The Faces of Lyme: Penny

Penny’s Lyme diagnosis was further complicated with menopause; making an accurate diagnosis more difficult to sift out the real issues. Once her diagnosis was confirmed, she struggled with accepting the length of her treatment protocol. She just wanted to feel better now! One year later, feeling “back to normal” she says her best advice is to be patient. Some things are trial and error and it is going to take longer than you want to feel better, but stick with it. You have to be willing to make changes if things aren’t working. Dr. Shikhman clears up the confusion around length of treatment and that it is possible to get Lyme in California.

The Faces of Lyme: Gwen

Gwen’s story will sound familiar to many. She had seen so many doctors that she didn’t want to see another one. She was tired of not being heard and told “she just has to live with.” Through the encouragement of her friend, she came to IFSMED. After going undiagnosed for 15 years, it took her 5 years to fully recover. She discusses how she was able to stay focused on treatment for that long.

The Faces of Lyme: Christina

Two years after receiving breast implants, Christina started experiencing neck pain. Her symptoms continued to increase until she was taking pain killers and anti-nausea medication every day for eight months.

Clinically, her Lyme and other infections were under control, but she was still not feeling well. This is when she decided to have her breasts explanted.

One month after explanation, she is no longer on pain and anti-nausea medications. She contributes this to having her breasts and all foreign materials removed from her body.

Christina speaks openly about her decision to remove her implants, how that has affected her self esteem, and what still scares her going forward.

The Faces of Lyme: Cynthia

“So crazy that there is something out there that can rob people of their personality”

Cynthia blamed herself for feeling miserable. She thought she was carrying something negative in her heart. She worked on her mind, spirit, and body connection, but was not getting any better. Depression and anxiety were unbearable, so much so that she began having suicidal thoughts.

8 months into treatment, she was feeling hopeless, not sure it was working, but slowly over the next 3 months she started to feel better. Almost a year into treatment she shares her story including: what sickness has taught her, what she does to practice patience, and where she would still like to see improvement.

The Faces of Lyme: Mason

“If anyone told you this would be easy…they’d by lying”

Go getter, high energy, on-the-go these are the words Mason uses to describe himself. After moving to San Diego, he noticed these characteristics fading away. He attributed it to starting a new job in a new city, but after 2-3 months of extreme fatigue, he knew something else had to be going on, so he went to the doctor.

18 doctor’s appointments later he still did not have an answer. He heard everything from chronic fatigue, arthritis, fibromyalgia, allergies, mold….

Eventually his symptoms landed him in the ER for three days. After being on IV antibiotics for 24 hours, he noticed his energy dramatically increased. Rightfully so, he attributed his feeling better to being on antibiotics. With the knowledge that antibiotics helped him feel better, he became his own advocate and sought out other doctors who would listen to his story.

In this video, we discuss one of the main symptoms of Bartonella, why we use Bicillin so often as a treatment.

The Faces of Lyme: Nicole

“Talk to other people. Don’t be afraid.”

After 4 years of being symptom free, Nicole had a relapse that sent her back into treatment. She discusses what she believes sent her into her relapse and what she is going to do moving forward to prevent a relapse again.

Nicole bounced from doctor to doctor for 6 years before properly being diagnosed with Lyme disease. She had become so tired of seeing doctors that she almost gave up. But she knew something was wrong so she kept fighting eventually ending up at IFSMED–thus beginning her path to recovery.

She gives some valuable recommendations on dealing with her Herxheimer Reaction, or die-off that often comes with beginning treatment.

Dr. Shikhman discusses the struggle that exists in the medical community with doctor’s unfamiliarity with diagnosing and treating Lyme.

The Faces of Lyme: Renel

“Family support is extremely important”

Renel’s severe mood swings drove her to get checked out by a hormone specialist who revealed her autoimmune levels were elevated.

She opens up about how important family support is and how she explained her diagnosis to her children. She admits the toll the disease took on her marriage, family, and social relationships.

The Faces of Lyme: Penny

“Getting better all the time”

Penny’s story is an example of Lyme manifesting as Rheumatoid Arthritis. Her RA diagnosis came first from her primary care doctor who referred her to our clinic. Upon further investigation it was revealed that her RA was a manifestation of underlying Lyme disease.

Doctor Shikhman explains RA and its heterogeneous nature and why he always searches for the driving force behind RA. He discusses why some inflammatory drugs don’t always work.

The Faces of Lyme: Dee

“Seek treatment immediately”

As a competitive mountain biker, Dee was in the bushes for years. He has been bitten several times, but never knew that getting bit would be a life-changing event. He never knew the severity of lyme until it happened to him.

Dee talks about his symptoms as it relates to his performance on the bike, how he protects himself now and his advice for everyone who frequents a tick environment.



The Faces of Lyme: Cherie

“You can always heal”

Underlying Lyme disease can be triggered by a traumatic event. Things like whiplash, extreme physical exertion, surgery, car accidents, and dental procedures can cause lyme to flare up.

When Cherie had arthroscopic knee surgery, her symptoms went into overdrive. She had to quit her job, needed help with daily activities, and was ultimately confined to a wheelchair.

She credits the initial use of steroids with giving her the short-term strength and energy to fight her disease. Doctor Shikhman breaks down the negative perception of steroids as a part of treatment and discusses their role in recovery.

She discusses the mental and emotional toll that often times gets overlooked when discussing lyme.