Patients describe success of treatment for disease |

Patients describe success of treatment for disease

Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Ten-year-old Summer Bramhall traveled from Los Angles to receive a eight-week fibromyalgia treatment from Paul Whitcomb, a chiropractor at South Lake Tahoe. "He can cure you," said Bramhall, who thinks she developed the disease after being bucked from a horse. "I had no hope of getting better; it's amazing."

Below are Whitcomb patient interviews conducted by the Tahoe Daily Tribune’s Gregory Crofton. Some were interviewed at Whitcomb’s office in the middle of their treatment regime; others were contacted by phone after they completed the chiropractor’s program.

Susan Young, 48, England

“I was on the road to a wheelchair state when I got here. My sister found Dr. Whitcomb on the Internet. I was in a car accident 18 months ago, got whiplash. Couldn’t work, couldn’t do anything. Every other day I feel a little bit better. My legs have less pain, before I could barely walk. It’s amazing what he does. I had never been to a chiropractor. I took painkillers. It gets really bad, I was very depressed. You get suicidal because there is no hope. This is hope. To be honest, at first everyone is a skeptic; it’s human nature with something new.”

Bebe Garza, 53, Goliad, Texas

“When Dr. Whitcomb’s Web site popped up and I read it, I said, ‘This is the first explanation I’ve heard that makes sense.’ I got kind of excited, got kind of scared, too, and had my husband read it. I’m very skeptical and so is my husband but I thought, ‘Why not?’ If it doesn’t do anything, well, at least I won’t wonder and worry about not trying it. Getting my heart broken, that was what I was most afraid of. I don’t want to give anyone false hope, but I feel like I’ve been given a miracle and better do something with my life because I’ve been given a gift. Dr. Whitcomb didn’t promise me anything he didn’t deliver in spades.”

Jannie Hills, 52, Brandeton, Fla.

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“I lived with fibromyalgia for five years, to the point that I had to quit my job last year. I would just stay at home. It got to the point I couldn’t go out anymore and I was going to get a walker because I couldn’t stand for more than 10 minutes. Everything was affected – memory, speech. I was taking a lot of pain medication to move a little bit through the day. I left here to go to Tahoe and I was extremely skeptical. Now I’m off all the medication I was prescribed. I took a great leap of faith. People can believe what they want to believe. But Dr. Whitcomb knows what’s happening there. I’m 100 percent. Basically he gave me back my life.”

Betty Cornwell, 48, Dayton, Ohio

“I feel great actually. I don’t have burning pain. It cured me. There is a lot of skepticism. My doctors don’t believe me even though I’m here and I’m showing them that my organs are working when they weren’t. I feel so good. Before I hurt from top of my head to the bottom of my feet. Migraines plagued me 14 days out of every month. I had blurred vision, couldn’t hear well out of my right ear, neck and shoulder problems, right arm nerve damage, my lower back hurt, hips hurt, ribs hurt, legs hurt. Before I went to Dr. Whitcomb I couldn’t sit too long and I couldn’t stand for too long.”

Lori Stennett, Fort Stockton, Texas

“I was in a car accident 14 years ago and had an injury to my head. But I had a flare-up about four years ago, which I think was related to stress. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in October, 2003, at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona. I’m in my fourth week of treatment and I can already see a significant difference in my fibro. I want to help get the word out to everybody we can touch … finally there is a light at the end of the tunnel for those of us who had no hope in sight.”

Elizabeth Pollard, 55, Edgewater, Fla.

“I suffered to the point of suicide. I thought, ‘Whatever I need is in (the medicine cabinet). Just take it and go.’ The suffering is just excruciating. I do feel let down by the medical profession. I guess they feel like they have bigger fish to fry. I think they could have done more research, there are a growing number of people out there suffering. I hope doc will be able to expand his treatment so other chiropractors will be able to do it.”

Summer Bramhall, 10, Los Angeles

“I was on a horse. It spooked and bucked me off. I did three flips and landed on my back. Since I was 6, I’ve had stomachaches on and off. Couldn’t sleep, felt clammy. Normally I’m crabby; now I’m perfect. I don’t feel any pain today.”

Wendy Bellinger, 53, Denver

“It came on gradually. I thought it was something else. I moved from Michigan to Denver in 1996 and thought it was altitude. Then I got in a car accident and it was like falling off a cliff. I couldn’t work more than an hour a day. My whole spinal column felt like it was being ripped out of me. The bottom of my feet were like I was walking on broken glass. The pain stopped around two weeks ago and I’ve been able to sleep. I’ll be happy to show my doctors that it works. I actually get hungry. And I’m thinking about taking up the tango again.”

Julie Jacobs, 37, South Lake Tahoe

“I’ve tried everything; when it comes down to it, you just have to live with (fibromyalgia). I don’t want people to get their hopes up unfairly and spend all that money. I don’t know. He didn’t do anything different than my other chiropractors. I’ve had fibromyalgia since I was born. I’m in bed 90 percent of the time, barely go out. Just going to dinner is a major event. I was involved in the first stages of when he was doing this; maybe now he’s got something worked out better. Maybe he is helping people, but I think people can be manipulated that way, especially desperate people. I hope he is (helping people), but he didn’t help me.”

Editors note: Jacobs was treated by Whitcomb soon after he started treating fibromyalgia patients with his method. She did not complete her treatment, and his chiropractic technique, according to Whitcomb, had not evolved to the point it is at today.