As you see me sitting here on a sunny March day in Southern California it is hard to imagine that for more than a decade I suffered from Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS). My life divides into three main parts, before I was ill, a decade of struggling with my health, and finally my restoration to well being.
Before becoming ill I was an athletic young man standing 6', weighing 195 pounds, able to run a mile in less than five minutes, competing as an amateur in 15 kilometer road races. I lifted weights, and reveled in both cross country and downhill snow skiing.
Intellectually I was blossoming, graduating from college with honors in Computer Science in 1983. With my diploma and a handsome job offer from a Fortune 500 company I moved from my home state of Montana, to Oregon where I live now. Nine months after moving to Oregon I developed an incurable sore throat. Little did I know at the time, but this was the beginning of a decade of struggle, suffering, and severely diminished lifestyle.
After more than three months of persistent sore throat I went to a Medical Doctor who looked at my throat and saw something red and white. He quickly sent me away with a prescription for antibiotics. Approximately a month later I was back in his office reporting no improvement. After another round of antibiotics, and finally a third with a more wide spectrum antibiotic, I developed diarrhea and bowel discomforts. Not long after that I was having a constant low grade fever, and night sweating. I could no longer run or perform any strenuous exercise. My lymph glands under the chin had swollen to acorn size and were always hard. Lymph glands in the pelvic area had also swollen and felt like small marbles, painful to push against.
Soon I was reacting to all of my food and found myself having bowel movements multiple times per day, always feeling hungry, frequently having headaches, and a sense of panic over what was happening to me. My body had numerous aches and pains, even the joints of my fingers began to hurt. So I went to new doctors with concerns more pressing than just a sore throat.
My thyroid, pituitary, and adrenal glands were tested. No diabetes, detectable cancer, or endocrine irregularities were found. At my insistence an AIDS test was performed ,which was also negative. Epstein-Barr titers were inspected, and no indication of mono was determined. Finally the respected MD, referred by a nurse friend of mine, declared there was nothing wrong with me. He told me frankly that I was far too young and predisposed to happiness to be neurotic. He offered me a referral to a psychiatrist friend of his at the local health sciences university.
I refused the psychiatrist. Strangely, I received great comfort by the objective clarification that now over ruled how I had been feeling -- I was in fact not in the process of dying from some incurable disease.
My daily life became a struggle as I tried to manage my food. I had to learn Candida Albicans - yeast infection, on my own. I deduced that yeast was the cause of my sugar intolerance. A great deal of my quality of life had been lost. My body had also shed a considerable amount of weight. I felt like hell. I looked like hell. I lived with extremely reduced activity levels compared to my previous exuberant life. Despite eating enormous amounts of food, I lost weight and was not able to regain it. I hit bottom at 145 pounds. In retrospect I now know it looked to many that I had indeed developed either AIDS or cancer.
I learned many coping skills, avoiding obvious sugar, hidden sugar, and constantly rotating my diet to lessen food reactions. During the day at work I would often sneak out to my car for a 45 minute nap so I could have energy and mental clarity for just a few more hours of work. Saunas temporarily alleviated my mind fog and energy problems. I would take these daily, arranging to have one just an hour or so before an important meeting where I would have to think on my feet. Despite all this, there were many many times when I couldn't put a whole sentence together, remember the names of relatives, sometimes even my own wife's name. I became prolific at taking notes and making lists. Given quiet undemanding time, to slowly process a question, my mental capacity remained extremely strong despite all of the apparent limitations in the short timeframe. During my time of illness I had many successes in my high technology career, including being an inventor granted five US Patents.
Not one to give up easily, I continued to search for a true cause and cure for my condition. I never stopped wanting to be whole and healthy again. In the fall of 1994 came a series of insights that led to the discovery of my cause, my cure, and ultimately a passion to fill this, my renewed life.
First, a radiologist friend asked about my health, knowing remotely about my long struggle. I complained about the Candida Albicans and food allergies. He looked me in the eye and said "No".
"What do you mean No", I said nervously.
"No, you can't have that", he said. He went on to explain that only people with cancer, AIDS, undergoing chemotherapy or transplant drugs develop Candida infections such as I described. Since I was none of those, I couldn't have Candida Albicans. There was the allopathic medical textbook opened and slammed in my face in one swift movement.
Candida was so prevalent on and in my skinny body that it even lived in the lines of my hands which were almost always coated white, and thankfully not failing me that day. Upon examining my hands and their white filled lines, the radiologist friend back pedaled. "Okay, without taking a look under the microscope, I have to agree that does indeed look like Candida". After dithering his thoughts for a while, he said, "Candida is not your real problem", "there is something wrong with your immune system". The resounding question in both our minds was, "but what ?".
