My Story:

If you read the home page you know that at one time

I was so sick that I literally had no quality of life. My main diagnosis was "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome" which evolved into Chronic Fatigue with Fibromyalgia. I was given this diagnosis when I was 33, even though the illness started in a recognizable way when I was 19.

As I learned later, most sufferers of "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome" (CFS) have what is called "Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)." In many research papers and other literature the condition is actually referred to as CFS/ME. The CDC adjusted the criterion and the name of the disease called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in 1988 which was the same year I first became ill with it. They created what some call a "garbage basket" term of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which was imagined to be not necessarily the same illness as  Myalgic Encephalomyelitis even though most people with CFS do have Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. This may not seem important but in fact it is when you are trying to find answers. When I finally learned of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, I realized this was truly what I had. To me the latter name is more descriptive of the illness I had since I could clearly see the effects on my muscles and brain (atrophy and rapid ageing!!). It also appeared clear to me that viral infection was probably the major cause of the syndrome. For a concise history of the illness and the changes in name and criterion for diagnosis of the condition see The History of M.E. by Lisa Petrison, PhD.

The attendant diseases and disorders that accompanied Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephlalomyelitis in my case were:

  • fibromyalgia
  • adrenal exhaustion
  • hypothyroidism
  • ADD
  • Encephalopathy
  • occipital neuritis
  • episodes of ataxia and other weird neurological phenomena
  • vasculitis - autoimmune inflammation of the blood vessels
  • peripheral neuropathy
  • muscle weakness and atrophy
  • arthritis
  • lymphadenopathy (swollen lymph nodes)
  • celiac disease - a disorder in which gluten triggers an autoimmune destruction of either the intestines, nerves, skin or other tissues such as the thyroid -- for me the target was primarily the nerves/brain
  • severe food allergies and intolerance or "immune dysregulation" (i.e. allergic to "everything")
  • multiple chemical sensitivity
  • severe PMS, ovarian dysfunction and cysts, early menopause
  • chronic infections such as sinus, GI infections, and a jaw infection
  • migraine headaches
  • nerve pain and numbness to the point that areas of my body were numb for years
  • anemia that was lifelong, and responded poorly to supplemental iron and other common approaches
  • hypomagnesemia (low magnesium) that was resistant to supplementation
  • asperger's-like syndrome in which I found communication and social situations extremely difficult; though on the other hand, it gave me some attributes that helped me solve many problems

I did not have all of the above disorders all at the same time, but at any given time I had several. Initially, my body was able to "recover," though incompletely from the first difficult phase of dramatic health decline at age 19. After dropping out of college for a semester,  I returned to school and work. But there came a time years later when my body simply could not adapt and the pathogens and dysfunctions began to take hold at deeper and deeper levels. The fatigue and dysfunction reached a point that I was disabled and could not work. It was very difficult just to take care of myself and my two children.

So how did such poor health evolve in my case?  As a kid I did not have great health, but I managed ok and none of my minor problems seemed of any real concern from a health or medical standpoint. Probably the most notable things that showed while I was very young were very poor dental health, frequent abscesses of the teeth, and a degree of akwardness and isolation socially that was not severe but did take some work to overcome.

While in high school, some problems started to appear that I could not ignore. I began to have severe blood-sugar regulation problems, mood swings, PMS, ADD-type symptoms and pronounced fatigue. I had been an athlete but had to give it up in the middle of my high school years due to the fatigue. Most of these problems were first noticed or greatly worsened after I had an infection with mononucleois, or, Epstein Barr Virus.

At age 19, while in college, I had a major health breakdown. Incidentally this occurred about a year after I was given the MMR vaccine required for college entrance. This dramatic health breakdown started with headaches that lasted for days at times, swollen lymph nodes, a low grade fever, general aches and pains, brain dysfunction and other symptoms. The year was 1988. This happens to be the same year a group of experts studying chronic fatigue syndrome patients devised criterion for what they called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and which they linked to the Epstein Barr virus. At that time, it was thought that Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome were different entities, however, later it became clear that there was no substantial difference between the two.

