November 15, 2017
Rebekah: Another thing about Gigi that’s been interesting is she has gotten out to do some yard work this fall. She has always talked about doing this during the time I have known her but very very rarely, if ever, gets around to actually doing it. She has gotten out twice this fall to tend to her flowers and such.December 10, 2017
Rebekah: Some exciting MePA news from Gigi today! She mentioned to me that she noticed she was needing less sleep than in the past. I decided to try to find a graph for that on the Fitbit App, which I did. It shows that she is slowly, month by month, needing less and less sleep. This is pretty amazing considering that when I first knew Gigi she was needing 10+ hours of sleep just to get by and now she is well under 9 hours. Overall I am just amazed at how Gigi is doing. I spent several weeks with her everyday before Christmas last year as I was helping her organize her Christmas decorations. I remember her fatigue and low energy. There is really no comparison to this year; she is doing worlds better. This year she has finished caring for her outdoor flower beds for the first time in fifteen years (!!!) and has been able to keep up with the house so much better. The changes have been slow and hardly noticable but because I have such clear memories of how she was this time a year ago, the comparison stands out to me. Her quality of life is so incredibly improved. What a blessing.
Gigi’s Testimonialby Gigi Eschbach, February 20, 2018
BackgroundIt all began in my mid twenties. For years, my health mysteriously continuously declined, with no answers from the multitude of doctors and specialists to whom I was sent. In 2004, at age 46, I was finally sent to a specialist who immediately knew with what I was dealing. I had Lyme Disease which had been slowly ramping up for many, many years before it was able to eventually overtake my immune system, bringing me, literally, to the brink of death. In its wake, I was left a very disrupted immune system, an endocrine system that no longer produced some vital hormones or the precursor chemistry to create some of them, cognitive issues and a heart with a damaged septum that delays sending electrical signals to the left side of my heart, creating Left Bundle Branch Block. I was treated with antibiotics for 7 years, and the Lyme Disease went into remission. However, I was still diabetic, hypothyroid, and having issues with my adrenal glands that caused hyperplasia and the inability to convert testosterone into estrogen, among other things. The Left Bundle Branch Block (causing the two sides of my heart to beat out of sync with each other) slowly caused my heart to fail. In November 2013, my doctors began to continuously monitor and medically treat my heart, when it was found that my heart’s Ejection Fraction (EF) had declined to around 10-15%. The range for normal EF is between 60-70%. Three months later, in February 2014, when my heart’s EF was alarmingly found to be at 5%, a Bi-Valve Pacemaker with a defibrillator was surgically implanted. After that, it took 2 years, to February 2016, before my heart’s EF came back up to the low end of the normal range, to 50%. Then, two months later, in April of 2016 I had 2 V-Fibs [ventricular fibrillation: a life-threatening cardiac rhythm disturbance] within 24 hours. The second one would have taken me permanently, if not for the defibrillator in my heart bringing me back. After this incident, my heart’s EF declined over the next 8 months (by December 2016) to 30%, back down solidly into heart failure range. The Heart Failure Specialist told me that my heart was quite damaged from the V-Fibs and would not recover and improve. They tested my heart chamber pressures, fearing I needed an immediate evaluation for a heart transplant. Miraculously, my heart pressures were acceptable. So the plan then was to wait and see how long my heart could hold up before it declined enough to warrant a transplant. I was to continue to take my prescribed meds and come in every 2–3 months. The fatigue was overwhelming. I was continually exhausted, even though I was now sleeping anywhere from 10 to 16 hrs most nights. And, it only seemed to be getting worse.
Enter Vitamin MePAIn August of 2017, I found out about MePA. I was told a limited number of volunteers were sought for help in quantifying the effects of this recently discovered and 2 year tested substance. My first thought was, “I am in such bad shape, what do I have to lose?” There did not seem to be any discernible negative side-effects. I went into this with no expectations, except perhaps to be able to provide some data. I bought a Fitbit Charge 2 so that I could track my problematic sleep and see if there would be any quantifiable changes. Sleep duration and it’s quality seemed to be affected, in a positive way, for anyone who had taken MePA thus far. Also, I thought if I had positive results, the Fitbit might be able to give Dr. Aardsma some quantifiable information as to what the MePA was actually affecting. In setting the Fitbit up, the default parameter for optimum sleep hours was set at 8. I reset it to 10 hours per night, knowing that that was the minimum I had slept for the last 1 1/2 years.
