In a major article on current MRI studies of Multiple Sclerosis, just in passing the author mentions that observed lesions may in fact be signs of healing rather than injury. That is to say the immune response is beneficial rather than an auto-immune injury. How can this be when the brain is considered ”immunologically privileged”, that is to say, lacking an immune system. Well, that bit of mythology has just bit the dust after 70 years of misguided thinking/research/treatment for MS…
Back to the present. What happened to me ?
I’ve been depressed ever since I had the flu March/April. (I’m convinced the Cortisone “inhaler” undermined my immune defenses to exacerbate the illness. I’ll never take Cortisone again.) Late June more hair than usual began to fall out during shampooing. I read that hair can fall out three months after an illness, which fits the time schedule relating to this flu. The hair will grow back and since I have very thick hair I suppose I shouldn’t worry. But this is a sign of poor vitality.
I’ve often observed that my depression announces a physical pathology. Depressed like that, I wondered if I was incubating a cancer. Then mid July my 8 year old granddaughter visited, her energies literally consumed mine. And then by accident her fingernail scratched me under the left eyebrow. I should have sterilized the scratch at once, I didn’t make much of it. About the same time the left side of my head/scalp began to burn. Well, to make a long sad story short, I developed shingles in the left eye complete with “pox” marks on the left forehead above the eye. (This may have nothing to do with the scratch, but that wound is taking forever to heal.) What we have here is a classic recipe for shingles, Age 67, depressed immune system, stress. Sunday evening when my left side scalp began to burn, I knew I was too stressed but thought a few days of peace and quiet would restore me. Well, it may take a bit more than that. Monday a terrible toothache developed which made me think I had an abcessed tooth so Tuesday evening, we drove to Paris and Wednesday morning I visited the dentist. The tooth was fine. I had my hair done by the coiffeuse Wednesday afternoon and noted afterwards with concern that I was walking badly. We drove back to the country where we live during the summer. Bladder weakness implied I had a fever though I didn’t check my temperature. Thursday I was tired, I treated my gums thinking the toothache originated there. And I began to take Pulsatilla 30 CH 3 grains 3 times a day.
Friday the scratch was worse so I went to the Pharmacy on the plaza for antibiotic ointment. My left eye had begun to swell and close up. The preparatrice mentioned Zona, but the local medical clinic was closed.and I didn’t have the energy to fight my way to a doctor.
By Saturday evening liquid filled pustules had developed on the left forehead, my husband returned from a meeting and saw at once I was in trouble. He acted, taking me to emergency at the hospital in Blois Saturday evening rather than wait Monday morning. Good decision. Treated after 72 hours (too late), the zona can blind the eye. My husband called the emergency doctor around 6:30 pm and was given an appointment at 10:10 pm. This excellent service avoids a long stay in the waiting room, but you have to pay 65 euros for it. An excellent investment. We were sent to the night guard pharmacy after passing by the Prefecture de Police in Blois, presumably to guarantee we wouldn’t mug the pharmacist. I began taking the medication that night.
The Doctor (I’ll call him Dr. Blois) has had long experience treating “Zonas” (the French word for shingles.). He warned us that they could be very painful, and yes, I can corroborate that. But it was treatable with anti-viral medication, valaciclovir – 1,000 mg three times a day for 7 days. (Sick as I was, I hate to imagine where the process would have led if it had run its course – including loss of vision in the left eye accompanied by excruciating pain.) He prescribed the valaciclovir for the Varicella Zoster virus (VZV), spray disinfectant with compresses to clean the pustules, an antiobiotic cream to prevent infection on the “rash”, and optional Pyostacene antibiotic to prevent infection in the eye shingles, and Prednisolone to control the pain. I did take the Pyostacene antibiotic (I’ve used it before in treating bladder infections) but certainly not the cortisone. I said I would never take cortisone again. As it turned out the pain subsided fairly quickly.
Shingles is caused by a resurgence of the varicilla zoster virus (VZV), in other words the Chickenpox herpes virus which lies dormant in ganglia adjacent the spinal cord or “trigeminal ganglum” at the base of the skull. There is now a vaccine given to people over 60 to prevent developing zonas which become more common with age. The “rash” is said to heal in 2 to 4 weeks, or rash and pain can subside in 3 to 5 weeks. When I spoke with my naturopath the following Monday she warned I could be laid low for 2 months.
Monday, my husband called the local Doctor to visit me at home (yes, in France they still have house visits !!!!) because the pharmacist had substituted the Zelitrex version of valaciclovir with the generic and the emergency Doctor told my husband when he called again that he preferred I take Zalitrex. It did seem to be more effective. I spoke with my San Francisco Naturopath Monday evening. Friday and Saturday she had e mailed her concern about the possibility I had shingles in the eye and insisted I see a Doctor. On Monday as well my husband consulted a local healer reputed to sending a healing energy and by Tuesday my face had relaxed a bit. The eye began to re-open and slowly I recovered. Reading this I recognize that once my husband realized I had a serious problem he mobilized all his forces to help me. All week he has climbed the stairs with a food tray since I’m not strong enough to go downstairs.
