What is Post-Covid Syndrome/Long Haulers & are Some People at Greater Risk?

What is going on with patients and Post-Covid Syndrome also called Long Haulers? I remember getting that horrible flu in February 2020. At that time, there was no testing or any ability to identify if the flu was Covid. Months later, it logically seems like it was Covid. But during that time, no one knew. 

ANTIDOTAL VACCINE EXPERIENCE

After my husband and I had recovered from the flu, we both had lingering symptoms. We just never made it back to our pre-flu health. My husband would get “allergies” a lot. We had to stay on top of them to make sure the allergies didn’t sink into his lungs. I was feeling fatigued, had allergies, was experiencing progressing joint pain. Our sleep was crap.

Well, then I got the Covid vaccine, and we got so much better. The really big things went away. To read more about my experience, check out my blog, “My Second COVID 19 Vaccine – the Health Improvements I Experienced.” 

But, how many people besides my husband and I got that flu and felt like they never made it back to their pre-flu health. Well, everybody in my clinic. They noticed little things. They thought they got sick easier or more often. They might have anxiety, racing heart, sleep problems, stomach issues, muscle and joint pain, chest pain. They might feel ice cold or find themselves wheezing, pressure in their head. 

Yet, the issues could be played off to something else. Because there are so many allergy complaints this year, I checked the pollen counts. You know, this year in the PNW, pollen counts are low. The counts have been running at a seven out of twelve. I’ve had years where the counts were up around nine to eleven. So, not a bad pollen year. Yet, a whole lot more “allergies.” The allergies flared up when the region I live had a surge in cases, and the area was moved back to Phase 2. At that time, almost everybody in the clinic who wasn’t vaccinated got sick. The rest of us had “allergies.” Not bad allergies. Just a weird leaking nose.

HOW MANY PEOPLE GET POST-COVID SYNDROME (LONG HAULERS)?

Well, I was on a call with a doctor out of China last week. The discussion was post-Covid syndrome. Post-Covid syndrome is where the patient still experiences weird symptoms after getting over the infection. It is also called long haulers syndrome. The current research shows that 80%-87% of all infected patients experience post-Covid syndrome to some degree.

Here in the United States, the figures are lower at 33%. I wonder if that is because of the mRNA vaccine? Pre-vaccine, everyone in my clinic who had gotten sick in February 2020 had reported not getting back to their pre-flu health. And then we got the vaccine. Pretty much everyone who got the vaccine noticed a health improvement. 

And then I wonder if it is because the patients are just blowing off the symptoms. You know, saying things like they have allergies this year. Or, saying things like their joint pain is worse because the weather has been so damp this year. 

In the United States, we tend to be a sick society. I think most of us would probably faint if we experienced excellent health. What would it feel like to not be overweight, to be active, to not have heartburn or allergies, no fatigue, no brain fog, no high blood pressure, no diabetes, no back pain, no arthritis, no medications? The list goes on and on. 

So, I think the reduced numbers for post-Covid syndrome in the United States may come from a couple of areas. First, the mRNA vaccine, especially the Moderna, seems to help some people with post-Covid symptoms. Not everyone. Second, we have a fantastic ability to discredit our health concerns and blame something else like allergies. That means I believe in the higher numbers for the post-Covid syndrome.

WHO IS GETTING POST-COVID SYNDROME?

Here is why I bring up this conversation. I had been getting some post-Covid syndrome patients. Not a lot of them. They would come in with some bizarre thing happening. They would have gone through all sorts of Western medical tests, and everything came back normal. So, they ran out of Western medical options. I was surprised to hear that Western Medicine was hesitant to prescribed meds for these patients. I thought that was weird because Western Medicine prescribes medications for everything. But, later in this article, I’ll highlight why Western Medicine may be hesitant at prescribing drugs. 

So, with no options, these patients would show up at my door. It’s not easy to treat. Every one of them is different, which makes treating this a bit scary. It takes some time, a lot more time than most people want to spend. But, probably 80% of them are getting better with Chinese Medicine, which is better than the 0% with Western Medicine. Some of them are feeling good enough to stop treatment.

