3 Parent DNA in the News

You may have seen the news stories about a baby boy born this year with 3 parent DNA. If you’re interested, it’s easy to find with a Google Search for “3 parent dna”. This form of artificial conception is legal at this time only in the UK. So the American doctor who performed this procedure went to Mexico, where rules are evidently more lax.

2 Kinds of DNA

The human egg cell from the Mom has two distinctly different kinds of DNA. The DNA in the nucleus carries all those characteristics we associate with family, like hair color, ethnicity, stature, etc. The other kind of DNA is NOT in the nucleus. This DNA is in the mitochondria organelles found in each cell, including the mother’s egg cell. The Mitochondria are responsible for converting our food into the energy each cell needs to function properly.

We ALL have some level of damaged nuclear and mitochondrial DNA. Mutations occur naturally over many generations of procreation. Over our lifetime, we eat unhealthy foods and take chemicals into our body intentionally and unintentionally. We are assaulted by various viruses and bacteria. The older we get the more faulty DNA we have.

The mother in this news story had already miscarried 6 times and had carried 2 babies to full term. But they were not healthy babies, and both died very young. They had Leigh’s Disease, which is caused by faulty mitochondrial DNA passed from the mother to her babies.

Mitochondrial DNA is passed from mother to child. The baby does NOT receive any mitochondrial DNA from the father.

So, they harvested egg cells from the mother and fertilized the eggs with the father’s sperm. Many people who cannot conceive naturally go through in vitro fertilization. So that’s not that unusual.

How it Was Done

What made this conception so ground breaking is what they did BEFORE they fertilized the egg with the father’s sperm. They literally took the Mom’s nucleus out of her egg cell and put her nucleus into another woman’s egg cell. This prevented the mother’s defective mitochondria from being passed on to her baby. And then they implanted the fertilized embryo into the mother’s womb.

The baby boy has all the genetic characteristics of his Mama and Daddy, except the donated mitochondria work the way they should.


Obviously this little boy’s health is going to be followed by the medical community – probably for his whole life. And just as certain will be a debate on whether this doctor should have performed this procedure without sanction from the medical community.

Having miscarried and having trouble even getting pregnant myself, I now suspect my own mitochondrial disease contributed to our difficulty conceiving. Let the medical community and legal authorities deal with the ethics, research methods, and legality of this 3 parent DNA conception.

I can only pray that this little boy will grow up to be a healthy young man.

Physical Therapy Helped a LOT

I went to Physical Therapy three times a week for six weeks, and the exercise has made a huge difference for me. I thought they were going to kill me at first. It took a few sessions for them to appreciate that they could not push me the way they would most people.

Exercise Intolerance

Exercise intolerance is a common symptom with Mitochondrial Myopathy, and I sure have it! My muscles were so fatigued the first couple of sessions that it was all I could do to walk out of the place, even with a quad cane.

Circuit Training

So they cut back on the number of repetitions and rotated me through a wider variety of exercises. That way each muscle group had a chance to recuperate before being challenged again. We finally worked out a circuit of squats, knee lifts, leg raises, and such in sets of ten. I never did get to where I could handle more than two circuits of ten, but that was SO much better than when I started.

Adapted Exercises

I found out pretty quickly that the lying down exercises, particularly the bridge, aggravated my neck. (One of the fusion screws from my surgery last year never did completely fuse bone to bone.) So they helped me find substitutes that could all be done either sitting or standing.

We have a safety bar along one wall in the bathroom, so it’s very easy for me to do all the standing ones there. And there’s a sturdy chair in the bedroom just perfect for the sitting exercises.

Staying Motivated

That means there’s only one obstacle now to improved mobility – ME!!

The challenging part is making myself continue with the physical therapy here at the house. I pray that I can stay motivated this time, since I’m so pleased with the results!!!

Physical Therapy Progress!


I’ve been to physical therapy five times so far, and I started seeing a small improvement on the last two sessions. I have scheduled sessions for later this week and three times next week. Then I plan to stop and save the rest of my PT allotment for the year, just in case I need them for some other issue.

