I’m sharing this story in case there are others of you who are suffering from allergies and looking for answers. No one can deny that allergies and auto-immune diseases are much more common today than they have ever been. Those of us who suddenly develop such conditions are often told, “it’s all in your head.” In my case, that turned out to be true, but I think I’m finally getting to the “root” of the problem.
Since mid-May of 2013, I have had a rash. It started on the toes of my right foot. It quickly spread until my whole foot was red, swollen, itchy, and painful with big blisters. It was diagnosed as an infection. I slept in my clothes for a while because the doctor warned me not to call him, but to go straight to the emergency room if it suddenly got worse. I was treated with multiple antibiotics in increasing doses for several months until a biopsy showed there was no infection and that the symptoms were an immune response.
I consulted with a lot of doctors, allergists, and dermatologists, who all tried to be helpful. The consensus among the doctors was that I should take Prednisone to turn off my immune system. One doctor told me, quite honestly, that they had exhausted their knowledge. He said, “Sometimes we never know. Just take the Prednisone; don’t become a prisoner in your home.” Thinking that a working immune system might come in handy and being aware of the possible side effects of steroids (weight gain, moon face, fatigue, rash, hives, itching, osteoporosis, cancer, and more), I set out to find the cause rather than just treat the symptoms. Since then, I’ve had four different kinds of allergy tests. I started with a conventional allergist who told me up front that her tests would not diagnose food or contact allergies. She suggested I go to a naturopath because they used a different method of testing, which I did. The natureopath performed a blood test that showed allergies to chicken and duck eggs, both whites and yolks, and almonds, which I promptly eliminated, to no effect. Next, I found an allergist in downtown Seattle who specialized in contact allergies. His three-day patch tests showed allergies to lanolin and chromium. I tried to avoid those as much as I could but it is not possible to totally eliminate chromium as it is everywhere. It is in all multi-vitamins, most foods, tanned leather, and stainless steel. I covered my leather furniture and car seats, gave away all my leather shoes, wrapped all the knobs and handles in my house in plastic, switched to glass or ceramic for cooking, and quit wearing all jewelry except my wedding ring, but my condition did not improve.
In thinking about all the possible things that might have been related, I remembered that at about the time the rash started, I developed a fistula above a tooth that had a root canal performed seven years earlier. I mentioned this to all of the doctors I consulted, but they concluded that it had nothing to do with the allergies. I had complained about pain in that tooth and others to my regular dentist for several years, but his X-rays showed nothing amiss. When I went in for my next scheduled dental checkup, I asked if he thought the fistula could be related to the immune reactions and the rash. He sent me back to the endodontist who had done the original procedure because he had a different kind of X-ray machine that showed more detail. His images clearly showed a gap in the filling and a cavity in the bone beside that tooth. He redid the root canal, cleaned out the infected cavity, and filled it with (chromium-free) cement. I had six other root canals, some from many years ago, that were not checked.
The rash broke out in other places and moved around but never went away and I continued to feel worse in general. Six months later, at my next regular dental appointment, my dentist told me about a doctor who practices “environmental medicine.” He said he had referred some of his patients who had allergy problems to him with good results, so I made an appointment with doctor #12.
I was very encouraged to hear that Dr. B* could diagnose many more allergies with his testing system and that most of them could actually be reversed with desensitization therapy. He injects a pure substance under your skin and measures your reaction. Then he neutralizes that reaction and injects something else. I started testing in late April of 2014. Of the first nine foods tested, I reacted to seven of them. Every day of testing revealed more things that I was allergic to. I tested positive to 20 different foods and food groups (dairy, for example, includes milk, cream, butter, cheese, yogurt, and whey). I have been using desensitizing drops and histamine drops every day since then, but the symptoms never went away, so I couldn’t use trial and error to see what caused them to come back. I lost 29 pounds—at 5’6,” I went down from 137 to 108 pounds. I cut out so many things that it was difficult to find enough to eat and almost impossible to eat out, but the allergy symptoms did not go away.
Dr. B’s testing showed that I was allergic to: eggs, dairy, rice, wheat, tomato, potato, pepper, avocado, celery, tea, chicken, shrimp, cod, salmon, bananas, cherries, lamb, baker’s yeast, coffee, and lettuce. I also noticed reactions to crab, lobster, cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries, peaches, apricots, cranberries, eggplant, and carrots, so I quit eating those too, although I wasn’t tested for them so I can’t be sure.