I was in agony Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and VERY tired. I expected to spend the whole week in pain and had been warned the pain could linger for months. I noticed that a terrible pain ran up the middle of my forehead which I knew to be the Governing Meridian in Acupuncture so I lay the palm of my hand on the top of my head and think I calmed the pain if only a bit
But now this is Saturday, the last day of medication, and I’m not in pain. Wednesday the pain had begun to subside though the left upper quadrant of my face was uncomfortable. Even that has subsided. The white watery pustules turned into angry red “poxes” (which I suppose is called the rash.) The Doctor had me clean the “rash” with an antiseptic after which I was to use an antibiotic cream to prevent infection. I’ve decided they are no longer in risk of infection and after disinfecting them have begun to smooth Aloe Vera slime directly from the plant to prevent scarring which seems a real possibility. Fortunately the poxes didn’t move down onto the cheeks, I still have very nice skin.
I have to give credit to all those who mobilized to help me, my husband, my Naturopath, the local “healer” (my husband doesn’t believe in that sort of thing but was heartened by the improvements) and of course the hospital emergency Medical doctor Dr. Blois and the home visit doctor who backed him up. The MD warned me I could be in pain for a long time, but I’m not. I’m a bit worried about what will happen once off medication, I will speak to my Naturopath Monday evening, she will be pleased at my progress. Tuesday I will get treated by my Osteopath and Thursday by the acupuncture doctor who hopefully will set me on my feet. Also I’ve resumed the homeopathy.
Bravo to the Allopaths. Dr. Blois was surprised when I said I didn’t take medication for the MS. I briefly described my approach. He was skeptical about fluid circulation origin of MS, surprised when I mentioned research that showed blood circulation through the brain in MSers takes twice as long as normals. I can see it will take a very long time for MS treatments to catch up with the research I’ve been touching on in this site.
Just before my granddaughter arrived I ordered air tickets to travel to the USA in October. It’s been eleven years since I’ve been “home” and I realize I need the freedom to speak my mind, to communicate freely. The French tendency to communicate in symbolic gestures I’ve come to find suffocating. I’m traveling to Washington State to see my mother and sister and old friends, and then south to San Francisco and back to Seattle again. In response to my sister’s question I said I want to visit the virgin forest, the mountains and the beach and she is delighted. Mt. Baker is one hour from Bellingham. I never thought I would have the strength to take such a trip, but have decided to do it. I have much to do before leaving, I hope my Naturopath is wrong and I’ll be well recovered by the time of my departure.
Research shows that the first anti-viral medication for the Herpes virus, Acyclovir came on the market in pill form in January 1985. Valacyclovir (my drug), came on the market Dec 15, 1995 and Faciclovir June 29, 1994. These antivirals are used to manage the following herpes viruses in descending order of efficacy – HSV-1 (herpes simplex virus 1), HSV-2, VZV, EBV (mononucleosis), and CMV. They are inactive against latent viruses hiding in the ganglia. There are some MSers diagnosed with high EBV titers who think using these anti-virals will stop the MS. A look at the list of the drugs’ eventual side effects would seem to make this a bad idea. The treatment is limited to 7 days and I don’t see some great improvement with the MS, actually the symptoms worsened.
Had I developed this misery before the treatment available only in 1985 (maybe really 1995), I would have needed a good Homeopath to heal. Without help I might well have ended blind in the left eye and seriously disfigured. (Believe me these “poxes”are taking forever to heal and they can well cause scarring.) I do think the Pulsatilla homeopathy I took minimized and retarded development of the Zona, and maybe if I had started taking it at signs of the first symptom – burning on the left side of my head – I could have stopped its development altogether. But I would have needed more expert advice as symptoms advanced.
The French Allopaths really saved me this time. But the American Medical Association (AMA) was founded mid 19th century by Allopaths with the aim to deliberately to destroy Homeopathy in the US.. Later, in the 1950’s they lobbied to prevent a national health care system in the US. As an organized lobby they have done much harm to American health care. There must well be other pathologies for which an Allopathic drug is not available. (MS for example in spite of appearances.). A good Homeopathic Doctor can heal many so called “incurable” disorders.
I will next finish the article on the Brain’s Immune system. I will then work to revise and update my site. There is a wealth of information already here, I don’t have to be shy about recommending it to anyone. Yes, Doctors don’t appreciate the suggestion that maybe they could learn something from me. I’ll just keep working until no one needs the information any more.
Tags: Shingles, Zona, MS treatment, Allopaths, Homeopathy, Herpes virus, VZV, AMA