I believe that medicine’s potential is much more than the version we see in the world today. A doctor should be an educator with the goal of bringing patients to a place of deeper understanding of who they are in the world. To me, medicine is ultimately about self-empowerment through self-knowledge and growth.
Technological advances may be the signature of our times…
…but we are also living in an Age of Chronic illnesses. Did you know nearly half of millennials (generation born between 1981 and 1988) have at least one chronic condition?
It’s always been so hard to understand the youth.
Sometimes there is just no easy fix for what is ailing us. Complex things demand a sophisticated response. Long COVID is a new chronic illness and joins the ranks of other post infectious syndromes.
A huge key to finding solutions is to understand the problem, which opens the gates of discovery. Before that, however, there is an important first step.
So what is the first step?
The first step is to find the strongest standpoint for taking on a chronic illness or any challenge.
The first part of this is absolutely to not identify with your condition. It’s to know you are a powerful cosmic entity being forged by your circumstances. It’s to know you are in control and your efforts are meaningful. It’s to not accept the condition and to cultivate the will to change it.
A second part is to realize that the illness is giving you exactly what what you need for your development. The struggle is the reward. If you combine a deep appreciation for the struggle with the will to change then you are on fertile ground.
I recently had the realization that we are the ones who have set up this polarized political system. No one else did this to us. Why do we do it? We must really need something to push against. Yes, resistance is needed to forge ourselves, and we crave it.
Boy, do we do a good job creating challenges for ourselves. One moment you can get accosted in public for not wearing a mask and the next you actually might be accosted for wearing a mask. There is no position which won’t meet resistance.
My point is that our outer struggles lead us inwards, and that is where the true rewards lie. Cultivating our true authentic self and gifting that to the world is the secret power of the trials and tribulations in your life, including illness.
Just like in blacksmithing……
…you get burned if you lose focus. Strength, alertness, and hard work craft your desired result.
COVID new case incidence
National 7 day average of new case incidence is at 45K. That’s a big drop. All predictions are that June and July will see COVID in America become more minimal, maybe quite minimal. It’s hard to say what the rest of the year will look like, but best practices are what got us here and are still key.
The county saw a continued drop to just over 115 cases over the last seven days, another 10% drop from last week.
Other developing countries are joining India with mounting COVID crises. The government wedging with Pharma to support releasing the patents on the vaccines is big news and is like seeing two police officers in a shouting match or something. In any case, we’re clearly not through it until we’re all through it.
Knowns: A varied syndrome of persistent (more than 12 weeks by definition) health disruption following initial recovery from a COVID infection is occurring.
Unknowns: how to diagnose, how to classify, how to treat
How common is it?
It occurs after an estimated 15% of COVID cases
It’s more common in people that had to be hospitalized.
At one point in time, it was estimated that 2% of the population was dealing with some form of post COVID syndrome
20% of those were so severe that they can’t do their basic activities of daily living.
Post viral syndromes are not new and have been noted after SARS, Influenza, other pneumonias, gastroenteritis infections, Lyme disease, to name the notables, but the list goes on.
The historic Pandemic files contain much about the notably different health trends that were observed in the early 1920s after the 1918 pandemic. Increased rates of fatigue, lethargy, depression, psychoses, and heart conditions (among others) were reported.
There was an overlap with the first world war… which confounds some of what was seen and makes it difficult to attribute everything to infection.
Main Symptoms seen in Long COVID
Brain fog. Shortness of breath. Fatigue.
The symptoms of long-COVID can vary widely, including cough, low grade fever, fatigue, chest pain, shortness of breath, headaches, cognitive difficulties, muscle pain and weaknesses, gastrointestinal distress, rashes, metabolic disruption, depression and other mental health conditions. In the context of other disorders and syndromes, these symptoms appear to have a strong link with a challenge to the immune system. Over 200 symptoms have been described!
What is the cause?
There are several theories and it is likely a conglomerate of a few different diseases or phenomena. This happens a lot in chronic illness. We use the same name for a number of different syndromes. Each person has a particular combination of a number of different factors:
1) Viral persistance (also could be described as chronic infection)- Studies show that certain white cells, Monocytes, continue to have low level of viral presence; a low level of inflammation can persist.
Ivermectin and steroids are the strongest medications that may help and are worth mentioning.
2) Viral hit and run– where the immune system is knocked off line and allows reactivation of other viruses (like Epstein Barr virus, for example) from immune dysregulation.
Steroids are possibly helpful if the situation is severe. Targeting a particular reactivation syndrome (valtrex or monolaurin are both active against EBV, for example) is another possibility. Immune system modulation is helpful. There are a number of techniques that can support this.
3) Endothelial damage– remember COVID causes coagulation issues. This leads to our organs optimal blood supply being interrupted. Harvard apparently thinks this is the main issue behind Long COVID.
Steroids and anticoagulants like aspirin are mentioned by researchers in this context.
4) Immune cells remaining active– the proposition here is that the residual symptoms mean immune system remains active.
Selective depression of immune system is the approach. CCR 5 is a signal in our immune system that mobilizes inflammation. Blockage of that pathway with drugs, like those used in HIV and other viral illnesses, are being proposed.
5) Molecular mimicry– autoimmune response can be seen after infections due to immune dysregulation or cross signalingSteroids, IL6 blockers; immune system modulation are interventions.
6) Organ impairment– Brain tissue endothelial damage, olfactory mediated lymphatic dysregulation, inflammation in the brain; myelin sheath damage- this is postulated with the neurologic symptoms: numbness, memory, fatigue, malaise
Neck massage, steroids, Fluvoxamine (an antidepressant which is active against viral infection in the central nervous system) are being proposed.
Medical centers across the country are opening clinics specifically for people with lingering COVID symptoms, aiming to harness the expertise of specialists ranging from pulmonologists to physical therapists to neurologists. And you can see why. Many long Covid sufferers are located far from such a clinic, and the waitlist to be seen often is long.
Lots of news stories are being printed about how the vaccine is helping people with Long COVID. In one study 40% reported relief, but 15% got worse. Still some things to figure out there.
An incomplete immune response is certainly behind a lot of what we are seeing. Warmth is what fires the immune system. Hyperthermia is therapy. Saunas, exercise, even fevers will increase your fire. Things that inhibit warmth like a sedentary lifestyle, certain medications, EMF exposure (screen time) are counter productive.
There are anecdotes of people sitting in a hot car for an hour a day for four days and seeing resolution of their fevers and fatigue. Goes to show hyperthermia and outer warmth can be found cheaply, if you’re industrious.
My suspicion is the outer warmth impacts your inner flame which brings us back to seeking your healthiest standpoint in life and the inner blacksmith.
Always with chronic illness and with life in general, you need to find your community- a care provider to help guide you, better yet, a care circle, and a community of like minded folks: support groups, survivor groups.
If you are loved by people and are integrated in society and have people to love, you have a better chance of living longer, studies show. It’s more protective than anything else, and it’s the best thing we can provide for each other for this and any circumstance.