Hello & welcome.
I’m in my mid-twenties, live in lovely New England (northeast USA for those who may be reading from abroad), and am a graduate student. Oh, and I’ve got a belly full o’ worms! Well, not actually in my belly, but its fun to say.
In the summer of 2005, I was incredible sick. Unbelievable gas, intestinal pain, frequent & bloody diarrhea. Once it began it didnt let up. I was running to the bathroom 10-15 times a day, I was scared to eat anything, I had no idea what was going on and I lost 25 pounds in a month. Finally, after a colonoscopy, a doctor told me I had Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), and more specifically, Ulcerative Colitis. Later I would also be told I had “Crohn’s-Colitis” (because of granulomas) and “Ulcerative Proctitis” (in the rectum), but because my inflammation has been all in the colon, I’ve stuck with Ulcerative Colitis as my definable illness. I’ve been taking 750mg daily of Colazal (a 5-ASA drug) ever since, and have had to go on prednisone regimes periodically to quell flare-ups when the Colazal fails. I’ve reached many periods of “remission,” which is my post-IBD state of normal. However I’ve never felt well since, at my best, my bowels are loose and not always well digested.Recently, my GI has been suggesting that sooner or later I’ll have to get on one of the “big boys,” an immunosuppresant. This is one of the reasons I’ve decided to try helminthic therapy, before my condition gets worse, before I need surgery. I’ve read enough and know enough people with IBD to know the future does not bode well.
In addition to IBD, I get frequent headaches. I take tylenol for said headaches, and take daily fish oil supplements, as well as random multivitamins. Since being diagnosed with IBD, I’ve also struggled with “generalized anxiety,” although take no medication for it (tried that, didnt like it). I’ve found that my health record is just about “normal” for someone with an autoimmune disease, as rarely do they come without compatriots like headache, anxiety, asthma, allergy, or other autoimmune problems. In fact, I hear that nowadays GI’s routinely prescribe anti-anxiety or anti-depression meds once they diagnose someone with IBD.
I think it’s important to be in the spirit of “full disclosure” when showcasing oneself as an experiment for others, so that’s that.
Otherwise I’m in pretty good shape. I try to exercise weekly, eat (mostly) healthy food that I cook myself, enjoy traveling and visiting other countries, although sadly this illness has kept me from many adventures. I generally appear happy and healthy, despite what may be going on inside, unless things are so bad its too much to hide.
About a year and a half ago, I read a New York Times article titled “Babies Know: A Little Dirt is Good for You,”
This was my first exposure to the idea of the hygiene hypothesis and the first time I had heard of helminthic therapy. As someone with one of the autoimmune diseases mentioned, I was intrigued. After reading the article, I stayed up well until 3 or 4:00 AM, googling the hell out of “helminthic therapy,” to put it plainly. The Wikipedia pages on hygiene hypothesis and helminthic therapy were of huge help, and provided a good sources to begin with. If you have not checked them out, please do. Even that first night, in my google frenzy, I stumbled across Jasper Lawrence and his incredible story. I first read his account on Kuro5hin:
but would later see it reproduced in brief in many newspaper articles and even TV news programs. I’m sure we’ll see a Hollywood movie based on his experience someday.
In any case, fast-forward to this present, and after a year of reading many news media stories, following the yahoo helminthictherapy group’s message board, reading blog posts and daily “helminthic therapy” google alerts, even reading research journal articles and many abstracts, I finally decided to “take the plunge” and begin therapy. I’ve weighed the pros and cons a thousand times, and it simply makes too much sense. That’s the scary thing about this therapy actually, IF it works (and it appears it is for many who are actively trying it), then this therapy is part of a larger paradigm shift in medicine, medical “treatment,” and even how we think about ecology and the human body. I spent many months corresponding with Jasper and Dr. Marc Dellerba of AIT (see providers section), who decided that the best organism for my condition would be human whipworm, aka Trichuris trichiura (TT). This is NOT pig whipworm, sold by Ovamed (again see providers section for information about the difference). Most of their patients use hookworm, not whipworm, to treat their various autoimmune diseases, but AIT has found that Ulcerative Colitis is the one condition that responds more favorably to whipworm, most likely because they live in the colon, the site of inflammation, while hookworm inhabit the small intestines.
On June 20th, 2010, I swallowed a full dose of 1,000 human whipworm ova. The survival rate is only about 10%, so I should have hopefully ended up with about 100 worms, well within a safe “worm load” for TT. Unfortunately, I’m not able to exactly quantify how many worms survived, although hopefully in the future after stool analysis and maybe even having a scope put “up there,” to count worms, I will have a better idea. They live about a year or two (I’ve not been able to find exactly consensus on this, anyone have a good reference?), so I’ll need to inoculate again in a year or so, if I’ve found the therapy works for me.
So, this blog exists because I want to provide another account of someone using helminthic therapy in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. In fact, there are just a couple blogs out there from people using this therapy, and they were extremely helpful for me in “normalizing” the idea of using helminths to treat disease. Please see the blog roll for a list of related blogs.
Additionally, of the helminthic therapy related blogs I read, I haven’t found one that focuses on the use of human whipworm (TT) to treat Ulcerative Colitis, specifically. Since that’s the therapy I’m on, my hope is that this blog will be useful for others with UC interested in whipworm therapy, and generally those interested in helminthic therapy.
As you might have guessed, I’m being a bit cautious about personal details, mainly because of my profession, which includes my many google-savvy college students, so I wish to remain mostly anonymous due to the social stigma related to parasites and people who might have them. However, I’d be happy to be in contact with anyone on a more personal level, so please feel free to contact me through email at:
I wish you all good health, good spirits, and relief from suffering.
*Just to be clear, I’m in the social sciences (political science, sociology, anthropology, etc), and have no “hard science” or medical background, so please do not take anything I write as coming from an “expert.”