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Letters From Patients

 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

     I can't believe that I put in 10-hour days/ 7 days a week for the last 2 months! I am much enjoying the lull that follows. I only had to take one day off and use my cane, for that day at home.

     Man to think I was struggling with a wheelchair just one year ago!! Bad days are sooo much more tolerable than my good days once were. I really have my life back and it is so much better than I ever expected.

     I still have crippled hands and feet, but NO PAIN !! Just to think that with all our testimonies, there is no reason for anyone to be crippled by this disease ever again.

J.O. RA

since 1983, AP since Feb. 97 Just over 2 years (just oral Minocin)

 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

     I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and being only 23 years old, I thought my life was over.


     After 2 years I was referred to Dr Franco and he told me about the antibiotic therapy and gave us informational material to read. I learned that it is ok to be depressed and that Ill worsen at first when I undergo the therapy.


     I agreed, with fewer side effects than my old therapies and from what the book the Roadback and Dr. Franco said, I would be healthy again. I have been on the antibiotic therapy for 14 months and am feeling better than I have ever felt since I was diagnosed.


     In the beginning I worsened, just as predicted, but I got better and today I can do things that I haven't been able to do in years. I walk normal again. I am still on the antibiotic therapy and will for a while, just because I have no more pain in my joints doesn't mean that I can stop.


     I am still amazed that a simple antibiotic is the solution to such a terrible disease.


Anke J.

 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Dear Dr. Franco,

     As you know I developed rheumatoid arthritis about two years ago. My first child was born a few months before I knew that I had this disease. When you told me that day in your office that I had rheumatoid arthritis I didn't know what to do. You see my grandmother passed away and she had rheumatoid arthritis and was very deformed, so that's how I pictured myself.

     You soon put me on antibiotic therapy and it helped so much. I did go through a great deal of depression and pain, but you said there was light at the end of the tunnel and there is. I hope this treatment helps other people as much as it has helped me. I feel normal again.

     Dr. Franco, you have been so nice and understanding with me. I guess it must be hard to hear patients complain to you all day, but you didn't let it get to you. There needs to be people and doctors like you who really care about people.

     I really hope that other people have the same outcome with the antibiotic treatment as I have. It's great. I want to thank you so much for everything. You will never know how much it means to me to feel back to normal.

Theresa S.

 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

I met Dr. Franco at a seminar in Dallas Texas given by the Road Back Foundation.

     My condition at the time was grim to say the least. I found it difficult to walk, to sleep or even enjoy life. I had tried all the traditional treatments of drugs by first one rheumatologist and then another and even from a very well known renowned clinic as well. All were hell bent on Plaquenil, Methotrexate, Prednizone and a multitude of other drugs and all were treating symptoms and not the cause. To say I was desperate would be an understatement of a gigantic proportion.

     I have seen Dr. Franco several times as of this writing and I am so much healthier, happier and so mobile it would be difficult for you to believe this drastic change could take place in just one year's time. Dr Franco was very candid with me on my first visit and told me it could take two years or so but the treatment would be effective.

In thankful appreciation, I am.

M.M.C.

 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

    Dr Franco is very thorough and careful. He has done extensive x-rays and tests. He has spent a lot of time in individual consultation.

     I am taking plaquenil and minocycline as well as the vitamins and supplements offered by Dr. Franco. I am virtually symptom free and have been for months. Though I still tire easily, I have none of the disabling swelling and pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

     Driving for two hours from Los Angeles to Riverside is nothing because I am a 90% well person able to do any and all of things I want to do instead of being the disabled cripple I was not long ago. I am very grateful to you Dr. Franco for your help.

G.S.

 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

     I am 64 years old, and have had severe rheumatoid arthritis for 15 years, with no remissions during that time. I had seen eight to ten different doctors, and had all kinds of alternative treatment and therapy. Vitamins, drugs, including gold shots. I have seen food allergists, nutritionalists, psychologists, and chiropractors, etc.

     I have been on the antibiotic program for 1 1/2 years, and I am very encouraged. There are more good days than bad. That awful depression has gone. I am beginning to feel I'd like to live.

I am so thankful and encouraged to be on this program through Dr. Franco.

Ellen W.

 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

     The change in my life since switching to antibiotics is astounding. Before that, I took Vicodin for pain 3 to 4 times a week, and that was just for extreme pain. The rest of the time, I would just bite the proverbial bullet. If anyone was to tell me I had to give up this protocol and go back to Methotrexate or Sulfasalazine, I would find a way, legal or otherwise, to stay on the antibiotics. It has made me feel human again, has given me the ability to cope with 2 young boys, with a lot of demands of their own, and it has given me - best of all - hope that my health will one day be fully restored and that I will not always live on the sidelines of life.

