My Hero’s

For some people, health is not something they have to consider all that much until they get much older. But for others, like myself, it has become a focal point for much of my adult life. It has now been more than 20 years since I became deathly ill. Although I was able to put my cancer in remission, I have still struggled with ongoing digestive issues. The journey has not been easy. At times I was overwhelmed by the fear that I would never improve. I have experimented with so many things and yet until now the resolution of my issues has felt beyond my grasp. One of the hardest parts has been my poor sleep. Waking throughout the night, not able to go back to sleep and feeling just as tired when I woke up has taken its toll on me. Obviously, this has made the waking state equally difficult. Always feeling fatigued. As time continues its relentless march forward my sleep has continued to degrade and I wonder how much time I actually have left.

Over the years I worked with several different clinicians to see if they could help me with my sleep and digestives issues. Unfortunately, even these well-trained doctors could not identify the underlying issues. After a while I just gave up on seeking someone to help me. I did the GI Map stool test, which is what many integrative doctors are using to assess gut health. Although there were some bacteria out of balance there was no indication of serious problems and taking the recommended supplements did not resolve either issues I was dealing with. When they could not identify the issues, I began to wonder if it was just some issues with my brain. I had multiple head traumas during my life so I experimented with doing neurofeedback. While it helped many clients I worked with, it had little impact for me. In general neurofeedback works pretty well unless there is some kind of metabolic issue. Clearly whatever metabolic issues I was dealing with were significantly greater than what neurofeedback could provide.

Over the last 20 years I cannot even tell you how many diets I have tried. Everything from vegetarian to eating all meat and everything in between. It just feels like one big experiment. In my pursuit to just feel better I let go of any idealizations or beliefs I had around food since my main focus was health. Thinking it would help my condition, I even did a series of five-day water fasts, one a month for more than six months. And while it may have had some benefits at the end of the day, I did not feel different, just a few pounds lighter.

One of my more interesting experiments was a series of five consecutive fecal matter transplants (FMTs). While this procedure is still somewhat controversial I found the FMT’s to be quite helpful. In the beginning I felt much relief. My sleep had improved significantly. My digestion had improved. Needless to say I felt very encouraged by this, but then after about 3 months my body returned to the state it was in before the transplant. My sleep degraded and digestive issues returned. While I may have benefited from more of these procedures financially it was just not possible. I figured I would need at least 20 FMT’s but I did not have that kind of money. So, I felt like I was back at square one just trying to figure out what was wrong. The underlying issue still was not clear. What was also frustrating for me is that many of the things I would recommend to clients worked very well but would have little impact on me. Unbeknownst to me I could not rest, meaning that unconsciously I was always looking for some solution, some reason, reading anything having to do with digestion or sleep. In this way I was not at peace. Always looking, but not finding.

Then something unexpected occurred. I had a client I had been working with for some time. She had one strange symptom, the cause of which neither of us could determine. As she described it, it was a swishing sound in her heart. For a few years I did not hear from her and then one day she called to tell me what it was… Parasites! What a surprise. This was the last thing I would have thought. She later explained she has found a clinician who had a machine called the BioScan, a Bio-Resonance device, which was able to assess it. It was similar to some of the technologies I use in my practice. In fact, one of the reasons I had purchased a few different machines, besides helping my clients, was to see if I could solve my own mystery. After she told me about her experience she said that maybe I might be interested in knowing more about the technology. At first, I did not act on it but something kept gnawing on me. Eventually I contacted the clinician who she had seen. She sent me some information about the technology along with her website. One section of her website was about parasites. Upon reading it a light bulb went off. Old memories came back and all of the sudden everything made sense. I now understood why I had not been able to get well. It was parasites!!!

When I came back from India (1996) and became ill (before I knew anything about health) I was sent to see a tropical disease specialist who was able to identify parasites. I took the prescribed medication at the time and re-tested and they said it was gone but I still did not feel well. The only thing I can guess is that while the tests showed I was clear, I was not. Only recently did I learn that most stool tests for parasites are ineffective. Why? Because parasites have an enzyme that causes them to die after about 15 minutes once outside their host, which was me! Unfortunately, the only way to identify them is by going to a doctor who uses a microscope to assess the stool, but even that method is not always entirely accurate. And even then, there is no guarantee the parasites will be identified. And what is even worse is that there seems to be little if any advances in conventional medicine to identify parasites. In fact, to me, there is a huge gap in the research of this subject, not only in western medicine but also in natural or integrative medicine as well because testing methods are so poor. Most doctors do not even think about parasites. While over the years I had suspected parasites I was at a loss as to how to identify them so I stopped thinking about it. Although I thought the issues had been resolved, what I now understand is that I have likely been dealing with parasites for the last 20+ years. I also lived in Brazil for 2 years and I think I picked up more unwanted guests there as well because the years after I returned to the States my symptoms got increasingly worse. I felt like I was slowly dying again but could not identify the underlying cause.

Now I know from a symptomatic point of view what I was dealing with, like most people, I wanted to know more. The machine that had assessed my client was called the BioScan. There was no one in Los Angeles with this technology so I sent off a saliva and hair sample for testing. A few weeks later the confirmation arrived. Yes, I was dealing with parasites… and not just one. Ah, clarity at last. In discovering the underlying issue to both my digestion and sleep issues, I finally began to experience more peace of mind. While at times I had suspected parasites, I could not verify it until now. Finally I was able to stop spending so much energy trying to figure out what the problem was. It was clear. Now it was just a matter of addressing it. And while it will take time at least I now know what to focus on.

While some people may think this is a sad story it is not. Living in a body is not easy. There is no doubt this process has been difficult but also very fruitful. It has shaped my life in ways I would have never expected. At one point in my journey when I could not find a solution all I could do was accept where I was at. This was not giving up but just accepting that this was my reality and that I could either accept it, deny it or fight it. Acceptance seemed much easier and reduced my internal stress about the situation. Life became easier approaching it in this way. What could I do? I could intend that life reveal to me the underlying nature of my dis-ease. I realized there were only a few things in life I had any control over and one of them was the state of my mind. How I thought about my situation was crucial. I could choose to be a victim of my own circumstances or accept my life as it was. This forced me begin looking at my limitations. As I came to accept my limitations in relationship to my sleep, energy, etc., life became easier. In fact, I found great freedom in knowing my limitations. I know it seems paradoxical that freedom could be found in limitations but that is my experience.

In time my suffering turned into compassion. To feel as though you have no control over your circumstances is difficult to say the least. Acceptance and compassion has made it easier to relate to my clients, as well as anyone I might meet who would be in anguish or challenged by life itself. I saw that everyone suffers to some degree but how a person works with their suffering is often what defines them. In this way I felt softened by the human condition. Humility has replaced arrogance and judgement diminished as I realized most people were a mystery. For me to judge another’s behavior without knowing the life they lived now just seems foolish. How can we know a person’s experience unless we walk in their footsteps?

The journey continues and I am sure there is much more to learn from this experience. In the mean time I have purchased the BioScan and am integrating it into my practice in hope I will be able reduce the suffering of others and maybe help reveal the nature of their own health mysteries.