Excerpt from Dr. Len Sands’ Book ARTHRITIS DEFEATED AT LAST (This book is no longer available – out of print)
Here is Dr. Sands’ very personal story: A month or so after taking CMO back in 1995. Dr. Len Sands found relief from the terrible pain and limitations of his arthritis and he wrote a brief testimonial about his experience. After he was free of virtually all pain for five years, he prepared this more detailed “before and after” account. Here’s the story of his own experiences with arthritis and how his motives, both personal and professional, propelled the San Diego Center research associates to the discovery and development of CMO. This is the compelling personal account of the Director of the San Diego International Immunological Center, Dr. Len Sands. “Five years ago I was a closet cripple; bone-on-bone in my knees. Then CMO turned my life around.”
Following several years of excruciating pain from bone grinding against bone in my knees, I find it hard to believe that I’m still 95%-100% pain free five years after taking CMO. It’s a miracle!
Up until then, I was what you might call a closet cripple, hiding that severity of my osteoarthritis form just about everyone but the Chief of our research staff. I never was a complainer. I hid my pain. I pretended, as much as possible, that I wasn’t suffering every minute of my waking day. The only time I was reasonably comfortable was when I was planted in my bed or on the sofa watching TV. Even then couldn’t cross my legs. In fact, there were only a couple of positions I could manage where my knees wouldn’t hurt, and then only if I shifted my legs around frequently enough. But that’s the tip of the iceberg.
I’m going to tell you more, much more. I want you to understand why I had such a personal interest in constantly prodding our research associates into pursuing every conceivable avenue of investigation regarding arthritis. I’m sure they thought of me as some kind of possessed maniac. Remember that I was trying to hide my pain from nearly everyone. But how successfully can you hide it when you have to walk down a flight of stairs backwards? Whenever I assisted our MD’s in our patient examination and treatment rooms, I’d just scoot around like some windup toy on one of those wheeled stools that doctors always use. That way no one had to see my tortured walk. But I couldn’t get up without pushing myself up from the seat with my arms. (The same was true for any chair or seat.)
Sometimes I’d just get stuck there on that stool for quite a while. But most of the time I’d have a table or a desk to use for additional support to push myself up. Even so. getting up from anywhere meant I’d get those stabbing pains in my knees. Once I was seated somewhere, I tended to stay put for a long time, a very long time. I was sure my butt was beginning to mold itself into a chair seat shape. Regardless, there I was, relentless about continuing research. Whip in hand, I was ruthless about all there sniveling complaints that they had already exhausted all avenues of exploration. Mush, you huskies!
For me, pain was a great motivator and constant pain was an even greater one so I couldn’t have cared less about their calling me Dr. Strangelove, or Robo-Doc. Most people probably thought it weird that I’d move a chair over to some object that I needed to pick up off the floor. I couldn’t easily bend down, of course. So I’d sit on the chair and lean down sideways to pick things up. maybe I wasn’t so good at hiding my problem after all. My evenings weren’t much better. I couldn’t cross my legs in bed either. If I chose to lie on my back, I’d have to prop a pillow under my knees. When I slept, it was always on my side with a baby pillow in between my knees. I couldn’t stand the weight of one knee upon the other. Even with the cushion, several times a night I’d be shocked into wakefulness by some jolt of pain.
I often wondered what our neighbors thought about those late night screams. Naturally as a medical professor, I was aware of mostly everything in the world used to treat arthritis. And, believe me, if I heard of it, I tried it. (except for steroids and Methotrexate. I wasn’t willing to compromise my immune system and my liver.) It didn’t matter if it was herbal, homeopathic, acupuncture, or gold shots, conventional medicine, or voodoo, I tried it. Yes, even voodoo. After several years of constant pain, I even tried a couple of faith healers and a few very reputable Mexican ‘curanderos’ as well. I was assaulted by healing hands, dusted with magical powders, rubbed with potent poultices, thrashed with leafy branches, suffocated with smoky fumes, and stung by angry bees. I wasn’t about to rule anything out. But it didn’t help a bit. I have a lot of respect for Oriental and Indian medicines.
So I was hopeful when, in 1994, our researchers came up with some strange Ayurvedic medicine from India that was really supposed to work. (A similar or maybe the same product is now being sold in the U.S. from Australia.) There were many anecdotal reports of success, centuries of them. Lots of professional documentation as well. I spent months faithfully smearing my knees every night with some smelly Ayurvedic gooey tar and wrapping them in flannel and plastic to keep the goo from oozing out onto the bed. It oozed out anyway, just like some kind of killer alien blob of tar-like sulfured molasses, staining our sheets. What a mess! And no success.
I was also taking the whole range of vitamins and minerals, plus alfalfa, yucca, saw palmetto, juice diets, raw food diets, fasting, gelatin, shark cartilage, chicken cartilage, glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, all kinds of herbs alone and in combination. Some were a help, but they could only dull the symptoms a bit, and certainly could not keep with the rampant destruction of the cartilage in my knees. I must say, though, that I felt considerably more discomfort any day that I didn’t take my supplements. So I kept on with them for the minimal benefits they brought, despite the fact they were costing me a bundle.
