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under our skin

Lyme Success Story - Samson

In spite of the turmoil Lyme can cause, many people are living happy and productive post-Lyme lives. I've had the fortune to connect with a number of them. Samson's story is a really uplifting example.

The first thing you notice about Samson is his upbeat attitude, in spite of the long journey he took back to health. He's a happy young man, originally from Detroit, who worked hard to earn his way into his dream profession, the music business, in L.A. To an outsider, it may appear as if he's always had a lucky star, and that may be true! But the thing he's really good at is not giving up. He's a vivid example of being proactive in your own healing.

His story, like a novel with lots of ups and downs and a happy ending, includes knee surgery for puffiness, an inflamed jaw, a frozen shoulder, tons of research, nightmarish
symptoms and three different protocols in eight months. It also features travel – lots of travel – around the US, to places such as the Mayo Clinic, to seek out specialists to diagnose and treat his illness.

Like shooting a squirt gun
Until he finally found himself back on the road to good health, Samson never stopped trying to find a way to heal from Lyme. The worst period for him was from age 21 to 28. At one point he visited Dr. Andrew Weil's clinic in Tucson, where he was directed to try an Eastern approach. He used alternative medicines and meditation. He read Weil's book Spontaneous Healing, and became a vegan for a year. That resulted in anemia, although it did give him a little relief from his symptoms. At another point, he fasted on water only for two weeks, in another attempt to get down to the root cause, which also resulted in a bit of relief. But it was hardly enough.

Samson was also taking Omega 3's, turmeric,
curcumin, and other supplements. But he says that when you're dealing with Lyme bacteria, taking supplements without taking antibiotics is like shooting a squirt gun at a person who is trying to do harm. It won't stop them, but it will give you the satisfaction of doing something.

curing Lyme disease
Finding confidence
A turning point came one day, when Samson happened on the trailer online for the acclaimed film about Lyme,
Under Our Skin. He proceeded directly to Lyme specialist Dr. Daniel Cameron in New York, and began antibiotic treatment for about three weeks. But his intuition urged him to continue seeking help, and it was only when he walked into Dr. Raphael Stricker's office in San Francisco that he felt confident about kicking Lyme.

Samson, who works as a talent manager and is in scout development in the music business in Los Angeles, has a lighthearted way of telling his story, but anyone who knows how difficult Lyme is, will recognize the cost, the resources, and the steely perseverance he had to devote to healing. Perseverance, and always listening to his intuition, have no doubt fueled his healing journey.

“I've always been very intuitive, and grateful for that!” he says.

Today, Samson has finally won his life back from Lyme, and he's feeling great and right on track, exactly where his intuition told him he belonged.

Join the LDRD to listen to Samson’s story.

Please keep in mind that your success story might just help lift the spirits of someone who needs it most. Call us if you would like to share.




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Dr. Phil sheds light on chronic Lyme treatment

Dr Phil brought mass attention to “persistent Lyme disease” on his show last spring. Fashion model Stephanie Vostry who was featured on the show appeared sick, fragile, and miserable under the studio lights. Watching, my heart went out to her, and to weathercaster Brooke Landau and a longtime Doctor Phil staffer who were seated in the audience, and who also shared some of their experiences with what they termed chronic Lyme disease. If you are very ill at this moment, please judge for yourself how much you want to watch of the clip, which includes footage from Under Our Skin. This stuff is disturbing. And real.

Stephanie’s treatments have put her in financial jeopardy. She started an online campaign at
gofundme.com to raise money to pay for her Lyme treatments. So far she’s raised over $10,000 toward her $20,000 goal.

The show was difficult to watch, and I think it raised my anxiety level about 300%! I am grateful to Dr Phil for shedding light on this controversial disease and on the use of long-term antibiotics. Even though I’ve been in the state that Stephanie is in, I realize now how thoroughly I have disconnected from the memories of being that bad off. What amazes me about Lyme disease is that you can go through utter hell, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and financially, and that you can come back to life. It really has been literally like being raised from the dead.

