Naturodetox Podcast Episode 5 : Lyme Disease and Beyond with Dr. Marie Matheson

The following is a transcript from the NaturoDetox Podcast #5.

 Welcome to the NaturoDetox Show with your host, Meghan Kennedy Brind, a show about hope and the achieving optimal health in a toxic world. The food we eat, the products we use, the air we breathe, the people we interact with, and even the very thoughts we think. It's all here and it all affects us. This podcast was designed to help you navigate how you can not only survive, but thrive in today's world. You're the author to your story. So listen in and allow us to help you become the best version of you through discussions with a variety of wellness experts, you can gain access into this world that is yet to be fully unraveled, but is quite possibly the very key to vitality longevity and joy.


Meghan: Welcome to the NaturoDetox Show. Today we chat with Dr. Marie naturopathic doctor and co-founder of BioHeal Ottawa. Grounded in general practice skills, Dr. Marie thinks of herself as somewhat of a health detective for chronic illnesses, specifically when it comes to figuring out the underlying causes. Within this field, she is particularly well-known for her expertise in treating Lyme disease. Her willingness to freely share clinical pearls of wisdom among colleagues has led her to be a sought-after speaker at conferences. This, along with her professional reputation, provided an opportunity to be highlighted and Connie Strasheim's groundbreaking new book, the New Paradigms in Lyme Disease.

Meghan: Hi, it's your host, Meghan, and thank you for joining us on another episode of the NaturoDetox Show. Today, I have the pleasure of chatting with Dr. Marie Matheson, a well-known Lyme literate doctor and expert in discovering root causes of complex chronic illnesses in the naturopathic and functional world of medicine. Thank you, Dr. Marie for being here.

Dr. Marie: Thank you, Meghan.

Meghan: I've known Dr. Marie for a little while, at least two to three years and from both a professional and a personal perspective, the naturopathic world really is kind of a small world in some ways. And I discovered you through Scott at the BetterHealthGuy, who's an excellent podcast and also will be a guest on our show. He was discussing your expertise on Lyme disease and how incredibly advanced you were beyond your colleagues. This was, again, at least two to three years ago.

     And at the time he thought you would be a great fit for me. I was battling with my own chronic illness and had had very little diagnosis, direction, hope, really. And now Marie is the naturopath of my family, and also you've sort of become a colleague and a professional mentor to me. So I'm forever grateful for your knowledge in this area of functional medicine and your unique approach to chronic illness. You've been so vital to my own healing and so many others literally around the world. So it is an honor to have you today. Thank you again.

Dr. Marie: Oh, wow. Are you going to make me cry?

Meghan: That's a good little intro for you. You should put that on your front desk at your office. But it's true, it's absolutely true. So you are very well known in the functional integrative side of medicine and particularly, as I said, for your approach to treatment with Lyme disease. So as often with healers, I find that there is a journey that leads us to what we do in practice day to day with our patients. So what is your story? What led you to do what you do in clinic today?

Dr. Marie: Well, like all of us with a personal story, my niece was bitten years ago and I didn't know what Lyme disease was. I didn't even know, we'd barely touched us in school as you know, Meghan. And so I didn't know how to help her. She sought help, thankfully, from a good friend of mine now and Lyme literate medical doctor in the US using conventional and naturopathic therapies and completely recovered. My journey then followed through, of course, with my own children who were bitten by ticks. Of course, as a Lyme literate mother and doctor, I never ever saw a tick bite on my children, never saw a tick and I do tick checks every night, as you can imagine. But they both had ambiguous, very sparse type of rashes, not a bullseye rash, luckily for me, so that they recovered quite quickly as well. So yeah, it starts from a personal story for me.

Meghan: Of course. Yeah. And actually, it's funny too, because I sort of ... we'll talk about it but neurological Lyme was one of the, on the differential diagnosis list for me and that's Marie and I had worked through that. But my daughter, Harlow, was also this summer, was bit by a tick and even develop the bullseye rash. And Dr. Marie, you were a pinnacle of information for us and wealth of knowledge. So that Harlow is doing awesome now. So that was a really scary personal experience.