Either way, the infection rate in the U.S. has dropped from over 200,000 new infections in January to about 20,000. So, 1/10th of the January 2021 infections. The death rate is 1/3rd of what it was at the beginning of the year. Everyone is feeling cozy and comfy, including me, even though these rates are still pretty high.

I had written Covid-19 off and was moving on. I pretty much didn’t think I’d see much more of that nonsense. And what a nightmare of nonsense it’s been. It’s challenging to treat, and being that I hold myself to such high standards, it has been very stressful for me.  

And then last week happened, and people started showing up in the office with weird symptoms. Most of them were unvaccinated. One was vaccinated. Not that being unvaccinated is a problem. I’m sharing what I see…antidotal information. I’ve only had one vaccinated client in the clinic with crazy symptoms, and they had a very mild case of Covid followed by a severe, rapidly progressing post-Covid syndrome. Due to the delay in the vaccine roll-out, the symptoms were advanced when they received the vaccine.  

I have a high vaccinated client percentage. About 75% of my clients are vaccinated. Not one of them has shown up with weird symptoms to treat. Pre-vaccination, most of them had that February 2020 flu and were coming in for fatigue, allergies, and stuff. Post vaccine, many of them I haven’t seen. 

That is why I think the vaccine, especially the Moderna vaccine, might positively impact long haulers or post-Covid syndrome. 

WHEN DO PEOPLE EXPERIENCE POST-COVID SYNDROME?

Using inhaler

Now here is the thing with post-Covid syndrome. It doesn’t have to happen right away. It’s not unusual that it waits for months to show up. In the meeting with the doctors from China, they suggested eight months. It could take as long as eight months. I have one client who had mild Covid and had been fine for months. Seven months later, they started experiencing heart issues, wheezing, shortness of breath.

But we don’t know, right? Remember the movie Awakenings with Robin Williams playing the doctor who used the drug L-Dopa to revive the patients. Here is what captured my attention with the movie, the patients were survivors of the 1918 Encephalitis lethargica. Encephalitis lethargica is not typical encephalitis. It attacks the brain, leaving some people in a statue-like condition, speechless and motionless. Encephalitis lethargica came after the first wave of the 1918 flu pandemic. 

What bothered me is the cause of encephalitis lethargica is unknown. Some studies have explored its origins in an autoimmune response or an immune response from a viral or bacterial infection like influenza. There is a clear link between the flu and regular encephalitis. Like there is a link between a viral infection and bells palsy. Right now science thinks everything for encephalitis lethargica is inconclusive just highly suspect, right? Because it came right after the first wave of the 1918 flu, stayed around until 1926, and disappeared after that. 

Here is the other thing that has bothered me about encephalitis lethargica. Scientists were studying its origin as an autoimmune response. Well, can post-Covid syndrome be an autoimmune response?

There is another piece of this that bothered me. The aftermath of encephalitis lethargica. 

“Many surviving patients of the 1915–1926 pandemic seemed to make a complete recovery and return to their normal lives. However, most survivors subsequently developed neurological or psychiatric disorders, often after years or decades of seemingly perfect health. Post-encephalitic syndromes varied widely: sometimes they proceeded rapidly, leading to profound disability or death; sometimes very slowly; sometimes they progressed to a certain point and then stayed at this point for years or decades; and sometimes, following their initial onslaught, they remitted and disappeared.”

Oliver Sacks, Awakenings

Post Covid Syndrome/Long Haulers

Felix Stern was a German neurologist who examined the encephalitis lethargica patients during the 1920s. He documented that encephalitis lethargica became worse with time. The early symptoms would be either sleepiness or being wide awake. Later, the disease would progress to a prolonged, involuntary upward deviation of the eyes. The third phase started with a recovery, later followed by Parkinson-like symptoms.

So, here’s the thing, science indicates that post-Covid syndrome can show up eight months later. We’ve only had a year with Covid. So, who knows and who knows where it ends.

From an antidotal perspective, what am I seeing in common? The majority are not vaccinated. I had one who did vaccinate after showing post-covid syndrome also known as long haulers. Many showing symptoms report a mild case of the flu or Covid.  

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF POST-COVID SYNDROME?

The second part is post-Covid syndrome seems to get worse over time. 