     Your work, this work, must go on and reach more and more sufferers. If there is any way that I could help advocate for antibiotic therapy, please let me know. I am so grateful for Dr. Brown's work and for your carrying the torch. I tell everyone I come in contact with who knows someone with rheumatoid disease about it, and hope they have the courage to read the book and take the next step.

     If I lived in Riverside, I would be in your office regularly just to give you a hug. Consider yourself hugged long distance. Tears well up in my eyes as I write these words. God bless and protect you and may your life be full of good - as you do such good for others.

With love,
Gail P.

 

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Dear Dr. Franco

 I want to tell you how much the antibiotic treatment has helped my rheumatoid arthritis and to tell you thank you.

     As you know, I have had severe rheumatoid arthritis for most of my life (about 48 years, now I am 57), and although I still have a few problems with it, I am greatly improved.

Thank you so much for your advanced medical knowledge to have started me on this treatment several years ago.

Thank you for your wonderful care and your very understanding and sympathetic soul, and for your kindness and generosity.

     It is a wonderful blessing for my rheumatoid arthritis to be so well managed and so well under control. To be so greatly improved, you have been a wonderful blessing in my life.

Beverly D.

 

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

     I am writing to you to let you know how grateful I am to you and the antibiotic treatment. Without your care and the treatment I am terrified of how I would now be.

     I am now 17, I was 16 when I found out I had juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Being on the treatment is like a miracle. My rheumatoid arthritis is going away.

I realize that you got to it in its early stage and I am thankful.

     I now can do normal teenage things like playing baseball, running and swimming, as before the treatment I could hardly walk.

     But with your help the antibiotic treatment and a little exercise I overcame that fear, and I am doing great. I guess you could say I love you for that.

     I would highly recommend the antibiotic treatment to anyone who has rheumatoid arthritis. Also listen to Dr. Franco's instructions on how to take it. It takes a while for it to work, but that did not stop me from using it. I am thankful, I kept on using it.

One of your most grateful patients

Mechelle S.

 

Scleroderma

I am a 45-year-old female patient of Dr. Franco's. I have scleroderma diagnosed in 1993. When I began seeing Dr. Franco my symptoms were progressing fairly quickly. I had very tight skin on my hands, forearms, legs, stomach, chest and neck. My face too was becoming tight.

Dr. Franco gave me some literature to read regarding the use of antibiotics for the treatment of scleroderma. My husband and I read this information and decided it was worth a try. I started on oral antibiotics and within approximately four months I began "feeling better". My mental health was much more optimistic. Because I was showing improvement on the oral antibiotics, it was decided to begin injections of antibiotics on a schedule recommended by Dr. Franco. This is when I began to have steady, consistent changes for the better! Many of the areas of my body that I have described are now very soft and normal to the touch. I feel great. I have no restrictions and enjoy a very active lifestyle. I am still on antibiotics, albeit maintenance doses once a month.

I would hate to think of where I might be today if it were not for Dr. Franco. You owe it to yourself, you have everything to gain!

Teri N.

 

Psoriatic Arthritis

Thursday, April 20, 2000

I highly recommend Dr. Franco and The Arthritis Center to everyone I meet suffering from Arthritis.

     I was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis about four years ago. At age 40, my feet, legs, hips, back, right arm, shoulder and several fingers were dreadfully involved. The quality of life was quickly slipping away.

     I first met Dr. Franco after being treated unsuccessfully by another rheumatologist. My former doctor prescribed pain and anti-inflammatory medication and methotrexate. He offered no meaningful hope for improvement. Dr. Franco changed all that. At my first appointment, Dr. Franco told me that if treatment were to be successful it would require patience on my part. He offered no guarantees. More importantly he told me the truth. After treatment started, the symptoms actually worsened. Dr. Franco explained this should be expected but over time would improve. He was one hundred percent correct.

     I followed his treatment plan to the letter. His goal was to treat the cause of the disease not merely the symptoms. Slowly improvement became constant and today I am symptom and disease free! The disease is only a memory thanks to Dr. Franco.

RP - Yorba Linda

 

Polymyositis

April 6, 2000

To Whom It May Concern:

     I strongly recommend Doctor Franco to anyone with Rheumatoid Arthritis and/or Polymyositis. He has a rare combination of caring and expertise. From my first visit on, the Doctor and staff have been supportive and positive.

     The first visit was a long one. Dr. Franco thoroughly examined me. He then went over my condition and prospect for improvement. No miracle cure was offered, just the possibility of improvement. Dr. Franco emphasized that the treatment was a partnership. I had to study and be aware of my condition and treatment.

