New after a year Low-dose Naltrexone

Baby coffee plant with around a dozen leaves in a blue and white ceramic pot


but the reality is different: and I have a temporary good excuse.

BTW, WordPress is giving me a hard time here, but the photo above is a picture of one of the coffee bean plants I’ve managed to keep alive since they were given to us by one of our new neighbors (as babies). I guess you could call them toddlers now.

I’ve named them Castor and Pollox. One of these days I will figure out which is which, but they came out of the two halves of a single coffee bean, so they will always be twins.

Our new place faces north (we picked it that way so I can sit by the window every day), but there is an indentation, and there is a window ledge which gets sun in the morning. The plants have been much happier (How does a plant display ‘happy’? It grows.) since they get some morning sun, even though coffee plants grow best in shade.

They get the same treatment my houseplants did in New Jersey: if they live, I water them once a week or so, and they are allowed to continue living.

This is true of the twig that came with a flower arrangement a while back – because it had perky green leaves, I continued to water it, and I think it’s still alive, probably with some rooting going on in the block of florist foam that holds it. One of these days I’ll plant it. If it’s still with us.

Something has changed since the move.

There are a lot more people here, and trying for a minimalist experience – having dinner several times a week with new friends, is challenging for someone like me who used to try to limit leaving the house to twice a week.

Because I now have the pools (have to use them on these hot summer days) and the adult trike I just bought from a resident who is 91, and isn’t planning on riding it any more.

And an occasional concert. And a Mass/communion service twice a month. And a very occasional resident’s meeting or management/resident meeting or…

It isn’t the time commitments

And the occasions are all pleasant, not too taxing (for the normal person) and something to do.

Plus the many decisions (we bought new mattresses!) involved in having a new home (I got the new doctor, after about a HUNDRED hours over four weeks, to give me the exact SAME pain prescription I’ve been using for fifteen or more years).

I still don’t have a California driver’s license; it’s next on the list. I think.

But the time commitments have been far more than I had before.

And I’m trying to keep up with a few friends back home, and my family in Mexico.

What I’m trying to say is the brain isn’t reaching writing strength

as frequently as I need it to.

For as long as I need it to.

I sit at this computer every day, doing all the things that usually worked in the past – blocking the internet, taking B-1 and B-12 (I’ve now added a Vitamin C pill), pacing and taking naps as needed, trying not to eat carbs (they mess with my mind – but I had dessert last night).

But the creative brain isn’t clicking on, and when it does, it doesn’t stay on for long.

I think it’s tired of me diverting its output to mail, doctors, phone calls (necessary), minor new things, major new things, and legacy stuff.

To give the ol’ brain some help

I’m trying the last ME/CFS managing trick I had saved for a time like this: Low-dose naltrexone (LDN).

It has helped many people with ME (and other things) function.

I want less brain fog.

But it may eventually help with pain and sleep and possibly some of the exercise intolerance, and maybe the orthostatic intolerance. I dunno.

I’m taking it for less brain fog – and there are no guarantees.

It was prescribed to me by a neighbor/doctor who used it with his patients.

But back in New Jersey I could still manage to write

Most of the time. Slowly. By not leaving the house. By doing almost nothing.

And you don’t mess with what works.

So I’ve had the capsules for two years without trying them.

Brain creativity doesn’t seem to be coming back, or not fast enough, or strongly enough.

Thing is, there’s a ramp up period for LDN

To avoid side effects, and overdosing, the recommendation (I have a nice FB group with supportive knowledgeable people) is to start very low (0.3mg for me), and not increase the dose more often than about every two weeks IF you aren’t having continuing bad side effects.

Because I AM having (minor) side effects – when I change the dose (so far twice). And one of those is disturbed sleep – until you get used to the dose!

All I can say so far, after a month, and two steps on the dosing schedule, is that I’m tolerating the LDN.

And that there seems to be a positive effect on several areas, small, but I can’t REALLY tell yet, and, though I can work a bit longer at a time (‘work’ defined as ‘butt in chair’), I haven’t gotten enough better yet in achieving the level of brain functioning that I need to write reliably.

Something extra: it may help with walking, some, by diminishing the pain walking now causes.

What does the future hold?

Dunno. And LDN is NOT a cure for CFS or POTS or any of the other symptoms. Especially it is not known to be a cure for fatigue or exercise intolerance.

