Saturday, September 29, 2012
Friday, September 28, 2012
Celebration of Dr. Rich VanK's Life Planned
ProHealth.com • September 27, 2012
On September 26 we lost Richard Van Konynenburg, PhD – a kind and
brilliant friend of all people with neuro-immune illnesses. We
received this note from Rivka, one of countless patients who grieve
the loss of Rich VanK:
We will hold a Celebration of Life and Memorial Service via telephone
conference call for our beloved Rich Van K, so that the ME/CFS and
Lyme and MCS communities (including those who are bedridden and
homebound) have a place to say goodbye, pay our respects, grieve
together and heal from this huge loss we feel so very deeply.
Rich's wife, Diana, will join us. It will not be scheduled until a few
weeks from now.
There will be a public memorial, if anyone would like to attend. Also,
I am collecting appreciation comments from anyone who would like their
thoughts sent to the family. You can email them to my work email:
Susan@gordonmedical.com (Susan @ gordonmedical.com). I plan to collect
them from our announcement and from anyone who wants to email me, and
I will pass them on as a collection to let the family know how much
Rich was valued.
It will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 6.
348 North Canyons Prkwy Livermore, CA 94551
Phone: (925) 447-3465
Gordon Medical Associates
The Lightning Process Didn't Work For me
Shedding light on the lightning Process
PHIL PARKER'S LIGHTNING PROCESS DIDN'T WORK FOR ME.
The Lightning Process is the latest 'miracle' cure for M.E and Chronic
Fatige. It is shrouded in mystery because they drill it into
participants that if they tell anyone about it it won't work.. It has
worked for some people but not for others. It is based on affirmations
and counteracting negative thoughts if you are already familiar with
such things it will not be anything new for you. I paid £550 to go on
the course because I couldn't find out what it was really about. This
is why I have written this.
There were four of us on the course. The morning of the first day was
spent 'proving' mind over matter by showing us DVD's interspersed with
talks from the tutor, a stout woman in her late fifties, telling us
about people who had being wrongly diagnosed with cancer and then died
'That's how powerful your mind is,' she trilled and didn't cite the
many cases of people wrongly diagnosed with cancer who gave away all
their money only to find themselves still alive and then sue the NHS -
as was on the radio recently. We were shown optical illusions,
pictures where one way it looks like an old woman, one way a young one
and another one of an elephant with varying numbers of legs depending
on how you looked at it. She kept pointing to her large sofas and
telling us stories about people who had lain there unable to move at
the start of the course and were walking again by the third day and
then back at work/school by the following Monday (the course was mid
week). I liked this bit. Before the course I could already walk, I
could even work part time, but I still slept afternoons, travel
exhausted me and nights out left me sleepless and overwrought. If
others went from nothing to being able to work in four days I was sure
to get well. I believed it could work. My basic attitude was I have
paid £550 for this (borrowed money as I am on benefits) I am going to
do what they say.
The first thing was to take responsibility for our illness. I had to
stop saying I had M.E. Instead I have to say I am 'doing M.E', I
wasn't tired, I was 'doing tired and doing muscle aches'. The
implication being if I am doing it I can stop doing it. I wasn't sure
what I thought about this, but it didn't matter because I didn't get
to put it into practice much on the course as you are not encouraged
to talk about how you are. This was because we are going to
concentrate on the positive which at the time seemed fair enough. The
facilitator was telling us more and more stories about the people she
had cured. One of them even phoned up while we were having lunch and
the phone was passed round the table so we could all talk to her. By
that time I was up really up for it, we all were, whatever the process
was, I was going to do it with all my heart.
In the afternoon session we were told that the reason we had M.E is
that we have negative thoughts. Every time we have them our adrenal
glands give us 'a squirt of adrenaline' this builds up and stops your
body functioning properly.
The Lightening Process would stop this happening. This was a miracle.
The five hundred and fifty pound wonder.
The tutor stood up. 'To stop this you have to get up and say 'Stop'
make a physical movement, step back or cross your wrists in a pushing
away movement.' And she did the movement for us. Then she showed us
how to go through an affirmation/self-coaching process, which I think
is copy righted so I'll paraphrase. You ask yourself if you want to
choose happiness. Which you obviously do and then you say how
fantastic you are to have stopped the negativity thought. You ask
yourself what you really want, then you answer yourself, and again ask
yourself how you are going to get there. The answer of course is to
keep doing the process, getting rid of those negative thoughts. Then
you tell yourself how great you are again and maybe have a bit of a
hug with yourself, then…….. no nothing, that's it.
Kerching. Five hundred and Fifty pounds please.
I was a bit perturbed at this point because I have been doing
affirmations and therapy for many years so I am not blighted by the
kind of negativity that can be emotionally crippling, and when I first
discovered that it was wonderful. But I discovered it in a book that
cost £3.50 now I it seemed I had paid £550 for the same lesson.
