Initial Onset of Symptoms:
It all began in June of 2002 when I contracted Lyme disease. I initially noticed a strange rash in the groin area, which subsequently manifested into a plethora of symptoms that left me disabled in less then 6-months. At the time of the onset of Lyme symptoms I lived in Marin County, California and led a very active and productive life. I was involved in both community and faith related activities, regularly spent time with friends and family, and was quite physically active. I participated in mountain biking, running, tennis, weight-training, snowboarding, hiking and other outdoor sports activities on a regular basis. For my vocation I was CEO of a successful company that I founded 10-years prior. I enjoyed and loved the life that I had been blessed with. Unfortunately, this life was drastically altered in the coming months.
The rash I developed, just prior to becoming ill, was an erythema migrans (EM) rash about 1-inch in diameter. Shortly after noticing the rash I had an appointment with a dermatologist in San Francisco, who prescribed an anti-fungal and an anti-inflammatory cream, as he believed that the rash was probably either jock itch or eczema. Two weeks later I went on vacation in Hawaii and continued applying the prescribed creams. However, I noticed the size of the rash had increased to over 6-inches and also felt hot and irritated. Around that same time I began feeling very fatigued and achy, which I attributed to having possibly acquired some type of flu. Additionally, I began experiencing significant trouble sleeping at night, which was something I had virtually never experienced in my life, even during times of stress.
I saw a local dermatologist who stated that she had never seen a rash like that before and recommended that I discontinue applying the cream, as she was certain it was not a fungus or eczema. By the time I returned home the rash had began to diminish. Unfortunately, the severe fatigue, achiness, and insomnia had only gotten worse. Over the next 3-months, additional symptoms appeared, such as lightheadedness, mental fog, GI tract symptoms (stomach pain and either constipation or loose stools), bone pain, joint pain, sore throat, and conjunctivitis. Due to these ailments my general practitioner tested me for many pathogens, including parasites. All the tests came back negative. Having not found any conclusive causes for my ailments, anti-depressants were recommended by my primary physician. I declined taking them, as I was certain my ailments were not a result of depression.
As a result of the severe chronic fatigue, I no longer had the energy to exercise or participate in social activities. I forced myself to go to work, though was unable to provide the amount of time necessary for this position. At the end of the day I had to lie down and rest just to have enough energy to make dinner and force-feed myself. During this time I had lost 15 pounds, as my appetite for food was most often non-existent. On occasion I would try to do something social, but due to my intense fatigue it was almost always “forced misery”. However, when I would come home and lie down I was seldom able to sleep, so I never felt rested….ever.
For six months after first becoming ill I did an immense amount of research and sought advice from numerous physicians and medical and research institutions to see if someone could identify a reason as to why I became so ill so fast. Unfortunately, no answer was found. In March of 2003, 9-months after first getting the EM rash, I sold my ownership and resigned as CEO of the company I had been running. I hoped that by not having the responsibilities associated with running a company I could dedicate all my time and energy trying to figure out what was causing my illness. Additionally, I moved to Michigan to be close to my family where I could receive the physical and emotional support that I felt I needed to recover.
In July of 2003, I went to Mayo Clinic hoping that I might finally get some answers. Unfortunately, once again I was without an answer. All the tests for pathogens and other illnesses came up negative, including Lyme. As a result of believing that I did not have Lyme I went on suffering for another year without a diagnosis. The Mayo Clinic gave me only an ELISA blood test, which I did not know at the time, is not very accurate and frequently gives false negatives for Lyme. The doctor at the Mayo clinic that was managing my care had told me that he did not know what was causing my symptoms and that 50% of the time the Mayo Clinic is unable to find the cause of chronic fatigue and the other symptoms such as those that I was experiencing. This was a very sad and low point in my life, as I thought the Mayo Clinic was one of the best places to get help for unique undiagnosed symptoms such as mine.
Diagnosis and Various Treatments:
In May of 2004, almost a year after going to the Mayo Clinic I was put in contact with my friend’s Aunt who felt strongly that I very likely had Lyme, even though my test was negative. After speaking with her I realized there was a strong possibility that she was correct. Her story and symptoms were very similar to mine and she explained that she found a Lyme specialist to diagnose and treat her. I eagerly met with her Lyme physician and was eventually diagnosed with Lyme. This Lyme physician heard my symptoms and submitted blood for a western blot test to be sent to Igenex labs, as he believed that Igenex was the best lab at detecting a Lyme infection. My test results came back positive for both IgG and IgM on numerous bands, finally I had an answer! I also was tested for Babesia, even though the test came back negative my Lyme physician believed that I was positive based on my symptoms.
