I apologize for the delay in updates again. I know many of you are very anxious to hear "the rest of the story." I have just gotten back home from an extended stay at Shand's Hospital in Gainesville, FL where I was newly diagnosed with chronic gastritis and duodenitis. Upon endoscopy with biopsies, I also have findings specific to eosinophilic esophagitis and mast cells in my small bowel. I have lost 35 lbs in two months and have been going into anaphylactic shock just upon waking up without eating or drinking anything. I was on complete bowel rest during the week I was in the hospital, with a dextrose drip being my only food. I have only been able to tolerate organic chicken broth for the last two weeks. I was put on Zyrtec, Zantac and Singulair, proton pump inhibitors and steroids. A mast cell stabilizer will be next. I have been put on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)--an eating plan that has been used with great success over many years in order to heal people's guts. Disappointingly, I was told my gut would be healed in as little as "three days" by Dr. Sponaugle upon getting his specialized treatment at FDWI. Clearly, that did not happen.
While these conditions may be newly diagnosed, I was having symptoms of all these things during my time at FDWI. But the thing is, nothing is really diagnosed at FDWI besides Lyme, mold and occasionally, mycoplasma. Sure, everyone comes in with different issues which have been diagnosed by other doctors, but at FDWI, all of these things are just reduced to toxic brains and as a result, everyone gets the very same treatment--Vitamin C and amino acid IVs. The only variations I saw of this was a little more or little less of something like b vitamins or magnesium. I did see one girl get antibiotic treatment for mycoplasma after many weeks of the Vitamin C and aminos failed. She ended up having bad side effects in her tendons and left the clinic.
The gut is NOT treated at FDWI. Even though it is considered the "second brain" and sends its own signals to the brain, it isn't even talked about there. While I was there, many patients absconded over to Lifeworks Wellness where doctors Springer and Minkhoff offer most everything Sponaugle does--and then some--with much better care and organization and at a MUCH better price. They at least acknowledge the HUGE role the gut plays in chronic illnesses and treat the patient accordingly.
Most people with chronic issues and illness have leaky gut, yeast and dysbiosis of the small bowel. This isn't often a result, but a CAUSE of chronic illness. But healing the gut is not quick; it sure doesn't take "three days." The SCD diet, for instance, can take up to two years or more to work. Two years is not the type of treatment that Dr. Sponaugle deals in. His treatment is six weeks. He wants you in and out in that time and wants to take the next patient's money. If you don't respond to the treatment, then you didn't do something he told you to and it's your fault. This is at least how he seems to justify the MANY FDWI failures in his mind (please don't believe the ninety-something percent success rate that may have been quoted to you; there is nothing they can give you to back this up). That, and I truly believe that he just compartmentalizes because he is in denial that his treatments aren't as effective as he would like them to be. If the masses found that out, however, he would be ruined and thus, he's created a massive marketing scheme to perpetuate a mythical cure.
Don't get me wrong: there are multiple sides to Dr. Rick Sponaugle and like any mad scientist, he has Jeykell and Hyde tendencies for sure. For instance, he professes to be a Christian and has lots of artwork and scriptures on his wall that would suggest that. He has helped to build a church overseas (a picture and story of which he prominently displays in his lobby), and he does show moments of generosity to his patients: he gave my mother and me our first round of supplements for free. Yes, we had both just paid almost 10k each (that amount only covered IVs and what was supposed to be one appointment with Sponaugle per week, but even that didnt happen because he had a fit and took off for over ten days, seeing no patients during this time), but these brief moments of charity were overshadowed by his completely erratic behavior: yelling at patients, calling patients whiners, mocking other believers there by calling them "Chreeshtains" and using air quotes while doing it, badgering patients who complained that the treatment wasn't working for them, violating HIPAA laws right and left, firing staff members for their incompetence when he was the one changing the rules on them practically every day, berating and demeaning his nurses in front of patients and anyone else who was around (one time he got on my nurse Dennis so badly that Dennis chewed a bloody hole in his bottom lip), acting recklessly with medical treatments without doing his due diligence (the hospital where he was doing patients' rapid detox took away his privileges while I was at FDWI), and just on and on.