However the mere fact I had paid so much money meant I was going to do
exactly as they told me, it had worked for others and it could work
for me. We were told to do The Process thirty times that evening. I
went back to my guest house and did as I was told. I spoke to my loved
ones but when they asked how it went I was reluctant to talk about it.
The tutor said that if we tell people about the process if won't work.
That's right, to talk about the process means it can't work for you.
She also told had told us no matter how she feels she tells everyone
she 'feels fabulous'. I wasn't quite ready to tell people I felt
fabulous but equally I didn't tell anyone how much the first day had
tired me because that is a negative thought and that must be
countered, so I did my thirty processes, went for a walk and then to
The second day when I turned up there was three big posters saying,
'DON'T TALK ABOUT HOW YOU ARE UNTIL THE SESSION STARTS'. I soon
realised once it did start that is so the tutor can control
everything. She didn't ask me if I felt better she asked what I did
the night before, I said, 'I did the Process and I went for a walk'
she said, 'Sally, went for a walk, hooray' like it was a victory for
the Lightning process but as I said my M.E is moderate and I go for a
walk everyday, but no-one would have known.
As the day went on I was getting more and more tired. By mid-afternoon
I was slumped in my seat watching yet another video about how the
brain makes us over-produce adrenalin and how The Process can stop it.
But I had been doing the process and it hadn't stopped it. All the
tutor's happy chat about even more people she had cured were starting
to sound stale.
I was not the only one who looked knackered. One of the blokes started
asking questions about why he doesn't feel what they say on the DVD.
'It's a three day process' she snaps and makes him do the Process.
Any awkward question for the rest of the session was answered with
'It's a three day process,' or anything even more awkward she says we
can ask in the individual sessions we are having the next day.
If anyone says anything she thinks is negative we are interrupted and corrected.
At one point she left the room. It felt very naughty but I whispered
to one of the woman sitting next to me 'how are you, is this working
for you?'. She was reluctant to answer, to say anything but that she
was doing well would be to go against the process because that is a
negative thought. It was pointless asking really.
Still I wanted it to work, but I was starting to worry about the fact
that I was not only not feeling any better the effort of doing the
course, not getting my normal rest was making me feel worse.
But these were negative thoughts. I started to ruthlessly suppress
them like I had been shown.
Yes by that evening I was doing the Lightning Process to counteract my
thoughts about the Lightning Process itself.
The next day I still felt no different. I went and had my one to one
session and when I told her that she said I was being negative (of
course) and that I must keep doing the process at home and it would
work. But on the course I was told that the reason it was called
'lightning process' was that because it worked liked lightning (they
even produced diagram with a graphic of some lightning in case we
didn't get it. I got the concept, it just wasn't happening.) From all
the literature I was sent prior to parting with borrowed money to go
on the course, were testimonials saying how fast it had worked. No
body said it didn't work on the course but it did later. Also I
realised when you fill in the form you have to say whether you
question things, this is because they don't want anyone on the course
who does. They need to control everything. You are not allowed to talk
about how you are because that is being negative. In the session
anything I even hinted to this effect was countered with that I was
being negative. So we moved on to what else she could do for me. I
said one of my biggest problems was being exhausted but unable to
sleep. So we did a visualisation that involved a pressure point on my
hand and she said whenever I couldn't sleep I could just rub that
'There you are you are cured,' she said so happily that I could see in
her mind where no negative thoughts ever creep, I was. She was clearly
thrilled with herself. I wanted to believe her and tried it for the
next few nights, of course to no avail.
The lightning process is supposed to be NLP and osteopathy. I could
see no osteopathy, the only movement on the course I attended was the
stop movement and the pressure point on my hand I mentioned above. The
woman who ran the process had been cured herself so maybe they have
got something. I didn't disbelieve he, she had a large house with a
spare flat that she no longer needed to rent out due to how much she
was making from peddling the lightning process to desperate people
To give her her due she did drive me to and from the station and after
the course offered to work with me for free on the phone. So I
accepted that but found out that working with me involved her telling
me to keep working the process because it worked and arguing with my
objections saying I hadn't given it time and that I was being
She kept saying 'keep doing it cos it works,' and had nothing to say
when I said I had kept 'doing it'. She said I had given up so soon. I
was told it had a 93 % success rate. On my course of four it seemed to
work for one person and had an impact on another, but for two of us it
Phil Parker who invented this process charges £1000 for his three day
courses and has over 20 people per course. He should put some of that
money into doing a proper clinical trial. It must be easy to wire
people up to see if they get a squirt of adrenaline when they have
negative thoughts. Maybe that does happen for some people but not all.
Some people do get cured but not me.
I wished they asked on the application form if I was plagued with
negative thoughts and whether I had worked with affirmations before I
could have told them No, and Yes. Then they would have known their
process was nothing new for me.
A really good article on M.E is
It's by a doctor with M.E who argues the main characteristic of M.E is
abnormally delayed muscle recover after doing trivial things. If you
don't have that you don't have M.E.
