"We'll prepare the injection while you void," he said and directed me to the rest room.
I closed the door, and was immediately assaulted by the whirr of the vent fan and the smell of Lysol. I soon heard the splash of urine in the toilet bowl. That's when it hit me: the icy hand of Fear closed around my neck. My breath stopped, then started in short staccato stutters. My fingers stiffened as I tried to grab the paper.
I will not be afraid, I told myself. I am not a 4 year old hiding from the pediatrician. I tore off a few squares of paper and began to fold them. Maybe Fear is here to help me, I thought. Maybe my intuition is telling me what I need to know--that this procedure could set me back on my healing journey.
"I'm not going to do it," I announced upon exiting the rest room.
"But we've already prepared the DMPS injection!" the nurse said.
"We'll have to charge you for it," the Doctor said, "because we can't use it for anyone else."
I held firmly to a resolution I'd made to myself a year earlier: I WILL NEVER AGAIN OVERRIDE MY FEAR TO DO A MEDICAL PROCEDURE. I picked up my purse and headed for the front door. I would never see Dr. M again.
The incident that led to my resolution was the kind of medical trauma all-too-frequent among ME/CFS patients. I'd been visiting the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center in Patagonia for a week of relaxation, escaping the bleak Ohio winter and enjoying myself by hiking, meditating, and doing yoga outside in the Arizona sun. I'd chosen Tree of Life because I had recently become gluten free and was trying out a raw food vegan diet to see if it would help heal my worsening psoriasis. My ME/CFS was in remission at the time; I had more energy that I could ever remember. Except for some embarrassing cognitive deficits, I was 49 going on 29. After 6 years of being too sick to work, I was about to start a business to help others recover, using my new skills of yoga and energy healing.
My new friends at the center advised me to consult with Dr. Gabriel Cousens. "People come from all over the world to see him," they said. "You're already here."
I took their advice and ended up in his office on the last day of my vacation, surprised to find my heart pounding like a jackhammer. What was I afraid of? Was I intimidated by this man because he had studied with the Guru of my Guru, had touched my brow in meditation, and claimed the power to give shaktipat diksha (the awakening of spiritual energy)? Did I imagine he'd see through my happy facade to the deep-seated doubts I harbored about my worthiness and abilities? My conscious mind told me it was all of those things.
Dr Cousens advised, "A raw juice fast will clear up your psoriasis."
I told him I had a history of CFS and adrenal issues, and that I'd been told by another physician never to fast. He reassured me that he'd put hundreds of people with CFS on fasts and that all of them had done well. Eager to please, I changed my return flight and extended my vacation another 7 days.
Three days after I returned to Ohio, I relapsed. Postural orthostatic tachycardia emerged as the first and most debilitating symptom, affecting me if I stood for more than 3 or 4 minutes. It was soon followed by depression, anxiety, insomnia, constipation, hypersensitivity to noises and smells, and finally, a total inability to walk. Dr. Cousens said my adrenals were failing and advised me to get shiatsu. Four weeks after climbing a mountain in Patagonia I had to call on neighbors to take my dog around the block. It was the greatest trauma I had ever experienced in my life.
A year later, when I went to see Dr. M, I was still reeling from the shock. I had made significant progress in that I was no longer miserable and depressed; I could take the dog for walks and make my own meals. I just couldn't do anything else. It would take another 5 years to recover to the point where I had been in 1999; avoiding anything with risk that might set me back was crucial to my steady (albeit fragile) recovery.
Many years later, after completing my naturopathy training, I educated myself about DMPS, the chemical that Dr. M wanted to inject for a metals challenge test.
DMPS (2,3-dimercapto-1-propanesulfonic acid sodium) is a synthetic amino acid chelating agent of toxic heavy metals, which forms a water soluble complex with toxic heavy metals and is believed by many to lead to their removal through the kidneys, liver, gastrointestinal tract. DMPS has been use in West Germany where it has been studied and is available as a commercial drug for the treatment of heavy metal toxicity. Studies in West Germany report safety in animals and humans in the doses given. ... Because DMPS has not been studied in the United States of America, it is considered "experimental" by the FDA. (From http://pages.prodigy.net/naturedoctor/chelation.html )
I talked to individuals who had been harmed by the DMPS challenge test; others who had been harmed by a few oral tablets. The compound pulls mercury and other metals out of tissues where it has been sequestered. Ideally they are removed from the body through normal excretion, but what happens too often is that the metals are not tightly bound to DMPS in the kidneys, liver and bowels, and end up creating new tissue injury. One patient who was harmed by the challenge test has started DMPS BackFire.com and collects reports of other patients who have been harmed by DMPS injections.
I am glad I listened to my intuition and respected my fear. Instead, I started doing hair mineral analysis and did many different compounds for oral chelation. I'll talk about them in my next blog post.
Eight years later, that is in October 2009, I agreed to do a metal challenge test. My doctor used Calcium EDTA. Here are my results:
You can see that I have only one element which falls into the toxic range, and that is Antimony. The doctor also circled lead and mercury, arguing that he doesn't like to see any amounts of this showing up.
I had antimony show up on hair mineral tests. It was particularly high shortly after my first relapse. According to Andrew Cutler, antimony frequently affects the heart. It also lodges in thyroid, adrenals, and kidneys. It is found in flame retardants, pottery glazes, flourescent lights, and lead-free solder.
Amazingly, I am not fearful about starting i.v. chelation with my current doctor. Because he works with many ME/CFS patients, he has learned to use very tiny doses. For example, the recommended dose (Dr. Gary Gordon) for Calcium EDTA pushes is 50 mg per kg of body weight. I weigh about 50 kg, so I could conceivably receive up to 2500 mg or 2.5 gm of EDTA. However, my doctor used 1/2 uL, a liquid measure (1/2 of a microliter equivalent to 1/1000 of a milliliter). I don't know how this translates into mg because I don't know the strength of the liquid.
My first experience with an EDTA push (5 minutes, but I took about 15minutes ) was on Tuesday. Here's what I experienced:
Instant irritability which lasted for about 4 hours
I decided to take Chitosan (it absorbs fat soluble toxins) even though EDTA makes a water soluble compound and goes through the kidneys, just to pick up any lipids that were damaged by the metal ions that got lose from the EDTA
I had several drinks with supplemental ionic minerals and magnesium citrate
I couldn't rest, so I went to the gym and did about 15 minutes of weight lifting followed by a 10 minute sauna. My mood greatly improved as did my energy.
I did a coffee enema and felt great.
I took a subcutaneous glutathione shot and didn't feel any effects.
I had energy in the evening, and puttered around the house until 11 pm.
I read for awhile but didn't get sleepy.
I tried to go to sleep anyway, but my mind was going 100 mph. I took 1/2 triazolam, which usually puts me to sleep right away.
I finally got up, had a snack, wrote, and read and got back into bed at 3 am. I slept until 9:30.
I felt okay all day, albeit a bit tired and wired.
Now that I've read a bit more about i.v. chelation (especially about the controversy on the safety of IV EDTA pushes and about any type of IV DMPS), I am a bit worried. Fortunately I see the doctor tomorrow.