I’m writing this with the personal, embodied experience of this illness as well as the mind of a clinician and the heart of a mother.
This post will be a little different from my usual writings here but I know this is what’s needed right now. This has impacted my own family as you’ll read below and so many other families I know. Please share this if you find it helpful.
Last summer, right around July 4th weekend, my son and I experienced a brief bout of diarrhea, not even really diarrhea but noticeable bowel changes that affected both of us for about 24 hours. I didn’t think much of it. No fevers, no weird symptoms. We both recovered, or so I thought!
Then a few weeks later I started getting weekly bouts of bowel changes sometimes with chills and strange sensations in my limbs. It seemed to be happening cyclically which made me think of parasites. It felt parasitic, even down to how I felt something suctioning to my intestinal wall near my ileocecal valve. It was odd.
I was also going through a stressful time and contributed some of my symptoms to stress. I had just moved my practice into a new location and was finishing up another online course. I knew I would have a few weeks off in August and expected that would help my system settle and recalibrate.
Well, it didn’t. I actually got worse and it was no longer cyclical but daily and truly agonizing. I did a comprehensive stool analysis and it revealed pretty severe gut dysbiosis, which I suspected given my symptoms but it didn’t answer the question as to what was causing it. No parasites, no bacterial infections, no viral pathogens. I was working with a functional medicine practitioner by this point and it was September. My blood labs were normal besides electrolyte imbalance which seemed likely due to dehydration but retrospectively that should have tipped me more to consider covid at that time.
After digging into some gut dysbiosis research, my test results most closely aligned with someone with a parasitic infection. So even though I didn’t test positive for parasites I was still considering that as a likely root cause.
This is where it gets kinda blurry because so much was happening. My kids were getting recurrent fevers and bowel changes, as well as nasal congestion and eye redness and tearing. We were all so tired, lethargic even and just in survival mode most days. My daughter had a bout of vomiting in early September which coincided with my husband also having some gut symptoms that cleared within a week.
The cyclical and relentless nature of what I was going through was taking me to the depths. It was around this time that I also developed heart palpitations and a persistent elevated heart rate that would sometimes keep me up for hours at night. Once that happened and I had some viral-like symptoms (feverish feeling but no fever, chills, body aches, insane spinal heat and muscle weakness), I slowly started to put the pieces together.
My parents also developed symptoms during this time (mid September), several weeks after we had stayed with them. My mom did test positive for covid and had a more typical presentation, finally I started to consider this as a possibility. My symptoms were so similar to hers, even down to craving cereal and having weird dreams and muscle cramping.
It seemed like my kids were improving until mid November when my son developed intermittent vomiting for 2 weeks. He also lost bladder control a few times, had extreme mood changes and nervous system dysregulation and even had trouble walking on a few occasions. Both my son and I lost weight and muscle mass from what I imagine was a disruption in small intestine function and fat absorption.
As I’m taking care of my family and myself during this time, I’m obsessively observing the progression of this illness. I had support from a colleague who would help me troubleshoot herbal formulas both for myself and for the kids. I was also getting somatic support, which was and is essential for recovery.
I could both feel and observe the pathogen moving from the gut up, first to the diaphragm and stomach area (which is when my son developed vomiting) and then to the chest, neck and head. The focal points of where I felt my heart racing moved from my gut to my chest and then to my neck and head.
In my kids, I noticed distension in the areas where it was moving around the body, as well as dilated veins, which is a signal that the Wei Qi (immune function and protective energy) is moving to the surface. I can’t reiterate how insidious and hidden this pathogen likes to remain. It acts like a parasite and has been described by myself and many others as feeling like something is taking over your physiology. It was terrorizing, truly. I’ve never experienced anything like it before.
It’s very cliche to say but it has a very dark presence and energetic to it. It is like spiritual warfare in a way.
By December I started to come to terms with having the dreaded “long COVID” but I’m also still unsure about labeling it that way. Over the last several months, I started to notice so many people navigating similar recurrent, lingering illnesses within the community (both locally and as far away as Germany). Usually starting with a gut infection that seems to pass through and then often going on to test positive for covid weeks later or get recurrent “colds.” I have also seen it move in the reverse direction, starting in the head and chest and later moving to the gut.
I work with a diverse population, some vaccinated, some not. Some testing often, some not. It’s affecting both groups about the same to be honest. So many are struggling with this and it’s so easy to pass it off as just another round of colds or whatever else is in circulation. That is possible but why then are so many developing such a similar pattern and trajectory of illness? And why now?
My work-in-progress theories
My understanding of the many factors at play, including viral evolution, vaccine shedding, radiation exposure, and more are constantly evolving. This is a reflection of where I’m at now, at the date of the most recent update.
In alignment with my Chinese Medicine studies, there is space here for germ theory, terrain theory and environmental factors to coexist. The strength of the pathogen matters. The resilience of the host matters and the environment where they coexist is also influential.