There is a pre-print study of over 3,700 patients who were sick for more than four weeks. The results were published at the end of December 2020, updated in April 2021 and are waiting for peer review. The study identified over 205 symptoms patients experience post-Covid. 

POST-VIRAL SYNDROME MORE COMMON THAN YOU THINK

Post-Covid Syndrome is a “post-viral syndrome.” A post-viral syndrome is where a person experiences symptoms long after the original viral infection has gone.

I didn’t know post-viral syndromes are fairly common with viruses. Not only did we experience a post-viral syndrome with the Flu of 1918, but we can also experience it today with recovery from strep throat turning into rheumatic fever. Or fatigue and other symptoms after Epstein-Barr, Zika, West Nile, Dengue, and other viruses.

Post-viral syndrome is not studied in Western Medicine. That means it is not well understood. With this Post-Covid Syndrome, the Western medical labs and tests are coming back normal. No issues. But, the person is sick. And when the doctors do try to prescribe medications, the medications don’t work. Sometimes it seems like the drugs encourage whatever this is.

TREATING POST-COVID SYNDROME WITH CHINESE MEDICINE 

The bottom line is this is all information. We don’t know anything right now. All we have is history and supposition. What we do know is post-Covid syndrome is real. Post-Covid syndrome is a type of post-viral syndrome and post-viral syndromes are not studied in Western Medicine. It’s not unusual for the patient to come back with clean labs. Everything can seem normal for a long-time, and then it shows up. In the clinic, I’m noticing that Chinese herbs can help. It’s a little bit tricky to treat because, just like in Western Medicine, where nothing shows up on the labs, in Chinese Medicine, you have to think beyond Traditional Chinese Medicine and really go into your theory on cold pathogens. If you don’t, you’ll usually treat the wrong thing, and they won’t get better. 

How to Fix Chronic Back Pain and How You Relate to the World

The thing I like about Chinese Medicine is it can help you reconnect with yourself. And if you’re on the path of personal self-realization, it can help you find your way there. It does that through the Ancient theory of Chinese Medicine and the hidden meaning surrounding the channels and organs. In this article, you’ll find the spiritual essence to fix chronic back pain.

When it comes to chronic back pain, it all starts with one of the twelve channels or meridians in Chinese Medicine. The bladder channel is the longest channel in Chinese Medicine. It starts at the eye and travels upwards over the head, down the back of the neck, down the back, down the back of the legs, along the outside side of the ankle, all the way to the little toe.

Fix Chronic Back Pain

This is the bladder channel. This channel isn’t a line that splits your body in half. No, the channel has two separate channels, one on each side of the spine and then straight down the legs. So, the channel is not in the bone, but in the muscle that supports the bone. The muscle that allows the bones to move, the muscle that keeps us moving forward. That muscle.

You know, a long time ago, I learned how to test to see if back pain was in the muscles or in the bone. Most of the time, like 95% of the time, the pain was in the muscles. If the patient could relax the muscles, the pain would go away.

So, you spend time with the acupuncturist, the masseuse, the chiropractor, the physical therapist. All of this to get relief from back pain, but it would always come back. And, you would go to your Western doctor, and the doctor would say something like, “Yes, you’re getting older, that happens.” Most of the time, you never think to question any of this.

Well, this got me thinking because in Chinese Medicine, they say the only way you can release disease is by letting go of the energetic bond you have to the dis-ease. And in Chinese Medicine, they believe everything is a clue to your life puzzle.

And for chronic back pain, the clue is the bladder channel. This is the channel that travels along the sides of the spine and down the center of the legs to end at the little toe of the foot.

The bladder channel is the first line of defense from the outside world. Weakness in this channel can be the reason for catching colds, or experiencing allergies. The bladder channel is full of that magical essence called Wei Qi which protects the body from things that could harm it. To learn about ways to build up your Wei Qi check out my Youtube Playlist, “Simple Techniquest to Keep Your Immune System Strong.”

There are some great episodes like “Five Foods You can use to Help Combat the Flu,” or “How to Beat the Allergy Season with These Five Supplements.” Every episode in the playlist builds Wei Qi.

But if it isn’t something as physical as pollen or viruses, how can you identify the energetic things the bladder channel helps safeguard? I think one of the best examples could be stress.

