Chapter 8: CATASTROPHE!
Things were really going along well for a while. It was a give-and-take. We had made some progress with getting Lynda’s wound to heal, but it still had a long long way to go. So we forged ahead, making connections and adjustments as we went. We had started dealing with the damage done by the antibiotics and steroids, and had started with bio identical hormone replacement.
I had formed a connection and online friendship with doctors from around the world. But we were about to face another serious challenge. I had been so wrapped up with working and researching for Lynda that I had neglected my own health for a while. I was still going to the gym, and was keeping myself in decent physical condition, but I had some underlying health issues brewing.
As a matter of fact, in July 2012, I took the backpacking trip of a lifetime, for me anyway. My son took me, along with my oldest grandson and two of my sons buddies on what they called the presidential traverse. It was a four-day backpacking trip in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. In those four days we would travel 22 miles, summit nine mountain peaks, and a
ascend and descend and 8000 vertical feet of elevation, all while carrying a 60 pound backpack. We had no tents and slept under the stars. Our first night was spent on the summit of Mount Eisenhower, at 4000 feet. Unbelievable! It was also one of the most grueling physical challenges of my life.
Well I thought I was prepared, I really tested my limits of endurance and strength. But there’s just something about being up in the mountains like that, unplugged from all the electromagnetic noise that surrounds us day in and day out, and being above tree line far from the pollution and hustle of every day life. The only thing that would have made this better, is if Lynda was there to enjoy it with me.
Lynda was making steady progress. While she had to scale back her physical activity because of the pain from her wound, she took the opportunity to take the holistic health coaching course offered by the Institute of integrative nutrition. It was great. was not only learning new things, but had connected with an entire online community, and was making friends from all over the country. A couple of the women lived close by, and they started meeting occasionally for study groups. In May of 2013, Lynda went to Manhattan for a long weekend to attend a function at the school.
In the meantime, I had made a great connection with the nutritional company from Washington state. Their products were cutting edge and of the highest quality, and I wanted to see if I could help bring those products to not only the public, but to the holistic health practitioner community as well. I had become friends with the owners of the company. My goal at the time was to become an independent rep for them and a hand full of other top companies to see if I could start making a difference in others lives as well.
The weekend that Lynda spent in New York attending her conference, I was accompanied by Dr. Lyn Hanshew, the medical director for the supplement company i had started working with in Washington, We set up the booth at the Naval health Expo on Long Island, the largest natural health Expo in the greater New York area which was held twice a year. Dr Hanshew’s expertise was in the field of toxicology and anti-aging medicine. We would not only become good friends, but she would become one of my mentors. It was at Dr Lynn’s suggestion that we would test Lynda’s hormone levels. She would also guide us in ramping up Lynda’s detox protocols.
In preparation for this event, I had built a website and was hoping to be able to start helping others achieve higher levels of health by teaching them about the concepts of detoxification and root cause resolution. We had some minor success at the event, but unfortunately this would get derailed soon. A few weeks after this I had a problem with one of my teeth. I woke up one morning with a toothache and an abscess. I had called the dentist that I had been seeing since February of that year. This was on a Friday and he wouldn’t be able to see me till the following Monday, so he prescribed an antibiotic. In the meantime I had started using some holistic treatments to deal with the infection. Within 36 hours the pain was gone and so is the swelling. So I figured why bother taking an antibiotic if I didn’t really need it, so I didn’t. I had no other problems with that tooth or gum, until September of that year.
Lynda graduated from the Institute that month, and was looking forward to start her own health coaching business. She even had and name, logo and business cards all set to go. “A bridge to wellness” was about to be launched, but it would never come to be. Late September, the tooth that had bothered me back in May cracked in half. It was a week and a half before I was able to get to the dentist to have it extracted. In that time bacteria have seeped into the crack, and caused a pretty bad infection. When the dentist had extracted the tooth, he commented on the active infection present. He proceeded to tell me that it had affected the bone underneath, and asked if I wanted a bone graft in case I ever wanted to get an implant. He never mentioned that it might be a bad idea because of the infection, and I figured he knew what he was talking about. So I agreed to let him do it. Everything went fine. I even went back the following week for a follow up, and he commented that everything was healing up nicely.
Then one morning I woke up feeling out of sorts. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I knew something was wrong. I noticed I was a little lightheaded and was having a bit of trouble concentrating, But just chalked it up to being a tired or figured maybe I had an inner ear or sinus infection. I did my usual routine for sinus infections, pulled out the netti pot, and added eucalyptus and colloidal silver to kill any infection, but things just got worse. It got so bad, that I had no conception of the space around me, and was experiencing left-sided weakness.