     I was in my late forties. Rheumatoid Arthritis had just started my hands and toes to twist. Various joints had shooting pains. Under Dr. Franco's care my joints were improving.

     Dr. Franco and his staff gave me more than medicines and supplements. I was afraid, in pain and near despair. They treated my body but also bolstered my spirits. The office staff radiated a caring attitude that helped me hope for the future.

     I am still under treatment, but have been steadily improving. I may not be able to tap dance, but a fast walk is not out of the question.

Christopher B.

 

Nutritional Supplements

     For over a year I have been using several of the nutritional supplements carried by Dr. Franco instead of pain killers and other prescription drugs, that I had been using previously. I have had absolutely no side effects whatsoever on the negative side and on the contrary the continued use of these products has made me feel much better. I am far more useful and my mental attitude has totally turned around. 

     Prior to the use of these products I had been very sad / moody. I didn't feel like doing anything and everything hurts. I felt old and useless. Now I start my days with a smile, I am attending some exercise classes at the YWCA sponsored by The Arthritis Foundation. I drive to Anaheim to visit and enjoy my first great grandchild!

Certainly I still have some pain and stiffness, but it's in control.

I believe the nutritional supplements have and continue to help me a great deal. 

Jean W.

 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

WHICH WOULD YOU CHOOSE?

     What if the Wise Men hadn't chosen to follow a star? What if they hadn't obeyed a dream to go home by a different route - perhaps longer and more difficult? What if Abraham hadn't chosen to leave home to follow the unknown God to become the father of a nation that would produce the Messiah? And what if Jesus had never left Glory to become a poor carpenter in Nazareth? What if He had not gone to Calvary? Would we have any hope?

"Wherefore seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight...and let us run..." Hebrews 12:1

     Running was impossible for me in 1994, in November of that year I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. It hit like wildfire. My feet, ankles, knees and, worst of all, shoulders and jaw. Yet the worst of times can bring hope. The day I got the news, my devotional was Jeremiah 31:4 "you will be rebuilt." After several "clues," I discovered a small book at the library, The Road Back. It's about using antibiotics to treat rheumatoid arthritis. This has been done for many years - with little publicity. I had read about a large study across the U.S. and its approval by the N.I.H., using minocycline for rheumatoid arthritis. The rheumatologist I was going to would tell me nothing. Odd, since the medical school he attended taught this. Most rheumatologists ignore this approach and do not inform their patients of antibiotic treatment. Minocycline is less toxic than any of the standard or newer medications for severe rheumatoid arthritis. It has helped many people to achieve a lower level of disease and crippling, and may go into remission, like me. But it is not instant relief or a quick cure. Most of the patients in the studies were 50% better in 48 weeks. It is a low dose, and does not need to be done by a specialist.

     Another coincidence was that the National Hospital in Arlington, Virginia was able to refer my husband to a rheumatologist in Riverside, California. Dr. Robert Franco is very experienced with antibiotic treatment. I am not pushing a book or a doctor. I am just saying that in five years I am not just surviving, I am thriving on minocycline. Almost all of my joints are back to normal and pain free. I have some stiffness in front of my knees - but I walked two miles yesterday and the rheumatoid factor in my blood dropped from 468 in 1994 to 0 in 1996. And I hear this works much quicker for men and for children. That is my reason for wanting people to have a chance to hear about it, especially if they are having side effects on more toxic medication.

     I now take Minocin, 200 mg, two days a week and Zihromax two days a week, because I test positive for mycoplasma. I take no other medication; not even aspirin. I have no pain. I do take acidophilus, calcium and vitamins and sometimes glucosamine.

     I had a good example of how I've improved in five years. After snorkeling, I slipped on some wet cement last month in Hawaii. I landed in the runners' crouch - all on my left knee. I had a big egg and a big bruise, and had to walk stiff-legged for a couple of weeks. But it got better quicker than the doctor predicted. In my original condition, I'm sure I would be on cortisone and probably having that knee drained, instead of going to the beach with my grandkids. Almost everyone I've seen who has tried this approach has improved greatly.

Bless you,

Linda P.

 

 

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Arthritis Center of Riverside
11725 Slate Avenue
Riverside, CA  92505
Tel: 951.352.1700
Fax: 951.352.9117

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     *The information in this website is not intended to replace a rheumatology textbook nor be a complete update of the rheumatology scientific literature.  It should not be misconstrued as personal medical advice.  Rather, it portrays Dr. Al Robert Franco's interests in the field of rheumatology, namely, the interrelationship between infections and rheumatic diseases and how this applies to the treatment of arthritis.