When I became ill in January 1997 with what I thought was a head cold turning into pneumonia, I knew I needed to see a doctor. Since it was the weekend, my only choice at that time was a trip to the hospital. It was getting harder to breathe. Doctors in the ER confirmed my suspicion of pneumonia. Because of the severity of my condition, I was admitted. I learned later that I was put into a private room because they did not yet know whether or not the pneumonia was the kind that is connected to AIDS! However, a few days later that was ruled out.
I was given massive amounts of antibiotics intravenously, breathing treatments, and put on oxygen. An inhalation therapist was sent to my room to pound on my back, thinking this would help break up the obvious severe congestion. Blood work taken three times a day (each shift) was still not normal several days after my admission. A lung therapist was called in to review my case. He walked into the room with a needle at least twelve inches long (no exaggeration). While bent over the rolling table, he used the needle to withdraw enough yellowish fluid to fill a gallon-sized plastic bag! To him, the yellowish color meant infection. Many years later, when thinking of this incident with the lung specialist, I wondered how there could be any infection in my body after so many antibiotics were injected directly into my blood stream. There should not have been one germ left alive!
A nurse friend of mine was visiting me when my Internist came to check up on me. She asked my doctor if a rheumatologist had been consulted. No. Once consulted, and a new battery of blood tests conducted, the rheumatologist came into my hospital room to sit and talk with me. After answering several questions, he informed me that what I was fighting was “connective tissue disease”—a form of lupus. There is treatment, but no cure.
My body did not respond well to treatment. The side effects caused full-blown cataracts and blindness in one eye. Daily severe diarrhea caused me not to be able to digest green vegetables and not be able to leave home before two PM on any day. Even my pharmacist said: That’s no way to live. No substitute prescriptions were possible. My doctor said if I didn’t continue to take the medications, I’d be “too sick to either work or go to school, in and out of the hospital for the next 18 months, and dead within two years.”
Not wanting to live like that, I decided I’d rather die. I made arrangements for my three children to be raised by relatives and planned my funeral.
My greatest pride and joy were (and still are) my children, each with their own unique needs. While looking at a photo of my girls, I came to the realization that no one besides me would be the mother they needed. Therefore, I decided not to die on time!
A mother’s motivation must be one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful motivation on earth! Without a medical degree, I was determined to find answers to what went wrong in my body, who I had become, and what to do to make the necessary corrections. I was determined to learn how to heal myself! The Public Library (in Statesville, NC) became my second home. I read and listened to books on tape and CDs on subjects of health and self-empowerment. I subscribed to Harlequin paperbacks to learn about other people’s relationships (Although fiction, I figured that many of these stories were really fictionalized truths!) Through their stories, I learned a lot about how other people solved personal problems.
It was Dr. Deepak Chopra’s book on tape, Perfect Health, that changed my life and the course of my health! Hearing what others could and had done with their minds to affect positive changes in their bodies was a powerful concept to accept. He talked about everyday people, just like me. So I reasoned, if they could use their minds to help heal their bodies, then it was possible for me to do the same thing. That was over 18 years ago! Since then I have worked very demanding jobs helping other people learn how to empower themselves. However, health battles continued: almost losing my foot after a freak accident, and becoming a cancer survivor – two times! Not giving up, I’ve earned an additional Associates Degree, a Bachelor’s Degree, and a Master’s Degree.