As I’ve been suffering from strange symptoms for over 18 months now, I would like to share my experience as I know many people out there endure the same kinds of problems for so long without finding the true cause of their symptoms. If routine blood and urine tests, allergy tests, CT scans, MRIs and other tests have failed to demonstrate your problem and/or if you’ve taken different medications without results, please read this post. You might be suffering from chronic heavy metal poisoning or a parasite.
This issue is very complex. As I am no doctor or scientist, my intentions are not educational, but rather informative. Although the effects of heavy metals in the body are not entirely precisely well known, the following has been confirmed :
We are exposed to numerous toxins every day, from the air, water, food, household products, beauty products, etc. ;
It's perfectly normal to have traces of heavy metals in our bodies, however it becomes a problem when they accumulate due to overexposure and/or an inability of the body to eliminate them efficiently ;
Chronic heavy metal poisoning can happen to anyone and is not strictly reserved for people working in high-risk environments (industrial exposure) ;
Symptoms vary according to the type of metals involved (mercury, arsenic, lead, cadmium, iron, aluminum, manganese, beryllium, etc.), the speed and quantity of intake (chronic, sub-acute or acute), the route of absorption (ingestion, inhalation or cutaneous) and origin (organic or inorganic) ;
Symptoms may affect the nervous system, gastro-intestinal system, respiratory system, renal function, liver, cardiovascular function, ears-throat-nose, skin, muscles, glands, articulations, sleep, appetite, mood and behavior, etc. ;
Chronic heavy metal poisoning may be wrongly diagnosed as fibromyalgia, polyneuralgia, psychosomatic disorder, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, myofascial strain syndrome, etc. ;
Intoxication can range from asymptomatic to debilitating ;
Heavy metals may be detected by specific tests using a sample of urine, hair and/or nails (and perhaps saliva?) ;
Treatment usually consists of removal from potential sources of toxins and chelation therapy administered orally or intravenously.
All this being said, if you suspect chronic heavy metal poisoning, some doctors in conventional medicine might practically laugh at you and refer you to a psychiatrist… I would suggest you consult an MD specializing in alternative, integrated, functional medicine. The money you spend will be worth it.
As far as parasites are concerned, these alternative doctors may have you tested for them as well, via a sample of your stool. My mother suffered from literal crawling under her skin, all over her body (even around her head) and it was so bad she could no longer sleep. This went on for almost two years before she was finally referred to a tropical diseases specialist who was able to diagnose and treat her properly. The alternative doctor who is currently treating me for chronic arsenic poisoning would’ve suspected parasitic activity right away in her case! He inquires about your work, hobbies, eating habits, recent travels and anything else that may provide clues.
Because a list of symptoms on paper says nothing about how they are experienced by the patient, here are the symptoms I personally experienced with chronic inorganic arsenic intoxication along with additional information to allow you to better understand what this all translates to. All my symptoms are intermittent and any given day may bring a different combination of them. They get more intense during flare-ups which can last from 5 to 21 days in my case.
WEAKNESS: Probably a drop in blood pressure, however I have not measured it when this happens. Every time it was measured at a doctor’s office it was fine. Affects my whole system, so this is not muscle weakness. May last anywhere from 25 minutes to 4 hours. Difficult to keep head up and eyes opened during this time.
GENERAL MALAISE & DISCOMFORT: Hard to describe, but it’s a general feeling of discomfort or uneasiness. Might force me to adopt a particular position and maintain it, such as keeping my shoulders up.
FATIGUE & SLEEP: Body feels heavy when I get up from bed. Once I fall asleep, I will sleep 11-12 hours straight if nothing exterior happens to wake me up. If I do not sleep enough, it will make me feel worse during the course of the next day.
DIZZINESS: Varies in intensity. Sometimes it’s typical dizziness, but other times it’s rather a strange feeling in my head, as if both sides of my brain were magnets trying to bond together while charged to repel from one another. This sometimes forces me to apply pressure on my face, forehead or neck in order to make the feeling less unbearable.
ULTRA-SENSITIVITY: Eyes sensitive to light, ears sensitive to sound. At some point, I was sensitive to the vibration resonating in my body from each of my footsteps when I walked. Also, lower threshold to pain making it feel much stronger and last longer.
MYOFASCIAL PAIN / INVOLUNTARY MOVEMENT: Sensation of pulling in cheeks, pain at forehead or at temples, pain in cheekbones, facial muscles contracting heavily on their own. The involuntary contractions can be so intense that they physically tire me and I would expect to see my face deformed when I look in the mirror. Heaviness of forehead sometimes leads to an appearance of droopy eyelid(s). Discomfort sometimes strong enough to give me a hard time falling asleep.
EARS, THROAT & NOSE: Ear spasms and occasional pain or tension in them. My MRI showed light to moderate thickening or hardening of most of my sinuses. Throat constantly irritated and sore for the last 18 months, sometimes feels like a bubble of air is stuck in one side of my throat/neck which changes the sound of my voice. Alternative MD recently discovered tonsil stones behind one of my tonsils (and not ON it, which made them invisible to two ETN’s even with a nasolaryngoscopy), which might or might not be linked to my intoxication and/or responsible for some of my symptoms. One swollen sublingual salivary gland visible on MRI (although radiologist failed to report it and I discovered it by looking at the images myself) was acknowledged by doctor and treated with an injection.
PARALYSIS / LOSS OF SENSATION IN LEGS: I sometimes lose all sensation in my calves. No tingling or numbness, I simply do not feel them at all! When this occurs, it’s like my feet are welded into the floor. Sensation usually returns slowly during the course of the next 4-5 hours. This cycle can occur several days in a row and it makes walking very difficult. During my last flare-up, one leg was worse than the other, which made me walk like if I had "foot-drop". This time was different because I could feel the calf muscle, it seemed hardened, heavy and detached from the bone. This appeared along with swelling of the veins in my hands, thoracic tightness, pinching in chest, and discomfort in my knees-elbows-wrists as bones were protruding as if I no longer had a single ounce of fat in my body.
HANDS: Veins in hands often enlarged and sticking out more than what can be considered normal. The doctor says this is due to circulatory congestion. Hands are easily hurt by pulling a door open, cutting my nails, opening a bottle and other simple things. Sometimes the pain is constant for many hours, other days hands just feel fragile and pain occurs only upon movement. This is uncomfortable enough that I have to use both hands to put my car from "park" to "drive" and has given me the habit of using my elbows instead of my hands to close the door of my car or to get out of bed. Also, I never use my hands to lift myself up from the sofa. This is to avoid making the pain worse and because the sudden feeling upon movement/effort is like I had a thin bar of metal jumping while twisting in my hands.
EMOTIONAL: Depression, frustration, anxiety due to absence of explanations when faced with such strong and weird symptoms no one seems to understand or take seriously, etc.
OTHER: Memory loss, difficulty concentrating, changes in vision, pressure behind eyes strong enough to induce fear that something will burst inside my head, dizziness when moving eyes, pain in eyes, pain in back of skull, stiffness in neck, pimples on cheeks and forehead, pins and needles behind thighs a couple of times, etc.
POSSIBLY UNRELATED: Blood-like smell when breathing in at night (could be the tonsil stones), unexplained lumps behind ears and on forehead appearing and disappearing mysteriously, pulsing engorgement in lower gum along with tooth ache, pain and stiffness in lower back after sleep making it difficult to physically get out of bed, etc.
I truly hope this will help someone somewhere at some point to get a diagnosis and treatment. Please do not hesitate if you have any questions for me.