Confronting Lyme Disease

So how exactly did I get diagnosed with Lyme disease, and what did I do? Well, like I said in the last article, I was bitten by a tick in 2011, which resulted in swollen lymph nodes 2 months later. I never saw the connection. I spent the next 3 years with migrating pains in my knees, low back, neck, and especially my left shoulder. And I got sick, severely sick, A LOT! Like, I had to go to Urgent Care twice a month to get prednisone and antibiotics, just so I could breathe. So when people say they’ve suffered with an illness, I can definitely relate! However, I must admit, I was a little in denial about how bad I really was. I mean, how could I have something terrible wrong with me? I didn’t get sick right after the tick bit me, and it wasn’t a deer tick, it was a dog tick that bit me. Those didn’t carry Lyme disease did they? All the doctors did not even approach the Lyme disease diagnosis with me, so how could they all be wrong?

Well, in 2014, after being sick for like the 10th time that winter, I went to the MD (actually, I saw a Certified Nurse Practitioner, which was actually a blessing, she was very open with me), with my wife, who also mentioned that in addition to being sick all of the time, I had migrating joint pains. So she says “why don’t we run a Lyme panel, and autoimmune panel on you?” I figured, why not? I knew that lab tests were notoriously inaccurate, but what the heck?

A couple of days later, I got back my test results. Guess what? I came back for autoimmune disease, and an “equivocal” Lyme test. What did that mean? In the words of the CRNP “even though we’re not sure if you have it, or what’s wrong, we’re going to treat you for Lyme disease. Do us a favor, when you find out how to treat Lyme disease, let us know, because we don’t know much about it”. Then a strange thing happened. I was scared, but at the same time, I knew that this was my challenge to find and eradicate Lyme disease in my own body (and help many others in the process). I took the antibiotics (two of them, for a month), just so that I could see if they would cure Lyme disease. They did not in my case. In fact, they made it worse. So at the end of treating Lyme disease medically, this is what I did.

1. I admitted that I had Lyme disease.

2. I became 100% determined to beat Lyme disease, mostly by myself, with a little help from my teachers.

3. I promised myself that I would do whatever it takes to beat Lyme disease once and for all, even if it meant that I had to give up things, or change the way I lived.

4. I put myself in charge of eradicating this disease.

5. I took it as a personal mission to help as many people with Lyme disease as possible.

This is the mind set you need to beat Lyme disease. It was necessary for me to confront the problem, and take responsibility for its defeat. Without that, I would have been relying on others, who didn’t have my problem.

Next week I’ll go into all of the symptoms I had associated with my Lyme’s disease.

Approaching Lyme Disease

One thing I sometimes get asked about is Lyme disease, or, more specifically, do I treat Lyme disease.  The short answer is that no, I don’t treat Lyme disease.  However, I can tell you that I have a lot of success helping people that have Lyme disease get over it.  What’s the difference?  Well, let me tell you my own story with Lyme disease, and hopefully that’ll shed some light on the situation.

I was never a very healthy child.  I grew up suffering with allergies and asthma, for which I had to almost constantly take medication for.  I was always sick.  I remember when I was 14, during the winter, I had some kind of bronchitis that lasted the whole winter.  It was so bad that I had that “seal cough”, the one that’s really loud, and sounds horrible.  I used to use it to annoy the teachers in school (they couldn’t tell me to stop, it sounded like I was hacking up a lung!).  The doctors were stumped, couldn’t do anything about it, luckily, it “went away”, meaning the symptoms went away.  Two years later, I developed “trench mouth”, an infection of my gums, where they cracked and bled continually for a week.  I couldn’t eat for a week (I consumed only soup).  It’s important to note that I got trench mouth not from poor hygiene, I brushed thoroughly twice a day, but that I got it from a poor immune system. When I was 17, after a particularly stressful event, I developed Ulcerative Colitis.  I lost 20 pounds in a matter of weeks from that one.  When I was 21, I went to Mexico, where I picked up Salmonellosis, which almost killed me.  So now that you know my past history of severe illness, why did I tell you all of this?  Because I wanted to let you know that I, like many of my patients, have an underlying cause.  What’s that common thread from all of the above problems?  My immune system stinks (as does my father’s and brother’s immune system, I like to blame my parents for this!  JK!).

