Carrie Bertrand, in her self-published book "Awareness," writes about how she overcame her struggle with an illness she eventually concluded was Morgellons disease.
KALAMAZOO — Carrie Bertrand, who runs the Believers Business Center in Kalamazoo’s Edison neighborhood, has written a book about overcoming a mysterious illness with what she believes was God’s help.
She is planning a book signing and open house for Nov. 13 at the center, located at 1301 Cameron St. The event runs from 2 to 5 p.m., with talks by Bertrand at 2:30 and 4 p.m.
Bertrand’s self-published book, “Awareness,” is about how “God … saved her (from her illness) with the help of natural health solutions,” according to an email she sent to the Gazette. She concluded that she was suffering from the mysterious Morgellons disease, whose sufferers typically report skin lesions; sensations of crawling, stinging or biting movement on or under the skin; and filaments or fibers seeping from the skin.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began a study of Morgellons in 2008. CDC experts are now working on a final draft of their study report and are expected to submit it for publication in early 2011, according to an Oct. 31 report by the Washington Post.
The CDC is not saying at this point whether the disease is real or a delusion, wrote Post reporter Brigid Schulte.
“A few years ago, a handful of scientists thought the so-called fiber disease could be the result of infection by some strange new bacterium, parasite or fungus,” wrote Schulte. “Almost all of them have dropped their research.”
Ahmed Kilani, an infectious-disease microbiologist, told Schulte, “I believe the disease is real. But there are lots of crazy people involved. So I distanced myself.”
The only remaining researcher, Randy Wymore, a pharmacology professor at Oklahoma State University, has been doing DNA testing of the fibers that patients claimed were seeping from their bodies and has ruled out unusual bacteria, fungi or insects, according to Schulte.
“We have a better idea of what the fibers aren’t,” Wymore told Schulte. “But we’re no closer to figuring out what they are.”
In an interview last year when she was starting her business center, Bertrand said she had Morgellons symptoms in the 1980s.
“I have pictures of the parasite,” she said, and “legal documents proving there was something there.”
Doctors, however, called her problem “delusional parasites,” she said.
She overcame the problem through body detoxification, she said.
“Life was pulled out from under me because of this health issue, but I found God,” Bertrand said. “I was able to utilize that experience to rebuild my life.”
Bertrand said that a man who received her book late last year called her crying.
“He took the book to the doctor, and now he’s out of the hospital,” she said in December. “They didn’t even know if he was going to make it. The man said the book gave him hope.”
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