I Had the Flu for 25 Years! LDN Saved Me Again!
Two months ago, I had a huge autoimmune flare.
First, it started with my bladder getting really hot and uncomfortable and super overactive. After that, the all-over flu-ish feeling pervaded every pore of my body, a sensation that I hoped to never feel again. I had had the symptoms of the flu for twenty-five years and I could not go back into that unrelenting hell.
Next, I started getting super achy in my joints and muscles throughout my entire body. After two weeks of this, I was even colder than usual and I was starting to feel melancholy.
My autoimmune thyroiditis- aka Hashimoto’s- was flaring up after a full year of no symptoms and I had no idea why. I knew I was in trouble.
I needed some miraculous intervention! If not, I knew I would soon be barraged by even more of the oh-so-unpleasant but oh-so-predictable symptoms I have already experienced for oh-so-long in the past, such as intestinal sluggishness, intense inability to get warm, irritability, loss of hair, depression, and brain fog. After those symptoms were firmly ruining my life, my latent, autoimmune candidiasis would wreak havoc in my pelvic region, including the triggering of full-blown interstitial cystitis, another autoimmune disease. It was going to be ugly.
I decided I had to do three things right away and the first one was bringing out the big guns fast and furiously.
First, I went back on LDN- low dose naltrexone. You may have heard about a drug called naltrexone that helps addicts get off opiods, at a high dosage of 50 mg or more per day.
LDN is not for addicts. LOW DOSE Naltrexone is prescribed at a low dosage of under 5.0 mg.
It is used to relieve people from chronic, non-responsive pain that results from inflammation, like the chronic pain caused by autoimmune diseases.
It is used by more and more people every day; approximately 500,000 people worldwide as of 2019 numbers, with 100+ published studies citing its efficacy for more than 60 medical conditions.
LDN works by staying in the body for a very short time, supporting the body’s ability to produce endorphins and kick start the immune system into gear. (High dose naltrexone does not work in the body the same way.)
If you would like to know more about LDN, check out these stories:
Thank goodness for LDN! It did not disappoint me this time either! Within 3 short days, I no longer felt flu-ish and the aches in my joints and muscles were significantly less. I felt like my body was lapping up the LDN with glee. It had been more than a year since I had taken it.
My first step was activated and working! Hope was in sight.
Secondly, I needed to make sure I was correct that my Hashimoto’s was flaring up. I felt sure but evidence in the form of a blood test is best. My second step was to get my labs done to test my antibody levels. I tried to enjoy the privilege of paying out of pocket for these labs, since the HMO I have paid a huge amount of money to for 25 years won’t provide them. Conventional medicine is still in the 1970’s when it comes to thyroid disease, and hold fiercely on to their much-disproven theory that these tests are unnecessary.
A week and $150 later, my results were ready. Sure enough, my thyroid antibody levels were high. My Thyroglobulin and Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPO and TPA) were definitely out of any normal range, never mind any sort of proximity to the optimal range. It was affirming to know that I was accurately sensing what was happening in my body, with levels high enough that I would have symptoms.
Third, I had to do a detox to bring down my inflammation levels. I had no idea what was causing the inflammation, the flare, and making my white blood cells fiercely do battle. (It was not COVID!) Whatever that perceived outside threat was, it had to be cajoled, calmed, and soothed.
I am now two weeks into the detox; all my symptoms are gone. I am certain that if I had my labs redone now, my TPO and TPA numbers would be down. LDN ushered me down the red carpet to my reward of renewed health.
But how am I going to figure out the cause of the flare? I eat only organic food so my ingestion of pesticides is down; I have detoxed from heavy metals and toxins; my stress level is down; my sleep is pretty good; I don’t go overboard on devices at night; and I eat mostly plants and clean protein, abstaining from gluten, sugar, dairy, soy, and processed foods.
My emotional health seemed okay. Although perhaps breaking up my 23-year relationship 8 months earlier was taking its toll? I don’t think so since I have been happier, less irritated, less conflicted, and more peaceful than I have felt in years.
Is my body- despite all my good efforts- just aging and not working well in general, and thus more prone to a flare? I don’t think so or why would I be doing so well for 17 months?
It goes without saying that twenty-five years of trying to figure out why I had a low-grade fever, in the face of a medical misdiagnosis, was a grueling, enraging experience.
I became a detective in search of all the cues. Bit by bit I uncovered things that helped with my many symptoms, whether it was homeopathically, or via acupuncture and Chinese herbs, or nutrition.
Finally, about seven years ago, working with a functional medicine doctor and a correct diagnosis, I was able to vault over the chronic pain and sprint towards non-linear but tangible wellness.
I have no answer for this current flare. Other than sh*t happens. And we get to deal with it. But for now, I am well again. I recognize that I may need my miraculous LDN and detoxification regimen again, should I flare again.
We get to know our bodies so well and through trial and error, we learn ways to manage pain or flares, compassionately and holistically.