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New Mercury Blog to Follow

June 13, 2012

I love following the progress of all the mercury toxic folks out there who are blogging about chelation. This morning I cleared out some time so I could catch up on everyone’s recent posts. While I was reading, I clicked a link, and had the pleasant surprise of discovering  a whole new blog about chelation I hadn’t heard about before:

Mercury No More is a blog written by a guy called Joe and he is 10 rounds into Cutler-style Frequent Dose Chelation. I won’t give his story away and will just let you go over there and find out what’s up with him.

Joe is also documenting his journey on YouTube. You can check out his latest videos by visiting his YouTube page.

Coming Soon: “The Mercury Diaries”

May 24, 2012

Happiness! It’s not every day that I get to write a blog post like this one 🙂

Today I am so excited to announce that my micro-publishing house Capsule Press will be coming out with a new title in the Fall of 2012. This book is called The Mercury Diaries and is written by a wonderful Englishman called Daniel Forsyth.

I first came across Danny when we were both hanging out on the Frequent Dose Chelation Yahoo group–he posted online under the username Sunshine. We were both in the early days of our chelation journeys, and when I went online looking for a sliver of hope or inspiration, his posts were often the ones that delivered.

The posts that I think I’ll never forget are the ones he wrote about getting his color vision back after a lifetime of profound color blindness. After a round, he’d get online and tell us about regaining his color sight–not all at once, but one color at a time. “Yellow is Back!” he’d announce. No matter how awful mercury was making me feel that day, all I’d have to do was think about this man I’d never met walking around London, staring in awed wonder at yellow street signs and I’d know that everything was going to be okay.

Fast forward a couple of years, we’d both gotten our health back, and Danny was sending me big chunks of his writing–his chelation story–and it just kept getting longer and funnier and more fascinating every time I looked at it.

“Every time I try to edit it down, I can’t help adding stuff, yeah?” he’d tell me sheepishly on the phone.

An experienced writer, I could clearly see what was happening. This wasn’t a case of a man consciously sitting in front of a computer and choosing to write a book. This was a book rising up and pouring itself out of a man.

It was an amazing story to read.

The book is a gutsy, no-holds-barred account of his horrible health crash. A successful London broker, Danny’s life was a million miles away from healing herbs and cleansing fasts. But when conventional medicine failed him, with his health spiraling rapidly down the drain, he threw himself into the world of alternative healing and tried everything he came across until he found answers.

Danny’s trip into the wild and wacky world of natural healing is an eye-opening and educational adventure. He leaves no stone unturned and finally identifies mercury as the culprit. He embarks on amalgam removal and chelation–a familiar story to many of us–but in this case it’s told to us by a straight-talking London broker with a comical turn of phrase. Picture Dr. Mercola crossed with Austin Powers and you’ll understand why I’m saying that this is a book that cannot be missed.

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My Annual Health Update

May 17, 2012

It’s been a year since Getting the Mercury Out was published. Hard to believe it–time passes so quickly. Over the past year, my favorite thing has been hearing from my readers, learning their mercury stories and answering their questions.

The top question from readers has been, How do you feel now?

Tied for second most frequently asked question are these two: Is your allergy to gluten really gone–really, really? and Do you still need to chelate?

Since so many people are curious about me, I’ve decided to write this update on how I’m doing. A kind of two-year-post-chelation check-in.

So question number one: how do I feel these days?

Well folks, I feel pretty fantastic. I wrote at the end of Getting the Mercury Out about how I got my strength back, and I was able to do things that I couldn’t imagine tackling while I was sick.

In the year since I wrote that, I’ve gotten even stronger. I have a deep and reliable reserve of physical stamina–not just enough to go about my ordinary day, but extra energy for a regular workout routine. I feel active and healthy–the days of adrenal fatigue when I felt utterly drained by physical activity are long gone.

My mind is doing very well too, thank you. When I think back to those horror-filled days of mercury fear and confusion, it’s like a dim and distant nightmare. It’s almost like it happened to someone else. These days, I can rely on my brain to think and my memory to function. My emotions are consistently calm now, I just have ordinary reactions to ordinary events. No more crazy drama, no more hysterical tears. It’s like my personality went through the car wash and now I’m a brighter and shinier version of myself.

Next question: What about the gluten?

I’ve been cautious about phasing gluten back into my diet. My allergic reaction to it was so strong, it was hard to believe that I could ever be cured. But so far it looks like my allergy to gluten is gone. A couple of weeks ago I was travelling and ate gluten every day for a week–nothing happened. When I got home, I kinda forgot I was supposed to be gluten free and just kept on eating it–still no symptoms.

