Since my last 2 admittedly pessimistic blogs, I’ve gained what I think is new insight. First off, I’m fairly certain that my downturn & insomnia were due to exposure to contaminated belongings. My sleep quality correlated strongly with my categorical removal of possessions that had been washed with a contaminated water supply.
Secondly, I am now forced to stay in a place that is not ideal because it provides adequate shade for my heat intolerance. As a result, I have brain inflammation constantly. Despite that, many other post-avoidance improvements have held up. I can hardly believe this, but I am now strength training at a level which might be at or greater than at my pre-illness peak:
- Reps with Perfect Pushup device (designed to optimize pushups): 3x 50 (~ 3x 80 normal pushups). 2 months ago, I was doing 3x 30 Perfect Pushups and that was the equivalent of 3x 50 normal pushups.
- Chins-ups: 3x 15 (more for pull-ups.) Was struggling hard with 3x 7 two months ago.
In 2010, I crashed from doing 10 pushups against a wall.
- I often play basketball on the same days as weight lifting, so I usually do 2 days of moderate aerobic / max anaerobic exercise followed by 1 day rest. In short, at least with exercise tolerance I’m physically peaking while living in an environment which is clearly causing inflammation.
Note: I have been taking creatine about 2x/week, and I think it definitely expands exercise capacity (Shoemaker said it increased V02 max more than ampligen), I’ve also been able to do the above exercise regimen when I’ve forgotten to take creatine for weeks at a time.
This experience has given me a lot more confidence about what happens if I have to leave the pristine desert. I no longer believe it’s black or white, that I’ll relapse if I have to go back to old locations. I have much more confidence in Erik’s methodology of using a MECU & avoiding contaminants to preserve gains, rather than avoiding the big city altogether. All of this gives me hope of returning to a compromise between total isolation & life in the big city, which I know is a desire shared with many other patients (especially younger ones) considering avoidance as a treatment.
I’m actually thankful for my heat intolerance because it forced me to leave my comfort zone & experience a location that’s good but far from great. I can now see that less-than-pristine won’t cause a relapse, but instead may still allow me to continue healing beyond my greatest pre-avoidance imagination.
Despite my disagreements with Lisa in my previous blogs, I want to give credit where credit is due, and in the case of “Point of No Return”, at least in my case, I think you’re right, with the big caveat that as long as I could identify the contaminant & do something about it, I really don’t think I’d relapse in a moderately good location. With that said, identifying the contaminant has never come easy to me, and reminds me of Where’s Waldo without the fun.
Next step: Figuring out if my reactivity has gone down at all. Tent, we meet again!