Recent Events (with bracket numbers indicating the level of pain on an imagined scale)
On January 28th 2014 we caught a Flu bug and while one family (non smoker) member’s progressed with additional Bronchitis, mine developed toward Sinusitis, and issues away from the lungs (yes sadly I still smoke tobacco) with the following symptoms.
Almost immediately, I developed very dry nasal passages with sticky hard white debris. The sensation in tightening of the inner scalp (most likely in the Myelin layer) with a dulled area between the temple and left ear, and a migraine over the right eye. Pain in the shoulders with shooting pain running into the left elbow and wrist. Intense pain (10/10) through to the bone marrow in the upper left arm, and lower down, across the inner pelvic muscles and the sciatic nerves, with increased immobility.
Prescribed Anti inflammatory medication made the pain intensify (11/10) and taking pain killers had no effect. Notably, the pain also intensified after taking Levodopa medication and immediately after meals with shooting pains making me want to climb its walls.
As things worsened I was eventually given Antibiotics and after 5 days the pain eased (6/10) and with no pain after eating meals the Levodopa medication could also be tolerated once again.
In March, I was given a second course of Antibiotics, plus physiotherapy 3 times per week. My mobility started to improve, while still with pain in limbs (4/10) and sharp pain for short periods inside the pelvis, right hip and thigh. Once the course of Antibiotics was finished, the levels in pain continued to decrease.
Now in April the Flu is still apparent in its surges. My nose still remains very dry with heavy sticky to solid white debris (occasionally with pink faint blood streaks), while the pain in the left shoulder, arm and right hip has become more periodic. Occasionally feeling dry in the mouth after drinks, and with a very occasional contraction in the lower throat, Oesophagus area, things appear to be going in the right direction.
Over a number of years, this is the third or fourth time I have noticed that an attack of Flu has had an instant or direct, similar effect upon my Parkinson’s. It is as though the Flu virus immediately disrupts or stops the division, regeneration and growth of Glial cells in the Myelin sheath around brain and central nerve, or radically changes its ability in function, as each time there has been a tightening or drying up sensation of the inner scalp, followed by losses in mobility and pain in the various areas of the back, and limb muscles that have coincidentally been seemingly over strained.
Each time, there has also been a tendency towards walking backwards for ease of movement (perhaps to avoid the possibility in freezing of gait) while my skin also appears to be losing some of its elasticity (more noticeably on the back of the hands).
The muscle pains intensifying in the tendons and nerve junctions along the spine seem to suggest a restriction of synapse through a ‘dry’ barrier in the central nervous system, even after the spine is decompressed in the floor exercises I do to relieve pressure on the Sciatic nerves. Given the order of all the effects from Flu, and the relief from taking Antibiotics, I am inclined to suggest the possibility that, in turn, the brain cells in the Substantia nigra region are not being sufficiently stimulated by the returning Synapse, two fold; because the virus also directly effects the muscle's capability. Resulting in inactivity within specific areas of the brain regarding mobility, the retention of unwanted protein, with the ongoing inactivity thereby causing a decline in cells to worsen the situation, instigating the (hopefully temporary) need to increase Levodopa.
The apparent wave in good and bad days as the Flu lingers on, also appears to follow the fluctuating pattern of nasal discomfort in debris associated with possible, further mutation of the Flu virus as the sneezes come and go. Perhaps underlining the theory that the virus and or altering bacterial factors effecting the water retention or fluidity within nerve tissues are playing a role within the overall picture of my predicament.
This train in thought may also be backed up by the fact that the BocowoA trial proved non effectual after the initial improvements had occurred; in that after the muscle tone improved on the right hand side of my body to match the less effected left-hand side, over time I have had to rely upon Levodopa medication once again, all be it still at relatively low doses to some sufferers of Parkinson’s disease.
If the development of Parkinson’s disease, is directly connected to people catching a certain strain of a Flu virus, then the question as to why some people are more susceptible to this situation of ill than others, obviously needs to be considered in greater detail. And while prospective in nature as a thoughtful guess, perhaps there is an answer that suits, towards a possible further understanding.
The susceptibility to Parkinson’s may be an in built aspect generated within the genes during gestation; Whereby, a Foetus embryo is affected during certain periods of its development with a genetic re-coding, due to the expectant mother being infected with a particular strain of a Flu virus (while her immune system is altered due to her change in hormones). This re coding effectively altering how certain cell tissues physically divide and grow, such that the Foetus can come to maturity in a full term pregnancy to be born.
Once born, this now in built ability toward re-coding cells, would effectively then naturally kick in again, on the presence of re-infections as part of the child’s immune response system in response to similar rooted strains of Flu.
Subsequently, as cell regeneration naturally slows down as the body ages, the resulting aspects of Parkinson’s symptoms would naturally become more dominant too feature. And indeed as a Flu virus mutates strengthening its chances in survival, it is quite likely to inflict more potent damage; reflected by the symptoms in early onset of Parkinson’s appearing to show up at younger ages and in increasing number.
More food for thought
Strangely enough, for a short time I worked as a hospital porter during my early twenties, and automatically qualified for the Flu jab. This was the first time I noticed a minute continuous nervous tick that was sufficient for me to say to a nurse that I thought I had Parkinson's, when she described what was wrong with a bed bound PD patient on the men's ward.
Back then, once the minor Flu symptoms went I forgot all about the little misses in my rhythm, yet twenty plus years later it now figures in my thoughts once more. So while considering the possibility of a Flu jab in the future, I am edging more towards just going with a Vitamin D dose or two next winter to help arm me against future bouts.
Of course, the first usual comment I get when I say Antibiotics have helped my situation in Parkinson's and Flu, is a response that Antibiotics are for Bacterial infection not Viruses; which bypasses the whole point, by ignoring the inter- relationships and dependencies, that appear apparent with the physical pattern of well being that arises, each time the courses of various Antibiotics have been taken over the years.
To the point where I can say, 'Having had to increase Levodopa medication guickly over a short period of time in feeling off colour; After taking Antibiotics, I have then had too drastically reduce the Levodopa dosage, to levels that are lower than the levels being taken prior to realising the Flu. In an almost annual, three steps leap forward two steps back routine.'