     And I truly believe that we can conquer Lyme and you're obviously at the front of that, and I'm excited for you to share all of that because when your family member is infected by Lyme, it is extremely personal and extremely tragic because there is a lot of complications as well again, talk about. But there is a lot of conflicting information I find, and yet so much to be understood about Lyme. So if you were to tell our listeners, what is Lyme disease and symptoms that people can tend to see? Because as you said, a lot of times you don't even see the bullseye rash. It's not presented. So what are kind of the key indicators that people can say, oh, geez, I might want to get tested for Lyme disease?

Dr. Marie: So I really want to preface that there's no perfect lab out there. So a good history as we do as naturopathic detectives or doctors and looking at keynote symptoms are, I think, the key when we're looking at diagnosing this illness. One of the main symptoms with Lyme disease that that stands out for me is migrating symptoms. So a person may come in and if it's osteoarthritis, it's always in that right knee, but with Lyme disease, it could move from the elbow to the knee, to the toe. It could be on the right side of the testicle. It's all these particular, peculiar symptoms that migraine said that come and go. And so patients just kind of chalk it off so well, maybe it was in the gym and now it's moved to this area. So I also will preface that at the true pathognomonic symptoms for Lyme disease, I probably see those twice a year.

     So the true flu-like symptoms, neck pain, joint pains, fatigue, which are attributed to Borrelia burgdorferi, it's strains of it, rarely walks into my office. I guess I treat really chronically sick patients. And so what I see is that the nuances that these insects are passing many different infections, which is why most of our patients are missed, which is why they don't fit in a box, which is why they've got all these neurological symptoms. Because those neuro symptoms are mostly caused by the co-infections that come with Lyme disease, which is the [inaudible 00:07:53], et cetera. And so that's why the numbness and tingling, the strange picking pain, the vibrations, any of those strange symptoms. Pain on your feet and lumps and bumps, and these pimples that you can scratch off at Bartonella. That's why patients don't fit in the box and are missed most of all by physicians who are missing all of these cases.

Meghan:I think that's key because as you know, too, when we were in our schooling, we were taught just this tiny little box of information that fit with Lyme disease. And so actually, while I was battling my own chronic illness, when I started to come onto this field of Lyme and co-infections and so on, I thought, this doesn't fit because I didn't present just with the flu-like symptoms, the arthritic pain, all of those little ticks that you put in the box. And that's interesting because so many people are missing this expression of disease, because they're not in that box. And sadly, I think modern medicine is struggling to keep up with the progressive information that we are making and research that we're making on this topic. Even when Harlow went in, when I initially discovered the bullseye at the emerge, the physician there, she literally looked at me and said, I don't know what to do. I have to go check for a protocol and she left and thank goodness you and I had already done a lot of work.

     I had done research on my own as well, so I could give her some direction, but it's terrifying how many people are not only being missed with this disease, but also being mistreated. So it makes you busy and it makes your job harder. But I think too, that there's a common misconception about whether there's antibiotic use that is preferred treatment. So are you able to expand a little bit in terms of an acute Lyme infection versus chronic in terms of antibiotic use? Because there is so much debate on whether it is harmful or beneficial for those that are infected.

Dr. Marie: When I graduated 15 years ago, never in a million years did I think I'd be sitting here in front of you telling you that when you get bitten by a tick, you should take antibiotics. Because naturopathic doctors are quite against the excessive use of antibiotics. But I truly think during a fresh tick bite, that is when the antibiotics work. So getting on treatment for that, depending on the person, the case, the rash, the severity of symptoms at the onset, anywhere from four to six weeks. And that all depends because I have a patient I'm treating now for allergies four years ago, who came into my office, who said, huh, she's joking around going, Dr. Marie, imagine you would follow the protocols.

