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Elusive Symptoms

Shirley Miller is a long-time student of how the body functions—for excellent reasons. She has a defective chromosome number six, which has led to a life-long struggle with hemochromatosis—an ailment that causes the body to store iron, rather than remove it in normal fashion. It leads to many health complications, and is sometimes fatal.

Dr. Fera in his Hillsborough practice.

Notes Dr. Dennis Fera, a holistic physician in Hillsborough, “Hemo-chromatosis, which is fairly common, is relatively easy to treat once it is diagnosed, but since symptoms usually don’t appear until the mid-years, it is often missed. That was the case with this patient. Further, she suffers with hirsutism—excessive growth of hair.”

Shirley Miller says that she first became aware ofhemochromatosis in her early 20s, “when I had my first son. I was given iron to take, not knowing, of course, it was exactly the wrong thing to do since my body was busily storing iron in an unhealthy way. As a result, I quickly developed terrible heart palpitations after my son was born. Heart specialists couldn’t find a problem. Heavy menstrual periods helped me eliminate some of the excess iron each month, but as I later went through menopause, the severe heart palpitations returned. Over time, I lost a lot of weight, down to about 95 pounds, and finally I went into the hospital for a week of testing. No success.

“Some 22 doctors later, I was—by chance—diagnosed with hemochromatosis by my chiropractor. He sent me to a lab for some blood work. It was on a day when the lab was scanning all incoming blood for hemochromatosis—and I was one of the lucky ones to be in the right place at the right time.

Many Approaches to Health and Healing

As a holistic physician with extensive training in physical medicine, Dr. Fera employs many "non-traditional” therapies to aid his patients in their quest for emotional and organic balance and robust health. His therapeutic approaches include:

CHELATION THERAPY. A safe, effective IV detoxification process that is also increasingly used to restore the blood flow in victims of arteriosclerosis without surgery. Often used to remove concen-trations of mercury, lead, and other toxic metals from the body.

OXIDATION THERAPY. Another IV procedure that rapidly relieves allergic reactions, influenza symp-toms, and acute viral infections. Tumor cells, bacteria, and other unwanted foreign elements in the blood can usually be destroyed with hydrogen peroxide treatment.

A procedure called “photolumin-escence” is beneficial in the treat-ment and cure of an extremely broad range ailments, from colds and flu to kidney diseases, osteo-porosis pain, tinnitus, certain dermatologic problems, and many others.

PROLOTHERAPY. Used for treat-ment of painful joints (back, neck, shoulders, knees, etc.). An injection procedure that is often beneficial, particularly when other treatments don’t work and X-ray findings are negative.

NEURAL THERAPY. Scars and other traumas to the body can cause areas of disturbed energy flow known as “interference fields.” Neural therapy eliminates the interference field, restoring normal energy flow and balance to the nervous system.

NATURAL HORMONE THERAPY. Used to address a wide range of problems including fatigue, weak bones, frequent joint injury or chronic pain, weakened immunity, thyroid problems, unsatisfying sleep, and skin problems.

NUTRITIONAL MEDICINE, including IV therapies and a strong emphasis on nutritional balance and proper use of vitamins and supplements.

STOMACH AND INTESTINAL SCREENING AND TREATMENTS. Used to discover the presence of pathogens such as bacteria, fungi, yeast, and various parasites, and to overcome digestive related prob-lems, GI irritation, and inflam-mation.

MERIDIAN STRESS ASSESSMENT TESTING a non-invasive technique to evaluate imbalances in glands and organ systems, and to help the body achieve optimal balance.

“After diagnosis, I started phlebotomies; bloodletting is an effective treatment for the condition,” she explains. “Hemochromatosiscan lead to diabetes, liver cancer, heart failure, and many other problems. Usually there’s a yellow cast to the skin, as there was with me.”

Notes Dr. Fera, “For an extended period, before she returned to her native Canada, Shirley Miller came to us for regular blood drawing, usually bimonthly, to mobilize the iron stores from her tissues. She also received chelation therapy, to help flush metals out of the body—specifically excess iron, lead, and mercury.

“Shirley was born with certain tendencies based on her genetic make-up: the tendency to store iron to excess, and to produce masculine hormones to excess, resulting in unwanted hair growth. Early on, she told me she was considering taking DHEA as a way of counteracting her severe fatigue—at a time when DHEA first became available over the counter, and was being touted as a panacea for all health problems.

“I told her I did not think that was a good idea. Hormones are powerful substances, and I don’t recommend taking any hormones without first testing. So we tested and found her DHEA level was at the highest end of normal—it was as if she were already taking DHEA. Adding more DHEA would have been the worst thing she could have done. The real problem was that her endocrine system biochemistry was altered due to genetic tendencies, causing high levels of androgens—the male hormones in her body. We used medication to diminish the androgen output, and it was very effective.”

What is referred to as “the art of medicine,” Dr. Fera notes, “is having the ability to take into account the biochemical individuality of each patient. Our practice is built on the cornerstone of recognizing biochemical individuality—we will never practice ‘one-size-fits-all’ medicine.

“The paradigm common in medicine is to do a large study, and emerge with a protocol that is effective for a substantial majority of patients. Thus,” he says, “everyone gets that same, exact protocol, and it’s fine for the majority of people based on the test results. But what happens to patients who are outside of the statistical norm—‘statistical outliers,’ so to speak—who don’t fit the bell curve? It is at this point that we must have the ability and the willingness to assess the biochemical individuality of the patient, and treat them accordingly. Many of the patients who come to see me—perhaps most of them—have sought ‘conventional’ medical treatment for their problems without success.”