I have plenty of time – the move was the correct solution for so many things: social isolation, shedding the requirement for house and yard and vehicle maintenance, being prepared for when we need higher levels of care (it’s downstairs, and people there are still part of the community), better weather, exercise facilities (for my poor joints and muscles)…

My best hope is that these hours on the computer will start being my happy time again, my functional time, my ‘she has a brain’ time, and NETHERWORLD will get finished and published.

I’m spending a small amount of this current time in promotion – getting more reviews – and hand-selling. I will tell later if anything comes of any of it.

But there has been a LOT of change, and it takes time to absorb change and to adjust to a new system of everything.

I’m on it.

It’s slow – but I hope it will speed up soon.

And I’m still writing every day – yesterday I watched Bollywood wedding dance videos. For NETHERWORLD.

And how are you?


15 thoughts on “New after a year Low-dose Naltrexone

  1. Widdershins

    The ‘settling in’ period is always a whole lot longer than we think it should be, 😀 … the coffee plant looks so vibrant. Will it actually produce usable beans, do you think?
    This non-summer we’re having is wonderful from a ‘not hot’ perspective, but it is certainly discombobulating, both for me and my plants. I’ll be happy of there’s enough flowers for the bees though. 🙂


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      They definitely produce beans IF hand fertilized. The neighbor uses a little brush, and, like a bee, goes from blossom to blossom. It works – that’s where the 4 beans he gave us come from. The other three didn’t get watered right by me, but the one he gave us that had already sprouted started to do very well after I got it a bit of sun.

      Neighbor and husband are learning about roasting beans, etc. They may get a cup of coffee one of these days. Adult hobbies.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Marian Allen

    *I* think you’re valuable, just in and of yourself, but I’m also tapping my foot and looking at my watch, eager to read NETHERWORLD. Especially if you watched Bollywood dance videos as research! 😀


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      Don’t really worry. There is no way I’m not finishing these books.

      The videos were fascinating for several reasons including the ages of some of the dancers, confirmed the setting for the scene, and told me my memories were solid.

      I can’t wait to finish this scene so I can read it.


    2. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      Occasionally I worry about whether my readers will follow me to the place this story has been heading since the very beginning, because this book raises the stakes so much, but I’m going there if I’m the only one on the bullet train.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. joey

    I love that you named your coffees. I name all my plants. Francis and Lyle and the succulent sisters remain. Few others seem to possess the hardiness required of working Joey. Shhh, don’t tell. I have neglected my spider plants to death. Further, one is just rotting to brown dust as it’s well over my head and I am loath to pull out the stepstool. LOL I have never before had this problem. I am slightly embarrassed, but like you, will blame time 😀
    Work and family get the best of me and there is not much time to devote to others after. It’s grand, but rare to visit with friends now. I partially feel apologetic (more than I do with the plants) but then, I don’t think anyone in my position could do better (maybe with the plants.) May I say, I am an introvert, and my coworkers and clients completely fulfill my need to socialize? I may be awful, but I feel quite content.
    Anyway, I hope you work out the perfect dosage, slow as you go carefully forward with ‘new’ med. Dinner with ‘friends’ and an occasional carb dessert, swimming, riding the trike… these are signs of living well, even if you’re not writing as much as you should. Enrichment. Research. Send the receipts to your creative auditor 😉


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      Without writing I’m a fraud. If I’m going to be one, I’ll be upfront about it, and retire officially from trying to finish the trilogy.

      It’s that important to me.

      I lost physics; I’m not going to lose this one. The whole idea of moving was not the social benefits – though those are considerable – but a clean clear way for me to write, now that I have time.

      I’ve never been good FOR MYSELF with the whole ‘you are a worthy person just because you exist.’ It would be too easy to fold and just entertain myself, but I’d never respect myself!

      Not sure where that all comes from – probably being raised as a girl, and having it annoy the heck out of me.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. clairechase51

    I hope you have good results! Little by little. :-). I’m in Phoenix working right now. I hope I get back close to you, so we can meet again. 🙂


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      That would be lovely – the outdoor pool is wonderful in the hot summer.

      Still working on the hubby? It really is life at a resort – and the nearby Sacramento airport has a non-stop flight to Mexico City.



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