Monday, December 20, 2010
Our Experience with Worm Therapy, part I
So, as I mentioned in my last blog post, we recently went to Mexico for J's hookworms (necator americanus).
When J and I were researching helminthic therapy, we didn't find a lot of people's experiences online. There was almost nothing, really. We didn't find any negative experiences documented online at all, but there were only two or three people telling about their positive experiences. I decided I would like to blog about our experience with hookworms especially so that if someone else is researching (or considering) helminthic therapy, they can see how J's experience goes. We would have enjoyed reading something like this as we were learning about it, anyway.
There are a few companies that offer hookworms. J actually heard about Jasper Lawrence in 2006. Supposedly, Jasper went off to Cameroon to infect himself with hookworms. Back in 2006 J looked extensively for a company that offered helminthic therapy, and there was just not much out there. Now, Jasper has a company based out of the UK. We contacted them first. He was very expensive. He wanted to send hookworms by mail, but not to the US. He was willing to send them to Canada, and I have half of my relatives in Canada, but that seemed really awkward. Jasper had us fill out a really long pre-interview form, and we did, but we didn't hear back from him. We were not very impressed, and we moved on.
J found another company, Worm Therapy, and began to contact them about hookworms. J began talking with Garin, who runs that company. We had hoped that they would be willing to ship worms to J (because really, no, really, we won't tell...) but they wouldn't (really, no, really they don't ship worms). That would have been a lot easier. Their process was, you set an appointment, you have lab work done and submit the results to Garin, you meet at the Mexican border, you go to a clinic in Tijuana, you meet with a doctor, the doctor determines how many worms you can have, and then the doctor gives them to you (along with medicine that kills them, in case you ever decide you want to get rid of them).
Since my family lives in southern California anyway, going to Mexico wouldn't be too bad. For J's worms, it was going to cost a little over $2,000 (plus the costs associated with J's lab testing).
We decided to do it.
J had some required labwork done (just at a nearby place that does that). I think part of it was an HIV test. It was also optional (but recommended) that he have his Vitamin D levels tested. Almost everyone is Vitamin D deficient, but Vitamin D deficiency is linked to auto-immune disorders, and the hookworms also work better if your Vitamin D level is not deficient. We decided to have that test done as well.
When the results were back, J forwarded them to Garin. Everything looked all right, so they set an appointment for the day before Thanksgiving.