The bottom line is, I am no better, and in fact worse, since the treatment at FDWI. I am also about 35K poorer. This has been the experience of every other person I still keep in contact with that I met at FDWI, with the exception of one woman who did feel like the treatment detoxed her from all the antibiotics she had taken over the years for Chronic Lyme. I am hoping these people will write their own accounts so I can post them here.
There are pictures of many people on the FDWI site that Dr. Sponaugle claims to have healed, including my own mother, but this is just because they get you to sign a release for your photographs the very first time you see anyone and they are quite persistent about it too. As an attorney, I wasn't going to sign anything until I saw results and was sure I wanted to recommend the treatment, but my mom went ahead and signed and handed it in before I could tell her not to. Other patients have called me asking how to get their names and pictures off the FDWI website. My experience there has been the experience of many. I would be very wary of all the positive posts you may be seeing out there. I am not at liberty to discuss much about this but I can tell you that Dr. Sponaugle is extremely literate when it comes to Internet advertising and using it to his advantage. There are all sorts of ways to push good reviews on sites that may not have been written by actual customers. There are also ways to push up sites that you want seen by potential customers and push down sites that might contain harmful information about you or your business.
So please, if you just cant wait for the updates, I would tell you do not buy into the hype. You can make yourself a lot worse by going to this clinic and you're going to spend a lot of money. If you want to try Vitamin C IVs, I am sure there is another holistic doctor closer to you that does them. They may not be as strong, but quite frankly, you don't need them to be. As far as amino acid IVs, you should NOT do these if you have any metal amalgams in your mouth, possible heavy metal toxicity, or any number of specific gene mutations that may affect specific areas of your methylation cycle. For more information on the dangers of amino acid IVs with glutathione in them, join Frequent Dose Chelation on Yahoo and research Dr. Andy Cutler. For more information about gene mutations and the methylation cycle, see the work of Dr. Amy Yasko and join the CFSYasko group on Yahoo.
I cannot recommend this treatment because it didn't work, is dangerous, and I found the doctor to be very erratic and reckless. In my future posts, I will talk about how he prescribed my mother thyroid hormone because he believed she was Type II Hypothyroid, even though her TSH was at a .1 (.5 being the very lowest it should have been). This was after we explained that our family has a history of autoimmune disease, and specifically Grave's Disease, which would mean that she could have easily been HYPERthyroid, not Type II HYPOthyroid. Instead of doing any due diligence and sending my mom to an endocrinologist, he prescribed the thyroid hormone. After a week on this, my mom was much worse. He could have put her in thyroid storm and killed her. Fortunately, my mom quit taking the meds and we went to see an endocrinologist on our own. Sure enough, she had the antibodies for Grave's and the radioactive iodine scan came back positive as well. At our next appointment, we reluctantly told Sponaugle about us seeing an endocrinologist and had to listen to him for 10 minutes fly off the handle about why he knew better than all these other doctors and how irritated he was that we went behind his back. When he finally calmed down, we told him what the actual results of my mom's tests were and that she did have Grave's and not Type II Hypothyroidism, and he just changed the subject. That is but one story of many.
I want to make it clear that I am not a woman scorned. I am not mad, upset or regretful that I went and got this treatment. I feel like it was part of God's plan for me because He has allowed me to go the long way around on the journey to my miracle. I met other patients at FDWI that I feel humbled and honored to know and their stories are now woven into my own. I also feel like my experience can and will be used to help others as they are so desperately searching for the cure for their loved ones, or themselves. I want my mistakes and set backs to be out there for others to ponder as they are making very important, and potentially life-altering, treatment decisions. That is the whole point of this blog.