By Steve Matson, UK
Being a guy and having been sent a letter from my doctor years ago, enquiring if I was still alive because they had not seen me for 15 years, speaks volumes with regard to my previous aversion to medical care. My journey of becoming a vampire and becoming allergic to the sun progressed for two years before I made an appointment to ask a doctor what was happening.
I enrolled in a year-long course when I was in my early 50s to learn Kinesiology, a healing modality. Midway through the course I started developing small painful blisters on the back of both of my hands. They were not too dissimilar to a Fire Ant bite or a welding splatter of small molten metal, when it hits unprotected skin. But, they took a long time to heal and were a bit unsightly. I dropped out of the course, for I felt it was based too much in the head and not enough in the body, and my hands were now not that appealing to look at or touch anyone.
‘Fragility of skin’ is an interesting expression, unless it refers to your own skin when exposed to sunlight and then it’s not so interesting. It means, that any skin exposed to the sun breaks down and becomes a scab. If bumped or scratched, the top layer of skin would peel off and cause exudate, which is essentially blood from which the blood cells have been filtered out, leaving a clear fluid to fill the area. You look like a zombie movie extra!
When my skin condition could no longer be ignored and I was having to wear white cotton gloves (like Michael Jackson but without the talent) to bed to protect the sheets and pillow cases, I went to the Doctor and was prescribed some topical cream which was identical in ingredients to what I had sourced myself, and which had no effect.
I waited till the locum doctor was next scheduled and made an appointment with him for a second opinion. He was not sure what I had but knew someone who would. A month later, I received a letter for an appointment to see a top Dermatologist in 4 months’ time.
Time passes and I attend the appointment. I am told I would need blood tests to confirm her diagnosis of PCT (porphyria cutanea tarda). I was asked if I drank alcohol, to which I replied yes. The doctor told me that PCT could be caused by drinking alcohol so I was told to stop drinking for six months, wear long sleeved shirts and put lots of SPF 50 sun cream on anything exposed to the sun and then come back in six months’ time.
The layman’s definition for PCT is that there is an enzyme in the liver that controls the amount of iron in our blood, and that enzyme was not working in my liver. A normal amount of iron in our body is generally defined as 13.5 to 17.5 grams (g) of haemoglobin per decilitre, and my count was almost 2000g. Strange fun fact, under UV light if you have PCT your urine is red.
There is a short list of causes for PCT:
- Side effect of HRT treatment in women
- Petroleum Hydrocarbon by-products (solvent poisoning)
The six months passed and from the onset of this problem it had now been two years since the first lesion appeared. I was developing small scars on the backs of my hands and arms, around my hair line, neck and face; any area in fact that was exposed to the sun. By this point being in the sun was physically painful and I looked like a Biblical leper.
During this period we had gone camping in the Lake District and did a lot of hill walking/climbing, or do they call them mountains with rockpaths? Even though I did my best to protect myself from the sun, my arms and hands became swollen from oedema. My body was not a happy camper!
The next appointment came around to see the doctor. I was asked if I had abstained from drinking and I replied yes, for the entire period. She then asked if I had noticed any difference. I replied: Yes, I had saved a shed full of money for not drinking but the skin thing was still the same.
I was given a prescription of Quinine in a very small amount of half a 5mg pill once a week and told to come back in two months. No change occurred with this treatment either.
I was then sent to a Professor of Haematology that does research on PCT in regards to genetic links and was always looking for test candidates. The tests came back negative for what he was looking for and two more months had passed and still no treatment.
By now it had been two and half years, the tops of both hands now had very little elasticity due to the scarring and I was getting desperate for anything that would offer me relief. I jokingly said to the doctor, because the problem is too much iron in the blood, can’t you just do some old time bloodletting? It turns out that was the last option but has a modern name. Therapeutic phlebotomy refers to the drawing of a unit of blood in specific cases like haemochromatosis, polycythaemia vera, porphyria cutanea tarda, etc., to reduce the number of red blood cells.
The treatment resulted in me having a pint of blood drawn every other week and the weeks in between having blood tests to monitor the iron levels and this went on for three months. I drank a lot of sports drinks, high in glucose to keep my blood sugar up during this period. The head doctor had told me the exercise was to get me as close to being anaemic as possible.
My last blood extraction was not going to happen because my doctor was not there and the locum said I was near the lower safe level. I was adamant that after almost 3 years I wanted it finished, so the locum had to get a senior doctor to confirm I had no history of heart problems and inform me of the risks of becoming anaemic. They took the blood. Like a car when the tank is in the red and the light is flashing, my body let me know what it is like to try and run the body on low iron. It took almost four months to get my iron levels back to normal. I have been a regular blood donor for years and have now been donating platelets for the past few years … just in case. I can now empathise with people who have suffered anaemia, it really kicks your behind and zaps your energy to do everything!
After eliminating all the other causes for this dis-ease it came down to this; it was caused by disregard to myself. I had spent most of this life fully engaged in trashing my body with excess in everything. I had accidentally poisoned myself with a chemical solvent, trying to clean expanding foam off my hands. This was a one-off exposure, but I still remember how fast the solvent evaporated from my skin, so that it required repeated applications to clean my hands. But, it was not evaporating as much as it was being absorbed by the skin, Doh! The can clearly stated on the warning label that gloves should be worn, not to have contact with bare skin and to only use the solvent in well ventilated areas.
My life before Universal Medicine was one that was lived not so much in the fast lane but the laid-back autopilot on cruise control lifestyle. I had tried many times to compete in the Darwin Awards that is given for thinning out the gene pool but could only manage to come in second place.
I have been told by people that know me, that I should write a book on my exploits titled ‘And I’m still alive’! I have first-hand experience of what small and big things can do to your body and the dire consequences. The scars on my body are a map of this journey.
I have spent the last 15 years with the support of Universal Medicine modalities and treatments unravelling the disregard I have lived and now have regular check-ups with the doctor to support my physical health.
I have found out first hand, what happens when we disregard what our body is constantly telling us, even about the small things we do, and the dire consequences and manifestations that can unfold. Now, I am no longer a vampire, but embrace the warmth of the sun, as I embrace the warmth I have reconnected to in me.