Long Treatment Regimen Reaps Dividends for Irene

Dr. Lerner's protocol takes time for this complex chronic fatigue syndrome patient

  1. Cort
    Source of the Story:
    Provided to Health Rising
    Name:
    Irene
    Diagnosis:
    • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
    • Depression
    Disease Course Over Time:
    Irene was a 49 year-old tenured teacher at a top 20 liberal arts college when, in the fall of 2001, she begins to notice a severe decrease in energy, plus migraines and other symptoms. She's diagnosed with Hashimoto's Syndrome. When she goes off of her antidepressant medication she becomes more depressed. Then in 2004 she experiences new, more severe kind of exhaustion - chronic fatigue syndrome - plus joint pains, memory loss, extreme shortness of breath, exercise intolerance.

    in 2004 Dr. Lerner diagnoses her with an EBV infection, puts her on Valtrex and later Babesia plus atenolol. Treatment consists of 1) Valtrex, anti-viral for Epstein Barr virus, valcyte for HV6; 2) Rest and no-exercise, avoidance of stress; 3) No alcohol, tobacco, recreational drugs.

    As of 2012 she's at 75%, teaches 4 courses/year and the pain in her joints are gone unless she overexerts. (she is careful not to overexert.)
    Approximate Date of Illness Began:
    2001-2005
    Duration:
    11-15 years
    Symptoms:
    Exhaustion, joint pains, memory loss, extreme shortness of breath, exercise intolerance, depression
    Antiviral or Immune Modulators That Made a Difference for You:
    Valtrex
    Other Treatments That Made a Big Difference:
    Valcyte
    Positive Test Results:
    Epstein-Barr Infection, HHV-6, Babesia
    Present State of Health:
    • Leads near normal life but cannot exercise vigorously
    Practitioner Associated With Recovery:
    Dr. Lerner
    Suggested Resources:
    Dr. Lerner
    Words of Advice:
    1) Consider Dr. Lerner. He is publishing results of research performed with co-authors on his treatment and the causes of CFS in peer-reviewed journals. Similar research is being done on CFS by researchers at Stanford that is finding CFS also can be caused by other types of viruses, such as HV6. Dr. Lerner is the only doctor I know of who is currently providing this treatment (or any treatment working for a cure).

    2) Rest, rest, rest. If I could have taken more time away from work, or even at a reduced work level, than I was able to, I am sure that I would have gotten better faster.

    3) Avoid stress. This can be very difficult because the illness itself causes your life to be more stressful. To try to get well, I went away for a couple of 2 month stretches to a relative’s house. These were very important times for my recovery. I took as much leave from my job as I could and still keep it.

    4) Do not exercise. Everyone I knew, including most doctors, told me I should “get out” and exercise more. Exercise only caused me to get worse. And if the heart is compromised, as Dr. Lerner’s research says, then exercise can be dangerous.

    5) And, of course, ignore those who say it is depression. But, do not refuse to be treated for depression, or anxiety, etc. if you are suffering from these just because you don’t want anyone to think you are depressed and not suffering from something else as well.

    You might have both problems. I have taken anti-depressants the entire time I have had CFS. They keep my depression at bay. I often feel bad because I have CFS, because of the limits it has placed on my life, because of the problems it has caused for my family especially, but that is not the same as depression, even though it has often made me cry and even feel despair.
    Rest, rest, rest. If I could have taken more time away from work, or even at a reduced work level, than I was able to, I am sure that I would have gotten better faster.

    Images

    1. Acceptance--sign.jpg
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