My wife was trying to convince me to go to the ER, but that was the LAST place I wanted to go LOL! But as my health continued to deteriorate, I finally agreed. After an MRI and CAT scan, someone popped her head through the curtain and said oh, you have a mass on your brain, then walked away. You gotta love the bedside manor in the ER!
I was admitted to the hospital overnight, and put on IV steroids to try to reduce the swelling. The next morning at 8 AM, I was visited by a surgeon. He said, we don’t know if it’s an abscess or a tumor, so we’d like to do exploratory surgery to find out for sure. Mind you, we were talking about my head! I said seriously? All I could think of is that they wanted to take a stick and poke it in the giant bees nest in the backyard and see what came out, that’s how my mind processed it at that time. I said no thanks I’m going home.
So I checked out against medical advice. I had the film from the tests sent to a doctor that I trusted on the West Coast, and we spoke the next day. He was certain by what he saw in the film, and by my rapid rate of neurological decline, that this was most definitely an abscess and not a tumor. So I spent the next four days working feverishly to try to reduce the inflammation and infection. I had pulled out my nebulizer, and was nebulizing silver and iodine, and taking 30 to 40,000 mg of vitamin C a day. I asked my wife to give me a few days to see if we could get the symptoms under control, but after four days I had no choice. I had to go back to the hospital for surgery.
At this point the infection was so bad it was pushing my brain into my brain stem, and killing me. They did an emergency craniotomy, drained the abscess, and sent me to ICU. I was in ICU for a week, and in the hospital for a total of 10 days. Unfortunately being self-employed, and my disdain for traditional medicine, I never bothered with health insurance. So you can imagine the bill we were left with after this ordeal. But I did surprise the doctors, I persuaded them to let me take a homeopathic preparation called Arnica Montana, the day after surgery. I was off all pain meds within 36 hours, and the reduction in inflammation due to the Arnica, really sped up the healing process. Every opportunity I had to get out of bed, I would walk, go to the windows, And do deep knee bends’s while holding on to the sill. In the back of my mind there was only one thing that I could concentrate on, getting back to health and work.
The doctors were certain I would need physical therapy for a while after I got home, but surprise! By the time of discharge I
was ready to walk out of there on my own accord. The only fun thing was,I was given what’s called a picc line to enable me to receive iv’s at home, and put on a month of IV antibiotics. Because of the location of this line, and the fact that it was in my working arm, I would not be back to work for six weeks.
This totally took us by surprise. With all that we had spent on continued integrative treatments, organic food and supplements, we didn’t have much reserves. This was the straw that broke the camels back. We now had to do some major scrambling. We had not only gone through most of our reserves, but we’re left with crushing debt besides. Lynda really stepped up, even though this really shook her to her core. She was the one that administered my antibiotics every day, flushed my picc line, and took care of me as I regained strength. It also took me a while for my brain to start working right again, after all that it had been through.
My ordeal wasn’t over yet. As I was home recuperating, and working to get my strength back, I noticed that every time I stood up, I felt pressure and pain in my left leg. After I moved around a while it would dissipate, but start again every time I get up. Lynda’s nursing background when into action, and she asked me to lift up the leg of my sweatpants. The problem was staring at us right in the face. My calf was swollen like a balloon, I had developed a blood clot.
We went back to the emergency room to have it checked out. Sure enough I had a clot that went from mid thigh
down to the back of my knee. They originally proposed heparin injections directly into the vein, which was somewhat of controversial and expensive, especially considering the fact that I recently had brain surgery. Then they would follow that with a blood thinner like Coumadin. Well I wasn’t a fan of Coumadin, especially because it contains the same ingredients as rat poison, and I told them so. I guess I wasn’t a very good patient LOL, but I knew that I had safer more effective ways of dealing with a blood and safely thinning my blood.
The brain surgeon was also concerned about the blood thinners due my recent surgery. So I reluctantly agreed to let them
put a IVC filter inside my body to trap the clot if it decided to travel. Of course we would find out afterwords, that those were dangerous as well and could cause complications. If it was solely up to me, I would’ve just gone home and worked on it myself, but I was more concerned about how that would affect my wife. She was already scared to death that I had almost died, and she was just afraid that the clot would break loose and travel and finish the job. So I agreed. Fortunately I was able to have it removed this past November.
The one thing that this would prove to us, was just how vulnerable we were. The fact of the financial setback that we suffered, combined with the fact that she almost lost me, Lynda went into a deep depression. We had suffered things like this before not to this extent, and I knew we’d bounce back, but Lynda just couldn’t see it. All she could focus on was all that we had
been through. She stopped doing the things that she was doing to get healthy to help her body heal. Day in and day out she stayed mired in stress and doubt.
