My story

I‘m 46 and first saw a doctor for fatigue at 17. I’ll try to summarize my situation here and then give you the long version.

Executive summary: I lived fairly normally with adjustments (stopped drinking alcohol, eating sugar, carbs, etc) for declining capabilities until about 12 years ago when I went into a tailspin in 2007 after moving to South Florida (2001). I made an emergency move to Colorado in 2007 and started feeling better quickly, but when I abruptly stop taking Ambien, my nervous system just fell apart. After a visit to the Mayo Clinic and five subsequent years of avoiding doctors and improving slowly, I discovered heavy metal toxicity was likely a key source of my troubles. I spent a year and a half doing Frequent Dose Chelation and full-spectrum methylation support which left me healthier in some ways and sicker in others.

My liver and detoxification genetics were probably the weak links in my body that allowed heavy metals and other toxins to accumulate. If that’s true, chelation likely overwhelmed my liver. So, I’m working on addressing my SOD2 flaws and restoring my liver, kidneys and colon. After seeing the big, gnarly stones, sludge and crud that out of my liver in my fourth flush, and the plaque that came off my colon, there’s no doubt left in my mind that I’m on the right track.

Here is the long version:  In 2007, I reached a crisis point and went to see the famous Dr. Galland in New York who did around $3,500 worth of blood tests which turned up a high mercury number on a plasma test (three times the normal high end range).

At the time, I was thinking mold allergy was at the root of my issues and he thought it was reasonable to pursue that angle first. He mentioned that he had patients with much higher mercury numbers with no symptoms. So I moved to Colorado to test the mold theory. It hasn’t entirely panned out.  Five years later, I’m a lot healthier (I was in a desperate slide earlier) but still feel like there are 80-year-olds with more energy and vitality than I have.

That’s changing, though, because in 2013, I finally discovered the root of 30 years of declining health and I expect to be back up near 100% by 2016.

Then and now my issues were/are in order with the most disruptive symptoms at the top:

  • Metabolic disruption leading to constant hunger
  • Metabolic disruption leading to difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep
  • Fatigue
  • Cognitive impairment / brainfog
  • Muscle tightness leading to tendinitis and repetitive strain injury
  • Temperature related itching which disrupts sleep
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Low blood pressure
  • Heat intolerance
  • Cold intolerance
  • Edema
  • Alcohol intolerance
  • Positional sleep apnea
  • Osteoporosis
  • Mold allergy
  • Mild chemical sensitivity
  • Mild anxiety
  • Emotional sensitivity
  • Ears ring when it’s too loud in the room
  • Mild tinnitus
  • Low body temperature
  • Low cholesterol
  • Low vitamin D & migraines from supplementation or sunshine
  • Light sensitivity
  • Dimmed vision
  • Omega-3 intolerance

Here’s what happened after arriving in Colorado — I felt remarkably better, so much so that I neglected to refill a prescription of Ambien I had been using for three months. That night, I experienced a nervous breakdown (which took me the next 4 years to overcome). In a panic, my wife escorted me to the Mayo Clinic where I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which I considered nearly useless. I was really fed up with doctors and decided to just focus on diet and exercise.

For many years, I had been under the assumption that I had Adrenal Insufficiency in spite of the Mayo Clinic doctors refusal to diagnose me as such. My symptoms are nearly a perfect match. So, I thought that perhaps I just needed rest, a good diet, gentle exercise and clean air and water. I thought maybe if I stopped using cortisol for a few years and went on a high-fat Paleolithic diet to build my cholesterol back up (which had dropped down to 99),  my adrenal glands would heal and I would recover naturally.

After a couple years of gorging myself on steak, pulled pork, shrimp, and chicken liver, I realized that my adrenal glands were not recovering. I started using cortisol again and currently take about 20 mg a day.

What didn’t quite fit the Adrenal Insufficiency theory is that supplementing got me functional, but never resolved a lot of issues. It just moved me from 20% functional to 60 or 70% functional.  I’ve read Dr. Jeffries Safe Uses of Cortisol several times and everywhere he talks about patients living their lives out happily after they start supplementing.  I never got enough mileage from cortisol to feel well more than a couple hours a day.

Recently, after watching the documentary “Forks over Knives” I went vegan. Having eaten a strictly whole food diet for many many years, with no alcohol, no caffeine, no sugar, no fruit and almost no carbs, I’ve come to the conclusion that neither adrenal supplementation nor diet alone will cure me no matter how many people have recovered from cancer using vegetables.

