Another Autoimmune Success Story

BD fingers

Several years ago I went to the ER because the tip of my finger turned blue.  The doctor said I had Raynauds, an autoimmune condition that affects the circulation in your hands and a positive blood test for Scleroderma… world began to fall apart.

Over the next few years I had numerous tests:  blood, urine, a barium swallow, an arteriogram of my upper extremities, doppler flow studies, stress testing, and the list goes on.  I was evaluated by the top rheumatologist in town who is expert in the field of Scleroderma.  I was also evaluated by a microvascular hand surgeon because not only did I have Reynaud’s but the arteriogram showed I was missing half the arteries in my hands and forearms (congenital defect).  The vascular insufficiency coupled with the autoimmune condition, landed me in the operating room on three different occasions for sympathectomies….a peeling away of the sympathetic nerve chain from the artery to improve blood flow.  My surgeon told me that my autoimmune system had turned on and was not able to turn off.  Without the surgery I could lose my finger.

The autoimmune symptoms in my hands were severe….both hot and cold would trigger the symptoms… fingers would turn white, blue or purple…..the ischemic pain was severe, it was like having a heart attack in my fingers. I developed ischemic ulcers resulting in tissue death and would have to have surgery to stop the ulcers from growing.  During autoimmune flare-ups (cytokine storms) my acrylic overlays would not bond to my nails.  A manicure that should last for two weeks only lasted five days for me.  There were times during my cytokine storms that some of my fingernails would partially detach from my nail beds.  I also began developing similar vascular symptoms in my feet waking up in the middle of the night with severe cramps.

My Rheumatologist said that although I have a positive blood test for Scleroderma and also Reynaud’s I did not have all the diagnostic criteria for the disease.  I asked how could that be and she said unfortunately there are probably a lot of people like me walking around with the same problem.  I left with no answers to my questions feeling scared, frustrated, and sick.  I felt like I was chasing my tail.  It seemed as though every time I left a doctor’s office they were scratching their head with a puzzled look on their face and I felt hopeless.

Thankfully, I met Dr. Peterson!!!!  He has given me answers, but more importantly HOPE!  Dr Peterson is an expert in autoimmune diseases. He was able to identify the root cause of my condition, develop a treatment plan, and today I can say that my autoimmune system is quiet and I feel good.  My ischemic symptoms are improving, my nails are reattaching, and the ulcers have repaired on their own and recently have stopped appearing. I no longer have cramps at night, and have not had to see the surgeon in over a year.  I no longer feel scared and desperate. Thanks to Dr. Peterson, his knowledgeable staff, and my ability to understand how to care for my autoimmune condition I feel in control of my life again.

Before & After Lab Testing

bd Apr. 2012

Fig. 1: Stimulated Cytokine panel during Autoimmune flare-up. Red = Immune Stimulation, White = Normal, Blue = Immune-suppression

We see changes not only in her hands. But in her lab testing as well. In Fig. 1, there is a overall “Base” – line TH1, TH2 & TH17 immune stimulation.  There is a “PHA” TH1, TH2 & TH17 immune stimulation when exposed to Lectins. In addition to “LPS” TH1, TH2 & TH17 immune stimulation when exposed to bacteria. The three types of immune stimulation made it impossible to escape or get any relief from her insensate cytokine storms. She didn’t mention the extreme vertigo she was experiencing in her story at this time. She was suffering from Cytokine-Induced Sickness Behavior where her body was shutting down as a ineffective means of protection.

bd Mar. 2013

Fig. 2: Stimulated Cytokine panel six months after cytokine storms have subsided. See the After Hand above. Red = Immune Stimulation, White = Normal, Blue = Immune-suppression

In Fig. 2, her “Base” immune response in normal, and her “PHA” & “LPS” immune response are immune suppressed. The immune suppression is controlling her immune response to lectin and bacteria exposure. She was diligent in taking the nutritional support for the cytokine storm, in addition to strictly following the gluten free, lectin free, & dairy free diet. This does not occur over night as you can see this was an eleven month struggle with many ups and downs during the first four months.

She has found that something as insignificant as emotional distress among other things can cause slight dizziness or for her hands to burn. When this occurs, she has learned to control her emotional response and increases her maintenance dosage of the cytokine storm nutritional support until the storm subsides.

Autoimmune cytokine storms in time with proper nutritional support and diet can be managed. Allowing suffers to maintain a more normal lifestyle through diet and exercise with minimal nutritional supplementation.

If you are looking for help in managing your Autoimmune condition, call 530.615.4083 today. One of our professional healthcare managers will be happy to triage your questions. Visit our Website:

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