Things feel pretty good, still holding steady bowel wise. On the whole I’ve had a solid bowel movement almost every day for about two or three weeks now. Last week I did have one day of mushy bowels, but no big deal. I’m still have one bowel movement a day on average, sometimes two.
I still have some brief sharp pain when “evacuating,” which I attribute to possible hemorrhoids (any tips on getting rid of these?). I’ve yet to check with a doc about this. Yesterday I did in fact have tiny spots of blood on TP, but this was definitely from a fissure, not IBD blood, I used to get these little spots often before IBD when I had normal bowel movements. Honestly I didnt have solid stools for 5+ years, so maybe its a bit of a shock to the system, and is doing some tearing.
I’m also coming up to a very stressful, annual time for me.. the beginning of the semester! Yikes. I’m going to be teaching my first class ever, so hopefully my little comrades hold things together for me.
A while ago I came across an elegantly written, even philosophical piece on our modern, hygienic world, where even our food no longer rots. Here it is, for your reading pleasure (and brief Jasper/helminth reference)
Something Rotten in our Sterile World, by Elizabeth Farelli, Sydney Morning Herald
It’s been just about 25 days since I inoculated.
Side effects are non existent. Even the vague nausea that I was feeling a week or so ago, I cant even attribute to the little guys, because I was a bit anxious about “day 12/13” (when they molt & migrate) side effects, and we’ve had an unbelievable heat wave in New England, and I have no A/C, and its been above 90 F almost everyday.
I have to say, nothing but good news on the bowel front. I think my little comrades must be nicely settled in by now, and have been slowly working their “magic,” as I’ve had solid bowel movements every single day for the last 6 or 7 days. Only 1-2 bowel movements per day. The only time I’ve been able to have consistent solid bowel movements (with no mucus or other markers of inflammation) has been when I’ve gone on a full blown prednisone regimen for a month or so. While I have achieved periods of “remission” on my normal IBD drug, Colazal (a 5-ASA), I’ve still never been able to get solid stools for more than a day or so without prednisone, and have always had some trace of mucus. I’m not on prednisone at all, but still taking Colazal, but only 500mg, down from 750mg which has been my daily dose for 5+ years. This is all encouraging but I’m very wary of pulling a G Bush and throwing up a “Mission Accomplished” banner.
*An important note here. Most people with autoimmune diseases who are interested in helminthic therapy will most likely be using Necator americanus, or human hookworm, as their worm of choice, however as mentioned elsewhere, this blog is about Trichuris trichiura, or human whipworm, which is a (seemingly) better organism for specifically Ulcerative Colitis. In any case, not to beat to this distinction to death, but my reason for bringing this up again is to point out that the effects of human whipworm begin to be felt FAR sooner than with hookworm. With whipworm, as far as I have learned from research and speaking with others, the effects begin within weeks, while hookworm the effects begin within months, often taking up to three or six months. For some conditions, the ‘full effect’ from hookworm may even take up to a year. Patience, not something we are used to in the instant gratification world of pharmacological medicine, is a virtue here.
From my reading of a little parasitology online, human whipworm take about 30 days from inoculation to maturity. After day 30, I will begin to have a better idea of what I can expect from this therapy. After two months, I expect to have an even more solid idea.
So it goes.
Oh, and just in case some of you out there are curious if I can “feel” them (I know I was, even when told otherwise by smarter minds), my answer is no, not at all. I dont think about them nearly as much as I imagined either. In fact as time goes on, I mostly forget that I’ve “got worms.” Once, I did say goodnight and wish them sweet dreams, just because I’m a bit weird. What would a little bowel parasite dream of, anyhow? A never ending colon? A young and nicely curved female whipworm perhaps?
I wrote in an earlier post that, learned in conversations with greater minds on whipworm that on day 12/13 the helminths molt and migrate to the colon, their permanent home and final destination. Also, this is when the peak of side effects was supposed to occur, with effects lasting for a few days to a week after, then (hopefully) going away. So I’ve definitely passed this mark, as today is day #15 since inoculation. Over the weekend, I went to a lake house to celebrate 4th of july, and felt mostly good. I did have some nausea at moments, in the car ride up, also on the morning of the 4th. Also, my throat became sore two days ago, and was tight/slightly swollen (like an allergic reaction almost), but seems to be better now. Generally over the past 4-5 days I’ve been feeling more lethargic than usual, with no energy to bike ride or jog outside, and have been feeling some of that difficult to describe “brain fog” that many people with autoimmune diseases know well.
My bowels have been good actually, still no diarrhea at all. The one major problem is that I’m having some considerable pain in my lower rectum/anus during bowel movements, and I can only imagine this is a hemorrhoid or an anal fissure (tear). Honestly it feels like having little razor blades in my rectum, but only hurts during a bowel movement. There is almost no blood, I’ve just seen a little spotting once or twice on the tissue.
I don’t know exactly how this is related to my helminths, but I assume it is given the timing, and that I’ve never had this problem before. My suspicion is that this may actually be because I’ve had a few fully formed and solid bowel movements, which my rectum/anus is not used to thanks to 5+ years of constant loose stools because of my colitis. Anyone with whipworm out there have a similar experience?
This is also a plea for advice! Despite having awful IBD symptoms, I’ve never had hemorrhoids (I have had many small fissures) and don’t know what to do. Do I wait it out? Prep H? Should I alter my diet? Lube? I read somewhere that witch hazel wipes are good.. anyone out there have any tips?