A Doctor Who Has Not Suffered From Chronic Illness
May Not Understand
By Aleksander Strande, ND, PhD



When Alex Strande fell sick fifth teen years ago, he thought he was going to die. A typical workaholic . . . running 100 miles an hour, 24 hours a day, he suddenly collapsed. It felt like a heavy flu, and he thought that within three to seven days it would be over. Instead, he got so ill that he could not get out of bed. Soon many new debilitating symptoms started to appear. They included constant sore throats, low-grade fever, total body aching day and night, lymph node swelling, headaches, depression, anxiety, mood swings, inability to concentrate, hot and cold flashes, sensitivity to noise, light and temperature, intestinal discomfort {reacting to most food consumed), sleep disturbance and extreme debilitating fatigue.

A variety of tests were taken which showed absolutely nothing but an antibody to a flu-like virus. He was subsequently diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), Mononucleosis, yuppie flu, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibro-0myalgia, Glandular Fever plus a number of other name tags. He was offered drugs, vitamins, natural remedies, treatments . . . you name it.

He started to recover only when he consulted with another naturopathic doctor, one of his mentors at the Australian College of Natural Medicine, who used to suffer from chronic fatigue and Fibromyalgia. As he recovered, he became fascinated with this condition. Many health-care practitioners had claimed to be able to bring about recovery, whereas, in fact, people got showered with irrelevant tests and treatments.

As he recovered, he became more interested in patients that suffered from CFS and Fibromyalgia. People say that very often a doctor that experiences a disease himself, will attract and better help people suffering from said disease. In spite of the fact that Dr. Strande attends to many other difficult conditions, close to half of his clients come to him for a resolution to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. As he became proficient in addressing this condition, this first-hand experience was a great asset to him in securing his Ph.D. on “Effective Naturopathic Treatments in Post Viral Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”.

He found that the reason why some doctors have a low success rate is because they don’t understand what the therapeutic dosage should be in the field of naturopathic medicine. In conventional medicine, one prescribes specific doses of drugs indicated by a pharmaceutical company. Standards in naturopathic medicine are different as one is recommending concentrated extracts of foods, plants, nutrients or homeopathic. A practitioner creates a personalized program for a patient. It’s not the herbs, or nutrients that work, it’s the knowledge behind it together with clinical experience in treating these cases. It definitely helps when a doctor has gone through the misery of these symptoms himself. He understands better.

In ancient China, a village doctor was paid wages by the village or community when no one was sick. Once someone fell ill, the wages were cut until such time that the doctor would cure the condition. One wonders if any doctors would survive if there was the same policy here in America. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is the descriptive name of a syndrome characterized by a myriad of seemingly unrelated symptoms. The determination is made on the basis of certain symptoms and the ruling out of other ailments that could cause these conditions. The major criteria used to distinguish CFS are:

1) Persistent fatigue that does not resolve with bed rest and that is severe enough to reduce average daily activity by a least fifty percent for at least six months.

2) The presence of other chronic clinical conditions, including psychiatric disorders, can be ruled out.

CFS was hardly known in the 70’s and it was often misdiagnosed as hypochondria or a mental problem. “You’ve got it all in your mind.” I find even now here in America some practitioners have this type of approach. At the end of the “90’s” it has become one of the most common ailments people talk about.

Most clinicians dealing with a reasonable amount of CFS cases observe certain patterns of deregulation of immune and hormonal/metabolic systems as well as the whole body’s detoxification system.

These cause the symptoms mentioned before. CFS is not only a vastly complex illness, but also one escalating alarmingly in frequency. Epidemiological studies confirm that is spreading and crossing all boundaries, including socioeconomic, racial, political, gender, occupational and geographical.

The most common antibodies discovered in CFS patients, were those of Epstein Barr Virus (EBV), Cyto Megalo Virus (CMV) and Barmah Forst Virus (BFV). Dr. Strande says that in Australia another virus, Ross River Virus (RRV) was also an example of a trigger of Chronic Fatigue with Fibromyalgia.

Virus-induced metabolic and physiological changes in the body of CFS victims appear to cause 5 major areas of derangement or metabolic blocks:

1) Impaired ATP production in cells causing lack of physical and mental energy.

2) Disturbance in brain neurotransmitters and possible block of flow or production of precursors. to catecholamines and serotonin, causing depression.

3) Other imbalances in nerve chemistry facilitating anxieties, mood swings, emotional problems and insomnia.

4) Fluctuation in hormonal metabolism, that is evident mainly in underactivity of the adrenal output and in female hormonal imbalances.

5) The consequences of failings in the proper functioning of the immune system may be twofold, frequent colds and flu (under activity of the immune system), and /or allergies, hypersensitivities, and autoimmune type responses (over activity of the immune system).

“I find that among the people who suffered from CFS or Fibromyalgia for more than 10 years, 20% seem to fall in love with their disease. I have no idea why this happens. Maybe the reason for this is that people go from one practitioner to another and after continued failure, they give up. I’m saying call me and talk with me before you totally give up, and talk to dozens of my patients and hear what they have to say.”

Aleksander Strande, ND, PhD, is a microbiologist and naturopath. His special interests are: difficult-to-help conditions. His office can be reached at (949) 553-1882 for questions and appointments.  

Return to the January/February Index page