Have you watched the show? What did you think of the way
Lyme disease was presented to the public?

Watch
Under Our Skin for free on Hulu.


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Working with Lyme brain - Under Our Skin

Under Our Skin filmmaker Andy Abrahams Wilson discussing his film on The Wrap.

I have to laugh now, because in retrospect it's funny, but at the time it was embarrassing. It's a memory of my interview with Andy, which I conducted a few years back before the Turn the Corner Foundation stepped in to help fund his film. I'm sure he didn't think much of the incident.

In our conversation, Andy was very gracious. He spoke eloquently about his sister's trouble with Lyme disease, and later, his feeling of helplessness when a close friend of his then discovered she also was suffering from late-stage Lyme. He'd been so moved to do something about the misunderstandings around Lyme symptoms and Lyme treatment, that he entered into the long process of making Under Our Skin, which is still gaining ground and helping the Lyme community to get the word out.

The embarrassing part was that in interviewing him, I couldn't get my phone recording equipment to start correctly. Lyme brain was so intense at the time for me, that I couldn't fix the problem. I had to hang up and call him back. I was too proud to admit that I was having a hard time that day. I couldn't tell whether it was the equipment or me who was glitching. However, Andy was incredibly kind and generous, and allowed me to reschedule our talk for later that day.

It wasn't the first time that had happened. A month earlier, I'd gotten through an interview with Dr Christine Horner, but I could barely hear her the entire time. My tinnitus was roaring, but that wasn't it. It was that awful, foggy Lyme brain again. It took away my ability to multi-task and hold two thoughts at a time. Normally I'm a fairly good troubleshooter, but there was no way I could troubleshoot and conduct an interview at the same time. It didn't even occur to me to ask if we could reschedule. When the interview was complete I hung up, and discovered that I'd put my earphone in backwards. No wonder she'd sounded faint the whole time.

These are not pretty memories.

However, remembering the bad times allow me to measure how far I've come back into balance. Using my brain is one of my favorite hobbies. I guess I'm grateful for all my Lyme experiences now, since I've come out on the other side, and can actually work my recording equipment pretty smoothly again...usually.

What about you? Care to share a Lymie memory? Please share your story in the comments!
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"My year in HELL"

It's Friday, and I wanted to share this with you all. One our readers, Kim Jones, gave us permission to post this happy note. If you're sick, take heart and know that there are many, many people who are beating Lyme:

It has been a year since a nasty little tick gave me the disease from HELL. But I am back among the living. And living well. Feeling better than ever! Something I did not think was possible a year ago. Some days were so hopeless and I was too tired to read in bed or walk down my driveway to get the mail let alone work or go out with friends.

I dreaded the full moon and nights of restless sleep and days of endless exhaustion. The joint pain was incredible and I could not think through the brain fog to function in any normal sort of way. I will forever look back on May 2008 as the beginning of my year in HELL.

Never mind the swirl of doctors and pills and tests that we have all gone through and the endless researching and reading to find an answer. I absolutely was consumed with finding a cure - I was not going to let this ruin my life. I was absolutely glued to my computer screen searching every LD site I could find.

Then later, when Under Our Skin came out (I bought an advance copy), I watched it over and over while I cried seemingly endless tears. But I refused to allow this to happen to me. Mine is a story of strength and perseverance and just plain stubbornness on my part. Even from the beginning I made my mind up that this THING was NOT going to get me. I was going to beat it.

And I have beat it. Thanks to self-determination, excellent nutrition, LOTS of exercise, and meditative positive thinking. Also, with support from my husband and an excellent local LPN, the only one in the medical community who would listen and help me with meds and support, and a team of online supporters.

