Rico Franchi is an inspiring singer, songwriter and vocal coach who is healing from Lyme Disease. His recent single Getting Better is an ode to his own journey and he is generously donating all profits to the Caudwell Lyme Disease charity.
Rico, can you tell us how your health problems began?
My symptoms began 6 years ago now. I started waking up in the morning with really strange headaches that radiated down one side of my head, neck and face. After a few weeks of this I began getting terrible pain in my rib cage, and that went on for the first couple of years.
There were also other strange symptoms which came and went randomly from day to day, which were pretty terrifying.
Yet, before all of this I was practising martial arts daily, running, lifting weights and I very health conscious.
How did it feel when you finally got a diagnosis of Lyme Disease?
It felt amazing to get diagnosed. It took 2 and a half years.
A friend of mine (who is a doctor) suggested that I go to my own GP and ask to be tested for Lyme. I waited for 6 weeks to get the call and I wasn’t expecting to get a positive result, as I know how false negative the ELISA test can. However, I tested positive on that and the Western Blot test as well.
I actually broke down in tears as soon as I came off the phone.
I think I’d spent so long trying to convince people that I was (genuinely) really ill, that it just felt great to know I could actually give the collective symptoms a name now, and fight something that wasn’t a complete guessing game.
In the weeks to come though, I learned more about Lyme and realised that the diagnosis was pretty awful.
I believe that you are starting to feel better and you are beginning to heal from Lyme Disease; to what do you attribute your recovery and success?
To be honest, I think its been a mixture of a lot of things.
Health is so complicated and I truly believe that the combination of eating right, meditation, mild exercise and positive attitude have been the biggest contributors.
Antibiotics and herbals didn’t do anything for me.
What valuable lessons and insights has this whole journey presented to you?
It’s taught me so much about myself – specifically, what you can go through without letting the outside world know what’s going in inside your own body. It’s taught me that you need to put your health (and recovery) in your own hands a lot of the time. It’s taught me who my true friends are and aren’t.
I like to try and take the positives from the lessons. It’s changed my life from the point of view that I still can’t do exertive exercise and that is tough for me as I have a real passion for sports and fitness.
Was there a particular resource which supported you on your journey of healing from Lyme Disease and helped you cope and evolve?
The Facebook group – Lyme disease UK – has been a big help. The people on there are fellow sufferers and they know so much about the illness. It’s a great resource.
Did having music as a creative outlet and focus help you with healing from Lyme Disease? How important do you think it is for sufferers to follow a passion and indulge in creativity?
Without a doubt!
Writing my album has been such a cathartic process. The single – Getting Better- written about my journey has really helped me as it provided an outlet for the emotions that I went through.
I’m also writing a book about my journey which has similarly been really helpful in channeling a lot of my feelings.
Tell us more about the song itself and your decision to produce it as a charity single?
I actually wrote the song about two weeks before I got my diagnosis, so at the time of writing I was still in the – what on earth is wrong me? – phase. It took me 3 years to get it out in to the world as I wanted to release it as part of an album with a common theme of ‘finding myself’.
It’s also tough to record music that sounds professional when you are self funding and tired and sore all the time so it definitely took longer than I initially anticipated.
What are your future hope and dreams?
I really hope someone finds a cure For Lyme Disease. I’m donating money from the single release to the Caudwell Lyme charity as I feel that John Caudwell has really shaken up the Lyme world since he got on board.
My big dream, I suppose, is that the single helps people feel part of something special; a journey that we’re on together. The camaraderie of the Lyme sufferers is needed to make our voices heard.
On a personal level my dream is that my music gets used in a movie or TV series somewhere and becomes the soundtrack to peoples lives.
Where can we buy the song and find out more?
The song and album are available on itunes, google play, amazon mp3 and all other major music download stores. You can also – try before you buy – by listening to it on YouTube.
As our interview drew to a close I myself had a few additional thoughts running around in my head, relating to my own health predicament and healing from Lyme Disease generally – and I reached out to ask Rico a little more relating to his specific treatment plan…
Thanks so much Rico, Can I just add another question ….
You mentioned that antibiotics and herbals didn’t work for you – so do you feel Lyme can be beaten without treatment, as such, if lifestyle practices are put in place?
I’m not sure about the bacterial side of it (does it stay alive forever in your body regardless of existence of symptoms?) but I do believe a healthy body heals itself. The body and mind have to be in perfect sync though and it’s very difficult when it’s fighting something of the magnitude of Lyme. I’m by no means ‘cured’ and I still find a lot of things difficult, but I think I’m where I am due to my excellent health pre Lyme and also because I eat so well and meditate. //
I know myself that I eagerly pour over recovery stories to see what perhaps worked – or didn’t work for the individual in question, yet I’ve come to realise that quite simply everyone is different, and at different stages, each with their own very unique blueprint. We cannot compare, but we can learn more about healing from Lyme Disease, and build our knowledge base to apply the most appropriate individualised strategies – incorporating mind, body and soul.
Recovery (and wellbeing) will always depend on a huge variety of factors; which take into account the length of illness, the severity of symptoms, health history prior to getting sick, genetics and snp expressions, environment, lifestyle, diet, emotions…. and so much more.
One thing I would say is that by raising awareness of Lyme Disease we are opening up a whole new world of options for the chronically sick to explore. A world rooted in infections and virus’s as a root cause and an understanding to what started the roller coaster. For this reason alone, whether or not it turns out that you are infected with the Lyme bacteria or not, I urge people with CFS/ ME or other long term autoimmune conditions to explore this world – especially if you have put everything else in place without the desired results. Read more about my thoughts on how Lyme Disease and CFS may be linked for many people HERE, and how undetected virus’s may be at least be part of the picture as I discovered with my initial Parvo B19 virus clue HERE. This clue set me on track for further digging and thus discovering Lyme.
I would love to hear your thoughts on Rico’s interview. Please leave me a comment below.