For many struggling with chronic illnesses, there is a deep desperation to get better. This can lead down many paths. In this podcast series, you will hear the story of Adam, who developed an acute illness following a viral infection that lead to chronic debilitating symptoms. He went down the path of Chronic Lyme diagnosis and treatment but didn't get better.
If you are like many who have fibromyalgia, you have not gotten the help you deserve. Many have gone down hopeful paths that have led to dead ends. Dead ends can be wrong diagnoses and failed treatments. This is what happened to Adam, a patient of mine. His story, however, ends with recovery despite eight years of deep struggle and hopelessness.
You might be surprised.
Was Adam a chronic couch potato? Did he get this illness because he was just lazy? Adam shared his background, " I was a former athlete as a child and up through college, a baseball player, basketball player, a really active person my whole life. I think it was almost to the degree that was comical where people would kind of give a hard time about my positive attitude all the time." How was his health until he got sick? "A healthy person pretty much my whole life, had some injuries, broke a few bones, was certainly sick on and off like anybody else, but nothing major ever."
Then one day, "it's funny, I remember the date it was August 11th, 2014. My wife Erin and I were going out of town that day and I woke up and said I was tired. She was driving, and I was in the passenger seat. She pulled the car over to the shoulder and looked at me and she said, What do you mean you're tired?"
" I'm just really tired today. And she was going out of town later that night. I spiked a really big fever, like 102 or 103 fever. I was feeling really sick. I woke up not feeling great and that was the beginning of this crazy journey."
You are going to the wrong doctor
After getting no answers from traditional medicine a friend said he needed to see a different doctor, "these Lyme literate doctors, folks that deal with Lyme on a different level."
This started him down a very long and expensive path through Lyme literate doctors, immunotherapies, and homeopathic treatments. He shared, "we should also have a graph that's adding up the dollars, right? Because every one of these isn't free and nothing's covered by insurance in this world? So even up to this point, every time I'm seeing one of these folks, it's at least $500 or it's a thousand dollars, or it's $1,500,equivalent to a salary in a year to go down each one of these kinds of paths."
Maybe it is Mold toxicity or more?
Adam shared, "So I shifted and started thinking about mold which was the first step to eventually me finding you, I went down the path of mold in 2018/19. I saw a mold specialist doctor, and, they had a different protocol I did a neuro quant MRI, which was my third MRI throughout this entire process because early on I was like, Do I have MS?
It doesn't make sense that I would be having these feelings in my body if there isn't a reason. But, "the doctors are always saying to me, Oh wow you actually tested great. There's no smoking gun?"
At the time he was convinced by the doctor that he had mold toxicity so he performed desperate actions. "I started in a hazmat suit, taking everything out, like stuff that I grew up with as a kid.I got rid of everything. That's what it was said I was supposed to do. That's what I did. He was told by the alternative medicine provider that he had mold but Western Medicine testing had never shown this and despite throwing away childhood memories he still didn't get better.
Brain training: Maybe the brain is misinterpreting a signal?
Adam shared, "I read some books on brain training and on what's really determining whether or not I have pain,? Do I actually have an infection or do I have an immune system causing the brain to might be misinterpreting a signal that might not make somebody else feel sick, but made me feel that way? And I started doing these practices and really working on them, and I made improvements for the first time."
"That sounds crazy, like legitimate, right? Like I was better, not better, like all the way better, but my attitude was a lot better. That was a big thing, I started to become active again. I started to spend less time thinking about what was wrong with me. It's great to be your advocate, as I was for years, but it's not great to be obsessed and to be thinking about it and overanalyzing everything that's going on in your body."
Adam reported his symptoms had improved with this training and change in perspective.
He felt there likely was a virus that had set things in motion and then "my body was working on trying to rebalance itself."
Like many with fibromyalgia and related problems and shared that "I also had a severe emotional trauma."
"Facts don't matter, but in the middle of this, about nine months before my first symptom, it was a major thing that happened to me that knocked me flat for a long time."
As Adam's story demonstrates, while you are in the middle of the battle, you may not be able to think about everything that was going on that led up to the struggle that you're going through.
Retrospectively he's able to recall the impact of major stress on his symptoms. This is likely familiar to many of you who are listening, who have fibromyalgia and related problems, as well as those who have loved ones or patients who are going through this.
The Light at the end of the tunnel.
"And it was when I was at the gym, the first day I was there, I was looking at a fibromyalgia podcast and I saw Conquering Your Fibromyalgia with you, and I listened. I will be honest, I'm never someone that listens to anything in order. I think you were talking about the symptoms of fibro and a couple of the stories that you had, and I called Erin who is my wife from the parking lot of the gym at 10 o'clock at night. I called her and said, I just listened to this podcast and did research. I couldn't believe that you were in the same state as me."