A Personal Account of Disease Progression and Journey Back to Health:
Dr. Linda Nelson’s Personal Experience With Fibromyalgia
I will take you back to the early 1940’s when penicillin was introduced into the medical community. It was a lifesaver! Penicillin saved many lives and eradicated many conditions that had previously had no answer. The health of the world had been compromised by the fact that in early years, bacteria had been the greatest single cause of all human disease. The use of antibiotics substantially increased life span by treating infections that were before considered “incurable”. Penicillin was dubbed the “wonder drug” of this time. In addition to pneumonia and blood poisoning, the major causes of death in hospitals during World War II were strep throat, scarlet fever, diphtheria, syphilis, gonorrhea, meningitis, tonsillitis, rheumatic fever, and asthma. These and many other diseases were successfully treated with penicillin.
My mother was a registered nurse in 1940, and at that time, she could stock our refrigerator with whatever drugs we needed. I remember opening our refrigerator as a child and seeing the top shelf lined with vials of penicillin and syringes. My brother had debilitating asthma as a child and had already missed an entire year of school before the third grade. Penicillin became the drug of choice in our home. It did solve the asthma, and because there was no knowledge of long term effects, it became the solution for all of our health problems. As children, we were very careful not to act like we were not feeling well or complain about health issues because we knew that any complaint led directly to a penicillin shot. I now tell my mother that I was the “poster child” for antibiotics for 20 years.
Today we know that antibiotics are the most widely misused group of prescription drugs available. It is estimated that between 25% and 50% of the antibiotics prescribed are unnecessary or inappropriate. Indiscriminate use of antibiotics has created serious problems that now affect us all. This is due to the fact that in the 1940’s and 1950’s there was a total lack of understanding of the long-term ramifications of the overuse of antibiotics.
My antibiotic use continued into high school. By that time I began having my health problems. I was unable to sleep, had minor depression, the muscles in my legs clicked and ached, and I could not gain weight (being 5’7” and weighing 102 pounds). I went through high school known as “Skinny Minnie” and “olive Oil”. I began having allergic reactions to some foods and plants. For every symptom, I would have conventional medical intervention. I began on antihistamines for allergies, sleeping pills for sleep, excess calories of fats and sugars to gain weight, and eventually had muscles in my hip removed to decrease the pain.
I was not educated enough to see what was happening as I took each new drug. I now can see in retrospect that each drug solved a symptom, however it usually caused another or several other symptoms. As I went away to college, my stress level increased and I began having pneumonia and bronchitis four to five times a year. These were addressed with more antibiotics and by now steroids and inhalers. My depression level was going up, my inability to sleep more severe, and my aching pains and allergies became a constant health problem for me.
I graduated from college and began working and started a family, with the general feeling that I had to be a superwoman who could do it all. By 1976, I was pregnant with my third child and had multiplied all of my health problems and had new symptoms. My allergies were life threatening and I carried steroids and antihistamines with me at all times. I was allergic to sounds, smells, and lights, as well as food and plants. Depression was controlled by drug, sleep was controlled by drug, and pain was controlled by drug. Stress and anxiety relief and muscle relaxation were all being controlled by chemical means. Doctors said that I was a hypochondriac and that I needed mental health intervention. I was told that all my symptoms were in my head because medically they could not find a answer for me. I developed TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction) and had tremendous pain in my face and jaw. This symptom was solved by breaking my jaw and wiring it shut for six weeks with the hope that when it healed, the jaw would open and the pain would be gone.
My son was born in June of 1976. In the delivery process, I was given an epidural in the base of my spine. I was in the recovery room 48 hours longer than was typically necessary because I could not come out of the medication. The doctor joked about my being a cheap drug addict because it didn’t take much for drugs to work for me. In retrospect, the epidural was the final drug kicker for me. I went home from the hospital and never felt well again, (until later when I finally found the information that I needed to get well) but at that time I had no idea where to look for answers.
In hindsight, I believe that life had to fall into place for me and give me a window, opening an opportunity to get well. I had owned a chain of children’s stores for thirteen years. In 1979, interest rates rose to 18%, and my enthusiasm for borrowing money every season for inventory lost all allure for me. If was around then that I was introduced to someone who had been detoxifying for health problems with the help of a Holistic Doctor from California. Because I had come from a conventional medical home, I was extremely skeptical of anything that I felt was “fringy.” I laughed at the though, because I felt that I was an educated person and that holistic therapies were too “far out” where I was concerned.
As I continued to hear about detoxification and the principles used in rejuvenating the body, I decided that I would give the new concepts a 30-day trial. I knew that I could do anything for 30 days. At that time, I felt very hopeless and helpless in everything that I had previously tried to improve my health. I had been on 30 different drugs within the previous year and was continuing to get worse.
The day my life began again was the day I decided to try to educate myself in how the body works and how my lifestyle determined my health. I had been controlling all health symptoms with drugs. I was hooked on sugar, red meat and caffeine. I drank very little water, did no conscious exercise and was operating in stress mode full time. My life simply was not good! I was 37 years old and felt that I was falling apart.
I focused my energies on becoming educated in how the body works, what our organs are meant to do, and how to live a cleansing lifestyle and allow the body to rejuvenate and get healthy. I began a detoxification program and within two weeks felt my life returning! The following weeks and months brought ups and downs, but because I always felt progress and could see that my body was healing, I stuck with it.
As I began my long process back from fibromyalgia, I experienced intensified pain in areas in which I had solved symptoms with pain relievers and steroids. I then went through more severe allergic responses, my TMJ returned and passed, and then I developed shingles. By then I was getting back to the beginning of my progression. I later went through pneumonia and bronchitis symptoms and finally was through the entire progression. This total process took me about five years. I had been rid of the symptoms of FMS for a long time, but every time I detoxified, I had a healing crisis and felt significantly better with each cleanse To this day, 35 years later, my overall health continues to improve. The longer you live a cleansing lifestyle, the healthier you get.
This may seem like a long time for a body to restore to health, but the breakdown process may have taken 15-40 years. It took years to accumulate a toxic body, have the toxins invade every cell and tissue, develop the symptoms and in some cases develop organ failure. It takes a minimum of six months to regenerate new healthy cells. However, symptoms may begin to subside within two days to four weeks. Health improvement progresses through manifesting fewer symptoms when making lifestyle changes, to becoming symptom free within six months.
As my health was restored, I had a desire to change my life and my profession and share what I had learned with friends that were sick as well. I sold my stores and began to study. I returned to school and over the next several years received a Bachelors, Masters and Ph.D. in Preventive Health Therapies. I then began my studies to become a Doctor of Naturopathy. During these years, my interest and studies were geared specifically on Women’s Health Issues. In working with clients, I have seen the M’lis Lifestyle Change Programs work for many people, experiencing may different types of degenerative disease. I know that preventive health works!
After 35 years, I am still free of the symptoms of a disease that at one time controlled my life. Hang in there. The long-term results are absolutely worth the effort.