Finally, I turned my attention to heavy metal toxicity. I asked my Doc for a test and he gave me a challenge test kit which involved taking the chelator DMSA. Twenty minutes after taking the first 75 mg dose at breakfast time, I had an extremely rare clearing of brain fog (which did not last more than 45 minutes unfortunately) and felt unusually energetic all day.  Then I received the results and was convinced at first sight.

Later, I confirmed them with a hair test. When I’m not despairing about the length of the treatment, I’ve become so hopeful that I want to document my detoxification using Andy Cutler’s frequent dosing protocol. I also encouraged my parents to get hair tests and they look toxic as well, so it seems to run in the family.

My possible sources of mercury/metals exposure include:

  • Playing with Mercury in the house at least once as a kid.
  • Extensive vaccinations at a very young age.
  •  9 allergy shots weekly  for at least a year as a teenager.
  • Lots of vaccinations including hepatitis B in my early 20s.
  • Melting lead a handful of times to make weights.
  • Lots of fishing with lead weights / using my teeth to open them.
  • Having two tiny mercury fillings which were removed when I was a teenager.
  • Eating fish from contaminated lakes in Canada during the summers.
  • Eating tuna fish almost daily for many years as a young adult.
  • Eating salmon sushi regularly for a couple years.
  • Contrast agents ingested at least three times for CT and nuclear bone scans.

More important than the source of mercury is the idea that people who get sick typically do so with exposures to heavy metals that don’t bother others.  The theory behind this is that the ones who get sick have deficient internal detoxification mechanisms.  Put simply, the unlucky ones don’t eliminate mercury the same way most of the population does.

For example, the MTHFR genetic mutation prevents folic acid from converting to its active form which has a cascading effect on your health when your store of glutathione is eventually depleted.  It can run in families also which might explain why my father’s chronic health problems are similar in some ways to mine. The failure of your detoxification system is not just genetic however. It’s a multi-factorial condition which may involve high stress or emotional trauma, use of antibiotics, infections, and toxic exposures (of which I’ve had quite a few not listed here).

I’m not sure exactly what got me started on heavy metal toxicity after having neglected the idea for five years.  Maybe, I just reached a point where I’d exhausted so many other possibilities, there was nothing credible left. Part of the problem too for anyone suffering from something like what I’ve got, is that the cognitive impairment (poor memory and brain fog) is a significant obstacle to healing yourself.

Finally, we are too close to our problems  and can’t always see what’s right under our nose. When you have experienced brain fog for 20 years, and when it increases gradually, you tend to assume incorrectly that everyone sort of has it and can become complacent.  It’s especially easy to become complacent when your experience with MD’s tells you that wherever you go,  you’ll get a blood test and the doctor will say “Everything looks good!”

No matter that, 15 minutes of gentle walking incapacitates me for the rest of the day, that 20 minutes of sunshine can give me three days of migraines, that I’m unable to carry on a social life or provide and care for my family in any normal way. None of these mysteries ever seem to trouble my MDs much.

To be fair, a couple had various theories which we tested, but unfortunately they were the wrong theories and some of the therapeutic trials were very harmful including powerful antibiotics and industrial strength antiparasitics.

You might be wondering why I’m creating this website before I’ve recovered. It’s a good question! The answer is — I want badly to heal — and also to help others with what I’ve learned on my journey. This site will help me organize all the information and will be useful in the event that I do recover.   It would be impossible to document after the fact. I want to show the process as it really is and feels in the moment and not through rose-colored glasses after the fact.

1 year update: I‘ve completed a year of chelation now with 23 rounds and 97 chelation days under my belt and it’s time to review my progress. Big picture: chelation is a bitch as Val from FDC explains perfectly:

Mercury toxicity is like someone who has been hit with an arrow.   It caused damage going in, it is causing damage while it’s lodged in your body, and it causes damage when it is “yanked” out, so to speak.  Not until it’s removed, can your body truly heal.  Can you imagine healing with a big arrow stuck in your flesh?

and from Patrik Askert:

Chelation in general is a fine art, a balancing of releasing chelated toxin molecules into the blood stream, over and above what you liver normally has to deal with (in terms of digestive functions and breaking down toxins), and not releasing too many ‘new’ toxins into the blood in one go that the liver is not able to process comfortably in one go. Chelation, depending on how well the chelation agent ‘masks’ the toxin, is akin to a form of very mild but controlled poisoning, occurring over a prolonged period. When one takes too much chelant, then one is effectively ‘poisoning’ the whole body and it certainly feels like this.