     Imagine you had just said, no, we only give you for four weeks. Of course I recommended it. Doctor prescribed, we don't have prescription rights here in Ontario. But the point is she was on antibiotics for four months for a fresh tick bite, her symptoms did not disappear. And so I really want to be clear that this is not my rule. This is an ILADS recommendation, the International Lyme Associate Disease Society, which states that we should stay on treatment until symptoms do not persist. And so that's for the fresh tick bite. Now, I always recommend herbals alongside with it to help the body detoxify, of course. Different types of probiotics, including Saccharomyces boulardii to prevent C diff, including something to, of course, protect against Babesia and Bartonella. Those are two co-infections that are very endemic here in Ontario and Quebec. And so it's really important that we cover those bases with herbals.

     And once we do that, I find our patients recover very well. And I know that because I don't see them for chronic Lyme. [crosstalk 00:12:03] So on the flip side, when it comes to chronic Lyme, in the early days of my practice, and again, I used to think, oh my God, they need antibiotics. And now the more I grow as a practitioner, the more experience I have under my belt, I actually very rarely refer for antibiotics when a patient has chronic Lyme. And how do you know you've got, when does chronic line start? I think it starts a couple months after a fresh tick bite, unfortunately. You basically have a four week window to treat this for a fresh tick bite. So anything after that, you are going into chronic Lyme.

     Now, the sooner you can get treatment, if you've only been bitten then within that first year, you have higher chances than somebody who's been bitten 15 years ago. However, or who was infected. Because as we all know, this can be passed in utero, sexually transmitted, other ways of transmitting this besides a tick bite or a spider bite. So the idea has flipped for me where 90% of my patients are actually following natural treatments in order to heal their chronic illness, as opposed to the use of antibiotics. And if I do use the antibiotics, it tends to be at the tail end where the patient plateaus at 80, 90%. And we think, could we hit this with a hammer now? But the idea is that our patients stay on the treatment, on the antibiotics for no longer than three to six months, as opposed to years. I just don't think that being on antibiotics for years is really the answer.

     Okay. Yeah. So it's obviously a complex answer. It's not a simple solution and perhaps that's why there is so much confusion. But I think that helps to clarify a little bit for listeners. You mentioned as well, that the transmission of Lyme, I think that that is a super misconception and lack of knowledge in that area as well. I only believed that the transmission of Lyme was through ticks, but as you mentioned, spiders, sexual diseases, transmission, mosquito. And so I think when people are sort of thinking, do I have Lyme, well, I don't remember a tick bite. I don't remember a bullseye rash. I think it is so imperative and so important that you're sharing that information because especially in Ontario and rural areas, I mean, it's everywhere. So my question to you is would you consider Lyme disease or co-infections, which we're going to talk about as well, an endemic? A modern day endemic?

     Yeah, absolutely. And to fan on what you've just said, flea bites, sand flies as well. So I educate my patients when they go to resorts in endemic areas like Cuba and Dominican Republic. I tell them when you're checking in at the hotel, look down at the ankles of the people at the resort and if there's bug bites on their ankles because these people don't feel them. They just get these bug bites and they look horrendous, but those sand flies and flea bites in these countries are actually passing a great deal of Bartonella infection, which causes neurological symptoms along with OCD, anger, foot pain, leg pain, lots of vision disturbances, as well as internal vibrations.

     And so these patients are coming back from these great vacations feeling really quite ill. And it's because of the sand flies on the beach. So I'm always weary and I try to not have my patients live in fear, but I just say, listen, if you see this, then make sure you're lying on a lawn chair and not directly on the sand. It's not that you have to avoid the beach, but you really want to take precautions and wear bug spray, et cetera.

     Okay. Yeah, that's interesting. So with that description, to me, it seems like it's absolutely an endemic and we need to continue to learn more about these diseases and how we can avoid. There are things we can do. What are your sort of top tips for people in the summer months when ticks and insects are at their peak? Is there a certain protocol that you suggest for people in terms of what they can wear to avoid being bitten or what products they can use? Is there anything there that we can provide listeners?

