Some many years ago, some “stuff” started to decide I was a nice place to colonize. Over the years, I’ve accumulated many “spots”. Most recently, “something” decided to make small lesions that were prone to sometimes bleeding. I had 2 in the scalp and a couple on my back and shoulder. All were located just where the fingers landed when the arm was wrapped around to scratch there…
Clearly, over the years, “crap” under the fingernails had been scratched into the skin, and found a place to live.
Some, like the ones in the scalp, had M.D.s look at them. Some, like some 30+ year old spots on the leg (4, right in the pattern where the finger tips would land…) were more likely fungal (but who knows…) At one time I’d had some reason to think some of these spots were protozoan.
In a prior posting I’d mentioned that one of my bunnies had likely “saved my life”. I’d thought the scalp spots were protozoan. One of my bunnies had been diagnosed with E. Cuniculi and then I had some rashy spots and some lesions show up. I treated them with some antimicrobials, and thought it was gone, but… something still wasn’t right. I “peed on a plant” and waited. E. Cuniculi makes spores. Animals that consume the spores get infected. The bunny picked up the spores. Inside a couple of days, he had symptoms. Took him to the vet, he was diagnosed, and I did a load of treatment in a hurry (on him, and on me) and wrote up the treatment that worked to recover him as a posting here.
Why use the bunny as a lab test? Because when I went to my doctor and asked for an E. Cuniculi test, I was told “My lab can’t provide it. If I can’t test for it, you don’t have it.” Yes, that what was said.
Well, long story short, I treated me for E. Cuniculi just as I treated the bunny. He recovered, and the rash on my arm (where I’d been scratched by a bunny with E. Cuniculi… diagnosed and treated by the vet some years before…) resolved. That is how I’m fairly sure the bunny saved my life. At a minimum, it saved my quality of life. I did need to dig up some vet meds (including Ivermectin “drench” and some others) and self medicate; but hey, you do what you must. So time passed, and both the bunny and I were doing fine.
At this point I’m fairly certain that I completely eliminated the E. Cuniculi from both me, and from the bunnies.
Yet the scalp spots / lesions remained…
Over the years I’d worried that maybe I’d not fully eradicated the E. Cuniculi. As it is a spore former, it’s sometimes a bit hard to be sure. So I had gone to the doctor several times and gotten the “it is likely bacterial” diagnosis. Yet it didn’t resolve with several anti-bacterials.
OK, that was a few years ago. I’d tried a very very long list of things. Even silver skin creams (that reduced but didn’t eliminate the lesions).
We’re talking about a decade+ of things being tried ( likely closer to 2 decades…)
So I was completely unprepared for something so simple to work so well.
The “regime” is to use “Q Tips” or similar cotton tipped swaps to dab methanol onto the spots. The local concentration goes “way high”, and shit dies. As it soaks into the skin, a toxin starts to circulate in the blood, but the level is way low on a ‘whole body’ dose so it tends to do no harm. Realize that wiping this over a large skin area for a long period of time, you can absorb enough to be damaging. So only small spots, treated at any one time, to avoid a high body dose. I did “one treatment a day” for about a a week.
If you do get too large a dose, aspirin helps prevent liver damage (from alcohol or tylenol) and consuming plain booze blocks methanol damage. (The treatment for methanol overdose is to be very drunk on ethanol to block up the metabolic pathway that turns methanol to toxins that blow out your liver). But it is far better to stay way from that dose level in the first place.
At this point I’ve cleared up several “bleeding prone spots” on my back and shoulders, and the scalp spots are likely devoid of infective agent and healing (but I can’t see them to be sure as it’s the back of the head). The spots on the leg (of 20+ year duration) no longer have a ‘strange surface’, and instead look like very thin skin areas. As though the infected parts died and fell off, leaving a very thin and recovering skin area under them. Overall, my skin is better than it has been in decades.
All from a dab of methanol once a day for “a while”. ( a couple of weeks now for some spots, closer to a couple of days for others. Many spots on an irregular schedule…)
It is still possible that some “spots” might not be completely fixed. For several, it’s as though the infective agent is dead, but the damage not yet healed. That could easily also be that the infective agent has formed spores and will return in a month when things are better. As this has been such a long “slog”, I’ll likely continue to treat those areas on a ‘once a few days’ basis for some long time to come. We’ll see. Experimental treatment protocols are largely guesswork anyway.
For me, just the fact that so many different “spots” of very different form are all healing leads me to think that this is a treatment with some general purpose utility. It’s also a great satisfaction to have smooth skin again in places that had been prone to bumps, itches, rashes, lesions, and sporadic small scabs / bleeding (a half dozen to dozen pin head sized spots. Biggest about the size of the letter “l” here…) that would not heal for years on end, or would slowly migrate over a few inches of skin.
Frankly, this whole process has caused me to have a great distrust of “modern medicine”. I’ve gone to a half dozen doctors over the years. Largely been “blown off”. Either due to it not being interesting enough. (I.e. the spots on the back looking like a tiny pimple scab (here’s your salve…) or the scalp spots being called “self scoriation” (here’s your salve…) or the G.P. saying it’s not possible to get E. Cuniculi if you are not imuno-compromised ( “I can’t test for it so you can’t have it”…) At the end of it all, I’d largely just decided to “live with it”. But being the incredibly persistent sort, kept ‘fiddling’ with it. From silver salves ( that did work to slow it but not cure… yes, I’d thought maybe argyria might be worth it if the lower skin layer levels of silver got high enough to cure “it”) to peeing on a plant and then letting the bunny eat it the next day.
