As a new dawn broke upon Granville Hill, I opened my eyes to the realization that I had survived another night, another long, sleepless and agonizing night, filled with pain and gut wrenching nausea.
As I slowly focused my eyes on the clock of my bedroom wall, I mindlessly watched as seconds painstakingly ticked by. The background of the clock pictured a flock of geese soaring gracefully above a familiar body of water. Grouped together as one, they glided effortlessly through the lower heavens. A realization of loneliness and abandonment suddenly swept over me.
"Oh God where are you?" I thought. "Why have you allowed this to happen to me? When will it end?" As the same questions I had asked every day for the last two years filled my mind, I glanced at the "Footprints" picture hanging on the wall near my bed.
If God was truly carrying me through this death-defying ordeal, as the infamous poem quoted, then why didnít I feel his presence? Why didnít he give me a sign that this agony would soon end? The silence was deafening.
Lying motionless, I pondered on the full and active life I had once known. Little by little, symptom by symptom, my life was being snuffed out. It seemed like ages since I had taken disability and left my stressful career in telecommunications. My home had become my prison. I no longer ran with my little four-year-old son or laughed with my friends.
I reminisced about the wonderful and joyous times I had experienced with my son and what a miracle he was to me. I thought of the many years I battled infertility, recalling the extensive testing and procedures I had endured hoping for a child. Seventeen years later, finally giving up the struggle, I did at last conceive. I had been blessed with a beautiful baby boy. As the flashing thought of death and abandoning my child passed through my mind, I cried out to God for another miracle. "Please God, I donít want to go, not now." was my plea. Again the cries were drowned in silence.
After drenching my pillowcase in tears for what seemed an eternity, I decided it was time to quit feeling self pity and get out of bed. As I pulled myself up and out of bed, supporting myself by items of furniture along the way, I settled into my rocking chair in the next room. Reaching for the phone book, I secretly hoped today, would be the day, I found a doctor that could diagnose my illness.
Attempts at a diagnosis had proven futile in the past, leaving me in a downward spiral. I had been referred to many physicians who prescribed various drugs and procedures in an effort to remedy my illness. Needless and life altering surgeries, which included the removal of my gallbladder, partial removal of my stomach and a radical hysterectomy had left me scarred both physically and emotionally.
In an effort to control the pain of my despair, one doctor prescribed Prozac. Rejecting the suggested drug, I came to the realization that the standard medical community believed this illness was emotional. Sobbing, I lashed out, ďOf course itís emotional, I am very sick, in pain from head to toe and no human being can tell me what is wrong.Ē That day, much to the displeasure of the medical staff, I discharged myself from the hospital, vowing never to return. I pledged at that moment, that if I were to die, it would be at home with dignity and peace, in the presence of my family. My brother honored my request and drove me home.
Once again, I turned my focus to the business at hand finding two additional doctors specializing in gastrointestinal disorders. Although the symptoms I displayed left no parts of my body unaffected, I felt these doctors might offer some hope. The doctor who had arranged for the last two major surgeries, openly shared with me his perplexity of my illness and the fact that my symptoms had not responded to the surgeries. At the advice of close friends and due to the desperate state of health I was in, I also contacted a facility specializing in alternative and natural healing methods. Although unfamiliar with alternative medicine, I felt I had nothing to lose. After placing several hopeful calls, I decided to return to bed to await a call.
As I slowly scuffed by the full-length mirror hanging on my bedroom door, I turned in disgust as I viewed my frail, lifeless body. In the last year I had lost over fifty pounds, bottoming out at eighty-nine pounds. Most of my hair had fallen out and my skin was sallow in color. I resembled a prisoner of war dwelling in a concentration camp. It was difficult to imagine that a few years earlier I had been an aerobics instructor.
The phone finally rang and my Aunt Bernice, who had come to live and care for me, quickly brought the phone to my bedside. One of the physicians practicing at a well-known hospital in New York, returned my call, scheduling me for an appointment the following month. As I graciously accepted the appointment, a dubious thought fleeted through my mind, as I wondered if I would even be alive by then. Unspoken words and guarded expressions by family and friends didnít conceal the certainty of my spiraling demise.
Approximately one week later, Joe, a friend and former co-worker, called to inquire how I was doing. Informed that my health was declining further and perplexed that no doctor was able to diagnose the illness, he decided to do some research on his own. Later that same week, Joe phoned to say that after many phone calls, conversations and referrals he had located a doctor specializing in environmental medicine in Buffalo, New York. He contacted the doctor and explained the severity of the circumstances. An appointment was scheduled immediately.