I have WON this battle. I am symptom free now for over 3 months. No meds, no brain fog, no fatigue, no rash, nothing. I really am free of this dreaded disease. I now have my life back - whoooooooppppppeeeee!
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Lymelife

A ragged-looking deer roams through Charlie Bragg's backyard on densely forested Long Island. Charlie (superbly portrayed by Timothy Hutton) suffers from mysterious symptoms that prevent him from working, and torture him perhaps even as much as knowing his wife is dallying with her machismo boss.

It's the late 70s. Lyme disease is beginning to grab the attention of NE residents. Some of them observed a correlation between a tick-bite and a litany of disturbing symptoms ranging from rheumatoid arthritis to mental derangement. In Charlie's house, prescription bottles crowd the bedside table. He's taking penicillin, but we aren't clear how effective it is on his illness. Sometimes he seems almost normal, stringing up Christmas lights. Sometimes when he's alone, he writhes in pain.

He's not the same man I married, rants his desperate wife. His teenage daughter feels compassion, but she's powerless to help. Her own inner conflicts and the pulls and stabs of young adulthood are more than enough for her to handle. A hint of rot underlies the nice suburban constructs, which are coming to a head most visibly in the character of Charlie.

Some of Charlie's scenes made me shudder. As bad as Lyme disease is, and as frustrating as the controversies around it have become, at least we're not still living in the 1970s, when it was new. Some headway has been achieved since then.

Have you seen the movie? What do you think?

(Members, watch for my upcoming interview with Lymelife producer, writer and director, Steven Martini.)
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Tell your Lyme story to Obama

We were asked to post the following message about telling our Lyme stories to President Obama:

One of our San Diego support group members has made contact with a Barack Obama volunteer who is also partly responsible for getting the movie UNDER OUR SKIN shown in San Diego. This is an excerpt from their email:

"Hearing your story yesterday when we talked, helped me to be even more inspired to bring the message of Lyme Disease and Health Care Reform to as many people will listen. I encourage you to help bring to light the plight of Lyme patients. This is a once in a lifetime moment when we can share our health care stories. The Obama administration is listening and they want to help. Please visit
http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/healthcarestory to share your story and take the time to encourage all Lyme suffers in your association to do the same and then forward this message on to more Lyme sufferers. The more Lyme stories received the more likely they will get recognition at the federal level. Lyme disease so poignantly illustrates all that is wrong with health care in America."

Regardless of your political opinions, this is an opportunity to get extensive media coverage about LYME Disease, which can only be a benefit to those currently suffering, and hopefully prevent the future suffering of others.
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Dr. Oz interviews Under Our Skin filmmaker

We received a flood of comments about Oprah's interest in Lyme disease. She's listening! And now there's someone you'll want to listen to as well.

You can hear Oprah's Dr. Oz this week on XM Radio as he interviews filmmaker Andy Abrahams Wilson, whose Lyme documentary Under Our Skin is helping turn the tide of attention toward this controversial and misunderstood disease.

The show airs Wednesday, November 26th at 1 a.m. 7 a.m. and 6 pm EST. Oprah and Friends producers say people who don’t subscribe to the satellite radio can also listen by going to http://www.oprah.com/radio and clicking on the “Free 30 Day XM Radio Trial.” Register and you can listen online.

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Lyme documentary filmmaker's speech

When filmmaker Andy Abrahams Wilson began making his Lyme documentary, Under Our Skin, he was driven by compassion and curiosity, two potent characteristics that led him to uncover the stories of many people who were struggling in silence. By winning the Vision of Hope Award from the prestigious Turn the Corner Foundation, Andy hopes the film will lend its weight to the collective tipping point needed to bring Lyme disease to the forefront of public awareness.

"My being was changed irrevocably by what I witnessed: suffering, injustice, and deafening silence. And above all: the courage of so many to persevere, to fight for life amidst the eclipse of light: the pain, fear, loneliness, and the mantra ‘It’s all in your head,’ " he says.