Other tests showed allergies to a lot of molds, pollens, grasses, insects, weeds, and trees, including cedar, alder, and white birch, which are all around me here. I was also positive for feathers, dust mites, and cockroaches (the nurse said people who showed allergies to coffee and chocolate were often really allergic to cockroaches because crops that grow in tropical areas usually contain cockroach parts).
I also had to cut out a lot of supplements and vitamins. Some contained rice, potato, tomato, and/or fish. Some had oligofructose, tea extract, or nightshades (ashwagandha is in the potato-tomato-pepper-eggplant family called nightshades). All multi-vitamins have chromium. Vitamin D3 is made from lanolin. Krill oil comes from a kind of shrimp. I also quit using some sweeteners—xylitol may be made from birch and many sweeteners are made from chicory, a kind of lettuce. Most gluten-free products contain potato and rice flour. (I did find a vegan DHA made from algae and a vitamin D3 made from mushrooms, but they may not as effective as the animal versions.)
When they told me I was allergic to lettuce (yes, lettuce!), I stopped getting the tests. We realized that just avoiding all this stuff wasn’t likely to help much since they couldn’t test me for everything in the world and if you eat the same foods all the time, you are more likely to develop allergies to them! So the doctor suggested other ways to lower my histamine response. In addition to avoidance and the antigen and histamine drops, here are some other tactics I’m using: I put an Ozone machine in my bedroom and started using a special laundry detergent that kills dust mites. I took a three month course of Nystatin in case the massive doses of antibiotics had led to a yeast infection, and I am currently taking Glutathione and Ketotifen to reduce inflammation and help with histamine control.
When I first told my story to Dr. B, I mentioned the problem with a root canal. He made notes, but didn’t offer an opinion. Then as I was leaving, he came out to the waiting room and said, “Tell me more about the root canals.” He recommended a group of Seattle dentists who practice “mercury-free” or “systemic” dentistry. They performed a digital X-ray and gave me a referral to doctor #13, Dr. P, who looked at my images and pointed out that all of the root canal-treated teeth were accompanied by large cavities in my jaw bones. The solid bone looked pale; the cavities were dark and very obvious. He said it would take drastic measures to repair the damage, but he felt that once the infections that had crashed my immune system were cleaned out, the allergies would get better. I was feeling so bad by that time, that I actually wondered if I would last the two months I had to wait until my first appointment.
I’ve had five surgeries so far with one more to come. He started with the area that looked worst, which turned out to be much worse than he expected. (He repeatedly said, “Oh my God!,” to his assistant as he was working on me and used a camera to record what he was seeing.) The infection had invaded the nerve canal that runs along the bottom of the jaw and the nerve was covered with cysts that had to be removed one by one. He described the nerve as looking like the stem of a rose covered with thorns. It took him 3½ hours to clean up that area. It will take many more to restore it.
When I had the second area operated on, there was more bad news. There were pieces of mercury embedded above one of the root-canal treated teeth. He removed as much of it as he could, but couldn’t get it all out. The mercury had eaten away one side of the bone and it required a mesh retaining wall to hold the bone putty in place. The area had to be opened up again to remove the mesh and re-stitched after it healed for a while. (How did the mercury get there? The only possible way that I can think of is that when the root canal was done, some of an old mercury filling was accidentally left in the tooth. When the new filling was pushed up into the nerve canal, the old metal filling was forced out though the opening at the top. I clearly remember that after that tooth was treated, it became extremely painful. Now I know why.) After learning about the mercury, I asked to be tested for heavy metals. I expected that my mercury level would be high, but was shocked to see that I was off the chart for lead as well. A normal lead level would be 2; I registered 30, which was as high as the chart measured. I’m currently in the middle of a detox regimen with DMSA to get the metals out. I’m also taking chlorella and cilantro to help eliminate the heavy metals as they are released. Each time I had more work done, more horrors came to light. Dr. P took biopsies from the infected bones that showed exactly what had been festering there all those years, while my former dentist and hygienist were patting me on the back and congratulating me for taking such good care of my teeth. (The term, “whited sepulchers,” used to describe the hypocritical Pharisees in Matthew 23:27, comes to mind; they looked good on the outside, but inside, they were “full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”)
I still have a long way to go, but I am finally starting to see some improvement. I have gone without new symptoms for as much as two weeks at a stretch a couple of times now.