Anti-inflammatory pills? Knowing how hard they are on the liver, I only took what I needed to keep functioning. I could usually get away with only one or two strong (and very expensive) time-release pills on a working day. I’d gulp one down just before brushing my teeth in the morning. You see, for the most part I could run the center sitting behind my desk. I hardly had to move around at all, so that let me get through the day fairly well. But often I’d need another potent pill around mid afternoon. When the family would go to the movies or anywhere else that required some walking, I’d have to take a double dose (despite the medical warning not to.) Even so, trying to negotiate a set of any more than two stairs was a killer. So was the inclined aisle you have to descend to get your movie seats.
Going downhill was much worse than climbing up. If you’ve got arthritis in your knees, I’m sure you know what I mean. I never shopped at the malls, too much walking. Just a few yards of walking and I was in severe pain. I’d pick stores where I could park near the door. And ones with shopping carts were a must. They were very helpful to lean on while walking or scanning merchandise. I found that wheelchair ramps were easier to negotiate than stairs. Handrails were a blessing for pulling myself up and bracing myself to go down the ramps or stairs. I’m sure I looked like some kind of funny stiff-legged mechanical bear trying to negotiate sets of even a few stairs. Picking things up off the floor near a table or a desk wasn’t so bad Painful, yes. But at least I could do it by supporting myself with one hand while carefully bending down to pick up the object with the other hand – all the while hoping my knees wouldn’t collapse.
You know, you learn to cope. Nevertheless, in my heart I knew that someday I’d reach the point where I’d be facing a dreaded wheelchair existence. I was already often using a cane and sometimes crutches. Next would come the crutches full time then the walker and finally the wheelchair. I hated the thought of being so limited. Until I got arthritis I was always quite active – tennis, swimming, scuba diving, hiking, traveling, window-shopping, or just strolling around here and there. It depressed me to have given up those pleasures. It depressed me even more to think of how much of a burden I would become to my family.
In the beginning. The arthritis process had begun years ago, of course. It doesn’t happen overnight. Though the terrible worsening seemed to have come suddenly, it had been building up for quite a sometime. It all started with a vehicle accident that resulted in a terrible jolt to my knees. (I’ll confess. It was a 55 mph dump off a motorcycle.) No broken bones, but my body was wracked with pain – especially my legs and back. I was in bed for two days, on crutches for two weeks, and using a cane for two months. Then it all went away, or so I thought, for about three years. I was just fine for three years. No sign of any trouble at all. But of course, the arthritic process had already begun with the big jolt. I didn’t realize it then but, unnoticed, it was slowly building up steam, and it would soon blow up. Then, I felt the first signs of what was really happening inside my body.
A twinge of pain here, a bit of weakness there. Nothing dramatic. Hardly noticeable. Just a little hint of the misery to come. Over the next three or four years the worsening was gradual. The pain, though mild, became almost ever present during my waking hours. Soon I developed a click in my right knee that would sometimes give me quite a shot of pain when it snapped. Then came the era of codeine abuse… I knew it was wrong, but I didn’t know what else to do. We had been planning this leisurely round-the-world trip for years to celebrate a wedding anniversary. I wasn’t about to let my arthritis spoil it.
Several years had passed since my accident and we were living in Spain at the time. The click in my knee had degenerated into a ‘trick knee’ that would sometimes buckle quite unexpectedly. Anti-inflammatory and pain medication, including codeine, were readily available over the counter without prescription there. I used them only on particularly active days. But good days were coming far less frequently. Then it was time for our trip, the dream vacation of a lifetime – a full year of bumming around Asia, the Pacific Islands, and the Middle East – no schedule. Our bargain round-the-world tickets would let us linger anywhere as long as we liked. We could make our continuing flight reservations whenever we chose.
Now, how was I going to let my arthritis spoil a trip like that? I knew there would be plenty of walking for museums, tours, sight-seeing and shopping. Then there would be scuba diving, swimming, boating and beach bumming. A lot of activity – just the way we loved it.
All joyfully accompanied by our vigorous eight-year-old son. There was only one way I was going to make it through a full year of that kind of activity: codeine. I gave no thought to the consequences of the abuse my already degenerating knees would suffer. Moreover, I wasn’t about to rob a moment of joy and adventure of this trip from anyone, myself included. I’m not for a moment going to pretend that I wasn’t doing it for myself as well. I didn’t have to stockpile a whole year’s supply of codeine. I knew it would be readily available in most of the countries we planned to visit. And it was. I’d go in and buy out the entire stock of two or three pharmacies at a time. It wasn’t that much; they only stock half a dozen boxes each. (Or so they said.)
