*Cannabis and hemp are listed as worm safe in the Wiki Human Helminth Care Manual. ) https://helminthictherapywiki.org/wiki/index.php/Human_helminth_care_manual

Worms:

Finally on the worm front.  I continue to host two human adapted species, Necator Americanus, and Trichuris Trichirua.  No changes there.  I’ve got a new batch of hookworms cooking right now, and will add 4-5 hookworms to my colony soon.  This with the continuing goal in mind of maintaining a healthy colony of approximately 30 – 40 youthful and working hookworms over rolling two year periods.  I continue to take 50 trichuris ova every month.  However, I should note, I have received credible information that more than 10-20% of the trichuris are surviving and implanting in the colon, and that they could be living longer than just two years.  It may be that 50%, or more, of the swallowed trichuris ova survive and implant in the colon, and they may live up to three years, or longer.   Did I say this was an inexact science ?

I am not sure what to make of this new information just yet.  I suspect it will cause me to lower my doses of trichuris, and spread them out over a longer period of time.  Instead of taking 50 TTO every month, which would theoretically result in 900 trichuris in the colon over a three year period with the new survival calculations, I may instead opt for 50 TTO taken every other month, or 450 viable trichuris over a rolling three year period.   Slow, steady, sustainable.  Anyway, that’s the direction I’m leaning towards at the moment.

In Conclusion:

I did a lot of fasting during the period, and ended up right back where I started, with a  5:2 program, but slightly modified, to control my weight.  I continued to Hof diligently, sleeping completely naked all summer, taking cold showers, and cracking many personal bests on my breath holds.   I added some CBD hemp oil to my regimen with benefit.  And I continued to host NA and TTO, but perhaps with a slower dosing schedule on the TTO.

Going Forward:

I want to focus on deriving as much benefit as I can from the CBD oil, and I also want to direct more attention to my levels of vitamin D.   I’m concerned that my rheumatic hip pain may be autoimmune in nature.  So, maybe a greater focus in these areas would be beneficial for me.

The journey continues

 

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Jan 2nd, 2018

 

For the period Oct. 1st, 2018 – Jan. 1st, 2019, I had a pretty rough go of things.  I experienced several episodes of rheumatic hip pain.   I had a very rough episode with oral vitamin D supplementation.  And I had some bad episodes of mast cell activation due to taking the CBD oil.   Nevertheless, I survived and persevered.  I continue to fast 36 hours every Wednesday and Sunday.   I did my first fecal float test to see if my worms were happy, and producing plenty of eggs.  We also had a return of cooler weather for better Wim Hof training.  I got a new Sperti UBV Vitamin D lamp in hopes of keeping up my vitamin D for the winter.   And I continued to host two species of parasitic worms, Necator Americanus hookworms, and Trichuris Trichirua whipworms, but suffered a great deal from the hookworm rash.

Parasitic Worms

 

 

For the period, I continued to host both human adapted hookworms, and human adapted whipworms.  I added six new hookworm larvae to my colony on Christmas day.  Ho !  Ho !  Ho !  And I continued taking fifty trichuris trichirua ova every month.  The biggest problem I experienced with this was an increasingly bad rash from the hookworm inoculations.  The one on my foot was the worst.  It was from the October inoculation and was more like a gunshot wound, than a hookworm bite.   It left a deep ugly crater that later scarred badly.  I had trouble getting a shoe on that foot for nearly a month.  And it occurred from applying only two hookworms – very disturbing.

The inoculation on my arm, from Christmas day, was six hookworms.  I treated this rash differently.  The one on my foot from October, I simply neglected, as I’d never had such a bad problem before.  So, I felt I needed to try something different this time.  With the inoculation site on my arm, I rubbed the pustules off with a pumice stone on the 3rd and 4th days.  Scouring a raw, bloody, rash with a pumice stone is not exactly pleasant, I can tell you that.  But it is supposed to remove a cuticle that hookworms leave behind as they migrate through your skin.   Removing this cuticle is supposed to decrease the inflammatory response the immune system is mounting to the foreign object, and speed healing.   Then just to make things even more fun, you finish by rubbing salt into the wound.  Yes, much fun.  I still have smoking craters on my arm from all this, but the salt did seem to dry up the wounds nicely, and keep them from oozing lymph fluid for days, as my foot did.   Since these bites are still recent, the jury is out on whether this painful treatment will make things any better, or not.   These rashes are a problem.

