It’s been about three months since I began what I’ve dubbed a hypothalamus fix. Basically, since no medical professional understood the problem, I decided to figure it out myself and “fix” the brain-injury induced problems of high body temperature, edema (water retention), diabetes, fast heart rate, varying blood pressure, skin irritations: basically an extreme version of a stress reaction. My fix consists of using the sub-delta session on Mind Alive’s Audiovisual Entrainment (AVE) device every night and the sleep session on their Cranial Electrical Stimulation (CES) device twice a day, morning and night.
Shortly after I wrote about the fix and my early results, I had a setback. Figures.
I had planned on having a week’s rest before I began National Novel Writing Month — a month of writing a minimum of 1667 words every single day during the month of November. It’s a gruelling but fun, frustrating, fantastic experience. Given my lack of stamina and energy, I knew I needed to rest before beginning it. I didn’t get that week of rest. Before I detail what happened, you need to know that after brain injury the brain is not flexible, meaning unexpected stuff tends to put it into freeze mode and a sudden change in routine leads to frustration as one struggles to adapt. It’s like fighting one’s brain. So. First my Internet went down for four days straight and every time I called, they wanted me to go through the same troubleshooting steps because Bell said they’d fixed it (Bell said that to me too about my voice plan in months past and were just as wrong). Then my dishwasher broke, got fixed, broke, got fixed, well, you get the picture. I discovered I still am unable to physically wash dishes without compromising other functions like cooking or writing or working on photography. So the dishwasher had to be either fixed or replaced. And then my brand-new dentist told me I kept developing cavities because the atenolol dries out the mouth, which reduces remineralization of teeth, hence increasing cavity formation like crazy. Too bad my previous dentist neglected to mention that was a problem and to prescribe the remedy, a simple daily rinse of fluoride. Money flew out the window. Stress levels rose astronomically. Brain went gah! And my body temperature went soaring back up and my edema returned just as I began National Novel Writing Month. Peachy.
But I didn’t give up my fix. I tried to increase the intensity and length of CES sessions to compensate for the added stress. But I don’t think that helped; it was too much stimulation. I am now at one hour of sleep CES at the highest or less of the first level of intensity and 40 to 45 minutes at 10:00 to 10:15 pm (I can’t always get it on right at 10) at the same intensity level as in the morning. I’ve increased the visual intensity level of the sub-delta AVE session from 4 to 5. The audio intensity remains the same.
Interestingly my exercise tolerance continued to increase, my mood didn’t destabilize back to old levels, the improvement in brain injury anger and irritability remained, my skin was hardly reactive, and my regular diabetes checkup showed that it was finally under control (well, except for triglycerides but that was probably because I hadn’t been able to drop enough weight yet, and the edema did not help). I also managed to make the decisions I needed to make even while I wrote almost every day. By mid-November, the crises were over, and in the first two days of December my edema started to drop. As for my body temperature problems, I am no longer quite so overheated at night, but I continue to have problems. It might be complicated by thyroid issues. So that’s something I’ll have to keep an eye on.
As for side effects, brief temporary dizziness is normal when using the AVE or CES (as it drops blood pressure, so no getting up fast right after an AVE session!), and this was no different. Gradually over the last couple of months, my pain levels have increased. This could be for a variety of reasons: as my hypothalamus works better, I am doing more (though it doesn’t feel like it) which puts more strain on my back; as I exercise more, my back is feeling it; the electrical stimulation of CES somehow makes my muscles hurt. Or it could be the opposite of something odd that happened back in early 2007. That January, when my edema increased exponentially, my pain dropped way down at exactly the same time. If my theory is right, the edema is due to high levels of circulating cortisol, and steroids are great at reducing pain. So as cortisol drops back to normal levels, reflected in edema going down, the underlying pain paths will spring back to life. In the end though, I don’t know why I have more pain. I can only work at keeping the pain down through my traditional methods of arnica cream, massage, acupuncture, alpha sessions on the AVE, and of course chocolate.
Meanwhile I’ve been able to reduce the atenolol. I no longer need it in the morning, and I’m decreasing the evening dose gradually. I still hope to get off it totally. And I hope that somehow, some time, a researcher will be interested enough in my experience to study if it’s real or coincidence, what is necessary, what is coincidental, and take objective measurements of before, during, and after.
Note: I write this to share this information with others and to get the conversation going, but I do not write it to suggest that it will work for anyone else.