Part 7 of 13 of Anna’s Story at CanadianLymeStories.com

Personally, I loved that Dr. McShane was going to prescribe me herbals. I have a long held fear of antibiotics as I have never felt good after taking them. I also loved that Dr. McShane shared with us the evolution of her thinking. As a person she seemed self-deprecating and smart, eager to connect with her patients, and open to new treatment modalities. I found her completely charming and had immense trust in her as an ethical and moral person.

To me she was clearly saying; (not a quote, just my understanding) ‘these are a moving targets, these infections. The testing is not keeping up with what we see symptom-wise. Our knowledge of treatments is limited and evolving. We are doing our best to give you the best cures that we have.’ It felt like a partnership of patient and doctor in a way that was unusual, but also necessary, given this strange moment in the history of Lyme Disease diagnosis.

Our appointment went on for a couple of hours. Dr. McShane covered a lot, more than I could take in to be honest, especially with our brains still reeling from the idea that all of the pain and suffering of my husband’s condition over the past 7 or 8 years could have been Lyme. It didn’t make the conversation any less charged when she casually dropped that there was some thinking that sexual transmission was possible. She said many couples arrived in her office both of whom were infected. My appointment ended with a short physical exam.

Dr. McShane said she was going to prescribe two different herbal protocols; the Cowden Protocol, six months of herbals for my husband, with the chance that you would re-do the last three, and Beyond Balance, a set of herbal tinctures to be taken in conjunction for me. She talked about the cost, which was much lower than for antibiotics, and about follow up appointments with her; a three-month phone call, a six-month visit.

It had been such a big morning. My husband, while not generally the best patient, is always a good shopper. He said that we should just buy whatever Dr. McShane had suggested.

The 2 hour appointment with Dr. McShane cost $650US (this was 2012 and costs may have changed), my husbands’ Cowden Protocol averaged about $250-$275 per month. My bottles seemed a bargain at $45-$70 a pop. (You take five of them simultaneously and some last longer than others.)

The total bill came to $2,500, which was sort of shocking, but what was more shocking was when the girl behind the desk brought out six months of the Cowden Protocol in 6 cardboard boxes, each of which looked like it could hold a small toaster. As we loaded these into the red rental Jeep it dawned on me that we were heading straight for the Canadian border after being out of Canada for less than a day, that we had spent almost $2,000US. The situation was greatly complicated by the fact that if they asked what was in the boxes neither my husband nor I had the faintest idea. (If you go, it is good to remember that they will ship all this to you.)

Luckily I was riding high on my (fatally flawed) perception that I had somehow gotten off pretty much scot free. I mean here I was leaving with five or six little bottles of tinctures. True, the liquid in some of the bottles was a sort of ominous cloudy brown-grey but the labels had quite cheery, almost kid-friendly lettering, and were called things like ’Tox-Ease’ & ‘Clarity K’. How bad could they be?

On to Part 8: Avoidance

Keywords: Beyond Balance, Cowden Protocol, Lyme treatment costs, sexual transmission