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.

Caffeine Blues

I have been historically a big fan of caffeine: in fact about two years ago I wrote a very popular blog about coffee. I was explaining how to make your coffee “Bulletproof”. Now maybe you’ve heard of the “Bulletproof” blog. This blog (and online store) is geared toward helping people achieve their full potential–to get the most out of every area of their life. This is a purpose I can get behind…so check it out. And I love coffee. I have drunk a cup a day for years.

Here are a few of the different ways I have enjoyed my coffee:

  1. drip
  2. Fresh ground French press
  3. Espresso machine
  4. with coconut oil blended in
  5. with butter blended in
  6. “Bulletproof”
  7. with coconut oil and butter blended in
  8. with heavy cream
  9. with milk and sugar free caramel syrup
  10. with half and half, when traveling
  11. black (only when absolutely necessary)

You get the picture. For many years (probably about 10) I have looked forward to my daily coffee. I can remember going to sleep at night and saying to myself “I can’t wait for the morning when I can have my delicious cup of coffee.” Yes, it was true love.

But recently I decided to give it up. Last week, in fact. I have been one week free of coffee. Now why on earth would I decide to make such a batty move?

Well it all has to do with my thyroid and adrenals. Because I am personally what you would call (and we in our office call) a thyroid and adrenal case. It’s not that I have any sort of disease–it’s more that those organs are a little weak and tend toward imbalance from time to time. Especially when I’m under stress. It’s not that my life is terribly stressful, it’s more that I work a lot and demand a lot of myself, and I have to be “on” a lot, which demands that my thyroid and adrenals work harder than usual.

The other thing about thyroids, and from time to time my thyroid too, is that they can become imbalanced in sort of an unusual way. Not quite hypo–you’ve probably heard a lot about hypo-thyroid situations, and not quite hyper (maybe you’ve heard about hyper-thyroids as well). But it’s like the thyroid goes a bit out of whack and wavers between hypo and hyper, which correlates symptomatically to up and down emotions and fluctuations of energy levels as well. This is not a medical condition, it’s just something that we have observed with stressed-out thyroids. Nutrition Response Testing is the only way to identify this sensitive situation. These thyroids need extra special care in the form of nutritional support, stress reduction, and yes–reducing the use of stimulants such as caffeine.

So from time to time I feel a little tired out or a bit keyed-up…I have my husband check my thyroid. My thyroid health is something I’ve been working on using stress reduction, diet and supplementation, but the piece I’ve been missing is reducing the stimulants. This is why I took the plunge and decided to cut out the coffee.

The first few days were rough. I tried to make up for the coffee withdrawal by drinking lots of black tea and mate, but I was still feeling exhausted and foggy. But now I can gladly say now that I’m over the hump, and I’m going to cut my caffeine back little by little from here. And my energy is better! Somehow that one little cup of coffee a day was not serving me. But by golly, am I glad coffee was there for me when I needed it.

So don’t panic and assume that you need to cut out coffee. I almost never recommend that my clients cut it out. But certain people might benefit. Here is a great article by Chris Kresser on coffee:  “Coffee is good for you–unless it’s not.”

 

Here’s my diet log for the last few days:

Monday 10/31/16

7AM: black tea with milk (4)

8:30 AM: chicken with cabbage, onion and guacamole

11:00 AM: SP Berry bar (21)

2:30 PM: 1/2 c pecans (3), pumpkin seeds (1), chicken salad, homemade chai with rooibos and pu-erh tea

8:00 PM: sweet potato with butter (10), 1/2 diet coke, rooibos chai with milk and 1 tsp honey (10)

Carb total for Monday: 54 g

Tuesday 11/1/16

7:00 AM: homemade chai with mate and milk (4), chicken meatballs, black tea

1:30 PM: 1/2 SF chocolate bar (4), gluten free egg, cheese and bacon sandwich (34), mixed nuts (5), apple snitz (10), green tea

6:00 PM: potato chips (36), 1 diet coke

7:00 PM: mixed nuts (5), carrots (3), green tea with milk and stevia (4)

Carb total for Tuesday: 105

Nutrition Response Testing Graduation!

On September 24, 2016 I officially graduated from the final level of the Nutrition Response Testing program. This is the culmination of two years of training.

