Exploring chronic disease

Interview with Ival Meyer – Arthritis, dyslexia

Two years ago he was bedridden with severe body and joint pain. Now he’s back at work and feels better than he has in years. Join Ival Meyer as he talks about his experience thus far on Autoimmunity Research Foundation’s Marshall Protocol.

1. What were your symptoms like before starting the Marshall Protocol (MP)?

Ival Myer

As I got sick, the first symptoms I felt were confusion, fatigue, and a terrible flu-like feeling. After a while I thought that maybe I’d had a stroke. Of course my doctor told me to take Prozac. Well, I knew I wasn’t crazy and sure enough after about another year my joints started to hurt as well. That is when my doctor diagnosed me with rheumatoid arthritis. Next thing I knew, my rheumatoid arthritis pain started to get very bad. I had a great deal of pain in my hands and feet. The ligaments were so stiff that my toes started to turn and bend out of shape. My hands were getting very close to doing the same thing right when I found the MP. I’ve also had severe upper and lower back pain my whole life. When I was in high school I had to quit sports because of the back pain.

2. I assume this affected your ability to work?

I used to work as a collision technician. When I started to get sick I had to quit my job. Before starting the Marshall Protocol, I wasn’t able to work for over a year, and I couldn’t work during the first 21 months that I was on the treatment.

3. How do you feel now?

The lower back pain has completely gone away. The pain in my hands is 100% gone. My toes are still curled up but they don’t hurt anymore. I think the ligaments are definitely loosening up. The flu-like feeling is gone. The fatigue is much better. I’ve been able to start working again. I work in the office of the collision shop but I’m starting to get back out to the cars.

4. Did you suffer from any other health related issues?

Absolutely. I had gastrointestinal symptoms. Also, when I was in the second grade I started to suffer from dyslexia. As the years went by, I found it very difficult to read. Phonics didn’t make sense. I remember thinking, “I’m not stupid, but I can’t spell!”

5. How has your dyslexia been affected by the Marshall Protocol?

When I started taking Benicar I was completely amazed to find that I could pick up words so much more easily, in a manner I’d never felt before. I had about ten books lying on my nightstand that I started reading! When I started the antibiotics, the dyslexia came back temporarily as my body started to kill bacteria. Symptoms waxed and waned depending on the type and dose of antibiotics. Now I can read and write much more easily. I feel very different and the symptoms are just a small nuisance. I’m sure they will go away completely in the coming years.

6. Anything else?

I feel as if I’ve revisited my childhood illnesses. When I was in my 20s my appendix was removed. At the beginning of phase two I started to have severe pain in that area where it used to be. When pain in that area flared, my joint pain went crazy as well. It’s so obvious that all these health issues are connected. Now the pain in the area where my appendix used to be has completely gone away. When I was young I also used to get a rash on the back of my heels. Sure enough, the rash came back during my time on the MP. But gradually the rash has disappeared and been replaced with new skin. I also had quite a bit of dandruff which has now totally gone away.

7. Were you surprised by any of your symptoms?

I think what surprised me the most was how infected I was with L-form bacteria. Once I started the Marshall Protocol, it became obvious that I was suffering from a systemic problem because the treatment has addressed every health issue that I have ever had. Also, a few months into the MP, I started to get dark skin blotches all over my body. They came out like crazy. They had never appeared before the MP but my Grandma has many of them. Now they’ve all peeled off and there is new skin underneath. I also had several moles that fell off and disappeared.

8. Why did you decide to do the Marshall Protocol?

When I first got diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis my doctor put me on prednisone. I felt better, but after six months I relapsed and my symptoms came back twice as badly as before. Nevertheless, my doctor told me to take more prednisone and had a nurse give it to me in the form of a shot. The day after the shot I started to go insane. I sat in bed all day screaming and freaking out. I remember telling my wife “I’m not sure what’s going on but just leave the house.” When she checked on me that afternoon I was starting to come back to reality. When I went back to the rheumatologist, all she said was “Oh, that happens sometimes,” with a smile. But that stupid shot scared me to death. I vowed I would never take prednisone again. So I went searching for another solution and found the Road Back book at the local bookstore. The Road Back is a rheumatoid arthritis treatment that uses minocycline. During the time that I was looking for another treatment, I still had a bottle of leftover prednisone. I knew the drug would hurt me but I was in so much pain. I actually slept with the bottle on my pillow in case I couldn’t stand the pain during the night. But I’m proud to say I never caved, I never took one pill.

