Exercise & Fitness

Part II: An unforgettable first night (and other miracles in the making)

Why we shouldn’t trust miracle drugs at face value.

Note: This is part two of a series that began here.
Having convinced a neurologist to prescribe me something he had never heard of left me, for the most part, to my own devices. However, thanks to the late Dr. Bernard Bihari’s comprehensive instructions on the site lowdosenaltrexone.org as well as the assistance of many amazingly well-versed patients using the protocol, I learned everything I needed to know to start my treatment simply by reading, asking questions and reading more.

Too bad my double vision was so bad I had to close one eye to read anything. The cranial nerve palsy that caused the double vision (diplopia) was so bad, in fact, that my right eye had completely turned inward.

Needless to say, I was not a very happy girl.
The evening of the drug’s arrival via mail, I decided was as good a time as any to take my first dose. Uhm, no. Scratch that. The sooner I could get this substance into my system, the better. I could not go on in my current state. Humbling, considering the many, many people who live daily with serious disabilities. Between the double vision, my inwardly crossed eye and various tingly body parts (and not in the good way), I was ready to fold my life’s deck and just succumb to the sadness.I popped the enteric capsule and checked the clock: 9 p.m., on the dot.

About 45 minutes after, I began to feel… terrible. Like, hit by a truck and then reversed over and then hit again terrible. In fact, I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to make it through the night. I considered whether or not to alert my husband, Gage, about his wife’s certain death, but decided he had already been through too much with my mystery illness to wake him from his peaceful slumber. I hobbled over to my computer and began researching why I felt sure to be immediately upon death’s door.

Suddenly,  I felt something strange happen in my face. A tugging sensation… kind of? And, while I mostly had to read with one eye closed, the muscular strain of constantly keeping one eye closed all the time was too hard. So, I had been doing my best to read with both eyes, ignoring the second set of everything that hovered just to the right and up from the first set. Driving had become impossible weeks before because seeing with both eyes is critical for depth perception, and clearly, depth perception is really important while driving.

Following the tuggy feeling, I experienced what I can only call a miracle because it defied everything I had come to learn about this disease process: That is, the time it would take for a symptom to appear, progress in severity and then peak would equal the same amount of time on the other side, when the symptom would remit. Like a bell curve. A really cruel one.

As I sat there, staring at my computer’s screen, I watched as said second set of words, my surroundings, eek back toward version one of my reality. I felt my flippin’ eyeball move back. Into. Place. I saw the double images reunite as one.

I swear, I even felt a final squeak in there as a final adjustment.

Thank you, God, thank you, God, thank you, God. Those were the only words that coursed through my mind as I nestled into my pillow around 1 a.m., ready to try out my regained single vision on the world the next day.

The next morning, not only had my eyeball remained in its perfectly synched position, the tingling had also subsided markedly.

The body aches, however, had not. But I was not discouraged, ready and willing to trade even permanent flu-like aches for severe double vision and those pervasive pins and needles.However, these severe body aches–and researching why they were happening–are what led me to the name of a symptom that would change everything:

The Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction: a temporary worsening of symptoms or the sudden appearance of flu-like myalgias, also known as a “healing crisis” in the event of a rapid dying-off of a body’s bacterial or viral load.

The most common bacteria to elicit a Herxheimer, or “herx” response?

The spirochete.

Alicia McGarry’s journalistic endeavors began at The Chicago Tribune before her passion for all things Kansas City called her back to her roots. She has written for KC Magazine, The Kansas City Star and LakehomesKC and offers her unique perspective on holistic wellness each month for the readers of Good Health KC.