Nutrition Response testing is in my blood, so to speak. Dr. Sheehan helped me 18 years ago using a system of analysis very similar to Nutrition Response Testing. He helped me get rid of some chronic infections that I had been suffering with for years. He used natural supplements and herbs that worked with my body to actually fix what was going wrong. It was not a purely symptom-based approach. Conventional medical treatments (i.e. drugs) were not getting to the root cause of my chronic infections. What I really needed help with was fixing my immune system! At that time I “converted”. Nutrition Response Testing is my health care now! I have been able to take care of 99% of all of my health concerns using this system. The only time I go to the “regular doctor” is to get a skin tag removed. 🙂

Since I have begun doing nutritional counseling and using Nutrition Response Testing, I have been able to help many people with symptoms and physical problems they didn’t think anyone would be able to help. The secrets are to figure out: 1) what’s the body’s priority, 2) what’s stressing the body out, and 3) what is the best approach to fix these things. I help people work with what their body is trying to accomplish instead of against it. Your body wants to heal; it’s always working to heal in fact. It’s just that sometimes there are road blocks that need to be cleared. My friend and colleague Sarah Outlaw in Cherry Hill, NJ has this to say about Nutrition Response testing.

One of the best things about being a graduate is that now I am part of a network of professionals. There are practitioners all over the country using this technique. These people were not satisfied with the status quo in health care and sought out Nutrition Response Testing so that they could really help their patients. Making a difference is what really matters, right? Helping someone to feel better…without the use of potentially dangerous and harmful treatments…that is what it’s all about! There is no better feeling on earth; it’s actually like a high. So now, back to work for me. And as for you…come check out what we have to offer. Come to a New Patient Day to learn more. Nutrition Response Testing changed my life. And if you qualify as a Nutrition Response Testing case, it has the potential to change yours.

Mommy Needs Whole Food Nutrition

Mommy needs whole food nutrition and the exact right supplement program (as determined by Nutrition Response Testing(R)). These are important for everyone’s health, but most importantly for hopeful, or expecting mothers. Getting onto a nutrition plan should begin well in advance of trying to conceive. This will ensure that mom (and dad!) have the best chance of an easy pregnancy and a healthy, well-nourished child. It makes sense! It’s because the proper development of the growing child depends on the nutrients available to the child from preconception through childhood.

Here are some important points for mommy and daddy to consider when baby-having is on their mind:

  1. Both mom and dad should be on a nutrition program at least three months before trying to conceive. This will improve their nutritional profile and ensure the baby has enough good vitamins and minerals to grow a healthy body.
  2. Whole food vitamins are perfectly safe and very effective for mommy and baby because they are made from food! Whole food vitamins are also great to help with milk production when breast-feeding.
  3. During pregnancy, as much as possible, eat foods in their whole form. Pasture-raised, organic, local–get the best quality you can. You’re growing another human body, in all of its wondrous complexity. This is not a time to skimp!
  4. Here is a great resource for feeding the family: http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/

And now here is the featured diet log of our client T.  who had high blood sugar and now he has brought his blood sugar down to normal (and avoided having to take meds! Go!) and lost 15 lbs so far and is still losing. He is following a “ketogenic diet” which is very low in carbohydrates, and very high in fat. He says he does not even crave sugar or sweets on this high-fat diet.

Tues

Breakfast 3egg omelette, diced tomatoes, jalapenos, one spicy italian sausage, guacamole cooked in avocado oil with avocado oil poured onto it

Lunch 2 organic gluten free and dairy free hotdogs, goat cheese crumbles, poured avocado oil on them

Snack 2tbsp of Almond butter

Dinner 1 doz wings with broasted hotsauce, celery, dipped in guacamole

Snack 2tbsp of almond Butter

Wednesday

Breakfast 8 gluten free meatballs, goat cheese crumbles, sirracha sauce, covered in olive oil

Snack 2tbsp almond butter

Lunch pulled pork, guacamole, avocado oil

Dinner Chicken smothered in guacamole, broccoli

Snack 2tbsp almond butter

My poor toe

Smash! Nutrition for Injuries

I recently got re-schooled in how useful nutrition can be for injuries. Two nights ago I was moving things around in the office and I dropped part of a CD player on my foot. I was trying to carry too many pieces at one time and one got away and landed directly on the base of the nail bed of my right big toe. I dropped to the floor. Oooooooouuuuch! I could do nothing but writhe around in pain for about a minute. Finally, I managed to hobble to my feet and get the rest of my evening activities accomplished. But when it came time for bed, I was worried. I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep. I was in too much pain. I tried some herbal pain relief and homeopathics. Didn’t make a dent. I resisted the Advil because it bothers my stomach. Finally at 2 AM I broke down and took some. It knocked the pain down a very slight tick. Just enough so I could get to sleep for a couple of hours. The next morning as I awoke I wondered how I was going to get through my work day with the pain I was in.