Following my Salmonellosis diagnosis, I really got into nutritional studies.  The salmonella poisoning had left me with digestive issues, and chronic, debilitating low back pain, that chiropractic could not help at all.  I went through this for 2 and ½ years.  It was only by cutting out grains, and sugar, that I regained my health quickly.  Not only did my digestive issues and pain totally clear up, but I also lost 40 pounds of fat!  Hot dog!

So how did I go about developing full blown Lyme disease?  Well, like most of my patients, I started slacking with my diet, letting in grains, and sugars, slowly but surely over time.  I didn’t have the worst diet, but it certainly wasn’t the best.  I was under stress with some personal upheaval in my life.  Then, one day Laura and I went camping in the woods in the spring of 2011.  I remember it was very cold, below freezing, and my Chihuahua Taquito kept on hogging my sleeping bag and blankets, as was his style.  When I awoke in the morning, I felt something weird on my back, and when I asked Laura to take a look, she said “you’ve got a tick sticking out of you!”, and pulled it out.  I thought nothing of it, I was tired, but otherwise felt fine.  But a couple of weeks later, I felt some pain in my left armpit.  When I lifted it up, I was horrified.  I had a huge, purple swollen lymph node.  The purple part was about 6” wide.  I had no idea what it was, as this was now about 2 months after our camping trip.  As I had not had the Advanced Clinical Training in Nutrition Response Testing, I also was not able to test and see if it was Lyme disease.  Gradually, the initial swelling subsided, but this would not be the last time I would see it…

So let’s recap.  From this history, we can see that:

  1. I have a genetically weak immune system
  2. I have an intolerance to grains and sugar (compounding my immune system problems)
  3. I’ve had a lot of stress in my life (who hasn’t! this is important to note though)
  4. I have a history of a tick bite
  5. I have a history of exposure to Mercury (wait a second! How did I fail to mention that before?  While in chiropractic school, I broke a thermometer, and absorbed some of the mercury into my wedding ring.  It actually turned to a silver color, before turning back to gold.  My body absorbed the mercury from the ring.  I also had mercury amalgams).

All of this created the perfect storm, like so many other of my patients.  Tune in next week to see the long and drawn out road I had to take to fix myself (and how it taught me about what so many of my patients are going through!)

See you next week!

~Dr. Sheehan

Hidden Hyper Organs

I’ve been seeing a lot of Hidden Hyper Organs lately in my nutritional counseling practice. So I wanted to provide an explanation  of this phenomenon.

Hidden Hyper Organs are a non-medical phenomenon that we observe within the realm of Nutrition Response Testing. Typically the person comes in with a relatively easy-to-handle health concern…or at least it looks that way on the surface. They may have fatigue from the beginning (or it can develop later). They might have digestive issues. Or maybe some hormonal-type issues (like hot flashes). Often there’s a sense of anxiety or the feeling they want to jump out of their own skin. These people are often highly functional…they have learned to just keep going in spite of their bothersome symptoms.

There is no clear indicator right away that a person has a Hidden Hyper Organ. What happens is that they respond only marginally if at all to the appropriate standard Nutrition Response Testing program. Visit after visit it will appear that there is layer after layer of issues to clear away and the person will just not progress. This is a frustrating situation for both the patient and also for the practitioner! We are used to hitting the nail on the head quickly and then just monitoring people as they continue to improve. Lack of improvement is sometimes a clear indicator that there is some hidden situation that we need to uncover.

I recently have seen some dramatic Hidden Hyper Organ cases. One gentleman recently was suffering from the symptoms of panic attacks. In spite of my best efforts he was not improving. His symptoms were actually getting worse. He was having trouble sleeping and his breathing was becoming labored. Finally around visit 7 I checked him for Hidden Hyper Organs and I found his brain was completely exhausted! His brain was testing fine on the surface, but when placed under stress his “brain energy” was just on overload! Like the organ was saying “I got nothing” and was running on fumes. After I handled that situation with the appropriate nutritional support, the next visit he was calm. He was fine! The panic had left him. Now he is just getting better. Those are amazing results!