In the end, I have done a protozoal “clearing” treatment that got some of the rashy bits gone (and in the long run may have saved me from far worse) and I’ve found a way to kill off a variety of “things” making a home as spots on the skin.
At this point, only a couple of minor 1 mm warts are left to deal with, and the regrowth of normal skin cells into places where “spots” were living for a few decades and have thinned the normal skin under them. I no longer have the ‘little bleeding spots’ marking sheets from time to time. I no longer have the “strange brown rough spots” in a finger tip pattern on one leg. The scalp spots seem to be “cured” in that they don’t bleed or leak or itch anymore, but still feel a bit like a divot. I think this is just a depression where infected cells died, and that needs to slowly heal / fill in, with normal cells. And the red arm rash is entirely gone (as of the anti-protozoan treatment when the bunny was cured).
All in all, for the first time in about 30 to 40 years, it looks like I’ve cured the various skin spots.
Why skin spots?
Why did I accumulate such a collection of things in the first place? Well, first off, after 60 years “stuff accumulates”. Secondly, many of those years were spent in rather un-hygenic places. Stagnant swimming holes under train trestles draining cow pastures. Mud wallows along various waterways and near fields of cattle. Several oceans and some large variety of farm dirt in several states. Lots of exposure to various animals (from a lot of farm animals to helping a friend at a zoo) and more. A rabbit bought at a county fair that came home and promptly displayed E. Cuniculi symptoms (before I knew what it was…) and a run to the vet. But after it peed on me and scratched it in with toe nails. Direct wet / blood exposure to known source of E. Cuniculi. (The spores form in urine). A friend who went to tropical South America and came back with a red rash looking like a protozoal skin disease (and a handshake or two to “share” it…)
In short, I’ve been exposed to a lot of “shit” and some real shit over the years.
So the bottom line is that while I used a ‘cocktail’ of anti-prozoan medicines to cure the E. Cuniculi in the bunny (and in me), and some anti-fungals to knock down some athlete’s foot and related fungal spots: It is the “discovery” that methanol as spot treatment kills off the surviving spots that is “novel”.
There are a lot of things that want to eat you. Some don’t want to wait for you do die first. Some spread into the volume of your being, where the immune system can kill many of them, but where specialized drugs may be needed for things like protozoans. Others can’t get past the immune system, so can only hang on as a patch of distorted ‘dead’ skin. For some of them, methanol can kill the bugs while not doing damage to you.
All in all, I’d much rather have had “modern medicine” give a damn enough to deal with some “minor cosmetic spots” and maybe actually listen to the patient and believe that maybe, just maybe “self scoriation” was not the reason there was a scalp lesion that persisted for nearly a decade. Oh Well… When they can’t or won’t do the job, it is up to you to do for yourself.
For me, after a couple of decades of “trying stuff”, to find that methanol was very effective was quite a surprise. Then again, that’s the nature of science. You try a thousand failed paths to find the one with promise.
Still, I can’t quite shake the notion that if Gentian Violet or Mercurochrome were still available at the local pharmacy, this might all have been resolved with a dab of those colorful medicines; and no need for inventing some alternatives. Just as such spots were eliminated 50 years ago with those agents, when I was a kid. Oh Well.
So it looks to me like there is a place for a toxic “smear” as a skin spot cure. Methanol seems to fit that bill (even as the old cures are eliminated from sale). If methanol is someday similarly banned, well, “chemistry is your friend” and I’m sure other toxins can be found.
For me, I’m just “way happy” that the spots are leaving. Some of these have been with me for many many years to decades. Being “unrelenting” in trying “stuff” has it’s advantages I guess. Some “spot treatments” have seemed to work for a while, then the spots adjusts and returns. So far there is no evidence of that. We’ll see. But for now it’s “all good”.
Please forgive the slow rate of new postings / comments. I’ve got a new job, found a new place to live, and for the last two weeks the spouse has come out. So there has been a large amount of time consumed over “dinners with the spouse” and various “let’s look at houses” along with “let’s go to the parks” and generally being tour guide.
The good news is that I have a “place” at least until November. The spouse goes home in about 2 days. Hopefully I’ll have more time then to actually catch up here and post the things about which I’ve taken many notes. I’m mostly “up to speed” at the new job and all in all I’m finally getting “settled”.
Not only that, but now I’m getting nice smooth skin too! ;-)
I expect things to get back to normal in “a while”, so hang in there. And if you have any “mystery spots” on your skin that the good M.D. can’t, or won’t, cure; well, consider having a DIY treatment regimen and working out what treatment has promise. It might be a tincture of Iodine, some bleach, or maybe even just a salt bath. Or it might be more. Methanol dabs, Ivermectin, who knows.
The bottom line is that there is always hope. Even for me. Even after giving up hope of a ‘spot cure’ some decade or two back. Just keep plugging along, even if thinking it unlikely to lead anywhere. Sometimes it works out after all.