POCATELLO — Patients often arrive at the doorstep of naturopathic physician Dr. Jason West at The West Clinic in Pocatello after conventional medical treatments have failed.
The West Clinic, which was started in 1916 by West’s great-grandfather, has patients who swear by his approach and say he provides results when they thought all hope was lost.
Two of them are Gary Davis, who has late-stage colon cancer, and Heather Pekus, who has multiple sclerosis and Lyme disease.
West, 45, says the clinic will often receive patients who feel they’re running out of time and options. He employs a mix of nutrition, vitamins, chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture and naturopathic treatments in his efforts to get results.
“In our office, our goal is to give you the best of alternative medicine and the best of integrated medicine so that you benefit,” he said.
West, who’s been practicing for 18 years, says he loves his work.
“It’s just awesome to show people you’re not alone,” he said. “Our biggest message to people is you are not your diagnosis.”
For instance, Davis, 77, who lives in Rock Springs, Wyoming, was told last March that he had stage 4 colon cancer.
The cancer was missed by doctors despite a colonoscopy and other tests. Finally a physician assistant suggested a CAT scan. And that found the cancer, he said.
But he was given just 60 to 90 days to live.
“I was kind of down in the dumps when I got that stage-four diagnosis,” Davis said. “I thought, ‘well, not much can help now.’”
Then he said some friends in church told him about a couple who brought their daughter to The West Clinic for Lyme disease. And he heard about another person whose cancer went into remission after going to the clinic.
So he went to see Dr. West. And Davis is still enjoying life nearly a year after he was supposed to be dead.
“I know these people don’t make any claims for curing, but they do claim to make quality of life better,” Davis said. “And boy, do they do that. I was amazed.”
Since getting treatments at The West Clinic, he’s only thrown-up a few times. He did have a few weeks recently when he felt poorly. But now he’s feeling better, he said. And his additional time has been largely free of pain.
So he’s been able to camp, fish, go to the mountains and enjoy other favorite activities.
“I couldn’t ask for a better quality of life for the time I’ve had,” Davis said.
West, whose staff of 13 includes a nurse practitioner, said that was the goal.
“What a warrior,” West said. “The plan was to give Gary the best quality of life he could have with the time he has left.”
Davis has nothing but praise for the clinic’s staff, which also includes Naturopath Dr. Scott Nelson.
“They are so proficient and so caring it’s almost overwhelming to be around,” Davis said. “They are really super people here. Not just the doctors, but the help and all of them. They’re good people.”
Meanwhile, Heather Pekus has been coming to The West Clinic for a few months.
Her husband, Lance, is known as the “Cowboy Ninja” on NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior,” which is a show requiring contestants to complete obstacle courses.
NBC broadcast a story about Heather, 33, and her struggle with multiple sclerosis. Afterward, West got in touch with the Salmon area ranch couple.
“I had been diagnosed with MS, but I hadn’t been responding to anything,” said Heather, who’s a counselor at Salmon High School. “Just getting worse and worse.”
In the last few years she’s gone from running and being active to using a walker to help her get around, she said.
But West feels the MS was possibly caused more by a Lyme disease infection. So he’s been treating the infection through intraveneous vitamins, oxidative medicine, neural therapy and ultraviolet therapy.
And Heather, who has two young children with Lance, reports that in recent weeks she’s felt a bit better. She’s gained weight. And she’s getting around a little better, though she still uses a walker. Plus the family has noticed her speech, stamina and strength have improved.
Lance said it’s been frustrating to see Heather’s health decline over the last few years and nothing seemed to help. She didn’t respond to any of the standard MS treatments.
Heather said it’s been scary for both of them.
“I really felt like I was dying and … there really wasn’t anybody out there to say ‘hey, let’s do this,’” she said. “But Dr. West is so positive and he’s given us a lot of hope.”
The couple also likes that they can bring their kids with them to the clinic when they drive from the Salmon area to Pocatello. Otherwise it can be hard to find babysitters to watch them at Salmon for a couple days while they’re gone, Lance said.
Plus, they can come to The West Clinic weekly, rather than having to schedule an appointment for six months or more in advance, which they’ve had to do previously at other care centers, he said.
“We’re hoping that, you know, Heather starts having some great success and we feel very grateful that Dr. West contacted us,” Lance said.
The West Clinic — which is at 1188 Call Creek Drive in Pocatello — is open Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The phone number is 208-232-3216.