On the advice of my provider, I decided to continue taking fifty trichuris per month for the time being.  My provider related to me that, in several years of service, they had never seen a problem in anyone taking no more than 1,200 trichuris ova per year.  Fifty per month would give me only 600 ova per year, so I feel pretty safe with that.  Thankfully, I’ve had no problems that I know of from trichuris, so far.

I also did my first fecal float test for parasite eggs during the period.   I bought some equipment off the internet, used by veterinarians to test animals for parasite eggs.  It worked quite well.   I did this test for two reasons.  Number one, my yield on hookworm cultivations had been gradually declining.  In fact, my October cultivation had only yielded nine hookworms total.   That’s a very low number.   I should have had hundreds of hookworms.  So, I wanted to see if my colony of hookworms was producing a sufficient number of eggs.  Number two, I also wanted to see if my trichuris were mature and producing any eggs yet.  I could see with my microscope that the trichuris ova I am swallowing appeared to be embryonated, but to see unembryonated trichuris eggs in my stool would be proof  positive that they were indeed viable, implanting into my large intestine, and successfully mating.     I used a supersaturated salt solution for the test, as described in the Helminthic Therapy Wiki pages.

 

But the test was only partially successful.  I did find many (!) hookworm eggs, but no trichuris eggs.  It was suggested to me that, in order to successfully isolate trichuris eggs, one needs to use a special solution called, sheather’s solution.  It is a pre-made sugar solution with a proper specific gravity for float separation of parasite eggs.  There are directions for making it yourself at home from water and sugar, but I plan to order some to be sure that I get it right next time.   So, I didn’t find out if my trichuris were happy and fornicating, but I did find out that my hookworms certainly were.

This created another problem in my mind, “If I’m seeing so many hookworm eggs in my stool, why I am I not getting more mature larvae in my cultivations ?”.  I puzzled over this for several days, and finally suspected that my feces had simply been too dry during my cultivations.  The hookworms were facing a mechanical barrier in attempting to escape the feces.   So, in my December cultivation, I made things more moist, and used a small spray bottle to keep conditions moist through out the 14 day cultivation cycle.  It worked wonderfully.   I was back to producing many hundreds of L3 infective larvae again.  I was very happy with this result.

(Btw, my past difficulties, which I may not have mentioned here, in separating out many microscopic worms into a proper smaller dose was also easily traversed by serial dilution onto multiple glass slides using a 20ul micropipette.  Really, my cultivation and lab technique has been a comedy of trials and errors.   I would have a problem, then try to solve it.  Then have another problem, and try to solve that.  Fortunately, hookworms are fairly forgiving in terms of being cultivated at home.  But, with that said, I encountered yet another problem this time.  A family member, who also got inoculated on Christmas day, “Give the gift that keeps on giving”  🙂 , did not get their full number of bites as expected.  No problem.  This has happened before.   I had saved some of the worms in anticipation of this.   I went back into the test tubes, where I had been holding them, and saw a most heart wrenching sight.  Hundreds of once sleek, beautiful, hookworms, now lay scattered about willy nilly, dead, and decaying.   Not one live one to be found.   What did I do wrong ?   Other people report keeping their mature L3 larvae alive in captivity for up to 4 months !   I do not know what happened, so now I have another worm mystery to try to unravel.   Such is the life of the home cultivator.)

Vitamin D

I mentioned in my last report that I was going to begin exploring vitamin D in an attempt to improve my case.   Amazingly, and unfortunately, I tolerate an oral dose of 2,000-4,000 I.U.’s of vitamin D for nearly a month.   Then the wheels feel off.   I was sick, and achey, and had horrible and unusual joint pains (that took me a month to recover from).   It was awful.   I stopped the vitamin D.

Now, I know some of you are going to say, “Cofactors !  Magnesium, K2, etc.”.   Others will say, “Cathelicidins, defensins, herxing !”   Yeah, I get all that.  But I have to tell you, after extensive reading on the subject, I’m not so sure.   I’m not fully convinced that science fully understands vitamin D.   And I may be wrong, but I also have an uneasy feeling that all this vitamin D supplementation is, perhaps, misguided.   For now, I’m going to sit this one out.

(With that said, I did get a Sperti UVB Vitamin D lamp during the period.  I continue to use it three times per week, and hope I am doing the right thing.  It does not seem to harm me, like the oral doses of vitamin D did.   It is a well made, quality unity.  And it doesn’t take as long to get a good dose of vitamin D producing UVB rays as my Sperti Fiji Sun Lamp did.   I kept my vitamin D up pretty good during winter one year with the Fiji lamp, which produces both 70% UVA and 30% UVB.   But it took consistent and long exposure times.  The 100% UVB only lamp is much quicker, taking only a few minutes, three times per week.  I’ll be anxious to see if my vitamin D levels are any better at my annual physical early next spring.)

