Sunday, May 17, 2009

Adventures with Bicillin!

We've started using the generic Bicillin (benzylpenicillin). There's been a learning curve. The first few times were particuarly brutal. Clogged needles, having to inject repeatedly because of silly mistakes, etc. But we've got a fairly good technique now.

There's just one problem. Sometimes we get a gusher. Or, really, a geyser. One night, after withdrawing the needle, a fountain of blood and Bicillin erupted in a two-inch high arc from my butt, showering me, Nick, and the bed. Which meant we'd pretty mcuh lost all of the medicine that had just been very painfully injected into my ass. Friggin' awesome.

The next attempt was slightly more successful--the geyser only arced about 1/2 inch into the air. Sigh.

But we're getting better. The last injection leaked only a little, mostly blood, and a few mintues of pressure was enough to stop the flow. Tonight I get another shot, and hopefully everything will go smoothly.

The experience of the shot is certainly different than you'd get with U.S. Bicillin. The fluid is less dense, and the needle is much larger. The acutal injection process--about two mintues--is certainly more painful, but not unbearably so. After the needle is removed, the stinging lasts for maybe ten minutes or so, which is an improvement over the U.S. stuff. And it doesn't form a tight knot of medication in my muscle, which makes it much more comfortable over the next few hours.

So the short-term experience is worse, but the long-term is better. And the financial experience is obviously in favor of the generic.

We've ordered more of the generic from overseas, and I'm hoping that customs lets it through without a hassle. We've also purchased another box of the super-expensive U.S. brand-name Bicillin, for nights when we're having trouble with the generic.

In less medical and more exciting news, on Wednesday Nick and I will have been married for nine years. We're taking three days of vacation. We're renting an isolated cabin very close to Mt. Rainier National Park. It will be good to get out of the city and into the woods. I think it will be restorative. We've even marked a few short and easy trails, in case I'm feeling up to it.

Monday, May 11, 2009

And today in brain fog...

I just swung my purse over my shoulder. See, I need to buy cat litter and groceries. I put my cell phone in my purse and grabbed the grocery list. I started walking to the door.

And I then realized that I wasn't wearing any pants.

Medical report

I saw my LLMD last week. I also finished my second round of glutathione IV treatment (total of eight IVs). I think that the glutathione helped a little. I'm now back at my baseline energy level (20% or so of normal/healthy). The glutathione may have cleared cytokines (created by die-off of Lyme bacteria), and with liver detox. For now I'm pausing on the glutathione IV treatment (I'm still taking glutathione precursors along with my other meds), but it remains an option if I start to decline again.

Since my "improvement" has only brought me back to baseline, it's time to start looking at other issues that might be slowing down my healing process. The first thing we're going to look at is possible heavy metal toxicity--especially since I grew up near a large Superfund site.

This morning I took 1500 mg DMSA, which is a chelating agent. Over the next six hours, I get to drink a lot of water and collect all of my urine in a bright orange jug. Then I shake up the jug and take a smaller sample and mail it off to be analyzed, the theory being that if I've got heavy metals in me, the DMSA will get them moving and I'll pee some out and we can figure out what's there (if anything).

I get to keep the bright orange jug, and I'm thinking of turning it into a flower planter for my balcony. Because that would be funny.

We're also looking at neurotoxins/biotoxins. Normally, your body can filter and excrete toxins. However, Lyme disease and the treatment thereof can release toxins that, in some people, are not fully excreted. The toxins, or some portion of them, can be reabsorbed in the bowel.

To address this potential problem, I've started taking modified citrus pectin twice a day. It's basically a soluable fiber that can help remove fat-based toxins. This is the milder approach. The more aggressive approach is to take a prescription medication called Questran, which soaks up all sorts of things--toxins and pretty much anything else. Which makes timing difficult. You've got to schedule it around your antibiotics and supplements, because you don't want the Questran removing the "good stuff" along with the toxins. And since my medication schedule is already a nightmare, we're going with the more gentle pectin approach for now.

The other bit of news is that we've started using the overseas Bicillin, or benzylpenicillin. Nick and I have only injected it once so far. It was a little difficult figuring out the best way to handle the process. We ended up with some benzylpenicillin sprayed over the bathroom mirror. And then during the injection, the needle clogged. So I had to get stabbed again. But Nick didn't stab hard enough, so the needle just bounced off my skin. (This needle is FREAKING HUGE.)

When Nick finally got the needle inserted and the injection moving...oh my. There was some cursing. "Are you actually biting the pillow?" Nick asked. I think I yelled something very rude back, not at all suitable for polite audiences.

So, yes, the actual injection was more painful than the pre-mixed U.S. Bicillin. However, as soon as the injection was over, the pain dimmed very quickly, and I wasn't as sore as I usually am with the pre-mixed stuff. And it was totally worth $40--approximately how much we're saving per dose by ordering from overseas. I mean, if someone came up and offered me forty bucks to endure that amount of pain for that duration, I'd totally do it. I mean, forty bucks!

I am such a cheap date.

So for $40 per injection, I'll endure. For now. I reserve the right to change my mind.