I have a theory that people with a Hidden Hyper Organ situation are on their way to a crash. It’s like we’re heading off the person developing a severe condition or disease. Many of these people have had several lab tests that have all come back normal. I always say “Thank God they didn’t find anything. That gives us time to fix this before they do find something.” Here is a list of severe chronic diseases you could be diagnosed with. Believe me, you want to solve your health problems before they turn in to one of these.

Nutrition Response Testing and Designed Clinical Nutrition provide safe, effective relief for many health problems, safely and naturally. Could you be a candidate for Nutrition Response Testing? Contact our office at (717) 392-6606 to schedule an initial evaluation or reserve your space at our New Patient Event.

Juicing Adventures

Like juicing, everything in life can be viewed as an adventure and an opportunity to learn. As I have gotten older I have noticed that I am kinder to myself with mistakes. I view mistakes as a learning experience. I am realizing that I will never be perfect, but I can be better. And I have commended myself to this process. It’s actually quite lovely!

So I wouldn’t call it a mistake exactly, but my feelings about juicing have flip-flopped a few times since I’ve been on this health journey. Juicing! It’s what many people think of when they think health. They think they’ll have to juice things like garlic and kale. Not so! Here are some things I have learned about juicing over the years:

  • You can be healthy without juicing. If you’ve never owned a juicer and never plan to, there is still hope.
  • That said, you definitely can include fresh juice as a part of your health program. Different juices can be quite therapeutic!
  • Juicing can be really fun and delicious.
  • Cleaning a juicer can be a real pain.
  • Never, ever, juice radishes.

If you feel inclined to experiment with juicing, go for it! Here is a list of my favorite juices:

Celery

Cucumber

Turmeric (in small amounts)

Parsley

Cilantro

Lemon

Ginger (in small amounts)

Carrot

Beet

You will notice I do not juice fruits very often. I still feel like it’s better to eat the fruits and get the fiber, and avoid all that extra sugar. But please experiment for yourself and see what works for you!

Here is my diet log for the last couple of days:

Monday, 5AM – 2 cups coffee with cream

8 AM – fruit bowl with banana, apple, avocado, lemon juice

12:00 pm – Standard Process berry bar

1:00 pm – coconut yogurt with hemp seeds, blueberries and cinnamon

2:00 pm – salmon, asparagus, a few potato chips

4:00 pm – 1/2 cup cashews

8:00 pm – fig bar

8:45 pm – 5 slices of bacon, mixed greens salad with radish, cucumber and Bragg’s vinaigrette

Tuesday, 5 AM – 2 cups coffee with cream

7 AM – celery, parsley, cilantro, and garlic juice

8 AM – fruit bowl with banana, apple, mango, and pineapple (and lemon juice)

9 AM – 2 cups green tea

12:30 PM – grapes

2:00 PM – quinoa and millet with vegetables (onions, dulse, zucchini, marjoram, and celery)

3:00 PM – another cup green tea (I’m trying to have green or pu-erh tea instead of coffee in the afternoon)

3:30 PM – SP berry bar

Supper – not sure yet! Probably more bacon! YUM!

 

Cleansing Raw Foods

Recently I needed to switch my food selections up a bit and I decided to give raw foods a try. Not for the long term! Just short-term to see what the effect is in my body. I make a point to try everything for myself first. Only then do I pass the information along to others. So I needed a change. And raw it is!

First of all, you may be gasping, “what about the carbs?!?” I gasped the same thing. Almost to the point to having a panic attack! Yes, I am very concerned about carbs. And some raw foods (i.e. fruits) are just loaded with carbs. But I am dedicated to any information or manner of doing things that may help others. I made the determination to try it!

I started with lemon juice fresh-squeezed into a glass of water.

Then coffee with cream. Yes I know it is not raw.

Then I had a breakfast shake. 2 bananas, 2 blood oranges, a handful of spinach, and 2 mangoes. Blended in the Vitamix. (This made two shakes, one for me, and one for Dr. Sheehan, by the way).

Dr. Sheehan added some Standard Process Whey Pro Complete and SP Complete to his. I kept mine free of any protein. To my surprise, I have not collapsed from a protein deficiency.

For lunch I had a big salad with greens, cilantro, cucumbers, carrots, radish and fruits (!) like pineapple and lime juice for dressing.

I was hungry between lunch and dinner, so I ate some nuts.

For dinner I can’t remember what I did that first day. It may have been three carrots with hummus.

