This week, Jill has decided to dedicate the entire show to a heal segment as she takes a closer look at Lyme disease.
It’s a topic we’ve looked at before. Back on episode 18 Jill talked to Dr. Neil Spector about his struggles with chronic Lyme disease. Dr. Spector is oncologist and cancer researcher so it was all the more surprising when nobody could work out what was wrong with him. He spent four years trying to find out what was wrong with him only to find out that he had chronic Lyme disease. Unfortunately, by the time he had been diagnosed his heart had been so damaged that he required a heart transplant. You can revisit Dr. Spector’s story here.
The whole show provoked a reaction, which prompted Jill to delve a little deeper into the subject of chronic Lyme disease. Jill decided to pay a visit to her friend Dana Parish. Dana is a well-known singer and songwriter who had recently been documenting her battle with Lyme disease on the Huffington Post.
Dana was bitten by a tick and had the classic bull’s-eye rash associated with Lyme. She took a course of antibiotics prescribed by her doctor in the dose recommended by the CDC and she thought that would be the end of it. However, Dana didn’t get better. On the contrary she got much worse. She tried to get help and 11 different doctors told her that her symptoms couldn’t be due to Lyme disease. In fact her story is very similar to Dr. Spector’s in that her symptoms were misdiagnosed. Meanwhile, unknown to anyone, the infection was damaging her heart. Dana shares more about her experience on the show.
Fortunately though, her story does have a happy ending because she finally found herself in the very capable hands of Dr. Steven Phillips. Dr. Phillips is the former president of the International Lyme And Associated Diseases Society (ILADS). He is a Yale-trained expert specializing in Lyme disease and other associated infections and treated Dana for chronic Lyme. The controversy is that not all doctors believe that there is such a thing as chronic Lyme disease. In fact, the CDC says patients whose fatigue, pain and other symptoms last longer than six months have what’s called post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome.
The doctors that believe in chronic Lyme disease maintain that patients like Dana who have stubborn symptoms have them because of persistent or new infections including co-infections. As a result these “Lyme Literate” doctors often prescribe long-term anti-biotic treatments. Meanwhile, the advice of the CDC is that patients who have persistent symptoms don’t have active Lyme disease but are having an autoimmune reaction or some kind of inflammatory reaction to the disease. As a result, as much deliberation goes on between medical experts, patients like Dana and Dr. Spector back on episode 18 continue to suffer.
On this week’s episode Jill asks Dr. Phillips how he views and treats chronic Lyme disease. Jill touches on why there is so much controversy and what sort of treatments are out there. Dana reveals how she got the care that she needed and how she recovered.