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    Use Caution Microdose Therapy @ Foundation for MS
    maplewood234 posted:
    Hello, I wish to convey to you fellow sufferers about my experiences with Microdose Therapy from Dr. Virgil Stenberg at the Helens Foundation. He claims to reduce pain for Arthritis, MS, CFS, Fibromyalgia, back pain, migraines and even Parkinson's by using Hydrocortisone (Cortisol) tablets. You name the illness…they claim to "reduce it or eliminate it." Against the wishes from my RA & PC docs, who thought it was one of many ways to take advantage of chronic pain sufferers, I bit the hook of the promises to "arrest Fibromyalgia in 21 days" with a program where "patients averaged 77% relief." I have Arthritis, Fibro, CFS & herniated discs. Yes, I am a fool but desperate people in much pain tend to do desperate & foolish things. Of course the people at the Foundation were very nice over the phone. They were also very happy to "get my check" of $7495.00 rather than my medical information.
    During the $3,400.00 "Shower" loading dose of 100 mgs of Hydrocortisone (Cortisol), I experienced adverse reactions such as swelling of the face, jaw, neck and armpits, a sore throat & minor chest pain. The head face & jaw pain was made it unbearable to be around anyone or do anything. What really concerned me the most was an overwhelming, dark crushing depression and an extreme level of fatigue to the point that I could barely get out of bed. I barely had the strength do complete basis daily activities and take care of my mom who has severe RA. These reactions were far worse than I experienced with Prednisone. I was told Hydrocortisone was a more "natural" drug similar to the body's own Cortisol but my body could not tolerate it and the side effects were unbearable even when I tapered the dosage down. So I discontinued the drug and went back on the Prednisone. I should have listened to my doctors who discouraged me from entering the program. The docs told me that Hydrocortisone is really NO different from taking Prednisone. They are both Corticosteroids but Hydrocortisone has lower dosing levels than Prednisone. However, Prednisone is longer acting. In the loading stage you will initially find relief but it won't last long then the side effects kick in.
    In essence, it was a very expensive lesson for me to which the program cost me out of pocket $5545.00 out of $7495.00. They weren't concern with my reactions. In fact Dr. Stenberg wanted me to continue taking the medication...probably to get the rest of the money. I paid $900 for Food Allergy Testing through a lab that tests animals. I also had to pay $995 for a digital tracking system (graphing program) that charted my daily total numbers from 4 pages of pain diaries. Dr. Stenberg believes he is responsible for my improvements after I stopped the medication. So there is how they get the "percentage of improvements" they claim to make. He doesn't even recognize the day to day fluctuations of chronic pain due to activity & storms. You are just a number to them. They don't care what or how you feel nor what you have!
    There is a predator preying on people in pain even on the msg boards! So be warned! You don't need to spend $7495! Just ask your doc to give it a try if you have problems with the Prednisone. Take care.
    hackwriter responded:
    Hi maplewood,

    Thank you for posting your experience with these kinds of promotions. There are many miracle cures being hawked out there, and many desperately ill people wanting the miracle to be true.

    Your testimonial is very important, not enough people post their experiences, likely out of embarrassment. I applaud your courage and desire to warn off others from going down the same path.

    I hope you're able to find some relief.

    swampster1952 responded:
    Hello maplewood,

    Thank you for the warning about this "technique". There are lots of snake oil salesmen out there, eager to take advantage of people like us!