Read the full text of Andy Abrahams Wilson's acceptance speech for his Vision of Hope award on the Under Our Skin blog.
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Under Our Skin filmmaker honored



Congratulations to filmmaker Andy Abrahams Wilson, who is being honored this week at a Turn the Corner Foundation event in New York City. Andy's heartwrenching and eye-opening documentary film, Under Our Skin, exposes the medical establishment's frequent dismissal of people suffering with Lyme.

From the press release: Turn the Corner will present the Vision of Hope Award to Andy Abrahams Wilson, Producer/Director of Under Our Skin, a film that investigates the shocking human, medical and political dimensions of Lyme disease, for his efforts to raise awareness for chronic Lyme disease. Leading Lyme-literate physician, Bernard D. Raxlen, MD, will receive the Humanitarian Award for his dedication to treating patients with tick-borne diseases, including Lyme.

"TTC is doing important work for the Lyme community, and has been a great force behind Under Our Skin," said Andy Abrahams Wilson. "Thanks to our joint efforts, the mainstream medical establishment can no longer ignore or marginalize chronic Lyme disease and its sufferers."


Andy is a featured expert in the LDRD's interview series.
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Lyme story airs!

According to Brooke Landau, Lyme activist and TV news reporter, television stations listen and respond when they are deluged with requests from viewers to air stories about a specific topic. Viewers are their bread and butter. Please take the time to comment on the ABC website to let them know you appreciate the story they aired this morning about the documentary film, Under Our Skin. Here's my comment to them:

Thank you, thank you for bringing this growing epidemic to light. However, as many have already noted, the majority of people suffering with Lyme disease never saw a tick bite, and never had the bull's eye rash. In addition, the tests for Lyme have what one physician refers to as "coin toss sensitivity," meaning that if you toss a coin, you get results that are just about as accurate as using the ELISA or the Western Blot for testing positive. According to ILADs physicians I have interviewed for the Lyme Disease Research Database, the CDC has a long history of ignoring scientific evidence for the existence of chronic Lyme disease. Thanks to CT Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, the IDSA is now being forced to review its Lyme disease treatment guidelines. People who are suffering with Lyme due to misdiagnosis, under-diagnosis, and simple ignorance have long been forced to become their own health advocates, often at a time in their lives when they are extremely sick. I applaud you for airing this segment on the Lyme controversy, yet I am disappointed to see that your reporters did not bother to investigate the accuracy of the numbers of new cases of Lyme reported each year. As someone else commented, that 20,000 quote is hideously underestimated. Next time, I hope you have the courage to quote numbers that are closer to the actual truth.

In the Lyme documentary Under Our Skin, filmmaker Andy Abrahams Wilson (Open Eye Pictures) exposes the cruel dismissal that the medical establishment frequently gives people who are sick and suffering with Lyme. The film opened in April at the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC. Andy is featured in the LDRD's interview series.
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Lyme is making headline news

A book and a film. How many times have you read a book, or seen a film, that shook your world view, opened your eyes, that made you take a second look at something you thought you understood. As a smart, sensitive person you've probably had that experience all throughout your life. Now is the time to pick up (and share) a phenomenal new book and go see a mind-expanding documentary film. Both deal head-on with the controversy surrounding the growing epidemic of Lyme disease. Be sure to watch the coverage on Good Morning America, ABC News, on Thursday July 3. It's important to let them know you're glad to see a story about Lyme on the mainstream news! Post your responses to their discussion on their website: http://abcnews.go.com/gma

Cure Unknown: Inside the Lyme Epidemic, is science journalist Pamela Weintraub's new book about her family's innocent decent into the living hell of Lyme, their tribulations and subsequent conquest over this grueling disease. According to Kaja Perina, editor in chief of Psychology Today, "This is an important and unforgettable book, destined to make a lasting contribution to the field of investigative health journalism.”

In the Lyme documentary Under Our Skin, filmmaker Andy Abrahams Wilson (Open Eye Pictures) exposes the cruel dismissal that the medical establishment frequently gives people who are sick and suffering with Lyme. The film opened in April at the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC. Andy is featured in the LDRD's interview series.
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