Running the numbers (March 2009)

I expect this will become an (approximately) monthly post as long as I am still in treatment. I have entered another month’s worth of numbers into my stats program and analyzed them. This month is of note because I switched meds half way through –Penicillin was begun March 13th. At that time, Zithromax, Mepron, and Ceftin were stopped. I also lost 12 lbs sometime between when I last weighed myself (maybe over christmas?) and now, probably due in part to Ceftin causing me to have about 4 bowel movements a day.

The news continues to be good. The charts below illustrate the change in various symptoms from last month to this (click on them to see close ups)

Before looking at these charts, it is important to take note of the scale. In all cases, the maximum is 2. So stuff that’s shifting from 0.2 to 0.4 is a really small change even if it looks big because everything’s scoring low on a certain set of symptoms. Next month I will remember to set them all to be on the same scale (basically 0-2) so the small scale stuff *looks* smaller scale than the large scale stuff. Below the charts is a more detailed interpretation of them. But the summary is that things are improving.

The scale used for symptoms was: not present; mild (1); strong. (2). Comparing this month (March) to February:

  • Total symptoms: 4% decrease in strength (sum of ratings of all symptoms per day); 20% decrease in variety (number of different  symptoms per day)
  • Fatigue related symptoms: strength increased 27% (1.5 => 1.9), variety stayed the same. Napping and “fatigue” (heaviness in limbs; head; etc) main complaints.
  • Cognitive symptoms: strength decreased 60%; variety decreased 80%. Only difficulty reading remains as a factor.
  • Immune: 20% increase in strength; variety stayed the same. Biggest change is lots of sweats.
  • Nervous system: 78% increase in strength; 57% increase in variety. Biggest complaint is constant ear buzzing.
  • Dizziness: 43% decrease.
  • Pain: 42% decrease in strength; 48% decrease in variety. Headaches biggest remaining problem; they are improving
  • Wellbeing (subjective self-measured on a 5 point scale): 18% improvement

I also ran regression tests (these look at my progress since august). The interesting thing here is whether the trend is going up or down since August, and how this changed from the regression tests run last month (which shows how big an impact the changes that happened this month are having on my overall progress). For example, in February dizziness had not changed enough to show a trend when considered over the entire period since August. However after March, dizziness had gone down enough to affect the overall picture, with a significant trend downwards. Here in summary are the results of that analysis:

  • Regression tests show a linear increase in number of immune symptoms; their strength fits a curve (hi/lo/hi). Last month the strength was trending down overall, this is no longer the case
  • Significant decrease in strength of nerve symptoms (but no change in variety). Same as last month
  • A significant decrease in dizziness. Last month there was no change, now the trend is downward
  • HIGHLY significant decrease in strength of cognitive symptoms (No change in variety). Same as last month
  • HIGHLY significant decrease in variety AND strength of pain symptoms. Same as last month
  • No change in fatigue symptoms (but their strength curves hi/lo/hi again). Last month they improved. Now in strength they are going up slightly

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