Think about what you think when under stress. First, stress is commonly about your interactions with others. Somebody does something that you feel is threatening or impacting you in an unfavorable way.

Let’s say something happens at work that puts your job in jeopardy. You might think the stress is the fear of not providing for yourself or your family. That is part of the stress and to learn more about that aspect of stress, the episode on, “ Liver Qi Stagnation & Foods that Help,” may help. But, the cause of the stress was whatever happened at work. Whatever happened at work is what you will spend time thinking about correcting, mitigating, avoiding, accepting… That original interaction started with another person where you had a knee-jerk response.

This knee-jerk response is the bladder channel protecting you from external influences. Only this time, it is not pollen or mold. It’s protecting your self-worth, self-identity, yourself from a perceived threat. As you get older, and usually anything past 5 or 6, you’re already practicing this response to a situation, the reaction has become so familiar that you no longer even think about it. It’s a knee-jerk reaction to a situation. It’s that initial response that is wrapped up in a lot emotion. It’s that response that you would like to change. It’s that response or that situation you would like support from a friend, a spouse, or a professional.

And when you’re in that zone, that knee-jerk reaction zone, it’s great to identify what the emotion is that you are feeling whether its fear, the need to defend yourself, being at fault, not feeling good enough, whatever it is. Those feelings lock you into a pattern of responses, and it’s those feelings that define how you defend yourself from the world. And that is the bladder channel. Or, that is what the bladder channel supports, your defense against the outside world.

Training takes years

As the years go by, you’ve been able to practice your reaction so much that the response becomes more rigid, more inflexible. Especially when the response becomes a knee-jerk reaction, it is pretty rigid, right? A knee-jerk reaction is what an athlete is striving for. Instead of thinking about your action, your body just automatically moves without your conscious thought. But, to get to that point took years of training and practice. So much practice that even in a little situation that’s a little unique, the body still responds precisely and instantaneously.

The training that delivers instantaneous action is considered skill and talent in the physical body of an athlete. But, in an individual’s energetic and emotional body, it is viewed as a sign of clumsiness, inexperience, ignorance, and even incompetence.

Now, over time, what you practice in your energetic channel will manifest on the physical body. Even though one of the roles of the bladder channel is to eliminate waste, when you have too much waste, the channel starts to get littered with it, and slowly the litter wins. The rigidness reacting to situations and the inability to see a position in a different light will begin to litter the bladder channel and bring that type of rigidness to the neck and back muscles.

And stress has a role in the neck and shoulders. Yet, if you dig into your stress, and target what set this whole thing in motion, you may find your knee-jerk response to the world instead.

And that energetic response, which hasn’t changed, is why the tightness comes back into the back muscles after getting a great acupuncture treatment or great massage or great whatever. It comes back because you are still doing everything you needed to do to create it in the first place.

So, what can you do about this because you are trying to address your energetic body. Energy medicine like acupuncture, herbal therapy, reiki, pranic healing, gurus, etc address this level. But let’s say that is not what you want to do. You want to do some work on your own. Well then, the best medicine I’ve found is the forgiveness meditation from Grandmaster Choa Kuk Sui. You can find the meditation on the internet. Grandmaster Choa Kuk Sui has many practitioners. So, you will find different people who will show you how to complete this meditation. It only takes a few minutes, and to get the best results do it every day. It took practice to get here. It will take practice to leave here.

Good-luck on your most amazing adventure. And if you want to look at how to address the physical symptoms of pain, check out the episode, “Honest Review 3 Great Supplements that Really Work on Back Pain

Easter 2021 Your New Beginnings, How to Identify if You Are Pushing Yourself too Hard and Fix It

Easter 2021, wow a great time to focus on new beginnings. For myself and many of my clients, last year presented the opportunity to focus on health and wellness. The other thing that had a big focus was distractions. Staying busy to stay distracted. If you found yourself in one or both of these camps, a big driver was just how overwhelming the world had become. That kind of pressure can push you in ways that could harm your health. And any decision you make can be challenging to identify if the decision is in your best interest. So, here are some thoughts on why you may be pushing yourself too hard today, a great cheat sheet to identify when you push yourself too hard, and how to fix it to ensure you are building your health and wellness.