ResultsAbout 1 1/2 months after starting MePA, I began to notice a change, for the better, in my sleep quality and duration. I felt much more rested and was rarely sleeping more than 9 hours. So I reset my Fitbit’s sleep goal to 9 hours. By the end of November, another 1 1/2 months later, I was rarely sleeping more than 8 hours. So, once again, I reset my Fitbit’s sleep goal, this time to 8 hours. All this time, I was feeling much more rested and had so much more energy during the day. I thought, “Surely my ejection fraction (EF) has improved!” The Echo from the previous year had shown that my heart was definitely following the path toward total heart failure. My left ventricle was significantly enlarged as was my left atrium. The right atrium was moderately enlarged. All that was left was to wait for my right ventricle to enlarge, and then it would be time for a heart transplant. I repeatedly asked of my Cardiologists, over the next few months, if the heart enlargement could backtrack. Each time I was told no, too much damage. Their plan was to see how long they could hold me at this point and keep me stable. In mid November 2017, another Echo-Cardiogram was performed to check the condition of my heart and it’s current EF. The results were surprising and tantalizing. First of all, the left ventricle was still significantly enlarged. However, the left atrium was only mildly enlarged!? That meant the heart failure was indeed backtracking and my heart was healing. The right side of my heart was difficult to visualize this time, so no information was known about my right atrium. But, it would be safe to assume that it also was decreased in size based on the progression/regression of heart failure. The most surprising result of all, based on my decreased need for sleep and my surging energy, was that my heart’s ejection fraction was still the same as the previous year! It made no logical or medical sense! I can only attribute it all to MePA. At my Cardiologist appointment in December, my protocol was switched from keeping me stable for as long as possible before a heart transplant, to putting me on some new meds that should help to heal my heart further and hopefully move me further away from the heart transplant route. At the same time as all of this, I have been having issues with my pancreas. Over the last several years, I have been having pain in the area of my pancreas, digestive issues (mainly Non-Celiacs Gluten Sensitivity) and trouble keeping blood sugars in the proper range. My lipase levels (an indicator of pancreatic health) have also been steadily increasing, which is not a good thing. When the lipase was last checked in November of 2017, it was almost 2x the upper healthy limit. A CT Scan was done to rule out a cancerous growth, chronic pancreatitis or some other form of blockage or abnormality. It all came back clear. A few weeks before the CT Scan, I began to realize that the troubling and ever-present pain in my pancreatic region, both in my front and in my back, was subsiding greatly. This made no sense, considering that my lipase levels were increasing, which causes pain. The only difference during that time was taking MePA. In December 2017, my sleep duration was nearing the 7 hour mark. I was feeling confident I would be resetting my Fitbit parameter again. However, in January 2018, I came down with the nasty flu going around (even though I had gotten a flu shot). It has taken over a month to get through it. It caused my sleep duration to go back to 10 hours, on average. However, I have been told by several Drs. that it is amazing I have not ended up in the hospital, as compromised as my health is. Again, I attribute that to MePA. And, now that I am recovering, my sleep duration is heading toward fewer hours once again. Another thing that may be related to the overall improvement of sleep, or perhaps just MePA, is clarity of mind. Lyme disease infiltrated my brain and caused major brain fog, hindering both the ability to remember (long and short term) and the ability to process just about anything. As I was treated for Lyme, the fog lifted and most functions became possible again, but nowhere near the level they were before Lyme. Heart failure also takes a toll on brain function, as the amount of oxygen reaching the brain is reduced. Since taking MePA, I feel my mental acuity has increased greatly. This is counter-intuitive to the aging process we know, where mental acuity usually experiences a decline as we age. Another area affected, to note, is skin. I am very fair complected. The only place that I have had freckles is on the top of my forearms. Over the past few years, these freckles have been seeming to expand, creating large, pale, reddish-brown patches that nearly covered both forearms. It was quite noticeable and concerning. In November 2017, after taking MePA for 2 1/2 months, I began to notice a marked reduction in size, coverage and color, and they continue to reduce. Around the same time, I began noticing that the areas under my eyes were not so dark and sunken in. It looks like little deposits are forming there creating a “plumping” effect.
- I have experienced no perceivable negative side effects.
- The perceivable positive side effects are numerous:
- My sleep duration and quality have greatly improved, giving me a big boost in energy and more hours awake.
- My heart condition has stayed stable and enlargement has mildly decreased.
- Pancreatic pain has drastically reduced.
- My mental acuity is increasing.
- My skin seems to be experiencing some healing and rejuvenation.
- I have a much more positive outlook, because of improved health.
- Things that do not seem to be affected, at this point:
- Mild Adrenal Hyperplasia
- Non Celiacs Gluten Sensitivity
- Left Bundle Branch Block.