And so it went. My first two to three days of eating like this I felt pretty bad. I woke up with a hung-over feeling even though I hadn’t had any alcohol. Throughout the day I was slightly headachey. This is not normal for me. But I stuck with it. I’m happy to report these symptoms have cleared up. I feel more clear with good energy.

At this point I am only about two weeks into my raw experience. I admit I am only eating 50-75% raw. But I’m going to stick it out a little more and see what happens.

I am avoiding refined foods – white refined or cane sugar, breads and flour products, and any type of soda, like the plague.

It just makes sense to me to do it this way. Raw or no!

Please don’t let the picture fool you, actually detest baby carrots and prefer their grown-up counterparts in all cases. I have been known to eat them but they are not my go-to.

Stay tuned!

Natural Deodorant

Deodorant is a product that everyone needs. Many do not realize there are harmful chemicals in most over the counter deodorant. I have been searching for a natural deodorant that actually works for many years now. I have tried lots of different products with varying results. For a long time I used the “Natural Rock” (roll-on or crystal) combined with another natural roll-on. That did seem to work, but I had to use both of them. Either one by itself didn’t do the trick, if you know what I mean. But now I believe I have found a simpler solution. Magnesium oil. Have you ever heard of it? It’s magnesium chloride flakes mixed with water. Lots of folks use it for topical pain relief. There’s a great article on how to make it Here. Turns out the stuff is also wonderful for controlling unpleasant body odor. Now, it won’t act as an anti-perspirant. I have not found anything natural that will do that. I’m over it. I use Magnesium Oil as my deodorant. It’s simple, effective, and completely benign if not outright beneficial to put this stuff on your body.

 

Here is my diet record for the last couple of days:

Wednesday, January 13

7:15 AM – coffee with butter & coconut oil

8:00 AM – ground beef with onion and mushrooms, 1/2 avocado and fermented hot sauce

10:00 AM – vanilla almond paleo bar

12:00 PM – fruit compote with Whey Pro Complete (blueberries, mixed berries, 1/2 banana)

1:45 PM – ate at Lemon St. Market – tuna salad (sustainable), kale salad, a bite of lentil soup and 1/2 of a stevia-sweetened chocolate bar

6:00 PM – cashews

herbal tea throughout the day

Thursday, January 14

7:45 AM – coffee with butter & coconut oil

8:30 AM – scrambled eggs with 1/2 avocado, fermented hot sauce & 1 TBSP dulse flakes

10:00 AM – vanilla almond paleo bar

12:00 PM – fruit compote (see yesterday)

2:30 PM – leftover tuna salad

Supper? TBD…DipCo may await! In which case it will be a cheat meal with fish & chips & a beer.

Surmounting Stress

Surmouning stress in today’s world can seem impossible. Dr. Sheehan weighs in on his own view of stress and what we can do to master our stress and live more relaxed and productive lives.

So what exactly is stress?  Where does it come from?  What effects does it have on my body, and my soul?  What can I do about it?  To answer all of these, and more, we must first talk about the three types of stress, so we can adequately determine what type(s) we have, and then we can determine what to do about them.

Let me start off by saying that there are lots of different ways of dealing with stress, this is not the only way.

Let us start by splitting stress into 3 different categories:

  1. Physical stress-this is stress you feel in your body, and comes from nutritional deficiencies, and incorrect eating habits for you. This is the one that we will primarily deal with tonight.  Physical stress will make the other stresses less manageable.  Your body sees stress in an additive way, in other words, it all adds up. If you have 10 units of physical stress, 4 units of mental stress, and 3 units of Spiritual Stress, you have an overall stress index of 17.
  2. Mental stress-this is stress you usually feel in your head, although it can be felt anywhere in your body, and comes from someone or something either stopping you from doing something, or forcing you to do something you do not really want to do (but usually feel that you have to).
  3. Spiritual stress-this comes from not doing something you know you really should do, or doing something you shouldn’t be doing. It’s more self-imposed than mental stress.

Just knowing the three types of stress makes most people feel better already.  It also makes dealing with stress less of a Herculean task.

