November 27, 2012
Over twenty-five years ago, in 1986, I came down with a sudden viral illness that took out my immune and energy systems. Within two weeks I was unable to walk and my joints were swollen. I was 24 yrs old and had been working full-time as a Word Processor for a law firm in Denver, Colorado. Suddenly I found myself very ill, completely disabled, and unable to work.
It was 11 years before I found a correct diagnosis and a doctor to help me, Dr. Daniel Peterson of Sierra Internal Medicine in Incline Village, Nevada. Dr. Peterson is a very intelligent and gifted physician, known as a “pioneer” in the field of ME/CFS. His compassionate medical care and willingness to treat his patients is one of the reasons he is so well-respected and loved by his patients. Dr. Peterson’s determination has never wavered from the goal of pursuing the cause and treatments for this horrible illness.
I was one of the first five of his patients to be on the AMP-511 cost-recovery FDA clinical trials and dosed Ampligen for the first time in December of 1997. I had an incredible response to Ampligen and 8 years of dosing 400 mg. twice per week and enjoying improved health and caring for my family. I have never had any side effects from the drug other than it gives me an appetite and makes me feel like I need to take a walk. It increases my broken immune system and helps to erradicate the five viruses that cause me trouble. It gives me the ability to make energy and strengthen my body by using my muscles.
You cannot imagine the joy that improvement can cause a person to be able to do household tasks and get out of the house and use my body to take walks. The quality of life of a patient with this horrible illness is minimal and the suffering immense. Having any help at all is something to be grateful for. I only had that chance because of dosing Ampligen.
In 2005 I went off of Ampligen because all of my tests had been in the normal range for at least two years. I wanted the very-coveted spots of people allowed on the drug to be given to another person who might benefit from it. I enjoyed my wellness for another whole year where I could take bike rides with my kids and be the mother I had always dreamed of being. Unfortunately, after the one year, my immune system crashed, beginning with a virus in my intestines that just about destroyed me.
Subsequently, I had six years of severe illness and was again housebound and most of the time spent in bed. The inflammation caused swelling in my brain and my central nervous system and I lost both vision and hearing. There were many times that my digestive system could tolerate only liquid nutrition. The bone infections in my teeth caused me to lose 9 teeth. A healthy life as I knew it was over and losing it for the second time was quite difficult. The difficulties of having a chronic illness also took it’s toll on my family and this Fall I have been going through a divorce.
On my 49th birthday in July of 2011, I once again began Ampligen therapy, thanks to Dr. Peterson and Dr. Strayer getting me back on the drug. It has been amazing to have the gift of getting well once again and words cannot describe the thankfulness in my heart for this beautiful opportunity. My treadmill function has gone back to normal, my NK cells are normal, and I am able to take mile-long walks once a week. I can grocery shop, and I can cook. I will say that life is beautiful. I have renewed health, many friends, and my church.
There is one thing that has caused me more suffering than any of the above items, and that is watching other CFS/ME patients suffer by not having had the opportunity to get well like I have had not once, but twice. I am burdened to watch the suffering of fellow patients and to see the heartbreak of many people that take their own life because they can no longer tolerate the suffering. Imagine going to the funeral of a fellow patient who could not tolerate the severe pain and made the choice to end their life because they didn’t have a treatment?
There are no other approved therapies for this illness, and I urge you to consider approving Ampligen in order to give others the hope and the chance to get well.
Very sincerely yours,
Anita K. Patton