I had some laboratory and symptom indicators for Lupus but did not qualify for that diagnosis since I did not have others. I had some of the symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis, but again, labwork was negative. I was tested for a plethora of pathogens, but all tests were negative. I did have swollen lymph nodes in various locations, headaches, and low grade fevers every day for a number of months, as concrete signs of illness...however most laboratory tests were normal. The only tests that were positive, and thus revealed what might be happening were ones for antinuclear antibodies (a sign of autoimmunity) and a newly developed test that showed whether the body was currently making antibodies to the Epstein Barr Virus. 

After 5 doctors and a battery of tests, and because I did not fit a known, well-recognized disease pattern (my docs were not up on the new criterion for chronic fatigue syndrome developed that same year-- if they had been I might have received a diagnosis at that time of chronic fatigue syndrome!), the doctors said it was "psychosomatic." This was devastating because those from whom I needed support concluded that it must therefore be "all in my head" and their "support" was quickly withdrawn or I was offered "counseling." In fact, this pronouncement of my illness being psychosomatic had a lasting effect on my family and how I was perceived by others close to me. The silver lining here is that I did not qualify for a treatment for what was wrong other than counseling or antidepressants, so I was spared the toxicity and harm of conventional approaches, and, I learned a huge lesson.

I knew that the doctors were wrong and that their diagnosis was based on a faulty system which assumes that they have some kind of omniscience and infallibility. Absurd, I thought. I was a student of philosophy at the time so was steeping in theory about how we know what we know and why we believe one theory or fact over another, etc., so this roundabout that I endured in an attempt to get answers about my illness only proved to me the weakness of most human minds and the arrogance of those who are "highly trained professionals!"

I was disgusted by the medical professionals but did not look elsewhere for help or continue the search for a doctor that could really find the problem. I didn't really know there was any other help to be found after the local docs were exhausted.

The fatigue, brain dysfunction/ADD and other problems continued through college and afterward. College is difficult when you have severe concentration problems! I adapted as best I could, always privately wondering how the heck I was going to make it in life when it came time to go to work a regular job. I coped by scaling back my endeavors and just trying to accept things as they were.

When I began working full-time as a teacher, my fear about how I was going to manage when it came time to work a regular job manifested itself. My problems became much more severe. In particular the physical pain of fibromyalgia set in. Also depression and anxiety. Nonetheless I chose to manage on my own for the most part. I did see doctors but did not ask for help with fatigue since I knew they could do nothing. At this point I had not yet been diagnosed with CFS.  I did not want to take drugs for my mental state. My thyroid and other tests were always normal (even when later, I had a palpably swollen thyroid they were still normal). I did always have anemia which was  impossible to correct even with iron pills (later I learned this is a copper toxicity symptom at times or simply the "anemia of chronic infection").  I had a little bit of a high blood pressure problem during those years, a heart murmur, and a few other problems as well starting to show up that were relatively new. Otherwise, though, doctors told me I was fine, completely normal. And yet I had so much pain and so many problems. I took over-the-counter medications for pain if it was particularly severe, but otherwise, just carried on. Finally after many years of this, I added some massage therapy to help with the physical pain of the fibromyalgia. I tried chiropractic and some herbal therapies but by and large, nothing really helped much.

When I married and had two children finally the problems became enough worse that they could no longer be ignored. At this point, some abnormalities even showed on lab tests, such as the hypothyroidism. My stress level increased with caring for my children, plus, this was made worse by the fact that the children had some health problems. They had difficulty sleeping well, severe colic, frequent infections, and some behavioral abnormalities that later were diagnosed as "sensory integration disorder." We were headed toward diagnoses of autism or mild autism with my children but did not pursue it to the final verdict, preferring to avoid the label.  With all this to deal with I could no longer just cope, I had to find answers.

