My story

I‘m 48 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, mold toxins, 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 gut health. 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. Now in 2016, I’m discoveringthat I probably was on the right track with the mold toxicity thing

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 2018.

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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369 comments…
  • avatar

    Shelby June 26, 2016, 9:02 pm

    Hello. I am curious if you have looked into mitochondrial disease? It causes a lot of your symptoms and seems to show up several times on your gene report. I am new to learning about all of this for my son. Your report helped some. Thank you. His report and yours have a lot of overlap.

    Reply
    • avatar

      Eric June 27, 2016, 4:45 pm

      thanks Shelby, I have thought about it and tried some mitochondrial supplements but never saw any improvements. I think the simplest explanation is usually best and for me the simple explanations revolve around the things that I can see and measure and already know about like copper and heavy metal toxicity along with bio toxicity…

      Reply
  • avatar

    Matt May 21, 2016, 2:18 am

    Hi Eric, I think I am suffering the same problems. I have mercury and lyme coinfections but when I did iv chelation it didnt do much for me. I truly believe my methylation cycle is messed up and I need that checked. I get bad head symptoms and crazy sensitivities/reactions all day long. It so bad I cant shower. They say thats a lyme symptom. Symptoms also seem to change and get better and worse at the same time. The deeper I get into The detox the worse my reactions. Im going to see a new dr to discuss mthfr testing, lyme, and detox. Once Im up to it I may start Cutlers. Can you elaborate on how you got better and worse at the same time?

    Reply
    • avatar

      Eric June 1, 2016, 12:40 am

      hi Matt, that is contradictory, getting better and worse at the same time… It’s difficult because my memory is so bad. I think the issue is that I have so many symptoms, that’s what makes it possible. so my incessant hunger improved about 80% – it wasn’t just hunger, it was like I would tighten up and become incapacitated to some degree by my hunger which bordered on pain. I never never went anywhere without packing food. Now I sometimes get in the car and realize I don’t have any snacks with me and decide to go out anyway.

      But while my hunger problem improved, my fatigue eventually worsened with chelation.

      Reply
    • avatar

      f nord June 1, 2016, 4:13 pm

      Did you supplement all the “good” minerals that were chelated out along with the toxic metals?

      Reply
  • avatar

    Bonnie May 21, 2016, 1:13 am

    Eric

    If you were tired at 17, you must have caught some kind of Virus or what seemed like the Flu or maybe didn’t notice anything at the time. Mono leaves a person with the Epstein-Barr Virus which hangs around for life.
    Then there is Mycoplasma Pneumonia (airborne virus) and easily caught in an elevator. Also the Chlamydia Pneumonia Virus, not caught like you thought. I think this one is much worse.
    I have all 3 of them but only was aware of the Mono, when I caught it but not the other two. And I believe they can all cause MAJOR FATIGUE.
    Have you researched those viruses? Since Iodine is Anti-Viral, it might help lessen the hold it could have on a person.

    Bonnie

    Reply
    • avatar

      Eric June 1, 2016, 12:35 am

      yes, I had EBV and believe I had Mono too… there’s no doubt in my mind these are factors in my fatigue! I got a little of everything happening.

      Reply
      • avatar

        Matt June 1, 2016, 12:38 am

        You seem to have the money for treatment. I say go nuts on ozone iv. Do it for like 2-3 times a week for 6 months.

        Reply
        • avatar

          Eric June 2, 2016, 11:44 pm

          actually, I don’t have that much disposable money!

          Reply
  • avatar

    Suzy Mccoppin May 19, 2016, 6:02 pm

    Wow! Eric!! so glad I found this site- You sound just like me! I’ve been on Prozac for 15 years, have extremely high levels of mercury, and parasites.

    For the last 6 years I’ve basically done nothing more than force feed myself meat, Sometimes 2 pounds in a sitting, and yet my hunger doesn’t abate. It’s accompanied by extreme hunger pangs, shaking, heart pals, dizziness, anxiety, blurred vision, the feeling of bugs crawling on my skin. My days mostly consist of eating and sleeping and I had to carry a supply of meat with me everywhere I went.

    Treating the parasites helped, as well as cutting out all dairy, wheat and gluten.

    The problem is I am bottomed out on all vitamins and minerals but can’t even handle the slightest dusting of a vitamin without it triggering the extreme hunger. Is it my liver? It’s a such baffling riddle, why someone would eat 2000 calories and still feel as though they were going to pass out from hunger.

