Francesca Owens has really been through it. A fitness buff, she entered a fitness competition at age thirty-nine and won with 11.4% body fat and a fitness age of eighteen, but after becoming pregnant with her second child in 2001 something changed.
By the summer of 2004 she was getting lost in a neighborhood she’d lived in for decades. In 2006 after a successful open heart valve surgery, Francesca suffered three strokes followed again by another blow of a ventricular tachycardia episode.
With these events exacerbating her fatigue and cognitive issues, she abandoned her stock brokerage practice, her public office position, her environmental grant writing and her wild tiger traveling art exhibition and went on disability.
Bladder surgery in 2009 left her with a chronic pain condition. It was not until 2011 after a SPECT scan that she was diagnosed with the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome she’d been suffering from for almost ten years. At that point she was at a 2-4 on Dr. Lerner’s energy scale and in constant pain.
Recently we saw another master ME/CFS physician, Dr. Chia, at work in Christine’s blog “Can This Really Be Happening”?. Now, Francesca on video describes another master ME/CFS physician, Dr. Nancy Klimas, at work. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a complex illness and neither Dr. Chia nor Dr. Klimas are miracle workers. I know of people who’ve benefited from seeing them and others who have not, but they both bring an approach to this disease that’s borne of years of experience.
In Francesca’s first visit, Dr. Klimas diagnosed her with Myofascial Pain Syndrome, POTS and a high lateral infarct (a type of heart attack or stroke). Her vitamin D and B12 levels were too low as well.
Dr. Klimas recommended Low Dose Naltrexone and Francesca had a tough time with it at first, but after four weeks on a low dose (1.5 mgs.) the pain began to lift a bit. By November she was up to 4.5 mgs./night and was pulsing Immunovir and taking Valtrex (3mgs/daily). Her NK levels shot up from a 1.78% to 35%. Late in 2012 she also experienced Optic Neuritis which affected the sight in her left eye.
Last week she saw Dr. Klimas for the first time in over a year, and she had a load of issues, from her family’s history of breast cancer, to her heart issues, to shingles and her eye issues, to her natural killer cell tests, to her relapse …eleven major issues.
Francesca Owens on her Visit with Dr. Klimas