Survival Training – How I beat Rat Lungworm

I went to see the neurologist at the VA Hospital in Lebanon a week and some change ago to see how I fared in the battle against rat lungworm.

It was quite the experience.

First of all, she was the FIRST person in my history at the VA that actually thoroughly read my file and knew EXACTLY what she was talking about from the beginning.  She knew more than I did, as a matter of fact, since the time I spent in the hospital was so touch and go for the first two weeks.

Her first words to me?

“You.Are.A.Miracle…I mean…I read your file! I can’t believe….I mean… you’re standing in front of me! I can’t…you’re a miracle. I mean…really. I read your file! Rat lungworm! A miracle. You are here for some divine reason…”

It went beyond that. Way beyond that.

She explained to me that when they took my first Lumbar Puncture (I mentioned it here), not only was there gnarly puss in my csf but the parasites had eaten so much of my glucose that my levels were dangerously low.

Well. Below dangerously low.

I shouldn’t have been alive, and definitely not without major lasting handicaps.

Not walking.

Not dancing.

Definitely not jumping.

She was astounded.

She explained to me the way the brain functions on glucose, but can have the ability to switch to Ketones if the levels are too low.  This generally takes time and most everyone in my position at my age would have already been comatose by the time I was finally admitted to the hospital.

(If you’re completely lost, catch up HERE)

She also explained to me why I wasn’t.

Apparently, when you push your body to its limits, deplete it of everything, you can train your brain inadvertently to switch faster to Ketone consumption.

…Hmmmmm… over 10 marathons, two 50 mile races, umpteen shorter races (1/2 marathons, 10 milers, 10ks, 5ks), not to mention the training for those races, a month long survival school consuming less than 700 calories daily while covering double digit miles everyday, 4 days no food covering 18-30 miles daily, many, many multiple day treks with minimal food… 5-10 day missions climbing mountains in Afghanistan…Hmmmmm…

It helped that fun has always equalled movement in my life.

I was drawn to cross-country, distance events, and pole vault as a kid because of their difficulty. My body wanted to quit, but I wasn’t ready for it to…so I worked harder and harder until it didn’t beg to quit anymore.

I was always drawn to the hardest option, the one that would tax my body the most. There’s a certain elation I’ve always felt; a euphoria that comes hand in hand with making my body work.

It turns out, that innate instinct I followed without question (though others questioned my sanity often), was simply training.

aurita - maldonado half dome

It was all training for defeating these parasites and allowing me to reach 30.

Simply stated….

It was all survival training.

Do what you love, unabashedly, and for you. Who knows, it might just save your life someday!



Related stories:

Parasite attack!

Parasite attack PTII

Parasite attack PTIII

Defying Death to Dance

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6 Responses to Survival Training – How I beat Rat Lungworm

  1. Susan Schlatter April 27, 2013 at 11:07 PM #

    You make watching Survivor seem like Sesame Street! You are our hero and we love you. Keep movin kid, south and westerly to the mountains would be wonderful! We want to show you off to all our friends we told about you!
    love ya,
    s and b

    • Hurricane Rita April 28, 2013 at 5:44 PM #

      I’m cross checking schedules for May to come visit!!! It might only be for about a week…the first time. 😀

  2. diane persons April 26, 2017 at 2:08 PM #

    Rita,I wrote you before.I met you on an old yellow school bus on the way to river raft in Alaska,you set back wards on the front seat facing all of us and told us a little about yourself.When I got off the bus i told you that you should write a book,and this was long before the Ratlung disease.You were one of the most interesting people that I had ever met,and you weren’t even 30. I sent you a bunch of pictures from that day.

    Truly wish you only the best,take care,Diane

    P.S.Wheres that book?????????


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