How to Choose Your Lyme Specialist?

How to Choose Your Lyme Specialist?

For some of us it may take years of suffering and misdiagnosis before we are given a Lyme disease diagnosis, and others get a Lyme diagnosis only weeks after getting…

For some of us it may take years of suffering and misdiagnosis before we are given a Lyme disease diagnosis, and others get a Lyme diagnosis only weeks after getting infected – but then what?

Every hospital and doctor’s practice has their own methodology of dealing with infection.  For years most follow the guidelines set by the IDSA (Infectious Disease Society of America), but they are finding that there are many virulent strains that are not destroyed by the IDSA protocol ( a few weeks of Doxy), so that now there are more and more chronic cases appearing all over the country.

As this number continues to rise along with those who are being diagnosed for the first time after years of suffering, well, we are looking at a HUGE snowball effect – an epidemic beyond our worst nightmare.

But of course if you listen to a Harvard Medical School Professor you will be told, “There is no such thing as chronic Lyme disease!” He (or she) will turn their nose up at the hundreds of thousands of people who manifest chronic Lyme disease.  They ignore the  suffering patients who are unable to deal with the excruciating pain caused by the disease and unable to accomplish the simplest tasks of every day life.

According to one infectious disease specialist, the condescending remarks indicated his sincere belief that we are choosing to be sick…choosing to give up our vibrant, productive and enjoyable lives to live in dark rooms, bedridden in pain that defies description.  I’m sorry, do I sound bitter?

It doesn’t take most people very long to realize they need a medical provider who understands Lyme disease and can treat it effectively.  These doctors seem to be few and far between – forced to practice in secret for the most part because of the costly lawsuits that have been brought upon Lyme specialists by the IDSA – NOT patients.  These doctors try to practice under the radar except in those states that have passed laws

protecting the doctors from being sued for treating Lyme.

There was a time when you could get a recommendation from the Lyme Disease Foundation’s database of Lyme-literate doctors. However, now they encourage you to work with your primary care physician, and to mail in a $10 processing fee just to get the name of a doctor in your area for a second opinion!

It is only natural when facing such a scary disease, that the victims would want the top specialist – the best – hoping that will give

them the best chance of complete recovery.  Well, it has always been true that wealth afford certain advantages; fly to India for a stem cell transplant if you can afford it, but even some of the big name Lyme doctors around here get $1000.00 for the first consultation.  Treatment costs are above and beyond that and can easily run between $50,000 – $150,000 and more depending on the protocol and length of treatment.

I remember crying to my sister who had recommended an affordable homeopathic doctor who had supposedly cured two people of Lyme ,”…how can I take a chance with someone with so little experience?  I have no life!  I am a ghost!  I need a doctor who knows what they are doing!”

Here I am four years later still struggling – MUCH better but still a ghost asking the same question, “What doctor should I go to?”

One of our community emailed me about a chiropractor who was having great success with curing Lyme in Pocatello, Idaho. The local news station did a story on the clinic that follows:

The West Chiropractic Clinic in Pocatello has been family owned since 1916, passed down for four generations.

Dr. Jason west is the current owner and sees patients from all over the world.

Sara ward, from Burley, had been sick since she was a three-years-old.

Sara Ward, 17 years old: “Strep, Kidney infections, gall bladder attacks, high fevers, migraines, and stomach aches…”

At sixteen years old she spent three weeks at Primary Children’s Hospital, paralyzed and on IV’s, and still no diagnosis. Her mother took one last chance to save her life, left the hospital, and came to the West Chiropractic Clinic in Pocatello.

Sara Ward, 17 years old: “I wasn’t even conscious.”

Dr. Jason West carried Sara inside, put her on IV’s and stayed with her until 4 in the morning. West diagnosed Sara with Chronic Lymes Disease. Sara and her mother lived in a trailer in the back of the West Clinic while she received treatments, and today, Sara, for the first time since she was a toddler, is thriving.

Sara Ward, 17 years old: “I can’t even say in words. I can’t thank them enough for everything they’ve done for me.”

The West Clinic in Pocatello treats patients from all over the world. A map in their lobby allows their patients to mark where they’re from.

Dr. Jason West, West Clinic: “We’ve estimated that 50% of our patient base comes from out of the state.”

And since Sara’s story–which she now has posted on Youtube–people with Chronic Lyme’s Disease, from all over the country, are finding their way to Pocatello.

Sara Ward, 17 years old: “I did the story so that they can come up here and get help.”

Larry H. Miller and John Stockton frequented Pocatello for the care offered by the West’s. Miller wrote about the clinic in his autobiography “Driven.”

Dr. Jason West, West Clinic: “Professional rodeo guys. We’ve got NFL guys. NBA. Hockey guys. Major League baseball.”

But it’s not just athletes that fly into Pocatello for treatments.

Dr. Jason West, West Clinic: “We treat a lot of movie stars. Believe it or not, they come to Pocatello. And they typically fly in and I’ll have the staff go out and to the airport and pick them up.”

But for the West’s, it doesn’t matter who their patients are, or where they come from, as long as they can help people, like Sara, live their best lives.

Dr. Jason West, West Clinic: “I don’t care who gets the credit as long as the patient gets better.”

Sara Ward, 17 years old: “They saved my life.”

To see Sara’s story on You Tube go to:

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3 Responses to How to Choose Your Lyme Specialist?

  1. Tamara Heikalo says:

    For those of us who are unable to go to the Pocatello West Clinic, are there sources of information about treatment procedures that we can provide our doctors to help us recover, with the same professed success as this clinic?

    • Jenna Smith says:

      Hi Tamara –

      It is tough to find a good LLMD – there are good ones in most states but you need to find referrals which you can usually get from your state foundation.


  2. Mandy says:

    Hi Jenna,
    Thank you so much for all the information you have shared on your blog! I also have Lyme disease, as does my 17 year old daughter, and we are trying to get our other 3 kids tested. We have been searching for answers and researching all we can, and have been running into so many of the road blocks that you described. I really like what I’m hearing about Dr. West and his treatment, but I’m trying to get a general idea of what we might be looking at financially. We live in Southern Oregon, so if you have any information about places to stay, or if he has anything available on-site, we’d really like to know about it. We are in a lot of medical debt because of our years of trying to find answers for myself as well as multiple people in our family.
    Thank you so much for your help!
    Sincerely, Mandy

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