The big thing that happened last year was the pandemic. The pandemic may have allowed you to take the time to get back in shape. What else were you going to do? Streaming television hadn’t released a new movie in over a year. You blew threw everything on Netflix, Hulu, Showtime, HBO, etc., etc. somewhere in the first four months of the shutdown. Restaurants, theatres, and other halls of the festive gatherings were closed. Pretty much it was you and your home. 

So, off to the fitness races, many people went, including me. I have an episode “Consciously Helping Your Heart Stay Healthy (Ep. 2 of Heart Health)“, which talks about some of the fitness challenges you face over 50. 

It’s weird. Everything is fine, then you hit 50, and the world does a 180. It’s that vitality thing – the glass is half full or half empty. What is interesting about that analogy isn’t whether it’s half full or half empty. The interesting point is you are at the halfway point, and every step will either take you above half-full or below half-empty.

So, let’s make your steps take over the half-full mark.

You know life is so interesting. When you were younger, it was about figuring out what your body could do. Pushing yourself to your outer limits, challenging your previous goals, go-go-go. You may pick up that same frame of reference when you start getting fit. 

In Chinese Medicine, that is the exact right attitude in the Spring of your life. Spring, our teenage years and early twenties, is about reaching out, pushing for greater heights. 

Summer, on the other hand, is about enjoying your vitality and finishing your best growth. 

The Fall of your life is different. Here, the focus becomes more inward. This is the time for you to get to know yourself. Fall is filled with more patience, more soul searching, more acceptance. 

The flavor becomes different. You are no longer demanding your body push for peak performance as you did in Spring. Nor are you relaxing into all your strengths as you did in Summer. In the Fall, you are taking all your learnings and integrating everything. You and your body are learning to work together in a way you never had to in the past. 

In Classical Chinese Medicine, you come into this life with a curriculum. A curriculum is something you want to learn, improve on, release…something you want to do with this life. To complete the curriculum, the seasons are guideposts to what you need to learn at different stages. Most of Chinese Medicine is a guidepost on how you can best live your life.

And here is where I start to wonder about life and people and me. The energetics of Fall is so different from previous seasons. This is a season of integrating your mind and body. What happens if you fail to change your focus? Do you die? Not always. But failing to change course for the Fall season usually does harm your health.

O.k., so what’s the point. In Chinese Medicine, approaching the Fall of your life in the same manner as you did the Spring of your life means you will miss a meaningful part of being alive. You will miss one of your life lessons. 

When you approach Fall, like say, Spring, you are basically failing to adjust to your new reality which could mean you accidentally do more than your body can handle. And here’s the thing, you’re busy. You’ve been crushing it, working out, managing your eating, changing your life. All that energy one short year ago was distributed over so many noisy activities: parties, restaurants, work, movies, theatre, travel. Now, that energy is focused on you. With nothing else to do, the level of intensity you can focus on yourself is surprising. 

Couple that self-focus with the pressure of the world today, and you can push yourself past your limits without notice. That is why I like my episode on “Consciously Helping Your Heart Stay Healthy (Ep. 2 of Heart Health).” It talks about one of the most significant ways you may harm yourself by pushing too far. This type of effort can overtax the heart leading to some type of cardiovascular event. The episode goes into depth on what to think about when you’re working out. 

Cardiovascular events are more common over 50 and much more common when you push yourself too hard. It doesn’t just have to be working out. It can be working too hard or anything else that moves you too hard.

So, here you are in Fall, and I want you to complete this season successfully. So, I’m going to give you a cheat sheet. It’s my cheatsheet too. I am just as prone to slipping up in the Fall season as some of my clients. So, here it is:

  1. First, start to acknowledge your strengths. Strengths change as you age because you learn more about life. A couple strengths can be:
    1. You actually have a lot of patience. So much more than you did even a decade ago. 
    2. You have more flexibility today and can find resources to help you.
  2. Begin to use your strengths on yourself.
    1.  Allow yourself to be patient with yourself. The minute you feel yourself “pushing for more” (this comes in so many flavors), let go. So, if you’re saying each workout has to be THIS MUCH BETTER, you’re pushing yourself. You want to get better but think about non-linear goals. In my episode, “Lose the Impossible Weight in 5 Minutes a Day – Breaking up Phlegm,”, I start talking about goals that are not linear.
    2. You are finally at a point where you can focus on yourself in a way you never could earlier in life. You have the flexibility and the knowledge to find resources that can help you attain your goals. Take some time to figure out what you want to work on over the next six months to a year and find a professional who can safely help you attain your goals.
  3. Use technology
    1. In my “Gadgets to Help You Stay Healthy” playlist, you’ll find gadgets I use that can help you reach your targets, whether it’s weight loss, eating better, learning to relax, getting in better shape. 
  4. Realize you are important and act on it.
    1. I thought I was doing this, but I wasn’t. This is where you do things for yourself. And you know what? I’ve always found that I value something more if it was a bit of a stretch for me to get it. So here are two significant changes I made in my life around this item. First, I started investing in technology gadgets that could help me obtain or maintain my health because they could reduce time spent and improve health. Second, I started investing in other professionals who could help me get to my goals. You don’t have to be a one-person show, and when you start valuing yourself enough to invest in yourself, you’ll find your path there is much smoother and quicker.

O.k., so there it is, a simple four-step cheat sheet to help you identify when you are pushing yourself too hard and how to fix it by changing your mindset so you are in stride with the Fall season. Hopefully, this will help you stay healthier, happier, and active!

My Second COVID 19 Vaccine – the Health Improvements I Experienced

If you’ve watched my Youtube episode on my first Moderna shot, I mentioned that there were some weird positive things that happened with the first shot. But, I wanted to wait until after the second shot to verify it wasn’t a figment of my imagination.

Well, it’s been over a month since my second vaccine shot, and by now, you’ve probably heard about the positive side effects of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine. Well, for my clients who have been able to obtain one of these shots and me, it seems to be true.

Getting the vaccine is a personal decision. Yet, if you got sick over the last year and a half, you may want to assess if getting one of the mRNA vaccines might be an option for you. Most importantly, the Pfizer and Moderna are mRNA technologies. The Johnson and Johnson and the AstraZeneca vaccine are different technologies and use an adenovirus to transport the vaccine into the body. The positive effects I experienced with the mRNA vaccines may not be experienced with the adenovirus vaccines. In fact, there is no guarantee you’ll get any positive effects with any of the vaccines. But, here is my anecdotal story of how the Moderna mRNA vaccine impacted my life.

If you want to understand why I chose the mRNA over any of the other technologies, check out my Youtube “Genetically Engineering Vaccines to Fight COVID-19

So, I’m going to go over three things. First, did I have COVID last year, and did you have COVID? There wasn’t any testing available. Well, the second part talks about long-haulers. If you think you had COVID, long-haulers syndrome is a very real complication of COVID. Lastly, the impact of the vaccine on me. I’ve got each section labeled so you can pick any section.

DID I HAVE COVID LAST YEAR?

O.k., why do I say, “If you got sick over the last year and a half, you may want to consider getting the vaccine.” Well, because the flu hasn’t been around. The flu season from Oct 2020 to Jan 2021 has had 132 hospitalizations and 292 deaths. The 2019 flu season had 35 million people getting influenza. There were 404,646 hospitalizations and 21,909 deaths. So, if you ever wanted to know what you could do to reduce your chances of the flu, wash your hands and wear a mask.

So, if the flu hasn’t been around and you got sick, you got to wonder what it was? That was the question I was asking myself when my husband and I got so deathly sick beginning of last year – before the pandemic was called.

At that time, there wasn’t any testing available. And by the time the COVID antibody test became available, it was five months after I was sick. With the lack of available science, I resorted to logic to determine if I had COVID-19.

I know my immune system. I don’t get the flu unless there has been a mutation in the flu virus – not a drift. A drift is a minor change in the virus. A mutation is a significant change making it a different virus. This was the H1N1, and I already went through that party and wasn’t expecting to be sick. So, I can’t tell you the surprise I experienced when I did get sick. It made no sense, and I had a hard time believing it was just H1N1.

But that wasn’t enough. I needed more information. I watched that mutated strain of the U.K. COVID-19 virus. It took that virus three weeks to transmit to 22 U.S. states even though the U.S. had travel restrictions.