I can manage all the exercises they have me doing here at home, except for the equipment. It’s just a matter of making myself spend the time to do it. It’s way too easy for me to sit at the computer too much. I can always find something that needs doing online. I work on my blogs and online stores, as well as our free Plushmemories Facebook search service and the CubeCart forum I help moderate.

I’m headed in the right direction, and I’m very relieved about that. I became so weak while on the Clonazepam I was afraid I would never get my strength back. I’m very thankful my fears proved to be groundless.


As for the Tizanidine prescription my Neuro put me on, I’m not overly impressed. It seems that it helps me get to sleep very well. But when it wears off about 2:30 or so in the night – I CAN’T get back to sleep! I’ve had that issue off and on for years, and it’s very frustrating. There have been a few nights when my muscle spasms were so bad before bedtime that I felt like I just HAD to take the med. And then I ended up being awake for hours and hours, unable to fall back to sleep when it wore off.

So I’m very happy with the muscle strength improvement I’m seeing at Physical Therapy, but not with the Tizanidine.

Tizanidine plus Physical Therapy

My Neuro is trying me on Tizanidine (Zanaflex) for my muscle cramps. He also prescribed physical therapy to help me build up my leg and core muscles again. This med is a short life drug meant to temporarily relieve the spasticity of Multiple Sclerosis patients. So, like every other drug he has tried for me, this is another off label drug. There are no meds that are designed to treat Mitochondrial Myopathy. So he prescribes meds created for other diseases and disorders that involve muscle spasms or seizures.


I’ve only had a few doses so far, but I can tell it takes about an hour to take effect and works for maybe 5 or 6 hours. Of course he has me on the lowest possible dose right now, with the prescription providing for three times a day if I need it. I’ve used it the last two nights to help me get to sleep. That’s when the cramps are the worst, because my mind is not occupied with anything else to distract me from the pain.

Physical Therapy

Yesterday was my first time to go to PT since I went last year after my cervical fusion surgery. It’s the first time I’ve had therapy for my legs in many years. And I’m the first client with Mitochondrial Myopathy this physical therapist has ever worked with. She found out very quickly just how weak I’ve gotten. I don’t think she was prepared for how easily I fatigue to the point of jerking and twitching. So she plans on alternating working on my core and leg strength to keep me from losing control of my muscles so quickly.

I have been trying to exercise here at the house more and more each day, but I am obviously still very weak. I’m much better than I was after trying to use Clonazepam. But I’m not self disciplined enough to make myself exercise as much as I need to. It’s just too easy to sit, since I don’t notice the cramps as much when I’m busy on the computer. So I am confident that having someone make me work harder than I want to is going to be good for me.

And I can only hope that the Tizanidine helps with the muscle spasms. Time will tell.

Weak Leg Muscles

I’m dealing with very weak leg muscles right now, and nothing I’ve tried has improved my walking. I had assumed that once I was off the Clonazepam my walking would improve, but it has not. My sinus infection has settled down, so my teeth no longer ache, thank goodness. But then I started having UTI symptoms. Since I still had a week’s worth of the antibiotics, I started back on those. And of all things – I threw up after the first dose, just as I had the first night on the antibiotics for the sinus infection. I definitely won’t be taking any more of THAT antibiotic!

My stomach has been so jangled with these meds that I started on a month’s worth of Align yesterday. Hopefully the powerful probiotics in that brand will get my digestive system back on track. I’ve been watching what I eat, but as weak as I feel I need to get as much protein in me as possible. I tend to stay on the borderline of anemia all the time, anyway, so eating foods with iron in them are a necessity. But foods with high iron tend to be hard on my tummy – a regular catch-22.

So I don’t know if I should blame my muscle weakness on the Clonazepam, or the infections, or the antibiotics, or the bland diet I’ve been on to settle my tummy. All I know is that I’m shuffling around all day, barely picking up my feet. It reminds me of the old Laugh-In gag with the dirty old man barely moving his feet and then falling over. It was funny way back then, not so much now.