When I speak to pathogen here I’m talking about the “naturally” acquired pathogen and the one your body creates when you receive the injection. The outcomes are very similar either way, even when someone feels that they tolerated the injection well that doesn’t mean there aren’t long lasting effects, unfortunately. All of this can be and often is very insidious with a slow onset after perhaps a short acute phase.
When I start to explain my theory of this “variant” being a chronic viral infection that strongly suppresses the immune response, many are confused and get caught up thinking about testing. Many test “negative” but present exactly like someone else who tests “positive.” I have seen testing to be so wildly inaccurate it’s baffling to me that people still take the testing seriously. I will link a few articles at the bottom of this page that further explore testing.
I put “variant” in quotation marks because I feel strongly that there is so much that we still don’t know and it does seem that some information is being withheld, either intentionally or just out of pure stupidity. So, while I recognize that this more recent evolution of the virus seems to be creating more complex immunological and system wide outcomes, I’m also not certain on what would drive a pathogen to evolve in this way – a way we’ve never seen before. This may seem conspiratorial to some, which I’m definitely ok with because we need to be asking more complex questions and fully consider other possibilities.
Also, I’ll add here that the “lab leak theory” has some good research to back it and honestly it just makes sense. Until there is enough evidence to point me in another direction, I do believe this is a man made pathogen. Whether it was truly designed for research purposes or otherwise is interesting but not immediately relevant because either way we need solutions.
Something that is really important in any form of medicine is observation and the capacity to recognize patterns and disease progression in specific populations. We have really lost the thread if we believe a test more than we believe what someone is both telling us with words and through the body’s presentation.
I get it though. I would have struggled to put this together without the embodied experience of it. And yes since many have resolution of symptoms only to have them return weeks or even a month later, it’s easy to think it’s the next thing. Could it be that it’s getting reactivated by environmental factors like vaccine shedding or by another exposure? Could it be that it’s going “stealth” and once the body locates it again you get another immune response?
There are more questions than answers.
A main piece of my theory is that sars cov-2 is colonizing the gut, acting as a parasite and potentially migrating from there if it is not contained or eliminated. I think elimination is unlikely but finding a form of co-existence is a more likely outcome. It acts like a “stealth pathogen” which would mimic something like Lyme’s disease, Epstein Barr, mold toxicity or other viruses that we coexist with. There is some research indicating that viral DNA remains in the gut for 15 months post infection, which obviously supports my theory. It is likely longer than 15 months because that is simply when the study ended.
I have also seen that it seems to really move through different body systems, requiring that each one adapt to its presence and try to deal with its ramifications. It’s confusing for the body, that piece is clear to me. The body is often implementing all of it’s known immune strategies but the pathogen responds in strange or unexpected ways. This may be what allows it to travel more deeply in the system and impact neurological function. Research now confirms that the vagus nerve is damaged in long covid.
Here are key manifestations I’ve observed in the processing of this pathogen, especially in the last 6 months:
- Gut issues – recurrent vomiting and/or diarrhea, intense intestinal cramping
- Recurrent respiratory illness
- Shortness of breath
- Allergy like symptoms (histamine intolerance perhaps playing a role)
- Optic neuritis, swelling around the eyes, blurry vision, pain in the eyes, redness, lacrimation
- Tinnitus, ear fullness or pain
- Sinus headaches and pressure
- Blood pressure changes
- Blood glucose changes and dysregulation
- Recurrent yeast infections or UTIs
- Jaw pain or teeth grinding
- Mid back pain that is spasmodic in nature
- Joint pain, muscle spasms
- Body temperature dysregulation
- Persistent lymph node swelling
- Anxiety, depression and emotional dysregulation
- Tingling in the limbs
- Heart palpitations or “heart racing” or chest pain
- Dizziness, fatigue and brain fog or feeling disoriented
- Nosebleeds or menstrual changes
- Changes in taste of meat specifically- usually comes with an aversion to that particular kind of meat
There are many factors that come into play when it comes to healing. Yes you need to address the gut for sure; however, it can’t be through diet alone because the nervous system takes such a hit with this. You have to consider treating this also as a brain injury. The vagus nerve needs a lot of support and restoration of function. I am also aware of the research around the reactivation of other pathogens such as Epstein Barr. So, this needs to be considered.
You also have to consider how the blood cells themselves are affected, which we are still learning about but there is clearly some level of blood cell damage or endothelial lining damage or both.
After trying so many different herbs and supplements over the last months, I can attest to the most important piece being nervous system healing and mind body work.
There is a bioenergetic piece to this that remains elusive and unknown. Humans are complex and we are communicating with each other about our environment in unseen ways. This may explain vaccine shedding illnesses or reactions, as well as what seems like a reactivation of covid like symptoms when in close contact with someone else who is also a carrier.
Here are some healing practices, supplements and herbs that I have seen to be beneficial for myself and others:
- Daily castor oil packs over the entire abdomen with a heating pad or hot water bottle
- Intermittent fasting – usually something I don’t recommend but the gut really needs rest and repair time. Try to start with 12-14 hours per day.