Well, the first documented case of COVID-19 was something like December 1, 2019. The first ban on travel from China came eight weeks later, on the last day of January 2020. So, it had a much easier time transmitting.

And, in the middle of December 2019 the second wave of the flu started hitting the U.S. It was a very virulent, highly contagious H1N1 strain that hung on for weeks or months and had people flat on their backs. Now, COVID-19 likes other coronaviruses and the flu is a coronavirus.

And I’ve always wondered about the death rates. Well, this is just a hypothesis that myself and some of my Western medical friends have been kicking around. It could be that COVID-19 is dose dependant. The larger the dose, the more virulent the virus. And population matters when it comes to dose. China commonly has large cities of over 11 million. Bejing has 20 million people. New York is our largest city with a population of 8 million. In these cities, the virus can quickly shoot out of control. In our more spacious regions, the virus can get out of control, it seems to take more effort.

O.k., based on all that, it may be reasonable to assume if you got sick last year, it was COVID.

LONG-HAULERS

Wow, all the stories on long-haulers, right? Creepy, yet distant from you. Long haulers have debilitating, lasting effects of COVID that seem to be progressive and can end in death. It’s like it turns on an aging switch consuming your resources until you pass away. If your normal life expectancy is 80 years, COVID will help shave off 10 to 20 years.

The focus on long-haulers has been on those who have debilitating symptoms, and it started with those who had post COVID heart issues and died months later from some significant heart event. But, what if long-haulers is for everyone? My clients, including myself, have mentioned that they never got back to their pre-illness health.

My husband and I were on Chinese formulas for eight months. Our immune system was weak. Something out of thin air would attack us. It always felt like allergies where the sinuses would plug up, the head would feel heavy, and we felt tired. Overall, we would get tired easier. Our digestive issues became much worse. The body aches increased and begin to seem unmanageable.

My clients, my friends, and my colleagues, all were saying the same thing. No one had returned to their peak, pre-illness, health, and everyone was feeling just a little off or a little tired or a little something. And it had a progressive nature to it. Given more time, it would get worse.

I got the COVID testing. I got the antibody test, and everything came back negative. Yet, something didn’t seem right…

This was when I started to hypothesize that many people received some form of long-haulers.

THE VACCINE

So, with that background, my husband and I rumbled on down to the nearest vaccine administration site that would let us get the vaccine and got our shots.

The day I was headed down to get my first vaccine my body aches were going into overdrive. I could feel knots in my back forming. Getting the shot was easy, and I just remember the indifference of the person administering my shot. It wasn’t like she was for or against the shot. I knew she got the shot. But she had an interesting detachment to whether or not I got the shot.

In a universe that currently has an opinion on everything, I found her response interesting and unexpected.

Well, a half-hour later, I was all shot up and on my way home. I had been noticing since about 15 minutes after the administration of that shot my body aches were reducing. In the car, I turned and looked at my husband and said, “You know, all those body aches and knots I had coming down here…they are reducing.” I could actually palpate the knots and felt they had reduced by about half. My husband’s comment was, “Makes you wonder what you had.”

Sure does…

Over the next week, my body aches subsided and disappeared. That was weird because I had the aging and personal sports abuse body aches. My feet were a problem due to decades of riding Dressage and Jumping. I hadn’t been able to run for years. But, I could now.

My stomach problems reduced significantly and I took that opportunity to wander over to my favorite fast food joint…that I hadn’t visited in three years because of my stomach pains…and get a burger and fries. I could eat more crap again. I started sleeping again and wasn’t so wiped out and fatigued.

Of course, I wasn’t going to skip the second shot. The first shot was such a surprising shot of vitality both my husband and I raced to our second shot. The second shot reaffirmed the first shot. It wasn’t near as amazing because I wasn’t near as messed up.

O.k., in Chinese Medicine, if you have a physical change, you have to have an emotional or mental change, and I did. It wasn’t even a subtle change. It was just a change. I saw things differently. The world became less black and white and more shades of grey.

