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Coxsackie B: My Nemesis

Posted Jun 07 2010 12:00am
I sat at the computer gaping with amazement.  Dr. Martin Lerner, who I’ve heard about at my Columbus Doc’s office as “the guy who focuses on viruses and antivirals”, has been researching cardiac issues in CFS since 1993.  He has done Holter tests and echocardiography and biopsies.  He has found that viral reactivation is the cause of relapses.  He has published his research in peer-reviewed scientific journals, working together with academic researchers at Wayne State University.   His work is thorough, detailed, and firmly rooted in science.  No muscle testing ‘proving’ to me that gliadin-rich wheat germ oil will help me.  I clicked on one link after another, voraciously reading until my eyes glazed over and my brain melted into a puddle. 

Thank you Peggy Munson for linking to his work in your blog!  It is wonderful how we all learn from one another.  Sharing information and our personal journeys not only lessens the bite of isolation, but brings us closer to solutions on our own healing journeys.

I made an appointment with a local cardiologist and, two days later, showed up with a bibliography of Lerner’s publications and an article describing his theories.  They glanced over it, copied it to put in my file, and explained to me the tests they would order:  a stress test (with exercise or a drug to dilate the arteries), an EKG, a 24 hour Holter or a week-long incident Holter, a sonogram of the heart.  “I’ve had all those tests before,” I said, “except the stress test, which I can’t do because the exercise will make my relapse worse.”

“We’ll do it with the drug then,” she said.  And I knew then that I would not waste another day in a doctor’s office.  At least not this doctor.  Lerner had found abnormalities in the T waves of CFS patients while they exercised, something that wouldn’t be found with a dilating drug.   Nor would I consider taking a beta-blocker to ease my chest pain when my blood pressure often dropped to 85/57.  I called Lerner’s office and made an appointment.

Although I had cancelled nearly all of my appointments with my Columbus NT doc, I hadn’t burned all of my bridges.  I went in at the end of the week and asked him to draw blood to retest my viral titers.  In the beginning of treatment, he had done the standard screening and found me to have evidence of past infection of EBV and HHV6, confirming what Dr. Sue Levine and others had found.  He also found me to have a slightly elevated titer for Coxsackie virus B 6, again indicating prior infection.  As in the past, I had concluded that viruses were not a big issue in my personal variation of ME-CFS.  But now I had the idea that, since I had never been tested during a relapse, I might show a very different picture.  I knew from personal experience that stress reactivates viruses in the herpes family.  I’d seen Dr. Ronald Glaser’s bibliography on the role of stress as a factor in reactivating the Epstein Barr Virus.  The reactivation of this virus would explain my symptoms.

Lo and behold, I did show viral reactivation of EBV and HHV6.  But the most significant elevation of viral titers was for Coxsackie B3, an enterovirus known for causing myocarditis.  I had found the cause of my relapses.

I've been researching the Coxsackie viruses.  They have been connected with ME-CFS by Dr. John Chia, who has found that 80% of his ME-CFS patients have either Coxsackie or Echo Virus upon biopsy of the stomach.  Coxsackie B Virus 3 (henceforth CBV3) is known to enter the body through the gut and then infect the heart and brain.  Like most other viruses, it only remains in the blood stream, detectable by PCR, for a few weeks.  Then it hides inside the cells of various body tissues.

The more I read about CBV3, the more it seemed to explain every single relapse I've had since my first recovery from ME-CFS in 1990.  Viruses are reactivated by stress, and all my relapses have been brought on by stress.  While the first one (1994) was characterized by digestive complaints and emotional turmoil from PTSD, the next two (2000 and 2007) started with cardiac hyperarousal which, after a few weeks, led to an aggravation of brain issues, orthostatic intolerance, digestive issues, endocrine issues, and fatigue.  Even when I felt great for a few weeks in the summer of 2007, before relapsing, I was getting frequent tachycardia, palpitations, and chest pain.  And my urinary amino acid testings showed evidence of malabsorption, while my stool testing showed a perfectly healthy mix of commensal bacteria and no pathogenic bowel organisms.

Viruses stay in the body forever, although they can be contained by a healthy immune system.  Normally, I would have seen this as cause for distress.  I would have cried and whined and begun to feel hopeless. But since getting several blessings from Mahendra Kumar Trivedi, I have believed that my body is capable of healing.  And Mr. Trivedi is a powerful ally on this path.

Trivedi is an Indian holy man who seems to have direct access to the Divine.  He shares his gifts by blessing the earth and blessing people.  His passion over the last few years has been to document scientifically the benefits of his blessings.  You can read more on the website of the 
TrivediFoundation , where you'll find data from research studies in agriculture, microbiology, physics, and genetics, as well as human wellness.  Of particular interest to me is Trivedi's work with viruses:  laboratories tested how he was able to reduce the levels of HIV, Hepatitis B and C, and Cytomegaloviruses in tubes of plasma.  At his introductory lecture, he presented a simple graph that made this research accessible to lay people.

Do you now understand why I felt optimistic?  If viral reactivation is causing my relapses, and if Mr. Trivedi can reduce my viral load, I can move to a state of increased wellness.  Even though I'll always have the virus in my system and therefore always have to be careful, if I get the virus into remission, I can rebuild my strength.  I can get stem cells to speed the rebuilding of damaged heart and brain cells.  And if I have a big stress and feel any cardiac symptoms, I can flood my bloodstream with herbal and pharmaceutical antivirals.  What a wonderful plan!

I didn't have long to wait to get started on the first step.  I signed up online for an individual remote blessing with Trivedi, and for a series of  two group blessings.  I also signed up to attend the retreat in Chicago because he was urging people with serious illnesses like MS and Parkinson's to attend.  I knew it would be a stretch for me to travel that far (7+ hours), stay in a hotel, and be present during the retreat, but I felt compelled to do it by a great inner force.  Fortunately, I had fantastic results, which is why I'm writing this evening after a full day of travel.  But, as it is now 10:30, I am going to retire for the night, and tell you all about my fantastic results in a few days.  I can barely wait to see how great I feel tomorrow!!

PS Sorry for the changing typefaces.  I can't seem to sort them out now.  :)
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