Dr. Marie: Yeah. So especially during an endemic area, if you're forest bathing where it's cooler and it's okay to wear long pants and socks over top, as well as a long sleeve sort of sun shirt to always, as much as possible, light in color so that you can see anything on your clothing. Putting bug spray on. I like good old soccer socks are great for the kids as well. They're really long, and everybody has soccer socks. Sometimes these are red and so you can still see if there's a black insect crawling on your leg. Bug sprays, anything you can find at a health food store. We have a concoction on our website on insect spray using solver room as a base that works very well. Some of my patients are using something called Cedarcide that you can buy online through the US that works very, very well.

     So I try to tell my patients to not live in fear, because I think that especially my chronically ill patients have so many limbic system injuries that getting them fearful about things exacerbates their symptoms. And so I always say, I no longer do scavenger hunts with my children and parkour through the forest. I mountain bike still. I hike still, but I stay on trail, unfortunately. So it's not the way you and I grew up where we used to jumping leaf piles. My son was bitten by putting his leg down in a leaf pile while mountain biking, just taking a break, taking some water. So we don't live in fear, but I am very cautious for cautious and we do tick checks as soon as we come in, before we come inside.

Meghan: And that sounds reasonable and I agree with that in terms of the limbic system. For people who are chronically ill, we do tend to live in a place where we start to narrow our world in terms of precaution and safety because we want to avoid symptoms. But as a result, we're sort of just feeding that whole system with fear and aggravating symptoms as a result. So it's interesting. It's a fine balance, I guess, between being aware but also being flexible enough to enjoy and live your life. So that's really good information to share as well. And I know in our past conversations you have talked about obviously being known for Lyme, but there's also a lot more that you do in practice. And as I have learned through my experience as a patient of yours and as a fellow colleague, it's vital to explore these co-infections that you talk about with Lyme. So I know you briefly mentioned them, but can you explain the top co-infections that you see that are directly linked or associated to Lyme?

Dr. Marie: So even the term, don't you think, co-infection makes it seems like it's not as important?

Meghan: Yes, absolutely.

Dr. Marie: Some people go, oh, I don't have Lyme disease, but I have a Babesia, that's great. And I go, oh geez. So this is actually more neurologically harmful. So Babesia called sort of North American Malaria and it causes numbness and tingling, dizziness, night sweats in a lot of people. Bartonella is another common one that I see as well. I see other ones like Anaplasma and Rickettsia, but I would say an answer to your questions to be really specific, Bartonella, Babesia are some of the co-infections I see with most of my patients. As I mentioned, really, it's very rare, Meghan, that a patient just has Lyme disease. They unfortunately have a slew of other infections that come through because these ticks are, as I call them, nature's dirty needle or these insects.

     And so we're not just passing one infection, we're passing several. And that's why I think I love my job is because people go, doesn't it get so boring? You're treating the same illness and it's not. It's never boring because every patient presents differently, depending on the co-infections that they have been infected with. Along with, and this is, I think, the key piece, is that it is a perfect storm. So their genetic propensity, the toxicity levels that they had prior to being infected plays a huge response as to how they are going to present the illness. For example, I had a police officer who went running in Muskoka and got bitten by a tick. And the next week developed ALS symptoms. Well, his background is that he worked under the ventilation system of the rifle room for 30 years at the police station where bullets were being formed and made.

Dr. Marie: And we know that the lead toxicity in that is quite high. So his levels of lead were so high that it allowed for neurological, we know heavy metal toxicity leads to neurological illness. Well, then you add infections to that gamut and it leads to a perfect storm. Which is why another kid maybe walking with him gets bitten by a tick and just develops knee pain because that child has less time on this planet, is less toxic. So the severity of symptoms, I think, has to do with what we had at the time of the bike and what our health is like, which is why we a big proponent as naturopathic doctors to live as healthy as we can. And this is why we see such a diverse in symptoms when we're dealing with chronic Lyme and co-infections.