Remember the health care worker who administered my first shot? I was interested in her expression. I was interested in her indifference to whether I got the shot or not. I think that is part of the shades of grey because I feel her indifference. This shot really worked for me, but I don’t really have a buy-in to whether you get the shot or not. I think that indifference is why it’s taken me so long to even talk about my second experience with the mRNA vaccines. I wouldn’t have talked about it at all except in my episode, “My First Covid Shot,” I promised to talk about it.

So, there it is – my second COVID vaccine. What a wild ride! Good-luck to you and your decisions.

“I’m Not Done,” Tucker 21

I have this handsome orange kitty named Tucker. He’s 21 years old. You know, in Chinese Medicine, they talk about the Fall of your life where you get to reap the rewards of the life you lived. I was watching Tucker the other day, sleeping in the window. He was passed out and very content. This was his life, and he was finally letting himself enjoy the Fall of his life.

I bring this up because it hasn’t been easy getting to 21. Tucker has cashed in on his nine lives. It started when he was 18 years old, and he started losing weight. Then he refused to eat, became constipated, and I just thought everything was done. As humans, we hear this from our doctor’s enough, “Oh, you’re getting older. These things happen.”

I have clients who refuse to go to their doctor because their doctor will tell them. “Oh, you know, you get knee pain when you’re older. Don’t be so active.” “You’re getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Yes, that is what happens when you get older.”

You know, in Chinese Medicine, these are not normal signs of aging. Because I’m talking about Tucker, if you want to get more input on how Chinese Medicine sees aging, check out my blog:

Anyways, that was what I was telling Tucker. Then my husband told me I had to do something because Tucker’s constipation was so bad. O.k., it’s always a little tricky figuring out what to do with animals because they don’t talk to you. They just look uncomfortable.

I looked at everything and thought about IBS and constipation and was able to pull something out of Chinese Medicine. The neat thing about animals is they respond so much faster than we do. It’s like they have these bodies that lack all the toxicity we are carrying around.

Sure enough, within one day, he responded and was feeling better. This meant that since I was treating him for IBS, he was sensitive to his food. I spent the next month testing out different foods to see which ones he could eat. Over the last couple of years, every once in a while, something would happen, and Tucker would look like he would pass, and my husband would ask me to do something, and I would.

The thing is, you can’t believe how stressful that is. I mean, I really feel obligated to fix Tucker. So, you know, I try something, and I obsess over it and micro-manage his responses and change things up based on what happened. It’s exhausting.

Well, last month his partner of 19 years, Monkey, finally called it quits. Monkey, another boy cat, was done. We wrapped him in a blanket and took him to the vet. Tucker followed us to the door as we left with his companion.

Monkey just laid with me. We stayed with Monkey, holding him and talking to him until he was long gone. Then we came home without Monkey. Tucker was at the door looking for Monkey. I think Tucker thought we would always be able to save them. But, you know that just isn’t real, and Tucker fell into a depression.

My husband and I were giving Tucker extra attention, and it was o.k., but losing Monkey seemed to have changed his desire to live. He slowed down on his eating. And then one day he didn’t eat. He was losing weight and looking haggard. My husband and I talked through this. I didn’t believe I could do anything this time because I couldn’t fix a broken heart.

The second day of not eating came and went. Memories of my mother stopping her eating came to mind. She decided she was done with life, and she stopped eating. I think I learned that, in the end, all the medicine in the world could help, but there is going to come a time when it will only be up to you to decide if you are going to live.

Tucker had made his decision, and my husband and I decided we could honor his wishes and take him to the vet. So, we bundled up the exhausted, emaciated companion of 21 years and headed to the car. I sat down in the car the closed the car door, swaddling Tucker in a soft blanket.

All of a sudden, Tucker woke up. This poor little cat who had been listless and lacking any interest in food woke up, started meowing and fighting to get out of the blanket. Clearly saying, “No.”

Back into the house, we went. I put him down, and he immediately demanded food and started eating. Afterward, he wandered back into the bedroom, jumped on the bed, found his favorite spot, laid down, and fell asleep, completely content.

Tucker decided he wasn’t done. Sure, he was 21, but he wasn’t throwing in the towel. The Fall of life can be the most rewarding and relaxing as you watch everything you’ve done in your life bloom. And that is where I found him that day passed out in front of the window basking in the sunlight, finally letting himself enjoy the life he has and has lived.