Just a few weeks later another friend, part of my personal network of "sickies", asked if I had any dental fillings. "Of course", I said, there were many and I have always had many since childhood. These had all been replaced with shiny new ones when I first moved to Oregon. My childhood fillings had begun falling out during college, and couldn't be replaced until I had an income and dental health coverage.
"Did you know that the silver fillings have mercury ? and that a researcher I heard on the radio believes mercury depresses the immune system, allowing Candida Albicans to over grow ?" she asked.
In a flash I was stunned, elated, and enraged. How could I have mercury in my mouth, by my calculation 28 years, and not have known about it ? Over time my anger became righteous indignation that I had been so patronized by all the dentists I had ever trusted. Not one had told me the true content of what they were installing in my teeth. After so many years of disappointment and so many dead ends in trying to regain my health, it was pure excitement to finally have such a compelling cause of illness to suspect and investigate.
Upon retrospect, dental amalgam and mercury exposure marked the beginning of my illness vividly. In the fall of 1983 after my dental health insurance first vested, I had approximately 12 mercury-amalgam dental fillings removed in an unclean surgery. A surgery that did not even install a rubber dam, let alone provide me with an oxygen respirator. Those old mercury-amalgam dental fillings were replaced with fresh, new mercury-amalgam dental fillings. This had all been performed over a three month period with completion predating my original sore throat by about 3 months.
After learning all of this, I had the obvious amalgams removed coincident with chelation treatments. As I learned later this was a good thing, taking the chelation at the same time. Since I was still staying with my old dentist who I now know is practicing mercury dentistry in a most unsafe manner. It would be some time before I would realize what a mercury exposure hazard he created by drilling amalgam without a rubber dam, without supplying me outside breathing air removed from the drilling vapors. His technique couldn't have been worse either. He would completely grind away each amalgam, maximizing the mercury vapor breathed by me, himself, his assistant, and everyone else in his office.
A year after the amalgams were removed and after I had been chelated a half dozen times, I weighed 180 pounds. This was 25 pounds more than my decade long, sickly average of 155 pounds. All of my subjective symptoms were greatly relieved. It was June 1996. Upon realization of cause and effect in my astounding health improvement, I was literally "jumping for joy".
Two months later I began having "brain fog", and energy problems again, but not a full relapse of CFIDS. After a follow up chelation I was great again until November. Then a similar relapse. At this point I had the same old dirty dentist lift a suspicious crown and remove the amalgam from underneath. This time there was no concurrent chelation treatment and he used the same hazardous procedures as always.
On the way home I developed slight heart palpitations, and a kind of panic attack. The next day sitting in front of a computer screen I developed frightening heart palpitations. At my urgent request the clinic where I had been receiving chelation treatments gave me a treatment that very same day. 72 hours later I was relieved from the feelings of panic and the heart palpitations disappeared. They have not been back since. At that point I resolved to never use that dentist again and sought out a competent mercury free dentist who I continue to use to this day.
Upon examination of my x-rays it became apparent there were still four crowns likely to have amalgam buildups, and one tooth, a lower incisor that had a retrograde mercury amalgam. This root end amalgam had been installed by an endodontist who had done root surgery to place a root canal in the tooth. The lower jaw area near this tooth was giving me discomfort. But there were no signs of infection discovered by x-ray. After a long agonizing debate with myself, having considered both options -- new work by yet another endodontist, or extraction, I decided to have the tooth extracted. Below you can see photos of the root end of the extracted tooth.
Every dental expert to whom I have shown this tooth has agreed that removing the tooth was a very good decision. It looks to most as though the tooth and amalgam had been under direct assault by my immune system which was carrying the filling and tooth away bit by bit. By viewing the images below and my x-ray from 1990, one can see noticeable amounts of material missing.
With my new "mercury free" dentist, all precautions were taken. A rubber dam was installed each time an amalgam was to be removed. I was placed on an oxygen respirator -- breathing air from a tank, not from the dental surgery creating mercury vapor less than two inches from my nose and nostrils. This dentist also has a room air filtration system. He puts what looks like a dryer hose near the surgery area to capture mercury vapor leaving my mouth during amalgam drilling. This is used to reduce mercury exposure to himself, his assistants, and anyone else breathing the air in his office.