I have a Neuro appointment mid June, so I’ll do what I can to get my strength back in my legs before then. If not, then hopefully he can suggest a different med to deal with my muscle spasms. I stayed off the old Methocarbamol while my tummy was so upset, but have tried a few doses the last few days. It just doesn’t help much any more. And the weakness does seem to be more in my legs than in my arms.

I am trying to walk around in the house as much as I possibly can, going up and down the basement stairs several times a day, but nothing seems to be making any difference. I lost a few pounds in the last few weeks, and I hope I keep that weight off. It seems reasonable that weighing less would put less of a burden on my legs. We’ll see what the Neuro says about that.

As you can tell, I’m discouraged right now, but I try to stay hopeful that the next doctor’s appointment will provide a new treatment to try that will actually help. Hope springs eternal. And I am thankful to God that I am able to do as much as I can do! Sometimes I need to remind myself of that.

Back to Methocarbamol – Not as Weak – Still in Pain

I’m finally completely off the Clonazepam and back on the Methocarbamol and Neurontin. And I have a Neuro appointment in June. I had hopes that the time off the meds, while I tried Clonazepam, would make them effective again – but no such luck. They take the edge of the pain, but don’t really stop it. But I’m not as weak as I was at my worst on the Clonazepam at least.

Sinus Infection

I’ve had a bout of sinus infection that caused one side of my face to ache like a toothache. In fact I actually went to the dentist, thinking I had cracked a tooth clenching my teeth in my sleep while I was still on the benzo. The x-rays showed it was more likely a sinus infection. So my doctor put me on an antibiotic. He also told me to stop using the regular OTC sinus medicine I’ve been using, as my blood pressure was way to high. He said to be sure I buy a brand that has HBP on the label, and we bought some on the way home from the doctor.

Antibiotics usually give me digestive problems, but this time it hit as nausea and vomiting. I ended up having to get the doctor to call in something for that. So I haven’t really had what you could call a normal week yet since being back on my old meds. I can still hope that the pain level will subside.

Muscle Pain

It’s hard to describe these pains – I call them traveling pains, for lack of a better term for them. I will ache in one place, say my shin, for 10 or 15 minutes, rub it for a bit  or use a hot pad on it, then it subsides and within a few minutes my other leg hurts in the calf. Repeating the rubbing and heat, and the next thing I know it’s my neck that’s hurting. A few more minutes and my arm hurts. This goes on all day long and all night long. In the daytime, as long as my mind is occupied, such as when I’m working on the computer, it usually doesn’t take over my awareness. But let me get still, like at church? It’s NOT comfortable. The same thing at night – I don’t sleep well, waking up off and on all night long trying to get comfortable.

The odd thing is, I remember waking up during the night screaming as a young child, begging for my Mama or Grandmother to rub my legs. They called it growing pains back then, but now I wonder if I wasn’t already having MITO symptoms.

My Last Clonazepam

Well, I “slept” without the Clonazepam last night. It wasn’t good sleep, by any means, as I have no idea how many times I woke up and waited to go back to sleep for a bit – but I made it through.

Of course, because of the long half-life of this benzo, I still have some of that last .25mg pill from Thursday night in my system. It will take the rest of the weekend before I dare try going back to my old meds – Methacarbamol and Neurontin. I have called for a Neuro appointment, but no telling how long it will be before I can actually see him.

Maybe this couple of months off my usual meds will make them work better for me again. I had been gradually increasing the doses to the maximum, because they were no longer helping with the muscle spasms and pain. And the high doses were making the brain fog worse. That’s why I had asked for a med change, and how I came to be back trying Clonazepam.

I decided to look back through all my blog posts for every mention of Clonazepam, as I had been on it once before, back near the beginning of this saga. At that time I was on Parkinson’s meds, and the extreme muscle weakness I experienced was attributed to the combination of meds. Now I know that’s probably not the case. The wet noodle muscle weakness I described back then is exactly how I’m feeling now.