    ir345vin responded:
    The Helen Foundation is A-rated by the Better Business Bureau and does not respond to anonymous allegations. Microdose Therapytm is patient self-administration of cortisol with concurrent stress minimization for cortisol-responding disease control. It complies with the FDA-recommended indications, dosages and protocol for cortisol use. Cortisol is the principal hormone secreted by the adrenal glands. Since 2000, the Helen Foundation has encouraged Microdose Therapytm use and assisted physicians by recommending dosages, educating patients for cortisol self-administration and measuring outcome. The response rate is 83%. The average symptom improvement is 75% (1,938 patients and two university studies). Success depends on quality patient education, dosage customization, administration timing and patient compliance. Participating physicians report no significant side effects.
    maplewood234 replied to ir345vin's response:
    I wish to relay a posting about Micodosing Therapy and the Helens Foundation. This post came from the WebMD Parkinson's Disease Community. I want to warn other chronic disease/pain sufferers so they don't get taken advantage of as I was and many others. "Three peoples experience with The Helen foundation at: One story there is by a person who was an employee and worked for a year with Dr. Stenberg (retired University of North Dakota chemistry professor), Ernesto Gallegos (car salesman), and Debbie Malone, the nurse who advises you while you are in the program and is an unlicensed nurse. Sorry, sounds like a very expensive and potentially life threatening lesson in how to lose $7500. Cortisol medication has a long list of bad side effects."
    maplewood234 replied to ir345vin's response:
    Now about the A-rating by the BBB. There have been a few complaints filed including mine which are shown to be "resolved." My complaint was not resolved! I don't think the others were either. The BBB really does nothing in regards to a complaint. You send in a complaint. They forward the complaint to the company/doctor. You get a response back & the case is closed! Nothing was "resolved." I did get a response back from Dr. Stenberg via the BBB but it was useless rambling about medication dosing. Again he was not concerned what so ever that the medication he was issuing via his clinic was actually harming the patient. He is not, not, not concerned about your health! THIS IS JUST A BUSINESS TO MAKE MONEY OFF PEOPLE WHO ARE SUFFERING FROM CHRONIC ILLNESSES AND IN A LOT OF PAIN! I am sure there are a number of people who had similar issues with the Helens Foundation but were too sick and disgusted to write a complaint. I WAS SO SICKENED & DISGUSTED WITH MY EXPERIENCE OF THE HELENS FOUNDATION! It took a lot of energy and time to post my experiences in hope of warning others so they don't get taken advantage of as I was. I also wrote a customer review on the BBB site for the Helens Foundation. It was posted. I saw it & read it. THAT CUSTOMER REVIEW ON THE HELENS FOUNDATION HAS BEEN REMOVED! In fact, there are no reviews listed. That seems rather odd for a business which has been around for years. Yet, I am reading all sorts of complaints on other sites. I know my customer review was posted on the BBB because someone thanked me for my review which saved him the headache I had experienced. Another thing. I know there was another BBB complaint listed on the BBB website before I filed my complaint. It may have been from a Parkinson's patient of Dr. Stenberg. It too has been REMOVED FROM THE BBB WEBSITE! So do not believe what you read on the BBB website. I know for a fact that customer information about the Helens Foundation HAS BEEN REMOVED! A "A-rating" from the BBB essentially means NOTHING!
    maplewood234 replied to maplewood234's response:
    In regards to the so called "improvements" from microdose therapy, this is a fabrication! I had serious adverse reactions from the cortisol medication prescribed to me by the Helens Foundation and I was in a lot of pain due to the overdosing. Yet Dr. Stenberg claimed I had "18%, 21%, 7% & 32% rate of improvement." These figures came a week AFTER I STOPPED TAKING THE CORTISOL MICRODOSE THERAPY. Of course, I am going to have an "improvement" because I am OFF the drug he prescribed for me! Your numbers are FALSE! And so are his $995 colored graphs which we used to do in grammar school with crayons. Besides anyone with a chronic disease/pain knows that your symptoms & pain wax & wane. The waning times are not improvements. There is NO EDUCATION TO PATIENTS. All they care about are the darn diary numbers you have to record and phone/FAX/email in to Debbie Malone who is not a nurse. They do not care how you feel while you are taking the medication or how you are reacting to it. They just ask for the total scores so Dr. Stenberg can play on his computer with his computer color graphing program. That is it. Don't forget. I went through 3 weeks of this program. You ramble on about "improvements" and "1,938 patients and two university studies" but it is a bunch of baloney. As far as I see, there are 1,938 patients who have been taken advantage of by a predator.

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