I know that old allergies can sometimes crop up again, but so far–fingers crossed–it looks like chelation cured this one 🙂

Speaking of chelation–do I still chelate?

I have done some rounds of chelation since I wrote the book–some DMSA, and more notably some ALA which I wrote about here–that turned out to be surprisingly pleasant. But I have gotten lazy about it, and since I don’t feel sick anymore, I’m not very motivated to keep chelating. I’m sure that at some point I’ll take up chelation again, but for right now, since I don’t have any pressing mercury symptoms, I don’t chelate.

Do I still consider myself heavy metal toxic?

Not really. I feel that period of my life slipping away into the mists of memory. I used to spend the majority of my time thinking about my health, now I don’t need or want to. I have moved into a phase where I’m happy to maintain good lifestyle habits, but these things are not at the forefront of my mind. I eat healthy foods, I exercise, I still take some supplements, but fewer and fewer as time goes by. I guess I see my self as recovered–an ex-mercury sufferer.

Do I have any mercury symptoms at all?

Yes! I have one–count it, one!–mercury symptom left. If I eat sugar in any significant quantity, I get a non-itchy fungal rash on my skin. I’ve gotten some clues recently about why this symptom has persisted so stubbornly when I’m so vigorously healthy in every other way–but I’ll get into that in a whole other post. Short answer–no symptoms, just an avoidable rash.

So what’s next?

I’ve gotten better–so much so that I’m beginning to forget what’s it’s like to be sick. I’ve written and published my book, told the world my story. I’ve blogged about what it was like to be sick, and I’ve blogged about what it’s like to be better. What does that mean? Am I done now? Have I written all there is to write about mercury?

Not a chance.

If you’ve been following here, you know that I’m working on not just one novel, but a trilogy starring mercury poisoned characters of all stripes. Who knows when these books will be published, but I’m working as fast as I can, and I promise you will get to read them one day.

I’m excited about those novels, but there’s another project I’m even more thrilled to tell you about. Right now I am in the process of getting a new mercury chelation memoir ready for publication by Capsule Press!

This book is written by Daniel Forsyth–whom many of you know as “Sunshine” from the mercury forums. He has written a fabulous book about his chelation journey and I really can’t wait to share it with you all–it really is fantastic.

I’ve run on long enough here–tune in next week for the full report on what Danny’s book is going to be like. I know you’re all going to love it!

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And Now For Something Completely Different…

May 10, 2012

This week I want to tell you about something that is very dear to my heart–the Enneagram. It’s a personality typing system that has nothing whatsoever to do with mercury poisoning. But I’ve just come home from a weeklong course that’s part of my training to become an Enneagram Certified Teacher. The Enneagram is where my head’s at so that’s what I’m going to talk about.

The Enneagram is a system that helps you understand yourself–and the people around you–by looking at the core motivations that drive the personality. For example I am a Type Four–The Individualist. The sweet spot for a Four is introspection, examining inner feelings and experiences to find the truth. So it’s not surprising that I’m a memoirist. I had a good chuckle when I saw at the course that one of the keywords that describe Fours is ‘autobiographical.’

When I first came across the Enneagram, I read Don Riso and Russ Hudson’s book The Wisdom of the Enneagram. It kind of blew me away what a profound grip these guys had on what makes people tick and what’s really going on in their hearts and minds. Having this kind of tool, knowing people’s types, is so helpful in so many arenas–teaching, parenting, and of course in the business world.

People compare the Enneagram to the Myers-Briggs personality system, but having looked into both (I’m an INFJ) it’s clear to me that the Enneagram is a much more sophisticated and profound system. Instead of just categorizing people as a single type and giving a static description of what that type is like, the Enneagram starts you off with a ‘basic type’, adds a ‘wing type’ which is a little sprinkle of the characteristics of one of the types beside you on the circle (I have a little bit of Type Five the Investigator in me, something that came in very handy when I was researching mercury poisoning).

Add to this the fact that each type can operate at one of nine levels of development and that when things are going well or when they are under stress, each type can take on two other sets of characteristics–determined by the lines connecting the types in the Enneagram symbol–and you see that this is a very complex and rich way of looking at the human psyche. After an intense week of deep study, I feel like I’ve just scratched the surface.

When I wrote my memoir, as a Type Four, I couldn’t help focusing on the emotional aspect of mercury poisoning. I could see that I was doing this and I wondered if other types would relate. I’ve gotten so much positive feedback from everyone, it’s clear that it struck a chord. But I am curious about you readers out there. Do you know your Enneagram type? What is it?

If you don’t know which type you are, you can take this quick online test to find out. And if you want to go deeper, I highly recommend Riso and Hudson’s The Wisdom of the Enneagram. It was one of the books that changed my life.

