I thought you would all be interested in this story from Jimmy Branch about his son’s life-threatening experience with chronic Lyme. This story was sent to me from Florida Detox Wellness Center in Florida regarding Dr. Rick Sponaugle, who comes highly recommended by my own LLMD in Spain (Dr. A. Prokop.)
“A successful year of college, a cute girlfriend, and a sport truck – life was good for 20 year old John Branch. Youngest of 5 children, a secure family life, living at home, it takes a lot to rock your boat. Never sick, never any drugs…life was easy. However, a perfect storm of genetic and environmental conditions was brewing. Below the surface of our awareness, conditions that would steal and destroy John’s life, health and personality were coming together.”
“John’s athleticism hid the genetics which weakened his immune response to mold toxicity and Lyme infection (HLA-DR genes for 25% of the population). He carried in his blood 10 times the level of toxicity for tricothecenes and ochratoxin, two of the invisible gases emitted by mold. Tricothecene has been used for bio-chemical warfare; It shuts down the entire immune system. His brain had been battered by 8 years of playing football, making his already sensitive frontal lobe even more vulnerable to infections and toxicity.
Storm conditions worsen. An infected insect bite on his neck and persistent rash, sent John to the doctor for a week of antibiotics. The antibiotics delay for 4 months, a meningo-encelphalitic event that was to announce this storm with absolute fear, trepidation and confusion.
Photophobia, extreme headache, seizure-like tongue contusion, and out of control self-destructive behavior lands John handcuffed in a ambulance. “He’s on meth and going to jail,” announces the victorious deputy sheriff. An hour later, when John wakes up in the ER…un-aware of what had transpired, the cop capitulates, but still places him under the Baker Act for one night in the local psyche ward.
His perfect storm had manifested and was followed by months of catatonia, schizophrenia, autism, 9 months of different hospitalizations, psyche wards, and dozens of doctors. With health insurance, disability, hospital write offs and over $250,000 out-of-pocket, his bills exceeded $1,000,000. Our healthy, athletic son became a disheveled, helpless, mindless caricature of his former self.
He had been hospitalized at University of Alabama at Birmingham initially. Evidence of encephalitis was found in his spinal tap. Signs of infection demanded short term antibiotics, but no diagnostic lab could pinpoint the cause.
This was to become the pattern for every hospital the next four years. When we notified UAB two weeks after our stay that John had two positive ELISA Lyme tests and a 5 band, very positive, western blot from our local walk in clinic, they had a difficult time accepting the diagnosis. “There’s no Lyme in the South,” one doctor explained.
Part of the storm that formed for John, included a medical/political/insurance issue that can get you diagnosed a hypochondriac and your doctor persecuted like a quack.
In 2010, while on 9 months of daily IV antibiotics, John becomes cationic for 3 months. We learned to feed him with a straw adapted as a pipet until he was placed on a feeding tube.
We eventually sought help at New York Presbyterian at Cornell. We knew of a Lyme-psyche researcher at NYP Columbia and had hoped for some awareness of Lyme, or at least better testing, at Cornell. I guess our dramatic story of driving straight from Florida to NY for help, got around the hospital. One of the neurologists sarcastically told us in front of 6 other doctors: “You couldn’t have gotten any closer to Brian Fallon (from Columbia) if you had driven to Miami instead of New York.”
The months of oral and IV antibiotics, biofilm development, and tissue sequestration, must have hidden all the bacteria. John was serologically negative according to the primary lab tests and all of his symptoms were psychological. Psyche wards became our only “harbor of medical hope” for two years.
Psyche drugs were of little help. But the psyche realm offered electro-convulsive therapy. Those shock treatments woke him up for two 5 months periods…enough to regain his driver’s license, re-enter school, and buy some time for lyme treatment from non-traditional lyme doctors. Then he would relapse, not to a coma, more of a deep autistic-zombie-mute state. The psyche docs thought he was depressed. The lyme doctors saw infections by lab secondary markers un-known to traditional doctors. Finally, after 2 years, the psyche-ECT doctor gave up. The ECT worked only temporarily to detox John’s brain. Then we found Sponaugle Wellness Institute.
Dr. Sponaugle recognized, John had a toxic lobotomy. He knew what labs were necessary to identify John’s infections. He also understood how to penetrate the biofilms that were sequestering John’s mold, bacterial, fungal, and viral infections.
With four years of immuno-suppression equal to that of an aids patient, John had developed several complications besides Lyme and mold: Babesia, Bartonella, 6 viruses, FL1953 bacteria, Candida fungus, Morgellons, worms and parasites. From day one, Dr S. knew more about John’s brain than any neurologist or psyche doctor we had seen in the prior 4 years. We had seen several Lyme literate doctors – very intelligent and caring doctors – but John’s case had pushed them to the limit of understanding and treatment because of his high toxic load and mental symptoms.
Presently, John is almost back to full-time functionality. If hadn’t been for Dr. S, we would have finally given up and settled for a lifetime of half-way houses, psyche drugs, and psyche wards for our son. As for most patients there, Sponaugle Wellness Institute was our last hope for medical help.
Dr. Sponaugle is neither super human, nor angel, but God has given him understanding and tools that heal very sick people. We shall ever be grateful for his help through our “perfect storm” because we know there are thousands, just like John, who are still suffering and drowning in this nightmare of a storm.”
Don’t give up hope. I am sure we can all relate to the severe illness and/or infections that hospitals and or traditional MDs will diagnose as “unknown origin…it is so important to get the right tests done and find the right doctor for your own individual condition