Conventional providers are still currently asking patients to rest and take Tylenol or rely on supportive treatment when they have COVID. They are not treating patients for this SARS virus using the treatment protocols that we know to be effective because they are either unaware of these effective treatments, because they do not have the time or energy to read the research, or because they are scared that they will lose their license if they do so. In general, people go into this field of medicine because they want to serve others. Physicians, Chiropractors, NPs, PAs, Naturopaths, we all take an oath to act benevolently – to do good.
For me, this means that I will never sit idly by and watch people suffer when I know safe and effective ways to help get them well. This conversation is much bigger than germ theory vs. host theory or Democrat vs. Republican. (Both sides are wrong or telling incomplete truths so often) This is a conversation about ethics. If you have been trained to read through evidence and to apply evidence to your clinical work, then this pandemic is an opportunity to dig through research. If you have been trained to perform full, completely physical exams, and use your hands, your stethoscope and all of your other expensive tools to rule out life threatening emergencies – like blood clots – then this pandemic is an opportunity to do so. If you have been trained to offer patients options, to provide informed consent and to empower the patient to heal, then this pandemic is an opportunity to do so.
I did my undergrad in Biochemistry at Virginia Tech. There, I learned principles of the human body: how it works and what happens when it breaks down. I researched bacteria and genetics and I learned that laboratory experiments require precision, repetition, and discipline. I went to PA school at St. John’s University and my rotations were in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens. During these two years, I memorized many different conditions of the human body, learned the symptoms, the signs, and the conventional treatment for these conditions. On rotations, I learned how to keep this list of differentials in my mind, while talking to patients and investigating their illnesses. I learned that a simple smile was a comfort to patients when they were upset. And from there, I worked in conventional medical settings from 2009 until 2017. From 2018 to 2021, I studied Nutrition and Functional Medicine at the University of Western States and earned a master’s degree in this holistic field. But, it was in the clinic that I was able to find evidence for patients who wanted more options to treat their autoimmunity, or nutrition based options for their insulin resistance, or lifestyle modifications for their children’s ADHD. From the day we opened our doors in the Fall of 2017, patients came to us asking for more than what the conventional medical setting had offered them. They wanted a cure for their fibromyalgia, an end to their migraines, and treatment for their Lyme disease.
In the beginning, I dug through hours upon hours of nutrition journals each week, I listened to hours of podcasts on Mold each week, read books on heavy metal chelation, and I traveled to three-day Lyme conferences. I worked hard to search for solutions for patients who needed better options than drugs with horrible side effects. I adopted a policy that I would not write for benzodiazepines or other controlled substances, and instead learned of holistic approaches to anxiety. I offered patients research from meditation and yoga journals, and links to helpful websites like the LDN Research Trust and free webinars on mycotoxin or mercury illness. And, finally, I found myself thrilled and happy to be working in medicine, to be giving people answers rather than throwing prescriptions at symptoms.
So, when the pandemic started, back in December of 2019, I did what I had practiced – I dug out information on respiratory viruses, searched through articles on micro-clotting illness, and called and wrote to researchers and professors that I had trusted in the past. I found evidence that lemon balm capsules or tincture had antiviral activity, and so, I recommend this to patients who contracted COVID. I monitored patients’ zinc and Vitamin D levels, watched their CRP, ferritin and thyroid hormones, and addressed their cortisol imbalances. I was used to doing all of this work because it is what I was doing before the pandemic started. Then, monoclonal antibodies came out, and we added them to options we could give patients who got COVID. We increased the dose of IV Vitamin C for those who were acutely sick and saw great results. We offered IV Ozone as well. When I learned that Ivermectin acted to open up zinc channels, I suspected that it would help patients fight COVID. So, I read more and found that Ivermectin worked by increasing intracellular zinc levels and by blocking spike protein attachment, and I started to prescribe it to my adult, non-pregnant patients, in doses appropriate to their weight.
I was shocked when I found myself arguing with a pharmacist one day who told me that there was “No evidence that Ivermectin was safe.” She clearly did not know that I researched everything that I prescribed. I asked for her email address and quickly sent her four paragraphs summarizing the studies that had been done up until that point and links to the studies themselves. She told me that her pharmacy board would not allow her to fill my prescription.
Our provider kept on doing what we are good at – treating patients who are acutely sick with individualized plans: the dose of vitamin D depended on what their deficiency level was. Could they tolerate Quercetin? Were they over-methylating or could they take activated B vitamins? Did they need Glutathione IV or could they take it orally? Was fluvoxamine a good option for the Day 5 depression associated with acute COVID?
Every step of the plan to get a patient through COVID requires that you first have a sense of who they are. What is going on inside their body that you cannot see with your eyes? And, what can you see with your eyes? Are they anxious? Do they have patches of hair missing? Do they have brittle nails? What do their heart and lungs sound like?
This is the work that we love to do. It is like detective work and the result is that you watch someone walk out of the clinic feeling better. Patients have thanked us for our thorough research, for taking our time with them, and for not being afraid to examine them. (Sounds a little like the HIV pandemic, but I don’t want to digress to that topic here.)
Currently as I write this article, it is August 11, 2022. In the past week, I have seen four patients with improperly treated COVID (termed “long-haul”). This means that even though we were available, they did not call us or come in when their symptoms began. They waited until well after Day 5-6, when the viral load typically decreases, and the body’s immune system causes an inflammatory process called a cytokine storm. Their symptoms have ranged from brain fog, anxiety, panic attacks, vertigo, to dry cough, weight gain, fatigue, and hair loss. I have explained to each of these patients WHY early treatment is important and why we should have seen them early on in the course of their symptoms. Since it is too late for acute treatment, I have also offered them everything else that I can offer: LDN, glutathione, curcumin, anti-inflammatory diets, rosemary to balance the T regulatory cells and blood work to assess vitamin levels and ivermectin and fluvoxamine when appropriate. As I write this article, each of them is improving and for this I am grateful. But, the point that I am trying to make is that we are clinicians, we are research based and we are humans with hearts. How could I have justified sitting idly by while my patients suffered greatly from a virus? So what if this virus is different? So what if this virus’s spike protein was genetically modified somehow in a lab or if it naturally mutated? If working in the ICU in a rural county in North Carolina, or a methadone clinic in New York, had not scared me, then why would I let this virus scare me?
All I knew was that we needed to learn this virus, inside and out, and that those of us with the training and the experience to do so — we needed to give this world hope. I could not have surrendered to fear-based actions or to fear based information spreading. I had to focus on what I could do and how I could help. I can honestly say that no two patients that we have seen with COVID have been placed on the same exact doses or the same exact combination or herbs, supplements, and pharmaceuticals. And that is why medicine is an ART and a SCIENCE. That is why you can’t just plug in an algorithm and expect a computer to save a patient the same way that a human could. People everywhere – doctors in the FLCCC – and others who have decided they will risk too much if they publicly speak out– are treating people. Humans helping humans. And this will get us through the next two years. My only wish right now is that we take all that we have learned and apply it to the next pandemic. We all need to go back to ethics class and remember that it is not about who is right, but about what you do next that matters. Let’s educate our communities about why their baseline health is not great. Let’s teach people how the immune system works and how powerful plants can be for balancing the immune system. Let’s show our children that the bias of the current system is due to corruption and pharmaceutical lobbies. Let’s talk to one another, friend to friend and as clinicians, let’s do better.