Meghan: Wow, that's fascinating. And so is it safe to say, then, if somebody is in a healthier, more vibrant state with a strong immunity, properly working detoxification systems, they are less likely to develop symptoms of co-infection or Lyme disease than someone who might be following a poor diet, under high stress? So it's sort of the icing on the cake? Is that what you're referring to in some ways? Okay. And that also known as the perfect storm. Interesting. And so another thing that I want to mention as well, another factor that can contribute to the complexities of chronic illness is, viral loads. Because this was something that was pretty big in my own personal case. And honestly, I had never really heard about it. Of course, we learn about viruses. And what do we learn about viruses is that they just sort of run their course and they go away on their own.

Meghan: What we don't realize is that there's a series or collection of viral components that can actually stay in the system replicate and cause extreme harm to the body. And again, I don't want to downplay our education because it was vital in both of our careers. But I think there's a lot that is still missing in terms of what we're seeing in chronic illness today. So what is your take on viral loads? And can you explain how viruses that can stay in linger in the body, what effect they can have in terms of the complexities behind chronic illness? What is their role in all of this?

Dr. Marie: Yeah, that's a great question. So the role of viruses, and I think a keynote and a clinical pearl I can give the listeners is that viruses ... One of the key things I see with patients is that the patients are extremely fatigued, post exertion. So they will maybe run a 5k, nothing too ridiculous, but that will put them out for three days straight. And that is one of the key red flags that I go, oh, maybe there's viral involvement. We need to do some testing. They'll come in with your typical chronic fatigue syndrome patients that we see of course with Lyme disease. But they'll be extremely tired. And I mean, the eyes are heavy, you can see it and you feel so terrible for them because they can barely open their eyes. But they're so mentally and physically tired. These viruses tend to reside in the mitochondria, which is where we make ATP, which is where we get our energy.

Dr. Marie: And so they completely exhaust most of our patients. And I'm talking about long-term chronic viruses like Epstein-Barr virus. So a patient could have had Mono in high school and it got sort of reawakened out of dormancy, if you will, because of a chronic stress or a spider bite, or what have you. We're talking about HHV-6, roseola virus from childhood that can again come out of dormancy. Or Coxsackie virus or Cytomegalia virus. So any of these viruses can really cause longstanding neurological symptoms that actually mimic Lyme disease. So a lot of people, and I thank you for my introduction. They say, oh, you're a Lyme expert. And I like to say more, I'm an expert in looking at chronic illness through the lens of infections of many different types of infections.

Dr. Marie: Because it's not just bacterial infections that cause an issue it's also, as you mentioned, viruses. And if I can take a little bit of a stand on mold, I think that that is another key thing that a lot of doctors miss. Mold is a big factor in misses to be from longstanding exposure, to mold in childhood homes or present homes. And my biggest joke right now is that in my retirement, I want to invent a, and I'm not retiring anytime soon, but I'd like to invent a board game that says mold trumps everything.

Dr. Marie: I really think that when mold is involved or if a person has Lyme disease diagnosis, but they're living in a moldy house. I'll tell you right now, they'll never get better. And it's until we take a break from treating Lyme and focus on the mold that actually our Lyme patients better. And sometimes that's the same thing with viruses. But mold is a big factor in and breaking down detox pathways. It's immunotoxic, it's paddle toxic, nefrotoxic. It is really one of the key reasons as to, I'm truly believing that the 15% of my patients who are stuck, who are not improving, I have massive red flags that go off and I go, we should take a step back and test for mold. Let's test your home, or we do a mycotoxin test.

     And if I can say one last thing about mold is that the mycotoxins don't smell. So people go, well, I'm in a new house. I don't smell anything. And I go, well, new houses, unfortunately are so tightly built that there's no air circulation that molds can grow even at a house that's only five, 10 years old. And those mycotoxins are gas, so they don't smell. So we really want to make sure that as doctors, we are looking and making sure that our patients are free of mold, because that is one of the key things as to what may keep people sick.