CBD Oil

As I mentioned, I had several bad episodes of rheumatic hip pain during the period.  In an attempt to combat these episodes, I continued to up my dose of CBD oil.   I am now taking a pretty stiff dose of that stuff.    This has helped my pain some, but it has also caused other problems.  The higher dose of CBD has begun to aggravate my mast cells, which means I have to take more antihistamines to try to control that situation.   At present, I’m still trying to workout the right balancing act.  There is evidence that CBD can help pain, and mast cell disorders.  My desire is to continue take a good dose of CBD oil to see if this will turn out to be the case for me.   But in the meantime, it’s not easy.

Wim Hof

Finally, I kept right on Hoffing the whole period, despite all my difficulties and setbacks.  I got a confirmed and conscious new personal best breath hold of 4 minutes and 24 seconds.   I set a new personal best in terms of non-shivering cold endurance of 52 minutes at 22 degrees F (-5.55C).   And my hand and foot ice baths are nearly maxed out at 7 minutes and 45 seconds each (* 8 minutes is the maximum recommended time for this exercise).

I was very curious this fall to see if I could return to cold exposures and pick up where I left off last spring.   I’d heard that cold exposure gains could be maintained for up to seven months without any further training.   This was only my second year of dedicated training, so I didn’t know if this would be true for me, or not ?   Well, my first good cold exposure of the season was not so great.   I did not perform well, and felt defeated.   But the next day was a bit better.   And the next day after that was a bit better yet again. By the time I’d been back to good training for a week, I was within 90% of where I left off last year.   Within a month, I was even exceeding what I had done at the end of last year.  For example, a personal best last year was 42 minutes at 22 degrees F (-5.55C).  I’ve now exceeded that by ten more minutes.  It seems a bit odd to me that I’m only 8 minutes away from being able to stay, without shivering, for an hour at 22 degrees F.   Frankly, I’m not quite sure how I got here.  If you’d have told me five years ago that I’d be able to stay at that temperature, in shorts and flip flops, without shivering; and further more, that I would consider it a rather “normal and unremarkable” thing to do, I would have laughed in your face.   But here I am.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, this period was rather hard on me.  The hookworm rashes, the rheumatic hip pain, the vitamin D debaucle, and the CBD follies, have all combined to leave me a little roughed up heading into the New Year.   Other than using the Sperti UVB lamp, I have no intentions of pursuing oral vitamin D supplementation any further.  But the other problems are things I need to solve.   I continue a basic 5:2 intermittent fasting schedule, 36 hours two days per week with no issues.

Going Forward

In the New Year, I’m just going to try to keep on keeping on.  I think there is a reasonable chance that the things I am currently doing will yield fruit in the fullness of time, and possibly leverage me into a better position.  But to know, I have to keep working and training.   When I examine my alternatives, I don’t see a lot to attract me. Even the successes in more conventional medical treatments, which are by no means guaranteed, come with great monetary costs, and also a heavy burden of serious potential side-effects for cases likened unto mine.   For now, I will continue to seek elsewhere.

The journey continues.

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April 2nd, 2019

For the period Jan 1st, 2019 – April 1st, 2019, things were just plumb crazy.   The biggest event for me during the period was a terrible case of the flu, followed by a 21 day water only fast.  I took no further doses of worms, though I do plan on taking 50 TTO tomorrow.  I also suspended temporarily my 5:2 fasting, and Wim Hof training.   For those who read this blog just for the worms, there really isn’t any reason to read this quarter’s report, as I will be talking mostly about my 21 day fast in this missive.

A Flu and a Fast

Towards the end of January, I began to feel a little crummy.  I wasn’t performing well in Wim Hof, and I was struggling overall, and I had some chronic hoarseness in my throat.   I began to suspect the CBD oil was disagreeing with me, which I now believe to be true.   I was about to start cutting it back when, I woke up one morning with a fever.   For those who have read my blog for a while, you know that when I get a fever,  I reach in my health duffle bag and pull out the water fasting adjustment tool.   I didn’t feel too bad at first, but as the days went on I just got worse and worse.  It took me 10 days of fasting to finally get the fever to submit, and I fasted an extra 24 hours just to make sure.  To have to go that long to subdue a fever was a bit unusual.   But apparently, this was a rather nasty flu virus, as several otherwise healthy people in our community were hospitalized by it at the time.   Fortunately, I escaped without any recourse to physician or drugs, being only just a bit thinner and fatigued for my troubles.

