When asked how he survived over a decade of debilitating Lyme symptoms before his diagnosis and treatment, Didier Cohen credits adrenaline.
“It’s just the pressure,” he says. “I had a lot of people counting on me. You’re just gonna go, go, go until the wheels fall off.”
“Go, go, go” is a pretty good description of Cohen’s career to date. Raised in the Los Angeles area, he describes himself as a rebellious kid who wasn’t a good fit for a conventional life. Kicked out of school early, and motivated by an abiding love for music — “it was all I really cared about” — he jumped straight into the famously dog-eat-dog world of the music industry in the early oughts. He was working as an A&R rep for some of the most well-known acts of the time when he felt that old rebelliousness taking hold again. A representative of Wilhelmina, an international modeling agency, scouted him off the street, and he smelled opportunity.
“I never wanted to model,” he says. “I always thought it would be a stepping-stone to other things.” He was proven right when, four months later, Wilhelmina sent him to Australia to build his portfolio. He scored a high-profile campaign with supermodel Miranda Kerr, and TV-presenting gigs and appearances on Australia’s Next Top Model quickly followed. But Cohen’s first love, music, still had his heart. He signed with Sony Australia and worked as a DJ, and when he got tired of playing other people’s music, he decided to make his own.
It was a thrilling, star-studded dream of a life. Or it would have been, if not for the fact that Cohen’s health was gradually failing him. Starting in 2007, he began to be plagued with crippling fatigue, peripheral numbness and digestive problems that he attributed to allergies at first. Elimination diets didn’t work. And simple exhaustion didn’t explain the symptoms that, over time, began to take a serious toll.
“My fiancée knew I was sick, my whole team knew I was sick.” Cohen ignored his symptoms as much as he could. When he did see doctors, they couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him — and he was never tested for Lyme disease, because conventional wisdom holds that Lyme doesn’t exist in Australia. “When I came home to America to work on my album,” Cohen says, “the adrenaline” — which had been keeping him afloat — “stopped.”
Making his own record had been his dream. But when he finally got into the studio, his back gave out. Unable to work — or even sit or stand — he sought out his family’s doctor, who mentioned the possibility that Cohen might have Lyme. He says, “I think I was in serious denial.” He didn’t remember being bitten by a tick, and never got a bull’s-eye rash. But to Cohen’s shock, the tests came back positive. He was referred to a specialist, who loaded him up with an array of antibiotics and not much else in the way of support — and the treatment almost seemed worse than the disease. Suffering from agonizing pain and seizing regularly, Cohen says “I’ve never felt worse in my life. And I know so many people who are in the same boat for years.”
Unable to even get out of bed and still grappling with his diagnosis, he wasn’t particularly interested in hearing anyone’s opinion about his health. But his disappearance from public life didn’t go unnoticed, and when he came out in the media as a Lyme sufferer, a friend — a former Infusio patient — tracked him down. Following her recommendation, and his family’s research, Cohen decided he had nothing to lose. In early 2018, “I was basically carried into Infusio. [I decided] ‘I’m just gonna do this.'” That was a Friday. He started treatment the following Monday morning, and he already knew Infusio would be different.
“When I went on the website and saw Phil [Battiade] speak about what the Infusio treatment was — it’s just very logical, and made complete sense.” The Infusio concept, with its empasis on bringing a damaged immune system back into balance so it can function correctly, resonated with Cohen. And Infusio felt like a safe place, where practitioners spoke to him on a human level. “We were all in it together. That was an amazing start to my treatment. It helped me immensely. It was the most liberating feeling to think ‘Every moment in this place, I’m getting better.’ And everyone around you at Infusio, they want you to be better. My mind was in such a positive state that [I knew] my body was going to heal. And every single day, I got better. Every single day.”
Months after his initial treatment at Infusio, Cohen says he’s the healthiest he’s been in a decade. His symptoms are gone, and almost more importantly, he’s creatively inspired and excited about life again. “I’ve never been so grateful to one program for literally giving me my life back.”
But he’s also careful to emphasize his own role in his recovery, and the necessity of making the conscious decision to reclaim his health. “I’ve learned that there’s no way your physical body can get better if your brain is telling your body you’re sick. Your brain and your body aren’t two different mechanisms, they’re one.” Cohen’s resolve, discipline and rebellious spirit, in tandem with Infusio’s healing environment and cutting-edge treatments, have given him a new lease on life.
“I thought I was never going to be in the studio ever again. Ever. I thought, ‘what am I going to do with the rest of my life?’ Now, I’m in my studio. I’m working every single day. But my biggest thing is spreading my message, spreading awareness and telling people with Lyme that it’s not over. No matter how crazy your journey’s been, it can always get better.”