Chronic The Hidden Cause of the Autoimmune Pandemic and How to Get Healthy Again by Steven Phillips, MD and Dana Parish
"A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, & a new generation grows up that is familiar with it." - German physicist Max Planck In other words, change does not occur because scientists with incorrect opinions change their minds in response to sound evidence, but rather because younger generations of scientists are more open to new ideas."
After nearly 20 years of suffering with health problems that no Doctor could ever hope to understand or address aside from IBS & incurable autoimmune disease, I like many others in my shoes, gave up on the doctors drug pushing in pursuit of alternative treatments.
"Big Pharma doesn't sell cures, it sells bandages - very expensive bandages that require lifelong refills. No pharmaceutical company is interested in finding the cause of autoimmune disease & eradicating it. That wouldn't be profitable."
I decided to try to get better on my own by reading books and seeing what might "stick". My plan worked. I now feel better than I did when I was in my twenties, but to say I'm completely better would be a lie. The first step to improving my health was changing my lifestyle. Things like getting more exercise & fresh air, less TV, quitting booze, eating healthier, etc. The thing is, the older I get, the less recovered (aka in remission) I am feeling. The authors explain this phenomenon as our bodies burden growing the longer we live. Therefore our bodies are subjected to more & more invaders, giving our bodies more to have to fight which increases inflammation. This in turn creates more health problems. But can they be cured? That's what this book explores.
My current management plan has been a shelf full of supplements, quitting my job to start my own small eco-farm (now my full time job) where I know exactly where my food comes from. The exercise from such an endeavor is nothing to sneeze at. I also follow a combination of a low FODMAPs/AIP diet. All of this in attempts to keep my symptoms in remission. Does it work? Most of the time yes.
Chronic opens the door to a new possibility at to the why of autoimmune disease. While the books main focus is on Lyme's (it calls all other autoimmune diseases Lyme +) it is not exclusively about Lyme's & it really is eye opening. However, there are a few problems with this book Most damning is that it is not written in an engaging way. It is too technical. Even the layout is not user friendly. The chapters on how to get better are not as helpful as one would hope.
My main take away from this book is to go to the Doctor (good luck with that as the meat of the book features numerous patients who sometimes had to visit upwards of 25 doctors before they were properly treated!), go on antibiotics & do "pulsing". Pulsing is going on a particular antibiotic for a certain length of time, then off the antibiotic for typically the same length of time, then back on the antibiotic for a certain length of them, then off the antibiotic... taking antibiotics off & on in "pulses".
The authors also touch on other possible methods for treating autoimmune disease aka Lyme + such as lifestyle changes, alternative therapies, dietary changes and supplementation. The dietary changes were often conflicting. In one section a Paleo diet is recommended. Later a Mediterranean diet is touted as best, then even later a Vegan diet is strongly encouraged. My conclusion is not that any of these types of diets are necessarily better than the other, that instead they are all reasonable options to try thanks to what they don't promote - processed "foods". Instead they tend to focus on things like Low carb, whole foods, unprocessed, home cooked, grass fed and finished, fruits and vegetables in their natural recognizable form, etc. By now everyone should know that fast food, meals in a box you "cook" at home, eating too many sweets, too much caffeine, processed meats... processed anything really is not good for you. How can you ever expect your body to heal if you don't nourish it with whole foods?
While this book was initially difficult to get into, by page 44 or so, it started to pay off. There is a lot to think about in the theory that bug bites in general (not just bites from ticks) are causing sickness in our bodies because our bodies are constantly trying to fight off invaders that are fast & sneaky. This in turn causes a wide range of health problems with no understood cause (autoimmune disease) when in the authors opinion there is a cause, it is the body fighting the invader. If the invader is mainly in the brain, the bodies defense could cause Parkinson’s for example.
One of Dr. Phillips patients who fully recovered after Dr. Phillips treated him, reported back to his previous doctor of his amazing results. His previous doctor (who didn't help him get better in the first place) responded to these results by saying "Sounds like voodoo medicine."
"And so it is in medicine that arrogance frequently goes hand in hand with ignorance. It's a wonder medical science makes any progress at all."
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