So how do we deal with stress?  In a nutshell, here’s the way to deal with the three different types of stress:

  1. Physical stress-We use Nutrition Response Testing to deal with this. In a nutshell, cut down on sugar and carbs, up the protein and fats to balance blood sugar, and stress hormones.  Address nutritional deficiencies in the body, especially those affecting the heart, liver, adrenal glands, brain, minerals, and hormones in the body.  Also make sure that there in not a neurotransmitter imbalance that can be helped by organ support, herbal and amino acid supplementation.
  2. Mental and Spiritual Stress-there is a fair amount of overlap of these two, so it’s better if we lump them together. Make a list of all the things you want to do in your life.  Really do this, write it down.  Are you doing them?  Answer that question first.  If you are not doing them, why not?  If the answer is a person or a thing that is keeping you from what you are doing, that is a mental stress.
  3. Is there anything you should be doing, but are not? Make a list, like you did in #2.  Like are you smoking, and know that you shouldn’t?  How about overeating?  How about exercise?  How about meditating?  The list can go on and on.  Bringing awareness to this subject though, is often quite illuminating, and often helps us.  You get the idea.
  4. Another thing get stressed about a lot, and this can cause spiritual and mental stress, is repetitive thoughts they have, which are stressful. A friend I know who was very into stress reduction decided one day to write down his thoughts all day.  To his amazement, he wrote the same four things, over and over all day!  Our minds are perpetual motion machines, and when they have nothing to do, they just keep working, working, working, and it’s not usually something nice and positive they work on.  As a quick exercise, if everyone could hear your thoughts, would you be embarrassed, scared, or very proud of your evolved mind?  You get the idea.

So to deal with these stressful thoughts, I often turn to “The Work” by Byron Katie. If you don’t know who she is, look her up on YouTube, or better yet, buy one of her books, such as “Loving What Is”.  You can also look up her website.  She gives very clear instructions on how to do The Work.  Oftentimes, doing The Work, will help illuminate the answers to the three types of stress I have listed above.  I did The Work along with a facilitator for 4 years following an extremely stressful event in my life.  I can’t say enough good about it.  If I feel stressed, or can’t sleep (I’m a chronic insomniac, although it’s 85% better), I do The Work, and I totally chill out.  Just ask my wife.

From the above, it should be obvious to you that it’s easier to deal with some stress than others.  Here’s the trick to the whole thing though, that most people don’t know.  You’re body and mind add together all stress, and count it as one number.  You can also deal with it in the same way.  Sometimes it’s hard to deal with the mental and spiritual stress, but relatively easy to deal with the physical stresses.  In this case, deal with the physical stresses, which will bring down your overall stress load, and make you feel a lot better.  Then you’ll naturally deal with the mental and spiritual stresses easier:  it won’t feel as overwhelming to you.  In fact, that’s why we deal with primarily physical stress in our clinic, it makes it easier to deal with mental and spiritual stresses.

Photo Credit: Scott Koring

Toothpaste Naturally

Recently I had a good reason to change my toothpaste habits. Keith was away over the weekend and he took the toothpaste with him! I kept meaning to go out to get more but I just never made it. So the end of the day came,–time for me to brush my teeth. And there was no toothpaste in the house! Emergency? Perhaps. Opportunity? Definitely!

I had been using a natural toothpaste – Weleda Sea Salt. I really like that toothpaste, but it is expensive. I also like the Eco-Dent tooth powder (especially the fennel flavor!). I searched through the cabinets and there was none to be found. Then I remembered my reading about natural approaches to oral hygeine. It was time to get creative.

In my head, I ran down the list of items I had in the house I might be able to use for a “toothpaste”:

Baking Soda (too blech)

Essential Oils (maybe-too strong to use by themselves though)

Hydrogen Peroxide (too strong by itself, and should not be used with silver fillings)

Sea Salt (a definite possibility, although a bit too salty)

Various herbal liquids (soothing and healing, but not terribly cleansing)

Apple Cider Vinegar (some people gargle with it)

Phosfood Liquid (a Standard Process supplement – will take off tartar really well but should only be used VERY infrequently)

Coconut Oil (hmmm, couldn’t think of a downside here)

I finally settled on coconut oil to to brush with. It’s anti-microbial, soothing, healing, and goopy enough to take off the residue of the day (gross!). Plus you can eat it! So it’s completely safe. And I had it on my kitchen counter. So without having to mix anything together or do anything fussy, I scooped a a few tablespoons into a little dish and took it upstairs to the sink. Then I put a fava-bean-sized amount on my toothbrush and brushed away. It felt great! My teeth felt smooth and it actually freshened my mouth! I imagine I could have easily added a couple of drops of peppermint oil. I could have mixed a few ingredients together from the above list to be creative. But I am satisfied with straight coconut oil. Plus, it saved me a trip to the health food store.