Over the course of the next two years I was prescribed many different kinds of antibiotics that I took orally and through injections. I also incorporated pharmaceutical antifungals, sleep aids, herbs, saunas, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, ozone therapy, and rife treatments. While some of the treatments helped in reducing pain symptoms, my chronic fatigue, mental fog, and sleep issues persisted.
In June of 2006, I decided to stop all mainstream medicines and alternative treatments, with the exception of Xyrem for sleep, as it offered me some relief. My weight had dropped from 160 pounds, prior to contracting Lyme, to 108 pounds. I am 5 foot 7 inches tall and thus looked ghastly thin. Unknown to me and around that time a physician I had been seeing told a family member that if something did not turn around in my health I may not live more than 6-months.
This struggle had been going on now for over 5-years! I was so sick and so tired that I reached the point where I was close to giving up and contemplated resorting to taking pain relievers and sedatives just to get through life. Up until this time I chose not to take pain relievers, sedatives, or anti depressants, as I wanted to keep what critical thinking skills I had left working and I feared that they could become addicting. At this point in my life I prayed to God asking that he would either take me home or heal me.
Treatment In Germany:
Within a month I learned from a family friend about a clinic in Germany that used hyperthermia therapy to treat people with Lyme disease. Thereafter I was put in touch with a woman who had gone to this clinic. After speaking with her and learning firsthand how the treatments changed her life for the better, I scheduled an appointment with the physician that had referred her to the German clinic.
For many years that physician sent patients with cancer to this German clinic. He advised that it was best to do proper detoxification, including a diet low in carbs and sugar, and address candida issues prior to receiving treatment at the clinic. This was because during the WBHT (Whole Body Hyperthermia Treatment), when the body is heated up to high temperatures many toxins are released. These toxins come from the die off of organisms and environmental toxins that are in the body. Thus it is best to eliminate as many of these toxins as possible prior to receiving treatment. I followed the diet, took the supplements, and did the recommended detox IV’s for almost 5-months prior to going to Germany. My sleep improved, fatigue lessened, thinking became clearer and my vision improved. Even though I was not taking antimicrobials, I felt better just from having the toxins in my body being mopped up and excreted.
In June of 2007 I left for Germany and checked into the St. Georg Klinik. I was a little nervous about what to expect, but at the same time experienced a feeling of great hope. On the first day at the clinic, the physician assigned to me inquired about the history of my illnesses, my general state of health, and outlined the treatments that I would receive over the course of the next 12-days. The next day I received an abdominal ultrasound and then began IV detoxification therapy, which included EDTA and glutathione. I also began other daily adjunct treatments such as ozone, magnetic field oxygen, and detox footbaths. Three days later I received my first WBHT.
The process entailed laying down in what seemed to be like a sophisticated tanning bed. The nurse briefly explained the process, inserted a device rectally to measure body temperature during the procedure, and I was put under sedation for the next 5-hours. During this time I was given IV Rocephin, and my body temperature was raised to 107.2 degrees Fahrenheit, which was held for about 90 minutes and then it was slowly reduced. Upon waking I recall being very out of it, wanted to drink water and sleep. Prior to going to bed that evening I was able to drink some broth and have my catheter removed, which had been inserted after I was put under sedation.
The first night after the treatments I had drenching night sweats that required changing my sleep attire on two occasions. The next day I felt abnormally tired but was able to resume my IV and adjunct treatments. The second day after the first WBHT I felt as if a 5-year long low-grade fever was lifted from me. The level of chronic fatigue was lessening. I remember the over whelming thoughts of sheer joy and hope that maybe I really would be able to get my life back!
One week after receiving the first WBHT I received a second treatment. This time I did not have night sweats and the next day I actually felt much better than the day after the first WBHT. I still dealt with fatigue and needed extra sleep, though I felt like a heavy weight had been lifted. Getting through the days seemed to get easier as time progressed and two days later I checked out of the clinic.
The First Year After Hyperthermia Treatment:
Over the course of the next 6-months I began to feel even better as the months progressed. Eventually I was able to start working again, even though it was part time, for the first time after almost 5-years! The clinic advised me that I was totally cured; yet I did not feel completely well or cured as I continued to experience ongoing elevated fatigue and had to sleep more than I had needed before having Lyme. Getting proper rest was vital, as I could function physically with less fatigue and pain, which helped improve my critical thinking skills.