2 year update: coming soon!

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190 comments…

  • avatar

    simon March 30, 2015, 12:59 am

    2008 I had a lot of dental work done,2010 a lot of weird stuff, GP said it was mini strokes, was good for a couple of years.
    Back to the dentist because the composits fillings were junk, the mercury was put back in, my biggest mistake ever. All the weird stuff came back, the mercury thing was bugging me but the doctor had me convinced it was mini strokes, but with 3 MRI’s there was only one sign of a possible mini stroke. After a lot of internet hours I now know it’s heavy metal poisoning, I had the mercury fillings removed by a competent dentist at a substantial cost. I’m going to do the Andy Cutler protocol, the DMSA is on order. I was wondering what you think of using Modified citrus pectin

    Reply
    • avatar

      Eric March 30, 2015, 4:36 pm

      Simon, I bought modified citrus pectin once and took it for a week or so but never felt anything one way or another. I tend to go in for more intense therapies for whatever reason. I guess because I’m in a big rush to get healthy and recover my life! Sorry to read about your horrendous experience and wish you lots of luck..

      Reply
  • avatar

    Jim Mulderij March 25, 2015, 1:51 pm

    Hi Eric,

    Is there a way to send you a pm for some advice?

    Reply
    • avatar

      Eric March 25, 2015, 1:56 pm

      sorry Jim, there isn’t… Leaving comments here is the best way.

      Reply
  • avatar

    TSpar March 1, 2015, 5:28 am

    Hi Eric,

    I just found your site and am completely overwhelmed. My 14 year old daughter started having joint pain about 4 years ago. Knowing traditional medicine was not the route I wanted to go, I began my own research. We went through a million possible diagnosis, starting with lyme disease and ending with leaky gut, with a million things in between. After seeing multiple NDs and eliminating a zillion foods from her diet (nightshades, gluten, dairy, eggs, etc.), we did the 23andMe test at our current NDs request. She has my daughter on a lot of supplementation, most of it is listed on your crazy long list! :-) And she is a lot better – joint pain gone. But she still has a lot of health issues, the primary one being insomnia.

    So my question is, where can I start to understand this whole geneetic SNP methylation thing? Every site I visit feels like I’m jumping in right in the middle of a advanced course. Is there an “understanding genetics/methylation/SNPs for DUMMIES?” website? :-)

    Thanks,
    TSpar

    Reply
    • avatar

      Eric March 1, 2015, 4:54 pm

      Congratulations on making a lot of good moves and helping her daughter with her joint pain! I don’t know of any really easy to read content on genetics… Sorry, I know it feels overwhelming at first. Just go slow and bite off one little piece at a time.

      Reply
  • avatar

    Cathy February 17, 2015, 10:28 am

    I have had fibromyalgia for 19 years. It started in earnest after agrichemical exposure. During some of that time I’ve had fatigue so debilitating that I wanted to die. I’m still tired. Oh so tired but life is livable now, due to diet changes. I want to look into methylation. Once some years ago I went on a special diet of meat vegatables and fermented rice bread. I took a bucket load of supplements.I felt totally amazing. Incredible. My pain was drastically redused and I only needed 5 hours sleep. I now self treat for pyrolle disorder. Can’t live without 800mg day of magnesium. I have tried to duplicate my results from when I felt amazing but it is never quite the same. I have never quite been able to. I couldn’t work it out untill reading some stuff you wrote about b12 and brands. I was taking a small dose of sublingual methyl b12 drops. A particular highly reputable brand in my country. I’ve tried methyl folate and felt no difference. Possibly more wired. My B12 blood levels are high. Where on earth do I start? What do I do. I’ve read in some places that some people believe all fibro patients have methylation issues. Can you point me in the right direction? I’ve screwed my health up before by trying to figure stuff myself. I went vegan and ended up in a psyche ward for 4 months!! I’ve spent thousands on practitioners who swear they can heal me and find out they can’t. I can’t wasit any more money. I don’t have it. I once had a b12 shot when I was very sick. Don’t know what form of b12 it was but I have never had anything worse happen to me in my whole entire life. It was horrendous. I felt so wired I wanted to die. I couldn’t keep still. I had to jerk and move my body. I was running on the spot for hours. I would have literally thrown myself under a bus to stop the sensation of physical anxiety if people hadn’t have saved me and drugged me up……so I wonder if that had something to do with methylation issues? Better stop going on now. I just need to know where to start and what to do about all this fibro/fatigue business. Thanks if you can help me.

