Meeting of May 31, 2012

Attendance (16): Jim Leyhane, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Rommel Tolentino, Len Leonidas, Ron Annis, Roberto Martinez, Julius Frankel, Doris Calamaras, Dean Calamaras, Bill Dowd, Dick Drumm, Phil Egan, Bill Kneissl, Charlie Foote, Russ Edberg.

Guests (2): Joe Nieman, Monica Annis.


• President Jim circulated the signup sheet for upcoming meetings. As always, if your plans change (either adding or rescinding dinner reservations) please let Terry Brewer know no later than Wednesday of each week.

Program: Patient, Heal Thyself

Joe Neiman, owner of the In Demand Enterprises LLC used car business in East Greenbush, was introduced by Ron Annis. Joe was one of the sponsors of this year’s Rotary Run. He spoke on his experience with ulcerative colitis.

Joe said he was diagnosed in 2007, while enrolled at the University of Buffalo, but today is disease free after an extremely trying round of heavy medications, including anti-inflammatories and prednisone that did him no good. He shared copies of his colonoscopies that showed an extremely bad case of ulcerative colitis when diagnosed compared to clean tissue today.

His journey saw his weight drop from 165 pounds to 110 as conventional treatments failed to improve his condition. He got to a point at which any pills he was prescribed went straight through his system without dissolving, and his overall health kept deteriorating. He underwent four sessions of intravenous Remicade infusions (Remicade is used in severe cases of Crohn’s or rheumatoid arthritis) that take five hours per session. That made a slight difference, but it was sort-lived. Finally, he was told he would have to undergo surgery and spend the rest of his life using a colostomy bag.

“I was going own to get blood drawn before being admitted to the hospital when it hit me,” he said. “I was only 22 and I would be spending the rest of my life with the bag. I couldn’t do it, and was determined to find an alternative.”

During this period, Joe had been researching his disease and its various treatments. Among books he read were “Patent Heal Thyself” and “Self-Healing Crohn’s and Colitis.” He lost faith in medications which, he said, only treat the symptoms but mask whatever might be the cause of his condition. He began self-treating, juicing fresh fruits and vegetables to access the nutrients without the fiber. He said it provided only marginal help.

Ultimately, he sought out a nutritionist who was practicing in Schenectady and began seeing her. She diagnosed him with a parasitic infection — something for which he had not been tested by his doctors — that was causing his intestinal inflammation. He underwent a course of herbal therapies and diet modification she suggested.

“It was a gradual change, but I could actually feel myself getting stronger,” Joe said. “I started gaining weight, getting up to 145 and becoming symptom-free in just six months.”

Today, he proclaims himself completely healthy. He avoids preservatives in his foods, eats little meat, no milk or milk products, avoids corn-based products and still takes herbal supplements.

His diet includes many things he had been told not to ingest — nuts, seeds, fresh fruits and vegetables. He does eat fish, some chicken and occasional lean meats.

His doctors’ reaction to his condition? “They don’t know what to do with me, and they really want no part of me now.”

A Q&A session after his talk included observations by two of our club members, Drs. Len and Jim, about current medical, pharmaceutical and insurance practices, lack of nutritional training during medical school. As Dr. Jim observed to our speaker, “You have to be the future — an informed, aggressive patient becoming part of the process of his own treatment.”

NEXT MEETING: 6:15 p.m. Thursday, Holiday Inn Express. Bill Dowd will present the program, “Aging as Seen Through the Media.” Please plan to attend, and bring a guest or two.

Go here for the Events Calendar.


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