The Worthless Worm: A Guest Post by Nora Olsen

May 3, 2012

Readers who have read my book Getting the Mercury Out are quite familiar with this week’s guest poster–Nora Olsen aka “my girlfriend.” She featured a lot in my story because mercury poisoning doesn’t effect your body and mind in a vacuum. It takes its toll on your ability to connect–your loving relationships. Nora and I had a hard time when I was sick, but we held our ground and pulled through. Here’s an insight she had recently on mercury poisoning from a partner’s perspective…

The Worthless Worm

When Aine was sick with mercury poisoning, she used to talk about what a worthless crumb she was. She said that she was useless and had nothing to contribute to our household or relationship. I didn’t really get it. I figured she was just depressed. Now I think I understand.

About two months ago, I got sick. Not epically sick with mercury poisoning or anything interesting like that, just regular sick. I had the norovirus, sometimes called “cruise ship flu” because it’s so contagious that it can spread easily in semi-closed communities like cruise ships or first-grade classrooms.

The way I caught it was doing something called a Polar Plunge, a fundraiser for the Special Olympics. It involves a few hundred people jumping into an icy cold lake. The first time I did it was last year, and it was really fun. The actual jump into the water is rather invigorating. And it’s for a really good cause.

This year there was a brutal wind at the lake. Aine was there to cheer me on (she doesn’t like the cold or jumping into water so this is not the event for her) and she said she was freezing just standing there in her coat and scarf. For some reason there was a lot of standing around outside waiting to jump into the water, whereas last year it was nicely timed so that we could wait indoors and then sprint over to the dock. I’ve never been so cold in my life. The ground was slushy so that clumps of muddy snow stuck to my socks and made my feet extra frosty. The only thing that made it slightly bearable was bagpipes howling in my ears. It really does warm the blood. Once again, the jumping in the water part was fun, but next year I’ll just send them a check.

I’m not saying it was coldness that made me sick. I have heard about this germ theory. I believe I got sick from the school bus that transported the Plungers to and from the lake. But it caught me at a vulnerable moment. That night I broke my twenty-three year “No Puking” streak. It was days before I could eat. I hadn’t been so sick since I was a tiny child.

Aine was an angel. She cleaned everything up for me, bought me all kinds of different drinks, did my laundry, and ate her meals in a faraway corner of the house where I couldn’t smell them. She washed her hands incessantly and did not get sick. Aine commented that she could tell I was seriously ill because I was being so nice. Usually when I’m sick, I’m pretty cranky. (“The light is too bright! Hurry up and turn it off!” “Stop bothering me!”) This time it was all, “Could you possibly bring me some ginger ale? Thank you so much.” I was a model patient.

The reason I was so good was because I felt like a worm. I was so worthless. Aine could do all these unimaginable things like go from one place to another or sit up for a long time. I had nothing to contribute. Except vomit. It was horrifying to me that she had to do stuff for me. I felt like a monstrous burden. I never realized how much being “well” is ingrained into my sense of self-worth. Strangely, Aine didn’t think it was that big a deal to go buy me some Gatorade. The worthlessness can only be perceived by the sick person.

Being sick strips away the feeling of humanity. In his blog Rolling Around in My Head, Dave Hingsburger has talked about how having a cold is so much more disruptive and life-destroying than having a disability, something that doesn’t bother him at all. Yet he’s constantly hearing people say dumb stuff like, “I’d rather be dead than use a wheelchair.” Nobody says “I’d rather be dead than have a cold.” That’s because a cold or norovirus doesn’t last that long. But mercury poisoning lasts for years. Being sick for a week gave me a tiny window into how Aine might have felt.

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead

April 26, 2012

I can’t get enough stories about people lifting themselves up by their bootstraps and taking control of their health and their destiny.

This week’s very enjoyable story in that vein was a movie I watched called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. It’s a documentary by an Australian bloke called Joe Cross who wanted to tackle his twin issues of obesity and autoimmunity (which manifested as chronic urticaria or hives all over his body).

He embarked on a 60-day juice fast, and a simultaneous road trip across the USA, his juicer plugged into a battery in the trunk of his car. As you can see from the picture, he succeeded in losing the weight. He also cured his rare autoimmune condition.

Not a lot of suspense in the plot of this story–so what makes it so worth watching?

There were two things that made this movie stand out. The first was Joe’s personality. He’s a very entertaining and likeable guy. The jokes he makes at his own expense, the genuinely caring conversations about health he has with the people he encounters on his travels–all delivered in a fabulous Australian accent–make for a narrator you want to take this trip with.

