A Patient's View of Her Chronic Fatigue/Fibromyalgia Physician

Published: March 6, 2013

Fortunately, with our reporting ears to the ground, we've been hearing great reports about the work of Maryland physician Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., when it comes to meeting the health challenges of patients battling chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia syndromes, often accompanied by poor sleep. His studies, designed in consultation with the National Institutes of Health, have set the gold standard for helping everyday people with either chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia. Meanwhile, his Fatigued to Fantastic!® nutritional formulas, developed together with Enzymatic Therapy for chronic fatigue-fibromyalgia patients, have played a key role in these studies' successful results. (Admirably, Dr. Teitelbaum, whose clinic receives patients from all over the world, donates all of his royalties from sales of the nutritional program formulas to charities, including those working on behalf of world hunger and refugees.)

The Patient's Perspective

We've covered Dr. Teitelbaum's work in detail in past issues of Healthy Living (see 7.2:23-25 or visit www.freedompressonline.com). In this article, managing editor Rachael Baseley interviews one of Dr. Teitelbaum's patients for her perspective on going from fatigued to fantastic! Antoinette Aquaro, 57, was a top court reporter with Los Angeles County Superior Court from 1975 to 1992. She considers herself a classic Type A personality. "I worked 24/7, always gave 110 percent and pushed myself to the limit," she tells us.

HL: Tell us about your experience with chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia. What were your symptoms?

AA: Well, I experienced what I think of as my original symptom in court. While I was working one day in court taking testimony, I turned my head to see a witness and my neck froze. I felt my neck crack. It seemed like from that point on I just got worse. It was the beginning of the end. When I look back and try to figure when I started feeling bad, that's when I think it originally started.

HL: What did you first try when you were seeking relief for this condition?

AA: After the problem with my neck, I went to doctors to try to get to the point where I could function again. It took a long time. Then there were a lot of different illnesses that just seemed to come down the pipeline for me: a lot of problems with my muscles, different infections, acute chronic bronchitis, pelvic inflammatory disease. I felt an awful lot of pain in the soft tissue levels. It seemed like there were a lot of problems and they just kept getting worse. I received shots of cortisone all over my body, including into the occipital in the back of my head; it was the only way I could get relief from the pain. I had so many shots of cortisone, that I lost count of them. I would fight my doctor because I didn't want to get them, but then there would be times I'd walk in and I'd be in tears and I would ask him to give me a shot, because I couldn't take the pain anymore. There was nothing that relieved it. I was also having problems sleeping. I was not sleeping completely during the night, and I was under a lot of stress.

HL: When did you learn of your diagnosis and receive proper treatment?

AA: In 1992, I got my retirement and in 1994, I moved out to Maryland. I went to Dr. Teitelbaum's clinic in 1995, and he diagnosed me with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. Until then, I tried many doctors, many hospitals, looking for relief from my symptoms and for a correct diagnosis. I went through a lot of psychotherapy because I was depressed and trying to deal with stuff, because I didn't know what was going on with my body. I was carrying a very heavy load with my job; my career was my life, basically, and I couldn't fathom not doing it. The illness would give me many different symptoms, and they were things that I didn't realize were all connected. I actually got a retirement based on repetitive trauma and stress, because I finally reached a point that I just couldn't handle it anymore, and I was a basket case.

HL: What did Dr. Teitelbaum recommend for you to improve your health? How long was it before you felt an improvement in your symptoms?

AA: Within three months of seeing Dr. Teitelbaum, I couldn't believe the difference I felt with his supplementation of vitamins and minerals [now brought together in the Fatigued to Fantastic! formulas], along with the rest of his protocol. I can't begin to tell you the difference between being someone who would lie on the couch and do nothing but watch TV to now, when I'm running two businesses. I've got my own website and I'm doing scoping (editing transcripts) for court reporters across the country. I am also a manager of a yoga studio in Annapolis. To go from someone who throughout five years just laid around in pain and suffered and thought she would never function again, to who I am today… I've come a long way. I still have problems, I still have relapses, but I know how to handle them now. Dr. Teitelbaum's products help me greatly, especially the Daily Energy Enfusion formula from Enzymatic Therapy. I also go in for vitamin B12 shots all the time. I practice yoga, and I have a physical therapist who is also a yoga instructor. I go every single week and have done so since 1995, and I am given shiatsu treatment. Dr. Teitelbaum has recommended so many ways of attacking my problems on so many different levels. When I have really bad relapses, he's right here. I can go to him, and he's got an answer for me on how to deal with whatever's happened to me. I owe him a lot.

HL: Tell us about your first meeting with Dr. Teitelbaum.

AA: At my first session with Dr. Teitelbaum, I spent about four to five hours with him, and I remember him telling me he was going to give me a formula to help me sleep [one of the Fatigued to Fantastic! nutritional supplements]. I told him I got up about seven or eight times a night to go to the bathroom. He explained to me that I didn't need to go to the bathroom through the night; I was training myself to go that often because of the pain. I didn't believe him. Well, that first night was the first night I slept solidly in my life, and I didn't get up once. I woke up at seven in the morning, which was totally unheard of for me. I would usually drag myself out of bed at 9:30. I felt so refreshed, and I realized that this was how healthy people feel.

HL: What would you recommend to people suffering with chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia?

AA: Your first step is to find someone like Dr. Teitelbaum, because you can't do this on your own. You need someone to guide you and help you. I think one of the most important things is you must not allow yourself to become a victim. You have to be proactive. I have a physical therapist who I feel has empowered me with teaching me when I have problems, when I have pain, which you have every day—you never get away from it—there are postures and things that I can do myself now to deal with that pain or that problem. You've got to be willing to work at it and not just want somebody to give you a pill because that's not going to work.

HL: How do you feel about Dr. Teitelbaum's work?

AA: I feel very strongly about Dr. Teitelbaum and what he has achieved. The man has devoted his life and is a good person. He is helping the thousands of people that have been dealt a terrible blow with this disease. I've spent many, many years very depressed not knowing what was wrong with my health and beginning to think that there was something wrong with me mentally. It was a revelation to know that there really is something wrong with me physically: that it's not in my head, there's a reason for it. Dr. Teitelbaum has accomplished so much in this field all on his own when no one else would do it.

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of eight research studies on their effective treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.

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