- Increase fruit in your diet if well tolerated (I couldn’t do this at first because it was triggering yeast but then that resolved and increasing fruit did help) – blueberries specifically can help restore butyrate producing gut bacteria
- Salted bone broth 3 cups daily or more
- IGG protect or mega IGG at high doses – double or triple the recommended dose on the bottle.
- Nightly 2 capsules of GI detox taken away from food. You can also do activated charcoal.
- Tundrex probiotics – take 5 capsules per day for 10 days
- Raw garlic chopped, let it sit for ten minutes and consume with raw honey – if well tolerated do this twice daily for 4-6 weeks
- Chrysanthemum and goji berry infusions – especially if you’re having recurrent eye issues.
- Pressed ginger infusions – add lemon and honey to taste if desired
- Reishi, turkey tail and other medicinal mushrooms – ideally in extract form.
- Turmeric fresh pressed as juice, cooked in food or simmered for 10-15 minutes in clean water like a decoction
- Electrolytes or salted water, coconut water etc. for mineral support and electrolyte balance
- Minimize EMF exposure and get your entire body or at least bare feet on the earth as much as possible
- Listen to 528 Hz DNA Repair music. Here’s a great playlist on Spotify
- Cold exposure – cold showers for at least 30 seconds daily if possible
- Humming, singing, vu-ing (Somatic Experiencing tradition) or om-ing (yogic tradition)
- Crawling on all fours to help reestablish proper brain hemisphere communication
- Epsom salt baths
- Somatic experiencing sessions, acupuncture, craniosacral or chiropractic – all body based approaches to healing. I’ve been doing at least one of these weekly and it was biweekly for a while.
There are a variety of supplements that I’ve tried throughout this process. It’s hard to say what truly helped but I am getting better with time. Some of those were: CoQ10 200 mg per day, resveratrol 650 mg per day, quercetin 1000 mg per day, proDHA 1000 by Nordic Naturals 4 capsules daily, vitamin C in liposomal form up to 6 g per day, NAC 1500 mg per day, zinc lozenges by Seeking Health 1-2 daily. These are all pretty well researched around covid specifically.
I also fairly consistently take beef liver capsules and a B complex either by Designs for Health or Seeking Health. I will include a link below with more extensive functional medicine research around these recommendations.
I’ve also found the Chinese herbal medicine formulas to be helpful but they are highly individualized, especially for this, so you can book a session with me here if you want to explore that more.
If you intend to work with plant medicinals on your own, I would focus on herbs that support the nervous system (i.e. – st. john’s wort), adaptogens (like medicinal mushrooms) and blood tonics or movers. Of course, if you’re having more lung and respiratory symptoms, then include support for that as well.
Homeopathy is also useful and I will provide a few practitioner recommendations below.
If you’re going to order supplements and you’re in the USA please consider ordering through my online dispensary here to support this work.
The only way out is through. Of course, there are times where I have totally villainized the vaccines as causing the pathogen to evolve in this way. And I know those adamant about vaccination will blame the unvaccinated for causing this. The truth is we don’t know. There is so much yet to be revealed or understood.
This is a moment of intense evolutionary stress for the human species. I try to remain both humble and hopeful that we can find solutions and see our way through this chaos.
I am getting better and so are my kids. It’s slower than anything I have ever experienced but I believe we will make a full recovery. I will continue to update this post or add additional posts as my understanding evolves. Even though this is quite long I feel it is only scratching the surface in many ways including how intense the journey has been for me. So if you’re deep in it, know that I’ve been there and I have hope that there is a way out.
Thanks for sharing if it feels useful!
Dr. Cassone – great for acute care with covid. He has been very actively serving his local community throughout the duration of what he refers to as the “covid era.” His team is very responsive and can get herbs to you quickly.
David Allen – I’ve been going to David throughout my own processing of this illness and consulting with him around herbal formulas for my kids. He’s a great resource for kids’ health.
Karen Rae Ferriera: email [email protected]
Sub Luna Botanicals by Arielle De Martinez
Nervous System Support
Cristal Mortensen – Cristal is my Somatic Experiencing practitioner and she’s been so supportive throughout.
Irene Lyon – She offers online programs for nervous system support and rewiring.
The Cure for Chronic Pain Podcast with Nicole Sachs – She offers an interesting approach to mind body healing and has a few covid specific episodes.
Energetic and Emotional Healing Support
Sirona Energy Healing with Nicola Rubio – Nicola offers energetic clearing for the lingering effects of covid.
Articles to consider
Chris Masterjohn writes about some of the current issues with testing and also how covid is impacting blood. Find his blog, including catchy titles, here.
Dr. Leo Galland offers a public, free coronavirus guide here. His writing and research is extensive in the functional medicine community.
Re-establishing Good Vagal Tone and Balance with Herbs by Nikki Darrell