Below is some of the material about root canals from the systemic dentists’ website.
“The nerve of a tooth occupies the main chamber inside the root. Attached to the main chamber is an intricate network of microscopic tubules within the root that allow nutrients to flow in and out of a living tooth. Each tooth contains 1.5 million tubules, which end to end would extend for about 3 miles.
When a tooth dies, the living cells in these tubules rot and they become infected. It is impossible to fill these tubules when completing root canal treatment. Thus, microbes continue to live trapped inside the tooth, emitting harmful toxins and causing a chronic infection. And chronic infections are associated with chronic diseases. Most root canals remain functional on average only 7 years before recurrent infection becomes a problem again.
When endodontic (root canal) treatment first became popular, in the early 1900’s, one researcher, Dr. Weston Price, did extensive work measuring the toxicity and effects of root canal treatment. Some of his findings included: a resultant calcium/phosphorus imbalance,* lower pH, higher blood sugar, higher uric acid, altered total protein (blood), and white blood cell alterations (depressed PMN’s and elevated lymphocytes). Dr. Price concluded that these disturbances could be contributing to future degenerative diseases long before any clinical symptoms become evident. Current research confirms that bacteria and their byproducts are present in root canal teeth.”
A phosphate imbalance* is the cause of fibromyalgia according to Dr. Paul St. Amand. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue years ago. It is always a default diagnosis—if nothing else fits, that’s what’s left. I now wonder if it could all have been the result of conventional dental treatments, and if so, I wonder how many other people have been afflicted with fibromyalgia, auto-immune diseases, cancer, MS, and other conditions that may have been caused by the standard treatments recommended by the American Dental Association. My dentist of the last 15 years apologized to me and said that he only knew of one other case like mine. But how would anyone know? It was a fluke that I made the connection. Most people would probably die not knowing. *Because some treatments used by the doctors that actually helped me are not sanctioned by the medical establishment, I am not using their names. (See below if you need help finding an environmental doctor in your area. I’m working on finding info about Systemic Dentists too, so check back later. In the meantime, any doctor of environmental medicine might be able to recommend someone near you. ) The American Dental Association denies that infected jaw bone cavitations exist and any dentist who disagrees with that may be downgraded by credentialing organizations or targeted for criticism or legal action. Some dentists have even been censured and denied the right to practice for opposing the use of toxic mercury fillings! The endodonist who did two root canals on one of my teeth (yes, TWICE on the same tooth!) also diagnosed and filled the infected cavitation it had caused, but he still insisted that root canal therapy is very safe and that such cavitations (almost) never happen, in spite of my having it happen seven out of seven times and showing him the images and biopsies that proved it.To find a Doctor of Environmental Medicine go to:
American Academy of Environmental Medicine http://www.aaemonline.org/Look in the left sidebar where it says AAEM Referral to find a doctor in your area. To find a Systemic or Mercury-free Dentist: Below are some suggestions from readers for systemic or mercury-free dentists. If any of you know of others, please leave a comment on this post and I will add the names to the list. Be aware that I cannot personally vouch for all of these dentists, so I urge you to do your own research when selecting a dentist.
~Franklin, Tenn: Thomas J. Lokensgard, DDS, NMD, ABAAHP, 151 Rosa Helm Way, Franklin, Tennessee 37067https://www.facebook.com/pages/Thomas-J-Lokensgard-DDS-NMD-Advanced-Preventive-Dentistry/198161967014963
~Dallas, Texas: Gary Alhadef DDS, in University Park area of Dallas.
~Dallas, Texas: Philip Kozlow D.D.S. 5050 Quorum Dr. Suite 340, Dallas Texas 75254-7039, Phone: 972-458-2464
The working title for my first book was, “You’ll Never Know What You Are Missing.” It summed up my goal: to make eating for health synonymous with eating for pleasure. Once you discover the secret, you will find that the very best food for weight management, longevity, the treatment and prevention of disease, and over-all health and happiness is also the most sumptuous, satisfying, and indulgent way of eating the world has to offer. You are invited to the feast. Enjoy!
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