Medical Commentary Note and Update, Patient: Johnson, Samantha By Dale Guyer, M.D. (Based on rough draft from Patrick Perry/Saturday Evening Post)
Many people walk around feeling tired, run-down and exhausted most of the time, often relying on various stimulants to make it through the day. One thing that is certain, is that these individuals do not indeed truly suffer a caffeine deficiency. In essence, there is something dysfunctional or out of balance with their internal biochemistry. Samantha's case is in many ways a typical one. She has had multiple vague symptoms for a duration exceeding twenty years. Unfortunately, she was never able to arrive at an adequate explanation through conventional medical approaches and the diagnostics to get a better handle on understanding the biochemical imbalances, which she had been dealing with all those years.
When she first came to our clinic she had multiple ongoing symptoms, a collection of which physicians always call an extensive positive review of systems. They included cold hands and feet, generalized cold intolerance, ongoing chronic fatigue, exhaustion, generalized malaise, easy waking during sleep, occasional blurred vision, watery eyes, difficulty losing weight and unfortunately, easy weight gain. Constant muscle weakness and pain and stiffness throughout her whole body, lower extremity cramps, especially in the feet, generalized mood challenges, including anxiety, irritability and tendency for depression, difficulty with concentration, speech, judgment, short and long term memory, numerous digestive symptoms including bloating and discomfort and cramping in the upper and lower abdomen. A generalized intolerance for many foods including wheat and dairy, generalized cravings for sweets and carbohydrates, extensive multiple chemical sensitivity, in that she would tend to feel worse with any kind of chemical fume or odor exposure, chronic sore throats, lymph node tenderness, water retention and puffiness, tender muscles and generalized worsening exhaustion with any degree of activity.
As one may imagine, a typical medical approach to such a litany of symptoms would be a general focus on symptom control. That is using pain medicines for pain. Sleep medicines for sleep, mood medicines to lower depression tendency and so forth. Unfortunately for Samantha and those like her, all of these symptoms and variations thereof, are common in what usually gets labeled as chronic fatigue, immunodysfunction syndrome or more generically known as chronic fatigue syndrome. But in Samantha's case, with the inclusive additional label of fibromyalgia based on the chronic and diffuse body pains.
Additionally however, I have felt in my clinical experience, that those who actually receive the diagnostic label of chronic fatigue syndrome are really a small percentage of the population that actually have impairment in their ability to maintain normal and highly functional energy levels. And the great misfortune in this case, is that there often exist simple therapeutic techniques ranging from nutritional supplementation to minimally invasive therapy such as vitamin B12 shots that can be overwhelmingly helpful and restorative for many of these patients.
The problem with Samantha and those like her, as it relates to the encounters with orthodox medicine, is that the medical approach is always reductionistic. That is, doctors tend to treat everything and generally by the book and for that matter, much like a sore throat. That is, we look for one simple cause, i.e., a strep infection and one simple solution, which in this case might be an antibiotic such as amoxicillin. Unfortunately, to take such a simplistic view and therapeutic approach will generally lead to results that are willfully deficient in possible outcome. The better approach of course, is to take a holistic view to gain a better understanding to more clearly define the many interrelated biochemical dysfunctions and imbalances that the body concomitantly expresses which limits one¡¦s health potential.
It has been my observation that efforts at treating chronic fatigue syndrome, if only focused on one contributing cause, such as chronic viral infections, will only demonstrate partially helpful results, unless the other components of dysfunction are addressed as well and often, the longer the period of "dis-ease" have existed, the more dysfunctional the entire systems will have become by the time they come into my office for evaluation. Therefore Sam's case is not unusual in its presentation and interrelated findings. In her situation, however, the long-standing immune dysfunction had likely been present for so many years that it predisposed her to acquiring breast cancer as well.
To arrive at a better and more holistic understanding in Sam's case and with the other patients I work with, requires a very detailed history and a thorough and meticulous evaluation of all medical records and medical experiences acquired to date, but also a close scrutiny of the results, both positive and negative that may have been experienced with other types of therapies being provided. Additionally, we must look at a very detailed laboratory analysis that goes beyond the conventional chemistry panel. In my experience and additionally in Sam's experience, abnormalities were noted of thyroid dysfunction, adrenal dysfunction as noted on salivary analysis, problems with low iron level and low iron storage as noted by low ferritin, enormously elevated antibodies to some of the typical viruses associated with chronic fatigue syndrome, such as HHV-6 (human herpes virus 6), CMV (cytomegalovirus) and Epstein-Barr virus, hormone dysfunctions and deficiencies including testosterone, DHEA.
Using regulation thermography to help better diagnose some of the underpinnings diagnostically speaking that may be eroding her health that the laboratory test may not be capable of ultimately detecting. Measurements of her individual antioxidant levels, metabolic profile, spectrums of essential fatty acids, analyzing her blood and urine for deficiencies of amino acids, trace minerals, toxic heavy metals and measurements of intestinal dysbiosis to name a few. As the information in this very detailed evaluation was acquired, then layer-by-layer a treatment plan approach can be assembled, in Sam's case and other cases, to approach the biochemical individuality in the most successful manner.
Sam's case in particular, at least as it is related to the treatment of her chronic fatigue syndrome, took a circuitous route. Obviously our initial focus was on getting her through chemotherapy. In that we included a particular protocol that I have created over the years based on my clinical experience, using intervenous vitamin therapy to help enhance the statistical outcome as it relates to the cancer therapy with the co-administration of chemotherapy performed by her oncologist and secondarily to decrease or diminish the side affects that most patients would traditionally experience with chemotherapy.
Also with Sam, a focus on using transfer factor, mushroom compounds and other immune enhancing nutritionals were helpful adjunctive support during this part of the process as well as ongoing therapy. Included also, which I do for all my patients with chronic fatigue who also have a low adrenal status, was the use of adrenal and mesenchymal cell extracts and a good multivitamin to help improve overall function. After Samantha completed her cancer therapy and was disease free, we were at liberty to further evaluate and may continue the treatment of her chronic fatigue syndrome. By this point however, even while going through chemotherapy, she had regained about 80% of her own estimated function of maximal potential. But yet she maintained high viral antibodies, immune system dysfunction and symptomatically, most importantly, she still had ongoing flu-like symptoms, lymph node tenderness, intermittent sore throats and generalized low energy. It was at this point, we opted to include what has become one of my favorite inclusive therapies, that is the insulin potentiation therapy, utilizing low dose antiviral medicines given by IV. Fortunately for Samantha, she was one of the patients who had an immediate and dramatic response even to the first treatment, which she had noted in the interview with Pat noted above. After her fourth and fifth treatments, she had achieved a permanent improvement that lasted for many months and has continued to last in an excess of a year now. And this has become a fairly typical response I have seen clinically with patients.
Dale Guyer, M.D., Director
Advanced Medical Center