Meghan: And I'm sure lots of Dr. Neil Nathan's work and I've just finished reading for the second time, his book Toxic. And just similar to what you're saying. For him, mold is at the root of everything and you cannot ... that is step one, always. It doesn't matter, whatever co-infections you're having Lyme disease, chronic illnesses, mold has to be number one. And as we know, mold, mycotoxins have a biofilm and are very difficult to treat and to access. So it's strongly suggested that people work one on one with a practitioner for mold treatment, because I know there's a lot out there right now in terms of testing. I feel like the knowledge of mold, co-infections Lyme disease, all of this stuff. I feel like it's emerging. It's just really slowly emerging. So anyways, we could talk forever about all these different components.

     I think what's most important is talking about specifically Lyme and co-infections right here, because this is your area. But I love that you brought mold up too, because it has to be considered when we're treating a chronic illness. So the other question I wanted to ask you too, is that when I came to see you for the first time, I remember you saying to me, Meghan, you're not getting better because everyone that you're working with is just using their protocol for you. They're not actively determining what it is that's making you sick and I intend to do that. You said that to me. And I was really emotional hearing that because I had never really looked at chronic illness from that perspective, because it's true.

     A lot of physicians and naturopathic doctors and wellness experts and so on, they create a protocol to treat a disease, but they're essentially neglecting the individual biochemistry and physiology and history and genetics and so on and so on of each individual person. So you were really the first doctor that approached my treatment from a truly individualized approach, which I'm very appreciative and now use in my own clinic as well. So thank you for that ... Beyond supplements and herbs and products that you're using, can you share with us a little bit about what you do in your clinic to treat people with these co-infections in Lyme? So you use obviously lab results, you use great products that I know you're very particular about your products, high quality. What else do you do with patients manually that you could share with us?

Dr. Marie: Well, at BioHeal, there are practitioners at BioHeal that use a form of assessment tool called Auricular medicine. This was designed by Dr. Paul Nogier in France and it is a way to assess blockages and interference fields within patients. So using different filters that have information about organ systems, infections, drainage issues, toxicity, along with the patient's pulse, we use the autonomic nervous system response to gauge how a patient is reacting to the treatment and what we can use in order to get that patient better. It helps us with the therapeutic order, we call it. So a patient may come in and has mold, Bartonella and Babesia and Lyme disease and a fungal infection along with C diff. And how do I know which one to treat first? So you can have all this great lab work tell you everything that's wrong with the patient, but are you seriously going to treat all of these things on day one? And how do you know which one you should treat on day one?

     And so what Auricular medicine allows us to do is to find that therapeutic order. Much like sort of walking through amaze where the patient or peeling an onion back. So I always say, I truly believe as physicians were only 70% accurate with our brains. I do go to courses. I teach at conferences myself, but we don't have all the answers, but my patients do. And so accessing their pulse through the autonomic nervous system allows me to triage and figure out what they need to do in order to get better. And then once I find what's wrong, how much do I give them? I get referred patients from doctors I very much well respect, that we're given the right thing, but the wrong dose. So they given them little bit more, or a little bit less, they would have actually responded appropriately. It's much like the idea that my patients, I'll treat an infant and dose them with a dose of almost an adult. And I'll treat a 250 pound man a dose of the dose of an infant. Everybody is different and Auricular allows us to navigate through that.

Meghan: That's fascinating because it's true. You sort of follow the dosages that are suggested on the product bottles. But you have that specific individualized approach, which for me, was also critical. Chronically ill patients or patients with chronic complex symptoms, they're often very sensitive. And that's one of the things Dr. Neil Nathan talks a lot about is, more is not always better.

Dr. Marie: Exactly. And just to add to that, my patient population are the smartest people in the world. They had to be because they have nobody else to help them. And so they've had to figure it out. So by the time they come see me, they know the diet, they know all the great supplements. They come in with buckets full of things, but they just don't know what to take because it's all making them sick. And so my job is to really kind of get things a little bit more specific because my patients are so smart. They already know so much. And so Auricular helps us do that. And I think some of them even come in our job as naturopathic doctors, I think my job, one of the oaths that I really abide by is doctors teach. So I teach my patients to try to stay out of my office. And then I just tell them, come in when you want to do a little quick checkup and I'll test things on you and see how you're doing

Meghan: Amazing. Okay. So that sort of leads into my next question was, when working with you, diet is obviously a key component in terms of reducing inflammation and promoting alkalinity and so on, so the body has the best defense to fight against current infections that are happening. How important are the detoxification systems? Because we talk a lot in this podcast, as well, about proper detoxification for the body and how the world around us has unfortunately become a more and more toxic place. How do you support detoxification systems when you are applying treatment to patients?

