Where I’ve been

As longtime followers of News from Underground, you've surely noticed that my output dropped dramatically about 18 months ago, with only intermittent pieces since (though I've been more prolific recently). I'm writing now to tell you why this happened, and what I'm trying to do about it now. 

As some few of you know, I have been sick for several years—to be precise, since the summer of 2011, when I first noticed the symptoms of an illness that just kept on getting worse: physical fatigue, mental fog, numbness in the feet and hands, insomnia, blurred vision, and a range of other problems that suggested neurological disease. 

That's what I was told by specialists all over Manhattan, then at the Mayo Clinic, then at the Sophia Health Institute in Seattle (an "alternative" outfit). My medical travels also took me down to Cuba for a bout of plasmapheresis (which my latest neurologist prescribed, but which United Healthcare initially refused to cover, so I trekked down there, where it was cheaper); and, as well, I consulted several highly-recommended (and yet wholly useless) "healers" of all kinds. 

Thus I spent over six years seeking help, as my first several doctors (some in private practice, and others at Columbia Presbyterian, Cornell Weill, Mayo and Sophia) all told me that I have an idiopathic neurological disease (meaning they had no clue what it was), after which another neurologist (this one rather famous) told me that I have an autoimmune disease, but of unknown cause, requiring plasmapheresis and then IVIG—costly and increasingly debilitating therapies that only helped a little bit at first, and ultimately left me feeling worse, although he kept assuring me that if I stopped them I would end up in a wheelchair. 

So it was until late last summer (2017), when I reached out to a doctor (and old friend) with long experience at dealing with diseases that the US medical establishment largely dismisses; and she surmised that I have Lyme disease—although I'd been tested for it twice, with "negative" results. She referred me to a specialist in upstate New York. I traveled up to see him in September, he ran his many tests; and there is now no question that I do have Lyme disease after all—chronic, late-stage Lyme disease, affecting my central nervous system, and, in fact, the cause of that autoimmune illness for which I'd been treated, pointlessly, for two years. 

As daunting as it is, this diagnosis is, of course, good news, because I finally know what's ailing me (a recent spinal tap confirmed it beyond question), and am now undergoing treatment that's (very gradually) working—although that poses problems, too. For one thing, effective treatment of late Lyme often has the paradoxical effect of worsening your symptoms, as the die-off of those spirochetes releases further toxins (what's called a Herxheimer reaction), so that you need more help to get through that as well. 

Thus this healing process is a very slow one—and expensive. Working under hostile scrutiny by the government, which holds that there is no such thing as chronic Lyme, the best Lyme specialists don't take insurance, since they don't want their patients' records on the Internet, to be mischievously eyeballed by the state; and so their care costs thousands over time. 

And so, to pay for both my doctor's ongoing treatment and the many tests he's run, I had to turn to certain friends who could afford to help me, and who very generously did. But dealing with late Lyme disease takes more than such a doctor's care, and more than the antibiotics he prescribes. At least in my case (as my doctor agrees), it also takes a complex daily regimen of herbs and other supplements, as well as various holistic remedies that certainly aren't covered by insurance (e.g., constitutional hydrotherapy, deep-tissue massage, infrared sauna, and other non-traditional recourses). 

At first I thought that I could cover such expenses, for a while at least, with United Healthcare's partial reimbursement for my doctor's care; but United has (so far) refused to reimburse me anything—even though they'd readily covered all my plasmapheresis and IVIG treatments, which did me no good whatsoever, whereas this much cheaper treatment has been helping me. (I appealed this decision, was denied, and have now appealed again.) 

I wish I didn't have to go into such boring detail vis-a-vis my own predicament. I would much rather be providing you, as usual, with urgent news that we're not getting from the US press, on matters vastly more important than my health and finances. But in order to get back to that important work, I must get well; and in order to do that, I need whatever help you can provide, either by donating on your own, or by reaching out to others able to contribute something. 

One might donate to me directly via PayPal (markcrispinmiller@gmail.com), or through the NFU website (http://markcrispinmiller.com) using the "donate" button on the lower right. If you're old-school, on the other hand, and so prefer to send a check through the post office, please email me, and I'll send you my terrestrial address. (And if anyone should to want to make a larger, tax- deductible donation, s/he should email me for further information.) 

In any case, whatever you can do will be appreciated more than I can say. Thank you for at least considering this request; and thanks to everyone for reading News from Underground.

Mark Crispin Miller

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