Asking for Help Doesn’t Come Easy

DH has done his best to take up the slack here at home, helping with things I would normally do quite easily. I had gotten very frustrated with him, because he wasn’t helping. But he’s not a mind reader, and I hadn’t actually asked him for help. So we had a “come to meetin’ talk” the other night. Now the air has been cleared, and I’m getting more help. I still have to remind him, as he had gotten in the habit of letting me do a lot of stuff he once would have done automatically. His paralyzed leg and slow recovery from his heart attack changed both our roles considerably. But for now, I’m more in need of help than he is. And I’m getting it, sometimes after asking, sometimes without asking.

I did ask DH to bring the walker back upstairs, but I’m resisting using it, just as I did years ago. My DD fussed at me yesterday when she saw how slow and shuffling my gait has gotten, saying I needed to get over my pride and go back to using it. I know she’s right, but it’s a hard change to make. It feels like defeat. And in my mind it’s so much more VISIBLE than my gait – it makes me conspicuous, and that’s something I am NOT comfortable with.

This whole process of slowly going off one set of meds, then slowly going on another med, slowly increasing the dosage, then slowly cutting the dosage back to nothing has taken a couple of months. It’s the only safe way to transition from such powerful chemicals, and it’s the only way to find out if something different will help any more than what I was already on.

So I continue being a clinical trial of one, basically using myself as a guinea pig, praying each time that something will work to improve my quality of life.

Clonazepam Is NOT for Me

Titrating Off Clonazepam

Last time I wrote I was still slowly ramping up the Clonazepam dosage, hoping to get some pain relief and help with my hyper emotions. Well, it did calm down the startle reflex and extreme frustration and irritability I was experiencing, but it did NOT help with the muscle spasms. In fact it made my muscles so weak that I’ve been doing a lot of shuffling of late, either because I could not lift my feet, or due to the fear I would fall again, if I did pick up my foot in mid spasm.

So now I am working on titrating back off of the Clonazepam. Even when I was up to three .5mg  pills a day, I did not get any pain relief, so it just wasn’t worth it.

I’m down to .5mg at night, but not taking any during the day. Yesterday was horrible, with legs so weak and painful it was all I could do to get up from the chair, but today is better.

I don’t plan on going back on the Methocarbamol and Neurontin until I’ve given plenty of time for the Clonazepam to be out of my system. They didn’t help much, and made the brain fog worse, but it looks like they are still the best meds I have available. The half life of this benzo compound is like 60 hours, so it takes a looooong time to rid the system of it completely. That long half life is great for smoothing out anxiety issues, not so great when it makes the muscle weakness worse.

Another Diagnosis Anniversary

Another birthday has come and gone, making this my 10th year with some kind of movement disorder diagnosis, not counting all those years when doctors dismissed me as just a whiny hypochondriac female LOL. Initially it was thought to be Parkinson’s, but was eventually conclusively diagnosed as Mitochondrial Myopathy.

I’m basically my own doctor at this point. No new research findings in the years I’ve known what was wrong, so it’s left to me to try various nutrition programs and what I think might be helpful in the way of meds – with my Neuro’s approval, of course.

At my last appointment, my Neurologist broached the subject of me eventually being fitted with some kind of AFO braces to support my legs better, as my age is beginning to work against me. Exercise intolerance is one of the hallmarks of this disease, so I have to strike a balance between not moving enough (trying to keep from hurting) and moving too much (which damages muscle cells and does more harm than good).

So I thank God for the better day I’m having today, and continue to do what I can to improve my quality of life.

Praising God, from whom all blessing flow!!!

Still a lot of Pain

So far I can’t say the low dose Clonazepam, plus Methocarbamol has made a dent in the pain I’m having from constant muscle spasms. I spend most evenings wrapped up in a hot pad, moving it from place to place, trying to calm my muscles. I can manage to stay busy enough during the day to ignore it up to a point, but once I get still, I realize just how much “inside” muscle movement goes on constantly. No wonder I’m so tired by night time – I’ve literally been “moving” every minute of the day.

Being still at church makes me more aware of all the spasms, too. Plus, no matter how much I bundle up there, I’m always cold. And cold is something I don’t handle well at all. I wear thermal undies year round for church – AC and drafty heat both cause issues.