I began to experiment and to research. I started to read every book I could find about "natural health." My research led me to discover the role of diet in our health. I discovered when my first child was an infant that he was sensitive to certain foods if I ate them because the proteins came through in breastmilk. Later I discovered that I had gluten sensitivity, and finally, when the kids were just toddlers, that we all had several food allergies we shared in common. We all went on special allergen avoidance diets. If we stayed on the right diets for each of us, the kids' behavior issues and frequent infections and severe colic and other digestive problems would go away, and for the most part so would my fatigue and brain dysfunction. If we ate the offending foods, we would have the problems return.

After another year or two of researching, I discovered that toxin build up and nutritional deficiency supposedly were at the root of most of the problems with our immune function, and this, I thought, was what caused the multiple allergies. I tried to remedy these deficiencies, and our toxicity problems. I supplemented carefully, and we saw great improvements. We cautiously used a gentle, oral form of chelation, and saw tremendous improvements. This included one of my children pulling through kindergarten during the last three months of the year, after we had been told the child would need to repeat the grade. This child was unable to connect the sounds of the letters with the letters of the alphabet, or learn the names of classmates. Twenty years later, he functions intellectually at a high level.

Despite many objective pieces of evidence that what I was doing was on the right track toward answers and improving our health, my family for the most part thought I was on the wrong track (that's putting it nicely) and they just put up with the special diets and interventions. A few of them were medical professionals who were sure I was way out in left field, and that I was making a big deal out of nothing and probably making problems worse with all the interventions. It was just too far out for them to understand that anyone could be allergic to that many foods or need such a tightly controlled diet, and they claimed not to see the problems that I was seeing with the childrens' health. I was aghast at what other people were willing to pass off as 'normal' in a young child who should have vibrant health, not a host of behavioral and physical oddities that restrict their health and happiness.

The vigilance required of me was huge....I had to continually adjust my diet and that of each child as the allergies changed. We started with only three allergies but later after pulling out the three allergenic foods from our diets, each of us became allergic to new foods that were eaten frequently. So I had to continue to figure out who was reacting to what. Eventually, we began to rotate foods, which helped a lot, but was even more demanding.  I continued to supplement us, and use the chelation regime carefully, under supervision of a Naturopathic doctor. Yet, our problems continued in one form or another. I  was managing the problems, and seeing the symptom-pictures change, but not making the kind of progress that I expected. I wanted all of us to have real health. Now, many years later, I know why we were struggling with new allergies continually developing, and also what needs to be done to address that problem. But back then, I didn't know how to truly heal a "leaky gut."

Over those years we did many therapies and saw numerous health professionals of all varieties, both conventional and holistic. Many of them helped somewhat, but, with most "treatments," there would be some other problem that would show up, or some way in which we got worse in a different area. Thus it seemed that with the majority of the treatments we tried, even the supplemental nutrients I knew we needed, one thing would get better and something else would get worse. The proverbial, "Two steps forward and one step backward" scenario. Or so it seemed.

The real progress came through slowly sorting out the causes on my own. Perhaps if I had continued seeking more and more different professionals' advice, I might have finally found professionals who understood the situation. Certainly now, many years after that time (the early 2000's) there is a much greater understanding of the phenomena we were dealing with.  Back then, however, it became clear that most doctors did not understand the problems we were having, nor did they have any effective methods to deal with them. Doctors like Dr. Larry Wilson who developed Nutritional Balancing, and Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride who developed the GAPS diet are few and far between; and what we needed were both approaches, since we were very toxic and deficient in minerals as well as immune-impaired with severely compromised gut health.

I had to acknowledge at that time that we were still plagued with problems even after years of effort to resolve them. And I had to admit that my life revolved around keeping up with the special diets and supplements and chelation, and that this was not the life I wanted for me or my children. Thus I continued searching for answers and eventually I found Dr. Wilson and later Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride.

It was about ten years into the journey that I came across the work of Dr. Lawrence Wilson, MD. I found his explanations to absolutely fit with everything I had learned. For example, he explained why you cannot just put into the body the minerals it needs and expect this to work. He also explained that you can't just take the toxins out, say, with chelators, and expect that to work either.  His emphasis on rebuilding the body's vitality so that it can heal on its own made sense. He explained how we can succeed in rebuilding the body, and increasing vitality and how this results in healing. I quit the other therapies I had come to rely on and began to get hair mineral analysis tests done and to follow a Nutritional Balancing program. Although the diet seemed impossibly strict to me at first, I did manage to get myself on it, and I did most of the other recommendations too.