    I can’t even leave the house sometimes because I have to be around food. Any time I try to add a supplement; potassium, lysine, adrenal supplements, multi vitamins, anything, my blood sugar crashes again, and it’s very odd, because some times it won’t even respond to food. Like the other day I had to eat 5 jumbo sausages, have a container of ham, 2 bowls of cereal, 2 granola bars and a yogurt before the symptoms began to abate.

    It’s much worse at night.

    My diet now consists of only organic turkey, chicken, beef, vegetables, berries, apples, yams and rice.

    I am 5’4 128 lbs thankfully, because the condition is not constant. It intensifies when I take vitamins. I derive no pleasure from eating, so I don;t think I’m like your typical patient.

    I’m also an LA based journalist so I can help promote your cause, or pay you, whatever is preferable!

    Thank you so much! I will be eternally grateful to whoever to solve this agonizing riddle!

    Reply
    • avatar

      Eric June 1, 2016, 12:28 am

      hi Suzy, I did come across one other person who had insatiable hunger which disappeared after she chelated for a year or year and a half… My hunger also reduced quite a bit after several months of chelation. Having said that, are you sure you’ve completely eliminated your parasites? It’s often much harder than people expect.

      Reply
      • avatar

        Matt June 1, 2016, 12:31 am

        How are guys finding out you have parasites? I have done flushes and had the runs for 24 hours and I whent to the washroom at least 20 times in 12 hours and I have never passed a parasite.

        I passed ONE parasite after my second colonic. And I have done paragone and never passed any thing.

        Reply
    • avatar

      Dale Almond June 27, 2016, 12:22 am

      Suzy, I think you might have dysautonomia. I was recently diagnosed with it by an integrative/ functional doctor after complaining of all the symptoms you have – after getting that blank “huh?” look from many doctors. Dsyautonomia is an imbalance between the parasympathetic and sympathetic components of your autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system maintains your body temp, heart rate, digestion, and everything that is not under your conscious control. Dysautonomia explains your symptoms, but it is a symptom itself, not an actual disease. It is the result of insults to your nervous system. I have a complex stew of ailments – many of which the author of this blog has – which include lifelong undiagnosed celiac disease, MTHFR and many related snps which cause hugely impaired methylation, a lifetime of toxic mercury exposures (I’m in my 60’s and yeah, we played with mercury) plus a huge mouthful of mercury fillings, toxic exposures to lead, chlordane, DDT, mitchondrial damage from fluoroquinolone antibiotics, vaccinations, and more. I’m also on 20 mg of cortisol and like Eric, not finding a huge amount of relief. I did discover something that helps abate worst of the dysautonomic symptoms, though, and maybe it will help you. Do you have any stomach irritation? I have suffered from gastritis and esophagitis for years, and despite eating a grain-free, dairy free severely restricted Paleo diet, nothing would heal it up. I discontinued all coffee, on the theory that “molecular mimicry” might be at work – my body thinking that coffee has gluten in it. Gluten is a neurotoxin if you have celiac. I also discontinued anything in a package that could possibly have been contaminated with gluten, such as dried fruit (look for any label saying “shared equipment”). I also don’t buy anything in a box that says “gluten free”, since the allowed levels are too high, and a shocking percentage is contaminated. This has helped enormously. I’m not suggesting you have celiac, although you might, but I am suggesting that an irritated digestive system is communicating trouble to the vagus nerve, which goes right to the brain, and voila, misery. Anything you can do to help your digestive health – probiotics, avoidance of allergenic or highly acidic foods, etc. will likely help you. Good luck.

      Reply
  • avatar

    Michael Douglas May 19, 2016, 10:05 am

    Hey!

    Im 21 and we have identical problems. Im housebound.

    Im about to start andy cutlers regime.

    Its abit sad seeing you didn’t recover on it or fredds protocal.

    How do you think you will recover now?

    Cheers

    Reply
    • avatar

      Eric June 1, 2016, 12:21 am

      well I’ve come a long way and making big progress now! I’m starting sauna to eliminate copper (and it helps with lead and other toxins also), will start cholestryamine soon and eventually will go back to chelation…

      Reply

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

"God, whose law it is that all who learn must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget, falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God."
-Aeschylus

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

"Battles are won in their darkest hours. Wars are won by learning something from each battle."
-Eric

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