I am writing a book about all the things I have tried for M.E/CFS if
you would like to know when it's out then please contact me on
Misdiagnosis on a grand scale?
Around 190,000 people have a diagnosis of ME/CFS in the UK, and there
are approximately 9,300 newly diagnosed cases each year. Yet, how
valid a diagnosis of ME/CFS really is depends crucially on the rigour
of the initial clinical assessment, and the efforts made to exclude
other treatable conditions that might be causing the collection of
symptoms. If the examination is cursory – and if the clinician is
sceptical, alienated or just plain disinterested – the "diagnosis" can
easily become a convenient lay-by for clinically complex cases that
don't fit into any other category.
Every year ME Research UK gets about 400 calls or e-mails from
patients. A small number of these – not a flood, but a regular trickle
– are from patients reporting that they have improved after being
re-diagnosed with and treated for another condition. These conditions
have included Addison's disease, multiple sclerosis, sleep apnoea,
primary mitochondrial disease, primary liver disease and paranoid
schizophrenia – and in every case the caller has been content with the
re-diagnosis and/or the new treatments it has brought.
So, there is certainly anecdotal evidence that something is amiss with
the diagnosis of ME/CFS at the GP surgery. Thanks to two good
scientific papers from reputable clinical research groups in the UK,
we now have formal research evidence to back up these patients'
In the first – originally published in 2010 in the Journal of the
Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh (1) – researchers examined the
records of every patient referred by local GPs to the Newcastle CFS/ME
Clinical Service. The key finding was that 103 (40%) of referrals were
eventually diagnosed with other conditions which could explain the
concatenation of symptoms. The main alternative diagnoses in these
patients were fatigue associated with a chronic disease (47% of all
alternative diagnoses); a primary sleep disorder (20%);
psychological/psychiatric illnesses (15%, most commonly, depression,
anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder); and cardiovascular
The second, recently published report examined the prevalence of
alternative diagnoses in patients referred by GPs to the specialist
clinic at St Bartholomew's Hospital, London (2). Its major finding was
that a diagnosis of "CFS" was eventually confirmed in only 54% of
patients. Of the rest, 53 patients (21%) were given alternative
medical diagnoses (most commonly primary sleep disorders, endocrine
disorders, nutritional disorders and pain disorders), while 54
patients (22%) received alternative psychiatric diagnoses (most
commonly a depressive illness or anxiety disorder).
These reports provide clear, formal evidence that almost half of
patients referred from primary care with a diagnosis of ME/CFS
actually have something else wrong with them – a fact that is not
discovered until they are lucky enough to be seen at a specialist
clinic. This seems like misdiagnosis on a grand scale.
Something has to change. In the short term, continuing education for
GPs should be beefed up – ideally with input from ME/CFS charities and
experts. In the longer term, the problem could be resolved by the
creation of ME/CFS Centres of Excellence at key points throughout the
UK, offering biomedical assessment, proper diagnosis, treatment and
onward referrals, all under one roof. As well as improving patient
care, these centres would become validated "research resources" of
properly diagnosed patients for biomedical studies of the future.
1.Newton et al. The Newcastle NHS Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Service:
not all fatigue is the same. J R Coll Physicians Edinb 2010; 40:304–7.
Download pdf version here
2.Devasahayam A et al. Alternative diagnoses to chronic fatigue
syndrome in referrals to a specialist service: service evaluation
survey. JRSM Short Rep 2012; 3(1):4. Read full article here
This article appeared as an Editorial by Dr Neil Abbot in our
Breakthrough magazine Autumn 2012.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Mitochondria are responsible for creating more than 90% of the energy needed by the body to sustain life and support growth. When they fail, less and less energy is generated within the cell. Cell injury and even cell death follow.
If this process is repeated throughout the body, whole systems begin to fail, and that person's life is severely compromised. The disease primarily affects children, but adult onset is becoming more common.
We were told that diseases of the mitochondria appear to primarily damage cells of the brain, heart, liver, skeletal muscles, kidney and the endocrine and respiratory systems. (Excuse me, but what's left?)
Symptoms may include loss of motor control, muscle weakness and pain, gastrointestinal disorders and swallowing difficulties, poor growth, cardiac disease, liver disease, diabetes, respiratory complications, seizures, visual or hearing problems, lactic acidosis, developmental delays and susceptibility to infection.
* * *
Mitochondrial dysfunction is one of the symptoms of CFS.
In a flier drafted for the project, the government asks: "Have you recently experienced a medical mistake? Do you have concerns about the safety of your health care?" And it urges patients to contact a new "consumer reporting system for patient safety." The government says it will use information submitted by patients to make health care safer.
Federal officials say that medical mistakes often go unreported, and that patients have potentially useful information that could expose reasons for drug mix-ups, surgery on the wrong body part, radiation overdoses and myriad other problems that cause injuries, infections and tens of thousands of deaths each year.
* * *
Doctors are the third-leading cause of death in the US