It was evident within a few months that I was making great progress on this program. I could just feel it. True healing actually feels different in the body than symptom suppression. Its because there is a deep, inner knowing that something fundamental is being addressed and making things better. In the beginning the progress barely showed on my hair test results, but I knew that things were changing because I began to feel stronger mentally and emotionally, and to just feel calm and in control compared to before. After so many years of anxiously searching and wondering if I could or would ever become well, this provided great relief!

As I progressed in those early years with Nutritional Balancing, I went through many so-called "healing crises." These are episodes of slightly or dramatically increased symptoms as the body heals some old infection or pushes out a load of toxins. It seems I had vast numbers of viruses hitchhiking in my body. They would erupt periodically as warts, spots or other manifestations, usually on my skin. I had so many infections, one on top of the other, and so much fatigue because of these infections draining my vitality, that it was almost unbelievable.  I had other varieties of healing crises also, including an ongoing string of emotional purging reactions that seemed tied in with the physical healing reactions.

Eventually I managed to see a pattern that tended to repeat with my healing, which was: build and strengthen, get to feeling stronger and more energetic and then get hit with a healing crisis...then the crisis would resolve and I would begin to feel better again, gradually, until things were going really well, and then another healing crisis would take place. And all along my awareness gradually increased and I realized that parts of my life just did not make sense! And I began to change my life. It happened naturally, but it wasn't necessarily easy. The awareness increases also followed a pattern for me, and generally there would be some sudden realizations, followed by anger, followed by sadness, followed by some emotional purging and finally resolution and a new way of thinking and behaving. So I realized that with nutritional balancing I was not only getting my health back, I was getting my life back.

Although the process of healing can be sped up or slowed down to some degree by adjusting a person's nutrients, I really wanted to get through these difficulties so I could begin a more normal life. That is just what happened, and after about two and a half years, the bulk of the most difficult healing was done, in my case. The most difficult aspects for me were getting off of supplemental adrenal and thyroid hormones which I had taken for many years. The other big hurdle was to develop the patience to allow the healing to happen rather than to push to make it happen faster, or add supplements so that I could "function." I literally needed a ton of downtime. In fact I was unable to work for about a year and a half, and I now see how great the reward is for taking that time. At the time, however, it was frightening, as I saw my financial reserves dwindling and was immersed in one healing crisis after another.

I used nutritional balancing for about a year before determining that I wanted to become a practitioner. I knew that with my teaching background and experience of healing my case, that I could help others effectively. The most important thing I have to say to those considering this approach is, "It really works." I am not saying it heals every condition that a person might have, but I am saying it is a true system of healing which can help us make progress that may even seem miraculous at times given the severity or difficulty of a person's case.

More To the Story: A Companion on My Journey

During most of the years that I was trying to solve the mystery of my health problems and those of my children, I had been conversing with my friend Barb, whom I met via the internet. She was doing the same thing as me; trying to heal herself and her two children from immune, allergy and brain function problems, among others. She has been as much a part of this journey as me, in many ways, and has been a critical source of information and support as I have progressed.

Having support when you are healing is very important. My friend and I had only one another for support for a number of years. Our families did not really understand what we were dealing with. Conventional medicine did not acknowledge many of the problems or have solutions. Often it is extremely difficult for those who do not have serious health problems to understand a person who just can't seem to get well and whose whole life revolves around the effort to get well.

Now, my friend and I can both say we actually have full and satisfying lives. We have both healed to such an extent that we now know complete wellness is possible, not only in our cases but for many others out there who are struggling with seemingly intractable health problems. If you have been given little hope, or offered only drugs or surgery or other undesirable options, please know that there is the option of choosing healing through nutrition, gentle detoxification and lifestyle adjustment. It is not easy, but it is for real, and it is worth it.