At my request we captured amalgam chunks from each tooth that had amalgam buildups. Of the four remaining crowns it was discovered that two gold crowns rested upon large amalgam buildups. Another gold crown was on a buildup of silver-composite compound called "miracle mix". The last and oldest crown was a base metal crown believed to be made of nickel alloy. Below are some of the more compelling amalgam fragments or "chunks", that were recovered from underneath my gold crowns. My original dentist had resolutely contended that the "mercury was all locked up beneath the crown and it's adhesive", that it "couldn't possibly corrode and escape from underneath there".
If you examine each of these fragments carefully, you will see color hues ranging from bright metallic silver, to black as coal. The silver extreme is the mercury rich amalgam, very much composed of the same proportions of metals and mercury as originally installed by the dentist. From the yellows to the black, one sees amalgam corrosion products -- amalgam depleted of various amounts of the original mercury. The black portions are devoid of mercury. All the missing mercury entered into my personal biosystem of tissues, blood, respiration, and digestion. There is no doubt these produced mercury exposure for me, and from the literature of carefully done science, there is little doubt that a portion of this escaped mercury became systemic -- that is it entered my bloodstream and organ tissues exposing my tissues and immune system.
Perhaps you have found all of this interesting. But where is the conclusive proof that it was in fact the mercury making me ill ? I offer two points of evidence. The first is my startling recover to good health after more than a decade of chronic illness. View the pictures of myself 10 years after the set showing me gaunt and ill. These pictures taken in 1997 and 1998 were after all mercury had been removed from my mouth by dentist, and from my body by chelation and nutrition.
I have followed an aggressive nutrition program. Nutritional supplements have restored my healthy body status of essential nutrients, antioxidants, and small proteins used naturally by the body to chelate mercury and other toxins. My digestion, metabolism, and requirements for food have normalized. I now maintain weight at 195 pounds, just as before my illness with a modest requirement for food in take. Food allergies have greatly diminished, though I still have problems with chocolate and with hot drinks made with chlorinated water. Subjectively I am without question much healthier and happier, experiencing the normal energy and clear cognitive function that I had not enjoyed in my decade of illness.
The second piece of evidence I have to offer that mercury was at cause in my illness is scientific and objective. In November 1998 I had a MELISA® test done on my blood. This test was performed by Dr. Vera Stejskal of Stockholm, Sweden. MELISA® is a specialized lymphocyte transformation test (LTT). LTT has been used to diagnose allergies for more than 30 years. MELISA® is specialized for testing with metals. When confronted with a metal ion that it is programmed to remember, a memory lymphocyte transforms into a lymphoblast, a reproductive form of immune cell which then proceeds to proliferate more cells also programmed against the metal. Such a transformation and proliferation does not occur when the immune system tolerates a substance.
You may view my personal MELISA® results in their entirety. What MELISA revealed almost a year and a half after my very last amalgam was finally removed is that my immune system still circulates memory lymphocytes targeting mercury. It also discovered that my immune system is still highly activated against the metal nickel, yet tolerates the other dental metals of gold alloy and titanium still residing in my mouth. Of note, I no longer develop gum bleeding or infections in relationship to my gold crowns. These are problems I did have with gold crowns over amalgam buildups, and with my one nickel crown.
Nickel is also present in food and water sources and leaches from stainless steel cookware. Continued exposure to nickel from these sources explains the continued reactivation of my memory lymphocytes programmed against nickel. Since learning of my nickel allergy I have purchased glass cooking pots, have discontinued cooking in stainless steel, and I avoid chocolate - since research shows this food substance is inordinately high in the metal nickel.
After fifteen years in high technology, I have recently begun a business to directly help others wanting to be nutrient rich and healthy. The company is called CFS Nutrition. CFS Nutrition publishes information on the internet regarding metals and other toxins that are believed to contribute to chronic illness. CFS Nutrition markets a line of food supplement programs that support healthy immune function, fuel the body's natural detoxification of metals and other toxins, and feeds the body's antioxidation processes. The CFS Nutrition website can be found at: http://www.cfsn.com.
My personal "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome ? or Chronic Mercury Poisoning?" website can be found at: http://www.teleport.com/~ctseng/cfs_pages.
MELISA MEDICA FOUNDATION has a website at: http://www.melisa.org. This website has a comprehensive bibliography of peer reviewed, mainstream medical/science journal articles establishing the use of LTT and MELISA® in diagnosing immune modulated metal allergy.
It has been my great pleasure and honor to be a part of the Canary Production of the "Millennium Dental & Environmental Health" Program. I hope my personal account provides knowledge, example, and encouragement to the many others suffering from dental metal caused illnesses. You don't have to be ill, and you don't have to accept the health dogma of the mercury purveyors. You can think and act for yourself, and be well.