My love/hate relationship with Peptides as a treatment for COVID Long Haul...
Over the last few month’s, I’ve been on a functional medicine journey to heal my chronic SIBO and COVID Long Haul. I met with Dr. Matthew Cook from BioReset Medical and he put me on a treatment plan that was different than anything I had tried before. Did it work? Am I finally rid of my chronic SIBO and COVID Long Haul symptoms? Read on to find out…
The course of treatment was over several months and it was not cheap. Initially, I paid just under $5,000 for all the testing and medications. Then, for the following three months I paid between $800-$1,000 for additional peptides. If you want to learn more about my treatment course, click here.
Let’s talk SIBO first. I took several herbal supplements, did a lot of strange juice shots and finished out my treatment with a combination of Neomycin and Xifaxan. Two weeks after my last dose of antibiotics I can tell you my chronic SIBO is not gone. In fact, I think it might even be worse. I have a breath test scheduled for April 19th to determine what my methane numbers are but I expect them to be high.
So, what does this mean? Other than being super disappointed, it tells me I have yet to find the root cause. SIBO itself is a product of something else gone wrong within your body. If you can’t find and treat the underlying cause, the bugs never go away. So….back to the drawing board on this one.
Now, let’s talk COVID Long Haul. As you may recall, I was diagnosed with COVID on April 1st 2020. It’s been over a year later and I still struggle with symptoms ranging from fatigue, chest tightness, cough, stuffy nose, numbness and tingling in my hands and feet, arthritis-like aches in my fingers, and most recently swollen lymph nodes in my neck. I’ve had a ridiculous number of tests and seen more doctors than I can count, but still have zero answers. Here’s my non-medical opinion based on all my research and first-hand experience: inflammation is driving all my symptoms. For some reason my immune system got all out of whack thanks to COVID-19 and when any stress is applied it automatically induces inflammation. It’s the only explanation I have for the chronic symptoms.
The main course of treatment prescribed for COVID Long Haul were three peptides, Thymosin Alpha 1, Thymosin Beta 4 and MoT-C. These peptides have two functions; to regulate the immune system and to increase energy. To learn more about peptides, you can check out my previous blog here.
Over the past three month’s I developed a love/hate relationship with peptides. I love them because they act like little miracle workers. When I’m taking them, I feel 99% normal. The majority of my symptoms literally disappear, and I get a glimpse into what my life used to be like, pre-COVID. It was amazing and gave me hope. I remember going for a walk/run (my first in months) and waking up with some tightness in my chest and swelling in my feet. I injected the peptides and within 15 minutes all my symptoms disappeared.
In February I spent an entire week sledding and playing with my kids, and literally had no issues whereas before I would have spent at least half the vacation in bed recovering from fatigue.
But peptides aren’t all good news. I hate peptides because they are ridiculously expensive and not covered by insurance. Also, within 48 hours of stopping the peptides, my symptoms returned, accompanied by a “relapse” which basically means I felt pretty rotten for a few days.
So, what did I learn? Peptides are a band-aid solution to COVID Long Haul. It is possible if I were on them long enough that my symptoms may disappear altogether but unless my husband digs up $1,000,000 buried in our basement, then it’s just not affordable to continue to pay $1,000 per month without an end in sight. And I don’t know too many other people who could afford to pay that consistently either.
So, would I go through it all again? Maybe. I’m grateful that I found some relief from my COVID Long Haul symptoms and I learned a TON through the course of my journey, but I’m frustrated to be at yet another dead end. I spent a few days wallowing in self-pity and then picked myself up, went back to the computer and began researching again. My mind is still open to the idea of functional medicine, but I won’t be shelling out $5,000 for treatment again unless it’s guaranteed to provide long term solutions to my problems.
If you are thinking about trying functional medicine here is my advice. Find a doctor who is 100% transparent about the cost of the treatment and any follow-up treatment. Do your research. Talk to other people who have used that provider. Make sure they are in it for the right reasons – to help patients, not to just make money.
So, what’s next? Am I giving up? No way in hell. I 100% believe that someday I will find a cure for both my chronic SIBO and my COVID Long Haul…it just may take a little more time. If you are on a similar journey, I urge you to keep fighting. Don't give up on yourself, because nobody should have to live with this.
XOXO Carri E.