    Reply
  • avatar

    qstroman February 16, 2015, 8:10 pm

    I just wanted to say that most people should not freak out too much about heavy metals they are a normal part of life.

    Some people have a severe negative reaction from low levels of heavy metals in their body. I am in no way denying this fact. Keep this in mind when I say that if your heavy metal test shows your levels are 2 – 3 times higher then the reference amount don’t freak out, usually this doesn’t mean anything and your body will excrete these heavy metals naturally in time via sweat, hair, urine and faeces. Most people will not be negatively affected by this small amount. Please people try to remain calm and rational about this if your levels are like this.

    If you seeing levels 100 x higher then it is worth further investigation and it may be a concern. If you seeing levels 1000 x higher then you can start freaking out because it is very likely you have a problem. What I am saying is that where as some people are affected by a very small amount of heavy metals most people are not and if your level is 2-3 times higher it usually is no reason for concern and usually has very little impact on your health. So your level is higher so what? What does that actually mean? So you get your results and see that your levels is higher than the reference level and freak out and think that this means it is really bad and that you have lead, mercury poisoning and it is the reason for all your health issues. Wait, stop and listen what it actually means is that you that you have more lead, mercury than other people in the reference area. The reference amount differs from lab to lab but what is usually means is how much lead, mercury is commonly found on average in other people within the geographical location of the testing lab.

    Please be aware that no person is without some level of toxic metals in their bodies, circulating and accumulating. Heavy metals exposure can come from acute contact with a heavy metal or it can come from chronic low dose contact. The metabolism and excretion of toxic elements occurs continually within the body and is a normal process.

    Reply
    • avatar

      Eric February 21, 2015, 3:49 pm

      well first, I should agree with you that nobody should freak out about anything ever. And it’s also true that someone with high levels of mercury or other heavy metals shouldn’t freak out either if they’re in good health. What they should do is understand that over time, maybe 30 or 50 years, that heavy metal burden may translate into Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis or some other very nasty illness doctors will say has no known cause or cure. And of course it goes without saying that someone with high levels of heavy metals who is ill has something very serious to think about.

      Reply
  • avatar

    Carrie February 8, 2015, 4:21 am

    I have been doing Quicksilver Scientific’s detox protocol for the last three months. It is working, but it can be hard at times. I have more energy than when I first started the detox, and I am mercury toxic. I’m also just down the road from their lab. My husband also did their mercury test, and he is low in mercury, even though he had way more mercury in his mouth for longer than I did! I’m just learning about methylation. I have a number of methylation defects, including COMT, MAO A, and MTRR, as well as heterozygous for MTHFR. I’d love to share info with you off-line.

    Reply
    • avatar

      Eric February 9, 2015, 3:47 pm

      hi Carrie, I’d love to connect with you! I’m super interested in hearing your experience with Quicksilver:)

      Reply
  • avatar

    Nicole January 24, 2015, 9:19 pm

    I think muscle testing (autonomic response testing) was the most helpful for me. It can tell which supplements are most beneficial for your body. It may also be able to tell if you have viruses, parasites, ect.

    Reply
    • avatar

      Eric January 24, 2015, 11:09 pm

      thanks Nicole, I would like to try it someday!

      Reply
    • avatar

      John January 26, 2015, 2:29 pm

      I have tried the autonomic response testing as well and this stuff works. I’m still working with my integrated doctor and he’s specialized with autonomic response testing, treatment for bacteria, viruses, fungus and environmental toxins.

      I can see total improvement overall, but my digestive system is still not functioning effectively and normal. I’m wondering if anyone got their digestive system back to normal during or after chelation therapy completion?

      Reply
      • avatar

        Austin March 28, 2015, 12:06 am

        Have you looked into FMT (fecal microbiota transplant).?

        Reply
        • avatar

          Eric March 30, 2015, 4:32 pm

          I haven’t and don’t think I will need to because I’m making such good progress with oxygen therapies. I also believe that I respond well to probiotics – just tried the AOR probiotic-3 too and believe it’s very targeted to my needs. Thanks for the suggestion Austin!

