Exploring chronic disease

Interview with Sherry Cook – Sarcoidosis, Cat Scratch Fever, Restless Leg Syndrome

When this California librarian found out she had sarcoidosis, she felt as if a massive freight train was headed her way. Now, thanks to Autoimmunity Research Foundation’s Marshall Protocol not only is she leading a normal life, but her bloodwork has returned to normal and her bone density is headed in the right direction. Sherry Cook will now take your questions.

Can you describe the progression of your disease? When were you diagnosed?

I became symptomatic little by little over many years. In my 20’s I was diagnosed with “Reynes Syndrome” but in 1988 a funny lump developed on my upper neck. After a biopsy I was diagnosed with Cat scratch fever – an infectious disease thought to involve the intracellular parasite Bartonella. My doctors told me not to worry, but I found it quite odd that I was not offered any treatment options. Insomnia and headaches grew more common, and the only way I could make myself feel good was by swimming outside on my lunch hour. If I didn’t swim, I was literally in a torpor of brain fog.

This string of symptoms increased and my energy level continued to decline. The fibroids in my uterus led to a partial hysterectomy in 2002, a very stressful event on the body. I experienced some Restless Leg Syndrome and chronic sinusitis. Finally, after numerous tests, the doctors performed a Gallium scan which showed that I had sarcoidosis. I recall his exact words: “I think we’re onto something: you have SARCOIDOSIS” as though I had won a prize. In truth, he was simply happy to have come up with a diagnosis and then referred me to yet another doctor (similar to what happened to MP patient Julia Greer). The doctor referrals are endless and very frustrating.

I’m a technical librarian, and I immediately started a literature search for sarcoidosis. Suddenly I realized there was a massive freight train coming towards me. Sarcoidosis is a deadly disease, and I was very alarmed. I went to Stanford University Medical Library looking for articles with sarcoidosis in the title. I found Dr. Trevor Marshall’s article “Sarcoidosis Succumbs to Antibiotics” but was so brain-fogged at the time that the information didn’t immediately sink in. But several days later – and I remember the exact day, January 4th 2005, I googled the words “sarcoidosis” and “cure.” The website, which was the predecessor website to what is now popped up. Eureka!

Once on I started to read, and read, and read. I read for two weeks straight. The science and information on the board dominated my thinking and also fascinated me. It was as if there was a neon light in my brain flashing Marshall Protocol! Marshall Protocol! The stories of other patients recovering were both gripping and fascinating. Many of them provided great hope, especially when I started to read that people’s blood work, laboratory tests and X-Rays were actually improving. I believe in the power of information. When information is backed up by openly published medical literature and human experience detailing remarkable case histories, my doubts are removed.

Luckily there was a general practitioner in my area who already had one patient on the MP and she was glad to take me on as a patient. I’m lucky – she’s supportive and open-minded.

What happened when you started the treatment?

It took a while before I experienced immunopathology – the temporary rise in symptoms that occurs when the body deals with the consequences of dying bacteria. This was probably because my level of 25-D was too high during that period of time. Since 25-D blocks the activity of the receptor that controls the ability of the innate immune system to function correctly, I couldn’t effectively kill bacteria until my level came down. Unfortunately, during that time, I was eating organic hot dogs and didn’t realize that the fat in the hot dogs was high in vitamin D. When I removed the hot dogs from my diet I finally started to react to the antibiotics.

One of the first signs that the antibiotics were kicking in was that I experienced a sneeze of massive proportions. It was such a violent explosion that I thought it might have injured my neck muscles. After that I started to have a runny nose, and the insomnia and other symptoms temporarily returned. However even after that point, my immunopathology was relatively tame and easy to handle.

What are your symptoms like today?

My headaches diasapeared completely within days of starting Benicar. My insomnia and restless leg syndrome have essentially resolved; last night I slept a solid 7 hours. Starting at a young age I also had a tremor in my hands that had produced stress and shame for many years. I was told it was a “familial tremor” as my Grandfather suffered from the same ailment. But now, my hands are fairly steady. Just a few days ago my friend commented on the absence of the tremor. “You’re hands used to be a mess!” she said, “Now they’re not shaking anymore!”

I had an MRI done six months into the MP which, even at that early point, showed overall improvement in my lungs; and I emphasize those were the exact words of the reporting physician written on the X-Ray report. Since that time I have not had another MRI done, but I plan to soon, and expect my lungs to be quite healthy. Also encouraging is that my liver enzymes, which were out of range before the MP, have returned to normal.

I am also delighted with how the MP has affected my bone density. I’ve had three dexa scans done over the last seven years – in 2001, 2004, and 2007. All tests were done at the same facility, on the same machine. Between 2001-2004, my bone loss was significant. However between 2004-2007, during the time that I’ve been on the MP, the rate of bone loss slowed down significantly. I feel my bone loss will continue to slow and probably reverse. After all, it takes 10 years for the bones to completely rebuild, so this process is like turning around a 400 foot freighter: it takes some time and space, but with careful planning, it works!

I’m also able to exercise. Just last weekend I went on a 29-mile bike ride. Riding bicycles again is a great joy.

Did you become light sensitive when you started the treatment?

Yes. I had to put up heavy dark curtains in my house and I would wait until it became dark to go outside. But now I am much less light sensitive although I still cover up when I go outside.

What was the hardest part about doing the MP?

My friends were not very open-minded about the treatment, and family expressed some doubts but were respectful. Some of them just express disbelief at the idea that the MP can work. It’s tough, especially when I realize that they also show signs of Th1 disease. Long ago they probably all concluded I’m eccentric, but I have hope for the future. Persistance is omnipotent!

What advice do you have for patients starting the MP?

Sit down and read the progress reports of patients who have symptoms similar to yours for at least a week or two. Then go with your gut, follow your instincts. If mainstream medicine hasn’t worked for you, there is very little risk in the MP. Recognize that the openly published research about the MP is also backed up by positive results obtained though experimentation.

What lies ahead?

My whole life has been given back to me, and I am excited about making our point to the “powers that be” in the medical establishment. Everything is going our way, and it’s only a matter of time until the NIH cannot ignore us. The power of the Internet to get the word out is tremendous. And it goes without saying that I am indeed very grateful to the board and staff of the Autoimmunity Research Foundation and of course Professor Marshall for giving me back my health.

Interested in doing the Marshall Protocol yourself? Visit and your questions will be answered free of charge by experienced patient advocates that volunteer for the non-profit organization that runs the treatment. (Th1 is a name currently given to diseases caused by L-form bacteria, hence the name cure my Th1)

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.