9. Did you hear about the Marshall Protocol right away?

No. Before I learned about the Marshall Protocol I tried two other treatments that use antibiotics to treat RA. The second treatment made me feel terrible and during that time I was essentially bedridden. When I started the MP I realized that taking Benicar makes a huge difference in being able to tolerate the immune response generated by taking antibiotics.

10. How did you hear about the Marshall Protocol?

There was some talk about a new protocol on the RA and lyme boards that I used to frequent. I was so impressed with the Marshall Protocol web page when I found it that I don’t think I slept for a couple days because I was reading all the information. Luckily that was one month before the Chicago conference. I felt terrible but I knew I was going to attend the conference. When I got there, I was completely amazed by Dr. Marshall and the group of people at the conference. I thought it was going to be put on by a big major university or the NIH or some institution like that. Instead, I remember seeing Dr. Trevor Marshall and two board moderators, Meg Mangin and Belinda Fenter, sitting at a table in the hotel restaurant. I walked up to them and asked, “Exactly who is putting on this conference?” They just smiled, looked at each other, and said “We are.” I couldn’t fathom the idea that those three people knew so much about chronic disease that most of the world wasn’t aware of yet.

11. Did you become sensitive to light after starting the Marshall Protocol?

Yes. I couldn’t go get the mail, even when I was wearing a thick jacket to block sunlight. During the first four months everything seemed so bright. But the light sensitivity gradually decreased. Now it’s pretty much gone. I still wear sunglasses outside but frequently find myself pushing them up off my eyes and onto my head.

12. What was the hardest part about doing the Marshall Protocol?

It takes so long to heal on the Marshall Protocol. When I couldn’t work because of my symptoms, my wife had to work double hours. Meanwhile, I was lying in bed doing nothing. I knew I was getting well but I felt really bad that I couldn’t help out around the house. Also, some mental symptoms flared as well. I went though a period where I just couldn’t make decisions.

13. What is one of the best aspects of your recovery?

I’m convinced that I will live longer because I’m doing the Marshall Protocol. Clearly these bacteria are what bring the elderly down. But I’m not going to have any! It’s a good feeling to know that you’re going to age with, let’s say, dignity and grace. When someone asks me “Now how old are you?” I say, “45. I would’ve been 48 but I was sick for three years.” That reflects how much younger I feel.

14. What advice would you give to people starting the Marshall Protocol?

Study the website as much as you possibly can so that you can understand what you are doing and what will happen when you start the treatment. The more information you soak up, the better prepared you will be to handle any difficulties that might arise. Fully understand the Marshall Protocol model. Then accept the fact that the healing on the MP is going to take a very long time. Don’t ramp your antibiotics too quickly. If people quit, it’s often because they panic and take their meds too fast or because they set a time frame that is too short for full recovery. You have to put everything on the table. Also set small goals during your recovery.

15. What lies ahead?

I still have some pain in my upper back. But I am confident I will recover completely and probably feel better than I’ve ever felt before. I think the future will bring just living a normal healthy life, something that just three years ago I thought was impossible. A better question might be “What lies ahead for humanity?” We are definitely in the early stages of the biggest breakthrough in medicine. It’s going to be very exciting to watch this unfold and become the normal treatment for so many different diseases, not just the so called autoimmune diseases. In my opinion the “autoimmune” diseases are just the tip of the iceberg. This is going to be huge.

About Amy Proal

Amy and Zeus

Amy Proal graduated from Georgetown University in 2005 with a degree in biology. While at Georgetown, she wrote her senior thesis on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the Marshall Protocol.