          Reply
  • avatar

    Jon McCormick January 24, 2015, 8:15 am

    -Eric: I would like you to look into Lysine Protein Intolerance. This is a genetic issue where the person has poor ability to break down lysine (amino acid) and this puts tremendous strain on the liver. People with this issue also produce excessive surfactant in the lungs (mucus etc).

    If you eat a large piece of meat (high lysine)? ==> does it literally put you to sleep in 1-2 hrs?

    Reply
    • avatar

      Eric January 24, 2015, 4:09 pm

      thanks Jon, but I’ve always felt better when I eat high-protein high-fat. Carbohydrates and fat are the only thing that relax me. Nothing really puts me to sleep except for a large meal, definitely not steak.

      Reply
  • avatar

    Kiki Kish January 14, 2015, 1:00 pm

    ALA is on the list of sulfur supplement no no’s. FYI.

    Reply
    • avatar

      Eric January 14, 2015, 3:43 pm

      Thanks Kiki – that’s actually why I started experimenting with the no sulfur diet, to counter the increase in sulfur I was getting from chelators:)

      Reply
  • avatar

    Nicole January 5, 2015, 4:48 pm

    Hi, I had some similar symptoms and was finally diagnosed with chronic Lyme. The fatigue may have been an underlying thyroid issue, then if you had any GI issues that could result in trouble detoxing your body. Mold weakens the immune system making it difficult to fight infections. Then a tick bite could cause devastating Lyme disease in a weakened immune system. Many people with “chronic” Lyme have heavy metal poisoning and mycotoxins
    I would suggest seeing a Lyme literate doctor- go to iliads to find an MD. Testing for Lyme is inaccurate. Igenix is the best test as the western blot and Elisa can have false negatives. This is what happened to me and I’m now getting much better. Good luck!

    Reply
    • avatar

      Eric January 5, 2015, 7:14 pm

      Thanks Nicole, which treatments have helped you the most in fighting Lyme?

      Reply
  • avatar

    J January 1, 2015, 9:42 am

    Quiksilver/Shade. Yes, you’re right — sorry I had the first name wrong. I agree with you. I was thinking along the same lines. Correct, there’s a lot of investigating that is necessary when it comes to those who profit from illness.

    Oxygen. I’ve felt starved for oxygen since I’ve been sick. The supplemental oxygen helps. I have a much clearer head after breathing it and I feel more energy. I did standard tanks for old people. The tanks were little smaller than scuba tank size (2,000 lbs.) with wheels. I did about 500 – 1,000 lbs. per day.

    Hyperbariacs. This is something I’ve been wanting to try. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it from those of us exposed to mold.

    Ozone. Another thing I was considering but haven’t researched enough yet to know. Still checking it out.

    Food Grade H2o2. This is something that I started taking internally in October for the mold symptoms…made it to 8 drops 3 x per day and stopped because I felt so bad. Started again in November and pushed through all the way to 25 drops 3 x per day. Now I’m at 25 drops 2 x per day. I also nebulized it. Again, I believe it helped a lot with mold symptoms but not for the mercury. I’ve have to carefully balance/space out the Oxidative therapy and the Anti-Oxidant Detox.

    Allergy Shots. I’ve had a lot of allergy shots. Starting when I was about 6 through 14 at least twice per week. I’m looking for more information to see if this contributed to my mercury levels.

    Glad you found a good location. I believe it’s more important than most people realize in recovery.

    Thank you for all the helpful info!

    Reply
    • avatar

      Eric January 3, 2015, 4:29 pm

      Your experience with oxygen is really interesting – something I should try next time I’m at my mom’s place because she uses bottled oxygen! Sounds like you had even more allergy shots than I did…

      Reply

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"...nothing ever goes away
until it has taught us
what we need to know.
"

-Pema Chodron

About


My name is Eric - I‘m 46 and saw a doctor for fatigue at 17. I lived fairly normally if a little subdued by lack of endurance at times. But then, 12 years ago I fell into a nosedive after moving to South Florida. Now, I know heavy metal toxicity is a significant source of my troubles along with genetic methylation cycle dysfunction. I spent 18 months chelating the metals out and starting up methylation but stopped when I felt myself circling the drain. Currently doing liver, colon, kidney and parasite cleanses. More about me here.

Timeline and current dosing:

Rounds completed: 28
Total chelation days: 113
Dose: 25 mg DMSA and 25 mg ALA every 3 hrs

* supplements
* hair test
* genetics
* lessons learned

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