Dr. Marie: Yeah. That is a really great question because I think it's the key as to why people don't get better. It's because their detox pathways are broken, I want to call it. Because really it's the idea of a sink with the drain that's plugged and the faucet turned on to max, trying to kill these infections with antibiotics, anti-microbials and the patients just feel sicker because the water's overflowing and they're just not well. My approach as a doctor is to not keep my patients in that state of inflammation. It means that we're going too fast. And that's exactly what a Herxheimer reaction, that's how I describe it is that we're killing off infections at a faster rate than your body can detox them out. I use many drainage therapies in our office from many different companies.

Dr. Marie: I use herbs to detoxify. I use minerals, vitamins in some cases. But to be honest, for our more chronically sensitive patients, sometimes more oral stuff is not the answer. They tend to do better with saunas or ionic foot detox baths through AMD. They're not all the same. So it needs to be through a major difference. I use pump therapy. So we recommend Epsom salt baths, heat baths, et cetera. So sometimes with these patients, they just can't fathom taking another capsule or another drop, or it makes them extremely sick. So sort of the idea is kind of detoxing through the side door and the back door, sort of coming through the front door seems to be overwhelming for their bodies. So the use of other modalities is key to getting patients better, in my opinion. And I always say to patients, the patient that says to me, okay, well, let's try this first. And if this doesn't work, I'll try this. And if this doesn't work, I'll try this.

Dr. Marie: And I go, it's not one thing that made you sick and it's certainly not going to be one thing that's going to get you better. So it's the patients that do many things in my practice that get better. It's the patients that have support systems that get better. It's the patients that are pessimistic. The ones who were optimistic needing, oh, it can't be in my moldy house. Oh, it can't be Lyme disease. Oh, it's got to be MS. It's got to be something else. Those ones really stay sick. The ones who go, maybe I should get my house rechecked. Maybe it's still mold. Maybe it's this, maybe it's that, those are the ones who truly tend to get better.

Dr. Marie: Now I want to be careful not to confuse that with being positive and negative. Of course, the patients who are optimistic and trying to get better, yes, of course they have a better chance against the ones who say, I'll never get better. Because if you believe you'll never get better, you won't ever get better. Say the ones who are always trying to help themselves figure out what may be making them sick. And I'm sure you'll attest to this, Meghan, that I often feel like more of a detective than a doctor sometimes. Because I'm sitting there trying to figure out why are you still sick? What happened at the time that you got a relapse? Was there anything at the office that was making you sick? Did anybody else in the office get sick at the same time? Oh, they did? Really. Oh. When? How? And so that can sometimes really help with the pieces of the puzzle.

Meghan: It does feel like detective work. Absolutely. I feel like that all the time. And I think too, that I like what you said about, it's not one thing that got you sick, so it's not going to be one thing that gets you better. Because, and I always say to people I'm working with as well, is that this isn't a quick fix. This isn't even, you're going to wake up one morning and say, oh my God, I'm healed. It's going to come in small doses. It's going to come in steps. It's going to come in little mild ways that you can only see when you sort of look back like, oh, wow. I noticed that I could do this more. Or this was easier for me. Or I'm not checking this all the time, or whatever the case is.

     And I think it's really important for people to hear that because chronic illness is just that, it's chronic illness and then the root back to wellness can be chronic as well, and the sense of being complex. So I think that's really important to share that. And I also loved how you shared, because I think people also, it's always the front door access. I love that, the side door and the back door, because I also experienced with people extreme sensitivity. And you sort of put your hands up like, what the heck can I do? They can't take one drop of this. And so really acknowledging that there are other routes that you can provide relief for patients. Thank you for sharing that part. And so two really quick questions before we wrap up. Number one, do you think Lyme disease is curable?