Except for India; there codeine was really cheap and I could get a couple hundred tablets at just one pharmacy. I really stocked up in India. No, I didn’t turn into a junkie. Never got addicted. On boat cruise or lazy days for example, I didn’t bother taking codeine at all and I didn’t need it for swimming or diving either. On museum, sight-seeing, or shopping days, though, I’d really toss them down. And there were a lot of those days. But there were very low dose pills. I’d take several at a time-just about every four hours. Nobody noticed. Everyone’s used to my vitamin regimen – gulping down nearly twenty pills with every meal. It was just routine. My non-codeine days let me know, though, what I was doing to my knees. The tension, the stiffness, and the discomfort made it clear. Masking the pain let me remain active, but vigorous activity is not recommended for arthritic joints. It only hastens the degeneration of the already damaged and far more vulnerable cartilage. And we prolonged it by extending our vacation far beyond our original scheduled year. It was the best of times for all of us, and the worst of times for my knees. The mills of arthritis grind slowly…
Returning home, I assessed the damages. Now I could relax and let my knees go without medication to try to evaluate their condition. The extended time of strenuous use during vacation had taken its toll. Stairs were more difficult to climb, and getting up from a low sofa was almost impossible. I had no regrets about the trip. Even without the abuse, my arthritis would have continued to worsen, and I speculated that it had been my last chance ever to enjoy an experience like that anyway. I knew where my ailment would take me. I was eventually, destined to end up in a wheel chair. Or at the very least I would need a replacement surgery, which was not generally very successful in those days.
Despite my long experience as the owner and director of a hospital as well as six clinics, I’ve never been fond of surgery. …and the grind exceeding small After the vacation I was careful to treat my knees gently, and despite the severe side effects of that experience, further deterioration did not occur at an abnormally fast rate. It was constantly evident, slowly grinding away at my knees, but not extreme. Just the usual relentless progression of an ordinary osteoarthrits case. I’d decide to go back to work at what I loved most: medical research. No strenuous activity needed there. My work as Director of the San Diego Clinic Immunological Center has been the most rewarding I’ve ever experienced. How could it possibly be otherwise at a facility dedicated to the research and development of products and treatments for ailments for which no current therapy is yet known. And I took advantage of that personally, relentlessly urging more and more research on arthritis.
True I had my own interest at stake, but it wasn’t hard to justify our efforts, either, not with well over forty Americans suffering the pain and crippling effects of rheumatoid osteoarthritis. Then one day it happened. An obscure little three-page article in a pharmaceutical journal was discovered by our researchers. It described investigations made at the US Government National Institutes of Health (NIH) about 25 years earlier. An injectable substance called cetylmyristoleate seemed to possess both preventative and curative properties for laboratory rats with induced arthritis. We had our doubts. It would surely seem that anything that rally worked would have come to light a lot sooner than 25 years on the other hand, knowing how government agencies like NIH operate, finding that some important discovery had been buried for a hundred years would not be too surprising. We decided to give it a try.
As interested as I was in treating my own problems, I was even more interested in seeing if it had any benefits when administered orally. After all, it would be far easier to make an oral product available to millions who need it than make it necessary for them to get prescriptions for an injectable. So I tried taking the foul tasting oil orally. The result: nothing spectacular, but I definitely saw a bit of improvement; enough to encourage us to develop a product that did work in a capsule form for oral administration. When I took the product that we had developed on our own, which is called CMO, (cerasomal cis-9-cetylmyristolate) it was like a miracle. I experienced an improvement of about 80% in just a couple of days.
Upon repeating the CMO several days later, it was almost like I’d never had arthritis at all. I couldn’t believe that my knees, which, had been devoid of cartilage and grinding bone for about six years, were now working painlessly and almost perfectly. I could still feel a bit of clicking in my right knee as I walked. And I would get a shot of pain if I twisted a knee joint. but that was heaven compared to what I had been suffering. Stairs are still a problem for my right knee. Because of the erosion of the bones over the years, they just don’t work quite right on the stairs. However, normal flat walking is just fine, and inclined ramps are no longer a problem. I’ve enjoyed five years now with no problems and no need for further treatment or medication of any kind. It has set me free sexually as well, an added benefit from CMO. Frankly, it has turned my whole life around. I’m no longer a cripple! It was such a joy, just being able to enjoy a pain-free walk along the beach, or an extended walk through the shopping mall again.
Everybody noticed the difference right away. My daughter lived more than halfway across the country. She only go to see me once or twice a year, sometimes less than that. So it was easy to see the changes year by year. It was only a couple of years ago that she reluctantly commented on my trouble walking. But knowing how I hate pity, she never said much more than, “Looks like your arthritis is getting really bad.” That was about five years ago. Then, a bit later (as I was carrying her bags at the airport!) She looked at me and squealed, “Dad, you really are cured. You used to just barely hobble around before. I can’t believe it. You’re walking even faster than I am.”
I’m not saying that I can get out there and play football again. But I can hold up to a fair game of fun tennis where we’re mostly just lobbing the ball back and forth rather than trying to kill each other. And I still do have a day or two a month as the weather changes that I’m not completely comfortable – just a nagging, dull little ache. (And, I’m happy to say, we’ve just developed a CMO cream that takes care of those dull aches, too.)
For the most part, though, I’m living a normal active life that is free of the limitations and constant pain that I suffered before we developed CMO. For a disease that conventional pharmacology and medicine can offer only despair, I along with thousands of others who have benefited form CMO, call that a miracle. Try the CMO capsuless and cream, I believe it will do the same for you!