This broke my heart, as I felt responsible for what she was going through. I just wanted to make things better, but couldn’t seem to comfort her. I would spend days by her side, rubbing her head, trying to assure her that we would pull through this and get back on our feet. I was also angry. Angry that the dentist hadn’t warned me of the possible dangers that I was facing. I remember talking to him right before I went to the hospital telling him what I was experiencing, and all he could say was, did you take the antibiotic yet? I said, you ASS, that was three months before. You never told me to take them after you extracted the tooth.
The biggest problem was the fact that he put the bone graft over the damaged jawbone, and sealed the infection in my head.
For a time, I had considered bringing action against that dentist, but because of my penchant for integrative healing, my refusal to initially take the antibiotics, and the fact that I questioned and challenged EVERYTHING they wanted to do in the hospital, I couldn’t find a lawyer to take our case. Had I dwelled on this it would have consumed me. I just had to let it go and move on.
Up until now, we had kept Lynda out of the “system”. But with her refusal to let go and move on as well as her depression keeping her from her healing routines, her health was on a downward spiral. My children were pressuring me to get her help, but I knew what that would entail, anti anxiety and depression medications. They didn’t realize these would make her overall condition worse, and not address what was going on. We tried working with our counselor, employed essential oils and specialized supplements, but nothing seemed to work. An intervention was arranged by the kids, and Lynda went in for evaluation. SURPRISE, she ended up with two prescriptions.
This was February 2014. By May of that year, Lynda was rushed to the ER, experiencing rapid pulse and breathing. Her blood pressure was through the roof, and was experiencing acute CHF!
This would be the beginning of 2 years of hell, for both Lynda and our family. During this time, I was by her side every minute, was at all doctor appointments, procedures, and hospital stays, and there were many, over $400,000.00 worth, including treatments and procedures. She was now diagnosed with cryoglobualenemia, with glomerulnephritis. It was affecting her bone marrow and kidneys. The treatments proposed were high dose steroids and CHEMO!! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. This wasn’t dealing with the underlying issues, and it would certainly make her more toxic, which was the root cause in the 1st place. I wanted a more integrative approach, but I had no luck getting a nephrologist or oncologist to listen to that.
We found a functional medicine doctor that became our new primary care doctor. She was the only one that understood what I was talking about. All the other doctors thought I was crazy, and so did my kids. Both Lynda and the our children were being pressured with fear and guilt to agree to the treatments, but I stood firm in my position. I was actually threatened with a
restraining ordered at one point because I was trying to be the voice of reason. This new doctor was able to help to a degree, but Lynda’s condition was so complex, and the fact her kidneys we compromised, it limited the options she had available.
Our journey would take us from Connecticut to Cornelius North Carolina, to Long Island. It would also prompt me to read as many books as I could get my hands on, and attend countless summits on cancer, autoimmune disease, detoxification and medicinal supplements. I also took a health coaching course to gather as much education as possible, all for the sole purpose of guiding Lynda back to health.
What I discovered, was that we WOULD need a team of doctors to assist us. Dr Comia, our functional doctor still is part of that team, but we needed different perspectives. We found an integrative oncologist, that also worked with a naturopath, and an integrative immunologist. We had wanted to work with Dr Buttar with the Center for Advanced Medicine in North Carolina, but the distance and cost was more than we could overcome at that time. But little by little, we’re making progress. There will be more to come, as I will continue to bring you all through our journey, where it took us, and how’s it’s changed my life. It’s also made it clear to me that this has all happened for a reason. ALL OF IT!
All through the years, I always felt a calling for something greater than I was doing. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my work, and I’m good at it, but I know I have more purpose than that. I meet hundreds of people every year. The one thing they all have in common, no matter what their social status or income bracket, is that most are oblivious to the failure of our health care
system. Their isn’t one family I’ve met that hasn’t been touched by cancer, autoimmune disease, neurological problems or gut issues. Most are coerced into accepting the standard treatments through fear and not giver all the options. Most don’t question the rationality of taking prescriptions for the rest of their lives to “control their disease, and aren’t aware that it possible to have root cause resolution, which is the true path to health.
WHY IS THAT? Because most doctors haven’t been taught that way.
I’m about to be a vehicle for change. THAT’S why I’ve become ” The Natural Health Advocate “. This website will continue to grow to offer educational videos, summits, and be a resource guide to enable all to take control of their health. I will walk you through the steps so you can be your own advocate.
I can help take the guesswork out of finding the best sources of not only information, but top quality supplements, books and products that can change your life.
Are you ready for your healing journey? I hope so, because I take no prisoners LOL ! If you’re satisfied to go through life with blinders on, this site is not for you. If you’re ready to question everything and be part of something great, you’ve come to the right place. But I’m warning you, I DON’T sugar coat things. A health challenge doesn’t happen over night, and it won’t be
corrected overnight either. But if you’re ready to work, I’ll be there as your guide.
When you are ready, LET’S BEGIN!