The second thing that made this movie a winner was a brief conversation Joe had with a truck driver called Phil–a morbidly obese man–who coincidentally had the same rare autoimmune condition that Joe had. It was obvious that both men saw themselves reflected in each other, and after a few months, Phil the truckdriver gets in contact with Joe because he is ready to turn his life around and do whatever it takes to shed the weight and get his life back.

Phil is heavier than Joe ever was, he has hundreds of pounds to lose–can he do it? I won’t give the ending away. All I’ll say is that this movie reaffirmed for me the incredible power of leading by example. People can talk talk talk all day long about what you should do and what healthy lifestyle changes theoretically look like.

But nothing beats actually watching a real-live person take the bull by the horns and winning the fight against disease and misery. That’s really worth watching.

Ferritin Out the Truth

April 19, 2012

My girlfriend is a blood donor. Me? I tried to do it once, almost passed out, and never tried it again. But her? Even though she almost passed out while on public transportation–two separate times!–after giving blood, she goes whenever she can. After the second almost-passing-out incident, I put my foot down and wouldn’t let her donate for a couple of years. But then we brokered a deal where she could donate as long as she was in a place where she wouldn’t have to take a bus or train home and could lie down immediately.

I thought this would end all this donation nonsense, but then we were at a Science Fiction convention recently where they had a donation bus parked outside the hotel and I knew I was licked.

But the funny thing was that when she tried to give blood, they wouldn’t take her.

“They said my iron was too low, but I should take an iron supplement and try again tomorrow.”

She took the supplement, went back the next day and all was well. There was no low iron, no passing out, but my antennae were raised. Low iron? What was that all about?

The word ‘ferritin’ had been popping up a lot in my reading. Janie Bowthorpe talks about it in her book Stop the Thyroid Madness which I reviewed here recently. Ferritin isn’t the active form of iron in your blood, the hemoglobin that moves oxygen around your body. Ferritin is the storage form of iron–the pool of iron that your body draws on for all the other iron-y stuff it’s got to get done. Stuff like making your liver work properly. Oh yeah, and your brain. And that’s just the start of a long, long list.

Read all about the symptoms of ferritin deficiency here

You thought anemia was the first sign of iron deficiency? It’s actually the last. If you’re low on iron, your body will make sure your hemoglobin gets first dibs–oxygen making it around your body is top priority. After that, it’s catch as catch can for all the enzymes, organs and processes scrambling after the remains. By the time your iron is so low the blood donation bus won’t take you, things have gotten pretty bad.

Since the level of ferritin is the true test of how your iron levels are doing, I wrote the word ‘ferritin’ on a sticky note and gave it to my girlfriend when she was on her way to her next annual doctor’s appointment.

“Ask for this test,” I said.

“Is it a real word? It sounds funny.”

“Just ask.”

When she got home, I checked to see if the doctor had given her any trouble.

“She was dubious at first,” my girlfriend said. “But then she said, if it created more harmony in my household, she would be happy to order it.”

Along with the alarming number of symptoms low ferritin can cause, you will also read here that a ferritin level below 50 is pretty dodgy.

My girlfriend’s came back at 7.

I was appalled. I gave her a stern talking-to about how there was to be no more blood donations until her ferritin was up to 100, and that it wasn’t a joke, she would have to take her iron supplement every day. And that she shouldn’t be so cavalier about her health–giving away her last precious molecules of iron to strangers without a thought for herself.

I took a little break from my lecture to look up my own ferritin level from my last blood test.

It was 15. Oops.

I had a vague memory of my doctor telling me that I needed to do something about it, but I had thought him to be an annoying pest to bring up such trivia when I had bigger fish to fry. I was mercury toxic! That was my problem! Why was this idiot banging on about some irrelevant iron deficiency?

Okay, so now we both take our iron supplements every day. I had my own annual physical the other day and of course I got my ferritin tested. It was still only 15. Sigh.

Getting iron levels up is a notoriously slow process, but even after these few short weeks of supplementation, I’ve noticed that my physical stamina is very impressive. Spring is the season to work out and I’ve been doing all kinds of long-bike-rides and running-up -hills with no complaints. But even more wonderful is my hair situation.

My hair has been falling out in alarming amounts ever since I was a teenager. I have really thick hair, so it always gets replaced, but I have to keep my hair short if I don’t want big clumps of hair in the drain every time I take a shower. What’s a huge sign of low ferritin? Hair loss. Big clumps of hair in the drain every time you take a shower.

But not these days. More and more hair is staying in my head and less and less is going down the drain. I often used to joke that I’d know I was truly truly healthy the day that my hair stopped falling out. Maybe that day is coming soon…maybe when my ferritin hits 100 🙂