Three days later, I felt the ever so familiar ker-plunck, ker-plunck sound of the expansion joints in the pavement on the interstate. I would have found the constant and repetitious sound annoying in times past; however, now it carried me into an almost hypnotic state, as I lay motionless in the back seat of the van. Toni and Dick, close friends from my church, had once again so generously offered to make another hopeful trip with me. Not wishing to disturb me, they conversed quietly as they drove. Drifting in and out, I silently prayed that this visit would be the one that could give me back the life I once had known.
Upon arriving at the doctorís office, Toni answered most of the routine questions, as I was incoherent much of the time. My thought process was confused and disoriented. However, I distinctly remember a particular question that infuriated me. The doctor asked, ďWhat are your hobbies?Ē The adrenaline rushed through me as I thought of the absurdity of this question. I was lying on my deathbed and she wanted to know what I did for fun!
I mumbled that before becoming ill, I involved myself in the restoration of an old Victorian-style home. Little did I realize, the answer to that question would be the key in diagnosing my illness and the beginning of a very long recovery process.
A multitude of questions, a complete physical, a series of blood tests, and a 24-hour urine collection ensued. The doctor requested that I return in three days for two days of allergy testing, which would continue for two days, every week, for one month. My body was battered, my spirit almost broken. No longer could I eat a morsel of food or drink water without experiencing excruciating pain.
After all testing and evaluations, I was diagnosed as having heavy metal and chemical poisoning. Mercury and lead were at severely toxic levels and many other metals were found to be moderately toxic. High levels of benzene, xylene, as well as other chemicals were embedded within the tissues of my body. Multiple mineral and vitamin deficiencies due to my inability to eat and absorb food, as well as the damage done to my intestinal tract by the toxins, had left me severely malnourished.
My doctor explained the critical and demanding protocol I would need to follow. It was so overwhelming that I wondered if I had the strength and willpower to persist. The metals and chemicals, failed treatments, x-rays, surgeries, and drugs had taken their toll. I had an extremely toxic body and steps needed to be taken immediately to reverse this condition to save my life.
My body was so broken, it had become allergic to most every substance in the environment. At the end of the first month of treatment, I was taking three injections per day of twenty-two different antigens. The antigens consisted of molds, pollens, dust, grasses, trees, foods, and chemicals.
Looking back, I vividly remember all the weekly nutritional IVís and chelation therapy sessions I sat through. I endured over 600 saunas to sweat out the chemicals and bounced thousands of times on a mini trampoline that served as an internal chelator. I have consumed hundreds of supplements to help detoxify and rebuild my immune system. My home experienced a complete makeover, resulting in a much healthier place to dwell. I researched what foods heal and what foods harm and what drinking lots of pure water and breathing clean air could do for my health. I realized stress and lack of sleep are the ultimate killers. A dollar value can never be attached to the wealth of knowledge I gained through my recovery process.
Remarkably, in January 2000, I returned to my career at the telephone company. I am now once again the mother that God intended me to be, laughing and playing with my son, who is now 11 years old.
Tonight, as I sit relaxing in the same rocking chair where I spent many long and lonely hours, I am very aware that God was indeed carrying me through all those horrendous times. I shudder to think what the outcome may have been if he had not been at my side. God granted me a second miracle, not the instantaneous miracle where a blind person was made to see, or a lame person made able to walk, but a miracle of trust, belief, persistence, patience, discipline, love and ultimate healing. I no longer even resemble that once sick and dying person. My heart has changed as well; consequently, my life has changed.
Much of my time is now spent writing and counseling others in the cause and prevention of disease, as well as teaching effective steps that can be taken to heal a broken and toxic body. I was granted a second chance at life, as well as an education by experience, and the opportunity and passion to share this knowledge with others. As I bound out of bed each morning, I secretly wonder how many lives I will reach today.
Faith, determination, education and discipline can turn a seemingly hopeless situation into an opportunity to not only better our own lives but also the lives of others. I am so thankful to God, my doctor and the many friends and family members that reached out to me in my hour of need.
Godís timing is perfect. He is in the process of designing a patchwork quilt of my life and continues to weave it daily. My goal is now to help others understand the pattern he is weaving within the patchwork quilt of their lives.
My hope is that as you read this book, the knowledge passed on to you will be life changing for you, as well as those lives touching yours.
May you grow in knowledge and understanding as you search for answers, realizing healthy lifestyle changes will bring renewed hope and the good health you were meant to have.
FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene, he noticed two sets of foot prints in the sand: One belonging to him, and the other to the Lord. When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life. This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it. "Lord, You said that once I decided to follow You, Youíd walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I donít understand why when I needed You most, You would leave me." The Lord replied, "My son, My precious child, I love you and would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you." - Author Unknown