Then a terrible thing happened, my ego made its appearance.   I thought to myself, “You know, you’re just one more day from making a personal best on a water only extended fast.  (I had previously fasted water only for 12 days one time.)  Why don’t you just go 14 days ?   That’s a nice even number.  You can do it.”   And so I did.  Then I’m sitting here on the 14th day feeling fairly well, and then an even more terrible thing happened.   A small winged devil lit on my shoulder and whispered in my ear, “I think you should go for 21 days”.   Then it flitted away, as I repeated to myself, “21 days….  Yes, I think I should go for 21 days….”.   And so I did.

I have to tell you, those last 3-4 days of fasting really pounded on me.  I’m not sure that combining a three week fast with the flu is such a bright idea.   In fact, I don’t recommend it.   Post viral fatigue + the fatigue of fasting  = too much fatigue.

I broke my fast on the morning of the 22nd day with a small amount of meat and fat.  I ate three small meals like that the first day, and things seemed to be going quite well.  But that night at 1 a.m. , I awakened and felt a bit queer.  I wandered into the bathroom and began to feel queasy.   A wave of incredible heat swept over me and I clutched at the sink to steady myself.   Then in the distance, I heard something that sounded rather like a sack of doorknobs being cast upon a floor.   The next thing I knew I was lying flat on my back on the bathroom floor staring up at the ceiling.   My first thought was, “You know, this is a really interesting perspective on life.  I should get down this way more often !”   The crazy things you think in times of distress.   🙂   I was only slightly injured by the fall, and frankly, after all I’d been through, I thought it was somewhat amusing.  But a family member heard me fall, came to investigate, flipped on the light, and caught me lying in the floor like a stunned cockroach.   They were not amused at all, not even one little tiny bit.

But that was the end of the excitement.  I continued to eat and recover with no further incidents, or blacking out.   One interesting thing to me was my weight fluctuation.  I lost 25lbs (11.34kg) during my 21 day fast, from 190lbs – 165lbs (86.18kg – 74.84kg).  Usually a person loses about one pound (.45kg) a day during an extended fast, so this was a slightly higher than normal weight loss.   But even more interesting was my rapid weight gain once I began refeeding.   I gained 20 pounds (9.07kg) in 20 days !   Even more amazing to me was that I wasn’t even calorie sufficient for about six of those days.

You see, and this is embarrassing to admit, but I was once seduced by Lady Vegan, and her comely sister Fruitarian.  They worshipped the goddess Hygieia, and so did I.   Yes, I was a vegan, and even a fruitarian, after the fashion of the Natural Hygiene movement. It seems so stupid now, but it all seemed to make sense back then.   That was many moons ago in a bygone century.   However, when I was a vegan, and a fruitarian, I would do extended fasts and lose weight.  But then, when I began refeeding, I would gain weight back only very slowly – if at all.   So, it is amazing to me how quickly one can regain weight after an extended fast… when one is eating plenty of meat and fat.   I thought it would take me 3-4 months to regain the weight I had lost.   No !  Only 3 weeks !   And I wasn’t even trying.  I was just eating normally.   Could this be further evidence that a “species appropriate diet” for man includes large amounts of meat and fat ?   I think perhaps so.

Intermittent 5:2 Fasting and Wim Hof

Understandably, I was reluctant to restart my customary 5:2 fasting program very soon after my extended fast.   I waited six weeks before I began fasting one day per week again, and I will resume my 5:2 regimen beginning tomorrow.

Similarly, it took me a while to easy back into Wim Hof.   I began cautiously with one round of breathing, and a 5 minute cold exposure at 32F ( 0C).    Slowly, I increased each component until just a few days ago I once again achieved a full Wim Hof routine for me.

In conclusion

I took no worms for the period.  I just had too much else going on.   The whole period was dominated by my difficult flu and extended fast.

Going forward

In the coming weeks, I anticipate getting back in the worm saddle, and generally just keeping on keeping on.   But there is one new thing.  I have recently become quite interested in hyperbaric oxygen therapy.   I’m currently taking a long look at this healing modality, and weighing my options.   Perhaps, I will pursue it in the future.  And with that I will take my leave.   Until next time…

The journey continues

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