I was provided a copy of Why Can’t I Get Better, by Dr Richard Horowitz to review by St Martin’s Press. (Thank you!) This book is big buzz in the Lyme community right now. I first saw Dr Horowitz on Katie Couric where he outlined some of his points, prior to the book release. He is spot on in his thinking that it’s not just Lyme Disease, or even the co-infections (commonly Bartonella, Babesia, Mycroplasma, and more) but many conditions that go together with Lyme Disease that cause someone to feel so sick.
Dr Horowitz calls this sickness MSIDS (Multiple Systemic Infectious Disease Syndrome) due to all the components that must be looked at for lyme patients. If a patient is not feeling better after treatment for the lyme, then it’s time to look into other conditions such as: co-infections, heavy metals, hormones, adrenals, sleep conditions, and many more. This book rang so true for me. The Lyme treatment was not enough, I had to treat other conditions to feel better.
There is an excellent description of the major co-infections that go along with Lyme, and their treatments. There are herbal and antibiotic choices provided. Sprinkled throughout the chapters there are stories about patients, which helps provide a case study to examine at how these illnesses play out, including the varying types of severity and the types of stumbling blocks that can arise in treatment. These anecdotes also make the book much more readable for a layperson, and there is some humor infused into those sections.
There is a very good questionnaire that new patients should consider reading and filling out, or people with autoimmune conditions or other “mysterious” or hard-to-treat conditions should really look into. There’s another chart on the different conditions that go with Lyme (metals, etc) and testing and treatments that go with this. (This would be very helpful for a patient to bring into a doctor’s appointment!)
Reading the adrenal section was like reading about myself! My first doctor did not treat my adrenals properly and this held up my recovery for awhile. He really needs to read a copy of this book. In fact all doctors really should, especially those treating autoimmune conditions and fibromyalgia patients. Dr Horowitz does a great job of explaining how lyme can cause an autoimmune response and cause doctors to think there is an autoimmune condition. it’s so important to know if it’s Lyme since that is much more curable (in theory) than some of these autoimmune conditions. I for one am so grateful I don’t just think I have fibromyalgia anymore.
One critique of the book I’ve heard from other patients is that some of these treatments cost a lot. I don’t think the book was designed to be a book on how to self-treat or treat on the cheap. Some of these conditions require specific testing, which costs money. Some things, if you’ve tested or diagnosed clinically, you can treat yourself herbally and with certain supplements. That is addressed in the book and he provides resources to do that, to an extent. It’s a shame these treatments are not better covered by insurance, but that’s another topic for another day.
My issue with the book is that there is a only small section on mold sickness, but not a lot of emphasis on this or information. Often mold and Lyme overlap, more so than this book would have you believe. It’s hard to find a doctor to treat mold sensitivity properly, so I wished there was more information on this. Also, there wasn’t anything on EMF sensitivity, which some Lymies are finding is blocking their recovery. But, most other conditions that are commonly found with Lyme are covered.
I’d definitely recommend this to patients who want to be sure their treatment is on the right track, to new patients to better understand it, and to all medical professionals, since so few know much about Lyme and MSIDS. For people who have trouble reading, there is an audio version. Personally, I used a highlighter and read a chapter or two at a time to help with processing of information. If you are interested in an online book group to help discuss what was read, please use the contact page and I can put you in touch with one.
It’s the best book on Lyme I’ve read and I highly recommend it. ***** (Five stars)
Related Articles: Are Your Fibromyalgia Symptoms Due to Lyme Disease?
and Are My Anxiety and Depression Due to Lyme Disease? By Dr Horowitz