Unfortunately, one year after going to Germany I began to feel my level of fatigue elevating and some of my other symptoms returning. At first I tried to ignore them, thinking I just needed to sleep more. However, as the bone pain and profound fatigue returned I knew something was wrong. A blood test confirmed that my WBC was once again running low, which was something that began after contracting Lyme. While feeling very discouraged, I will say that even with the relapse that occurred, I did not regress back to how I felt pre-Germany. Therefore, I knew the treatments were beneficial, but now I felt quite certain that the treatments in Germany did not eradicate all strains of Lyme and/or co-infections.
While I was definitely very thankful for the healing I received, I had hoped that the level of improvements would have been more sustained. At this point, I decided to consider doing some type of maintenance antimicrobial treatments. I also remembered how good I felt after doing IV ozone treatments in Germany and ordered the equipment needed to do ozonated saline IV’s in my home. The ozone treatments did help increase my energy levels, but within a couple months after stopping them the elevated fatigue returned.
It was around this time that I began connecting with other people who had received the same treatments that I received in Germany. It seemed that the people who maintained significant sustained recovery embarked on an extensive ongoing post-Germany protocol, which included continued detoxification, IV therapy, taking herbal and/or other non-pharmaceutical antimicrobials, and continuing a low carb/sugar diet.
In October of 2010 I went back to the St. Georg Klinik in hopes of once again achieving significant improvement in my health and sustaining it. This time after returning home I continued detoxification treatments, herbal antimicrobials, and a strict diet low in sugar and carbs for the next 7-months. Once again I was able to reach a notable improvement in my fatigue and pain symptoms but hit a plateau in the improvements in my health.
Looking Into Additional Recovery Factors:
Not wanting to relapse and lose the improvements I had achieved thus far, I continued to take various antimicrobial herbs for maintenance. Additionally, I spoke with my Lyme physician about checking on my heavy metal levels. I learned that people who obtained the most sustained improvement in symptoms were seriously addressing heavy metals, methylation, and/or mold issues. My physician recommended I do a heavy metal test called the Glycine challenge. The test revealed that I had notable elevated heavy metal levels for eight different metals. He believed this toxic metal load was likely contributing to my ongoing symptoms.
He recommended a chelation protocol utilizing two different chelation agents that I have been taking via suppository form, utilizing an on and off rotation for the next 3-years. The reason for the rotation is that it is recommended that you take breaks with chelation, so that the heavy metals stored in the bones can be released and cleared as well. During bone regeneration metals are released and deposited in soft tissues, and can later be cleared out with chelation. It can take years to clear all of the heavy metals from your body.
The level of muscle tightness and pain was reduced after one year of chelation and after three years of chelation it was notably reduced. In addition, there has been improvement in my level of fatigue, quality of sleep and pain. Research indicates that the chelation agents can break holes in biofilms, which I had tested positive for, allowing antimicrobial agents to work against the once protected pathogens. Also it has been found that certain pathogens thrive better in the presence of certain metals, so the chelation likely aided in making my body less hospitable for pathogens to thrive.
My Life Now:
Even though I still deal with various ongoing Lyme symptoms, primarily fatigue, mental fog, muscle/joint pain, and sleep issues I am so grateful for the healing that I have received. Lyme disease took so much from me over the years, including friendships, a marriage, the ability to participate in things I had previously enjoyed, and a great career. However, it has also confirmed that if you never give up there is still always hope. It has also allowed me to give back to others in ways I am not sure I would have ever experienced if not for the illness. God seems to always have the best plan, even if it does not seem to be the one we might choose.
The improvements in my health have allowed me to not only be able to once again be involved more actively in life, but also participate in part time work helping others that are dealing with Lyme disease. With this experience I have chosen to use the energy I have to help others with Lyme disease and/or cancer improve their health. This is why I founded Lyme and Cancer Services in January of 2012. Both myself, and my business partner Michelle McKeon, who has also experienced healing though hyperthermia treatment, provide information on the differences between the facilities and treatments provided at the various clinics we work with, scheduling services, and continued recovery factors to consider after leaving a clinic.
If you would like more information, please visit our site at lymeandcancerservices.com.
In hopes of helping,