Then it hit me. Nutrition! I think nutrition for everything else, and it always helps me. But for some reason I hadn’t been thinking with the nutrition for injuries. It’s hard to break that medical-think (where you need something–a drug of some sort–to force the body’s symptoms down). The nutrition-think is to help the body along with what it’s trying to accomplish. So I immediately had Dr. Sheehan test me for supplements that provide the correct nutrients to help the body regulate the fluid balance and help tissue integrity. I took a dose and, voila, within a few minutes the pain level was down from a 9.5 to an 8! Now I don’t know about you, but I think a 9.5 pain level is too much to go through the day with. But an 8, although not good, is more manageable. This was yesterday. I made it through the day (albeit at a slower pace than I would have liked). I was able to sleep last night, through the night. The pain in my toe is localized to just the nail now. It’s getting better! I had to pound that particular whole food supplement all day. Frequent, high doses. But it’s helping. And now I won’t need to drill a hole in my nail (eek).

The moral of this story for me is to think nutrition first. Unless there’s an obvious situation that requires emergency medical attention, of course. Get the emergency handled and then help the body along with the correct supplements. Injuries respond to the exact right nutritional protocol as determined by Nutrition Response Testing(R). It makes sense, because in any kind of traumatic event or stress your body will need more of certain types of vitamins and minerals. Nutrition works!

Here is my food log for my trip. I’m not 100% proud of it because I didn’t feel so well on all the restaurant food. The bottom line is that my body is sensitive to crappy food and I have to keep it to a minimum.

4-27-2016 (Wednesday, the day I left to go to Florida for training)

6:45 AM: coffee with butter

8 AM: chicken and beef stew with onion, cabbage and cauliflower

12 PM: more chicken and beef stew

2:00 PM: salad at the airport with broccoli and tuna salad on top. It looked good in the case but had this gross sweet glaze on it that did not bode well, iced tea

4:00 PM: mixed nuts, peanuts, sea snax (on the plane)

7:00 PM: at a health food store cafeteria: paneer with potato, tomato and carrot, salmon, cucumber

9:00 PM: sugar free coconut ice cream, sweetened with erithrytol

4-28-2016 Thursday

7:30 AM: coffee with butter, turkey breast, carrots and green beans (cooked in my motel kitchenette)

10:00 AM: mixed nuts

12:30 PM: diner food – everything omlette with cheese and meat, mixed veg, potato

2:00 PM black tea chai with half and half

3 PM: spicy walnuts

8:30 PM: Caribbean restaurant: 1 mini-cornbread muffin (mistake), mashed sweet potato, jamaican greens, breaded fried shrimp (mistake), grouper cake, rice, tuna kebab with onion

4-29-2016 Friday

7:30 AM: coffee with butter, more turkey breast, spinach, green beans, carrot, avocado

10:30 AM: walnuts

12:45 PM: Greek Diner: clam chowder, icelandic cod, mashed potato, mixed veg

7:00 PM: Fancy restaurant for supper: raw salmon with avocado and plantain, mint, cucumber, lemon and lime virgin cocktail, sea scallops with potatoes, spinach, and some kind of sauce, broccoli and cheese soup

Both Thursday and Friday night I woke up in the middle of the night and was not able to sleep for several hours. This means I have consumed too much of some kind of food I am sensitive too. So now that I’m home I’ve cleaned up my act a bit. No restaurant food yet! And I’m feeling better, except for my toe 🙂

Let's get Going!

Constipation: 4 Simple Steps

Most people know that regular bowel function is imperative to proper detoxification of the body, and disease prevention.  Sometimes we forget the little things that help with constipation, though.  Here they are:

  1. Are you drinking enough water? People need about half their weight in ounces per day of water i.e.: a 160 pound woman needs about 80 ounces water.  You’ll need extra if you drink diuretics such as coffee.  Adequate water intake helps with bowel function, kidney function, and lubricates the joints.  Drink your prescribed amount of water for about 2 weeks to see the full effect.  Some people say they don’t like water; this is a sign that your body is not detoxifying correctly,–all the more reason to drink water!  If this is the case, though, adding a little lemon juice to the water usually makes it more palatable to drink.
  2. Are you eating enough fiber? To make sure you are eating enough fiber, make sure to eat 2 servings of fruit, and 3 servings of veggies per day.  This amounts to 2 medium size salads, and 2 apples for snacks, or the equivalent.  Raw or cooked veggies are fine.
  3. If the first two steps don’t work, try eating 3-6 soaked prunes each morning. Just take 3-6 organic, unsulfured prunes, put them in a bowl, and cover them in water the night before. In the morning, eat them.
  4. Walk at least 1 mile each day. The gentle massaging motion of walking keeps the contents of the gut moving in the right direction.

When these steps fail, it means there is another underlying cause of your constipation.  A correctly performed Nutrition Response Testing exam will find the underlying cause.