I also like oil pulling, and I recommend it to my clients. You can read more about this interesting oral hygeine technique here.

I hope you learned a little bit about how you can take care of your mouth…naturally!

Sunday Breakfast

Sunday breakfast is my favorite breakfast of the week 🙂 On Sunday, I love to sleep in (if I can) and then have a leisurely  breakfast with my husband. In contrast to weekday breakfasts, I go all-out on Sunday. My typical rule is not to eat carbs for breakfast or lunch, because I noticed I have better energy throughout the day. But the “no-carb” breakfast rule is not in force on Sunday! My other rule is no sugar, and I do not break that, except every once in a great while, and not at breakfast. So on Sundays Keith and I love to cook breakfast together and enjoy spending some unhurried time with each other. It’s always a sad moment when 2 pm rolls around on a Sunday, which means the (short) weekend is almost over and it’s time to gear up for the coming week!

Because Sunday morning breakfast has become a bit of a ritual in my house, I wanted to share some of my favorite “breakfast treats”. I hope you enjoy!

Paleo Apple Fritters – Elana’s Pantry

Low Carb Pork Rind Pancakes – Mr. Breakfast      Yes….I know. Pork rinds! It’s what’s for breakfast!

Breakfast Frittata – The Paleo Mom

AIP Turkey Breakfast Sausage – Autoimmune Wellness (although I will probably use pastured pork for now, as we are both off poultry – long story)

Gluten Free French Toast – Paleogrubs (But I used Amaranth Gluten Free Bakery’s Sunflower and Honey Bread – o.m.g)

So I hope you try some of these recipes, which I have enjoyed myself very much.

Intro to Drugless Healing – What Put Chiropractic On the Map

What put chiropractic on the map? Chiropractic is an interesting subject, and also a relatively new healing method. There is nothing more interesting to me than drugless healing. Did you know that Chiropractic is the largest drugless healing method in the world?

Many people go to chiropractors, but many others still have not experienced this method of healing. In this blog post I would like to discuss a little bit about the history of chiropractic. How did it become so successful and well-known?

The first chiropractic patient was cured of his deafness in 1895 by the first chiropractor, D.D. Palmer. You can read his story here.

After that Dr. Palmer began to train others, and the chiropractic method began to spread. People began to report amazing recoveries and results.

But what really put chiropractic on the map is its incredible successc treating influenza patients during the Epidemic of 1918. Take a look at chiropractic’s great statistics helping influenza patients in this link.

Chiropractic remains one of the safest, most effective methods of health care. And chiropractic is not just for neck and back pain. Did you know, we have seen patients get well from infertility, bladder infections, carpal tunnel, insomnia, and have even stopped smoking, just from getting adjusted?

And here is my food journal for the last couple of days:

Monday 1/31/17

8:30 AM: 2 cups of coffee with heavy cream, 2 pieces of meatloaf, celery w/hummus (4)

12:30 PM: more meatloaf with Oasis ketchup (4)

3 PM: SP berry bar (20)

6:30 PM: slice of sourdough cinnamon raisin break with butter (Malinda brought it for me, I couldn’t resist) (12)

8:15 PM: Cesar salad with cheesesteak meat from Pasquale’s (10 maybe?)

total carbs: 50

Tuesday 2/1/17

8AM: coffee with cream

9AM: 1 hamburger (plain, no bun), guacamole, carrot and hummus (4), celery and pb (4)

12:30 PM: SP berry bar (20)

2:45 PM: Latte from Lemon St. Market, 6 oz. jerusalem artichoke soup (maybe 18 g of carbs?), slice gf bread with butter (12), SP chocolate (4), tuna salad

7 PM: Dinner at DipCo! 1 martini (10), 1 greek salad with blackened catfish (0), stuffed mushroom caps (0?)

Total carbs – 72