Care Giving Ended

Our short stent as Nursing Home Sponsors didn’t last but a few days – he wouldn’t stay, no matter how much better off he would have been if he had. I’ve called him a couple of times to check on him, but can’t stop worrying about him. That whole situation took quite a toll on my emotions – far more than the tiny Clonazepam pill could handle. I know it’s just a matter of time before he ends up back in the hospital. Learning from past experiences with our parents and daughter, I have his “hospital bag” all ready to go. LOL We’ve done all we can for him at this point, except for prayer – and God gets a lot of that every day, searching for insight on the right way to deal with him.

Need to Vent

I wasn’t supposed to see my Neuro again for 6 months, but at this point I will probably give in and call for an earlier appointment. It’s just hard to accept that there’s nothing they can do to help me feel better – no matter how many times I remind myself there is no treatment or cure for Mitochondrial Myopathy.

There are so many people in the world living with horrible medical and emotional situations, I feel ashamed of myself for whining. But it’s just one of those kinds of days, and I need to vent. I originally started this blog because I couldn’t find anyone talking about what it was really like living with a movement disorder. Oh, there’s plenty of medical information out there, but what it’s like to LIVE this way? Not so much about quality of life. So if I gloss over the bad days, I’m defeating the whole purpose of writing.

I thank you for your time to follow my blog and covet your prayers, both for us and for this cantankerous old man we’re trying to help.

Praise God for all His Blessings!!

Emotions and Muscle Spasms Stronger

I’ve been having problems with acute emotional reactions for several months now – sometimes extremely nervous and very easily startled. Loud noises are especially uncomfortable – almost like I have super hearing. I had a lot of emotional lability years ago, when I was wrongly diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

For the last few years I’ve been living off of Methocarbamol muscle relaxers and Neurontin for nerve pain, and taking a large number of supplements in an effort to keep my nutrition level as high as possible.  But it was taking higher and higher doses of muscle relaxers to get any relief, and the shoulder jerking had even come back. So I asked my Neurologist to try something different.

Since I was experiencing heightened emotional responses, as well as more and stronger muscle spasms, he put me on a low dose of Clonazepam – an anti-anxiety med that is also used off label to calm muscle spasms. I started on the lowest dose, but now I’ve bumped it up a bit. It does seem to be taking the edge off the startle reflex and inappropriate nervous reactions, but the muscle spasms continued to worsen.

Trying Clonazepam

Several weeks ago my calf muscle cramped hard just as I put weight on that foot, and down I went, falling flat on my face. I was very lucky to only have a few bruises. The leg continued to jerk fiercely for several days, so I had to be extremely careful to not take a step without holding onto something. I called the Neuro’s nurse, and he added the Methocarbamol back with the Clonazepam.

I’m still spasming more than I was for a while, so I spend most evenings on the hot pad trying to relax the muscles.

I’m extremely thankful that I had already asked for more help from my Neurologist and there had been time to bump the Clonazepam dosage up a bit before a new turmoil hit our lives.

Care Giving Again

We are now back in the “care giving business”, trying to help a friend deal with a serious hospital stay and accept a Rehab Nursing Home situation. He’s not an easy person to get along with. He’s antagonized so many people over the years that he’s burned his bridges, except for a few families still willing to help him. It’s a shame, but he’s brought it on himself, with poor health management and lifestyle decisions and frequent angry outbursts over many years.

If it weren’t for the Clonazepam I don’t think I would be able to survive the emotional upheaval he seems to keep stirred up.

So for now at least my “new normal” consists of dealing with a cranky old man who is too sick to live independently. As his Nursing Home “Sponsor” there’s lots of paper work and responsibilities to deal with there, and of course Hubby and I will be visiting him once or twice a week.

The rest of the week I’m trying very hard to relax and rest as much as I can. I’m very thankful that my dear Hubby is so supportive, picking up the slack around the house when I don’t feel like doing much. We make a good team.

God finds good use for all our life experiences, so being care givers for our Alzheimer’s parents,  parenthood, plus teaching school for 29 years have prepared us about as well as anyone can be ready to deal with a curmudgeon in failing health LOL.

We covet your prayers both for him, and for us!