"HOW DID YOU GET LYME DISEASE?
In July 2004, I was playing golf in Montauk, Long Island, where I have a home. Halfway through the round, I felt something funny, and I ha...Read more
"HOW DID YOU GET LYME DISEASE?
In July 2004, I was playing golf in Montauk, Long Island, where I have a home. Halfway through the round, I felt something funny, and I had a tick that was sitting on my hip. Actually, in my hip. I kind of threw it off and didn’t think much of it—I just thought, I want this little bugger off me.
About a month later, I got a 105-degree fever—105 is really high. I was concerned. I had a really stiff neck; I thought I had meningitis. I went to a doctor in Brooklyn who tested me, and he said he didn’t think I had meningitis, he’d give me antibiotics and I should be okay. I got them and pretty quickly felt better.
BUT YOU WEREN’T BETTER?
A month later, in August, I got married and went on my honeymoon in Kenya and the Seychelles—storybook wedding, beautiful honeymoon. But towards the last week, I was just feeling awful. I had no energy, couldn’t keep up with my wife on a bike or hiking. And then I got a low-grade fever. I thought I must have gotten malaria when I was in Kenya.
SOUNDS LOGICAL. DID YOU GO TO A DOCTOR?
We flew back to New York, but coming through the airport I was so ill that I had to use a luggage mover as a walker. I couldn’t stand up. I got to the emergency room at Weill Cornell [Hospital in New York], and they tested my vitals. The machine for blood pressure didn’t work. They got another one, and that didn’t work. There were no numbers showing up. So the nurse tested me manually; the machines weren’t broken—they just weren’t registering. She told me, “Your heartbeat is 26 beats a minute. You should be unconscious by now.”
I DIDN’T KNOW YOU COULD LIVE WITH A HEARTBEAT THAT SLOW.
A professional bike rider or soccer player probably has a resting heart rate in the high 40s. For me to be in the 20s meant that I was probably a day or so from dying.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?
They rush me into surgery and put a temporary transvenous pacemaker in me. The disease specialist said, “This is very rare, but I think you have Lyme disease, and the bacteria is surrounding your heart and blocking the electro-physiology of the heart.”...Read less
"Medications can be very useful for short-term health problems, but in my view they should not be stand-alone treatments for long-term management of ch...Read more
"Medications can be very useful for short-term health problems, but in my view they should not be stand-alone treatments for long-term management of chronic health conditions. Not only because of the risks of toxic reactions, but also the possibility that they could prolong or intensify conditions as a result of the body’s homeostatic reaction to them as it tries to rebalance itself.
For instance, patients on P.P.I.s (proton pump inhibitors) — like Prilosec, Nexium and Prevacid for GERD — need to understand that once on these medications for any length of time, it is very difficult to get off them because symptoms return worse than before. Better not to start on them at all.
Here’s another example: I would only use antidepressants for very severe depression and then only for a year at most. With long-term use, they can intensify or prolong depression. For mild to moderate depressions I would try other measures: regular exercise, reducing caffeine, acupuncture, cognitive therapy, vitamins B and D, St. John’s Wort, fish oil — and spending more time in the company of happier people.
I believe that if you present information to people in the right way, they will get it. Some alternatives to medications work quickly. For instance, stinging nettle works just as fast as any antihistamine for hay fever, without any of the downside of the antihistamine."...Read less
"Gluten sensitivity does not cause the intestinal and other organ damage wrought by celiac disease, although people with it tend to experience an array of symptoms. The h...Read more
"Gluten sensitivity does not cause the intestinal and other organ damage wrought by celiac disease, although people with it tend to experience an array of symptoms. The health of three members of my family with non-celiac gluten sensitivity improved significantly when they eliminated gluten; one, who had struggled in vain for nearly a decade to lose weight, lost 40 pounds easily when she cut gluten from her diet.
Despite the current focus on gluten, there are probably many people walking around with celiac disease who don’t know they have it. The disorder can induce a host of vague and often confusing symptoms, the true cause of which may not be determined for a decade or longer. Among possible symptoms: abdominal pain, bloating, gas, chronic diarrhea, or constipation; chronic fatigue, anemia, unexplained weight loss, or muscle cramps; missed periods, infertility or recurrent miscarriage; vitamin deficiencies, discolored tooth enamel, bone loss and fractures."...Read less