Dr. Marie: I do, 100%. I am hopeful that all patients can get better. It's just a matter of finding out what are the other factors involved with their illness. So I do believe people can get better. And I see that so I know it.

Meghan: Yeah, it's so encouraging because you often hear that it is not curable and I also beg to differ. So the last question is, who has been an integral part of your either philosophy or values to treatment or the way you treat? Who's sort of been a mentor to you that either you used initially to get you going on this path or that you continue to check in with as you go through. Is there someone that sticks out to you? It's probably many.

Dr. Marie: There's so many, there's just so many wonderful people. I would say at the onset of starting this, I will give full kudos to Dr. Klinghardt and using his philosophy as a platform to looking at chronic illnesses really meant the most to me and was the most intelligible. Because you finally realize that we put a big sign in our new office now in the front door saying, we treat the cause and not the medical label. You may be diagnosed with MS, Parkinson's, ALS, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia. I could care less about those labels because they're all caused by a chronic infection or a chronic toxin. And so once you find those underlying causes, you actually really can get patients better. And Klinghardt was at the forefront of this mindset.

Dr. Marie: So we all owe so much to him being such a forger for this. But it really is the truth. And once you kind of ... the patients, you can see their shoulders kind of come down, because they'll sit there and ask me, is this lung disease or MS? And I go, well, you were labeled with MS, but I could really care less about that diagnosis. It's a wastebasket diagnosis like IBS. IBS is caused by infections. The idea of, you have a gun that's cocked with these infections, but the trigger is stress. So patients always go, oh, well, it's IBS. It's stress-related. Well, yeah, stress will exacerbate underlying infections and will make you run to the bathroom when you're stressed. But if you didn't have those infections, see, I get stressed, but I don't run to the bathroom. So it's what is there that is really causing these labels that people are given with. And I just kind of want to remove the labels and just kind of see past that because they get so stuck in their diagnosis.

     And that's all they want is a diagnosis and that's fine. And I always say, it's great. It's the way I communicate with your neurologist. He says that you have fibromyalgia. Then you probably have pain in the 18 points in your body, et cetera, et cetera. And you're probably chronic fatigue and bedridden, et cetera, probably have pain, but it doesn't speak to why you have it. And I want to say in our pathology textbook, anywhere it says it's idiopathic, meaning no known cause, I don't believe that. There is always a cause for these chronic symptoms. And so I think once we find those, we can treat patients. And I think that the light bulb went out for me with Lyme. It totally turned my life around because I realized all of these chronic illnesses that we were told in school, you'll just [inaudible 00:43:46], you won't really care. You won't get better. I see things come in my office and I'm hopeful. I'm hopeful and I'm always just looking at the cause. What's the causal chain? Find the cause and then you can get that patient back into homeostasis and balance.

Meghan: Oh, what a way to end. That's fantastic because people do get caught in these labels. And just like you said, that is just essentially an easy way for us to communicate with other physicians or for us to just sort of understand generally what symptoms you're experiencing. But other than that, I mean, I love that. I absolutely love that because that is imperative for people to hear.

     So it's time to wrap up. We're going to soak up all of this incredible information that you've shared with us. It is such a gift for listeners who either may be considered at risk for Lyme, currently have Lyme or co-infections, or even know someone who does. Thank you so much. And to learn more about Dr. Marie, you can check her out on her website at I will also post her information under the podcast episode description. It has been such a pleasure Dr. Marie, thank you for your time today.

Dr. Marie: Thank you, Meghan. And thank you so much for using your illness as a platform to empower others and help others get help. I want to thank you.

Meghan: Well thank you so much. That is the reason that I do what I do. And it's funny too, everyone said to me when I was really sick, oh, you'll be a better doctor. I know this. There's a reason for this. And I used to say, I don't care if I'll be a better doctor. I don't want to feel like this anymore and it's just now in this time that I really sort of coming full circle. And you're a big part of that healing journey as well. So thank you.

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