It started with a severe allergic reaction at a restaurant, that quickly went into anaphylactic shock. I was rushed to the nearest hospital; and in the emergency room, I was injected with adrenaline. After the adrenaline took effect and I could breathe normally again, the doctor hooked me up to an IV with aminophylline. He said it was a new asthma drug. I’d had a lifelong struggle with asthma, and he said it would help me.
The next thing I remember was being slapped and yelled at. The group of doctors surrounding me was administering more adrenaline. My heart had stopped; my body had rejected the aminophylline.
After I was stable, I was transported to the pulmonary ward for further treatment. At the time of my admittance, I could walk; but after less than two weeks in the ward, I could barely push my own wheelchair. By the end of the third week, my pain was so great and my breathing so shallow, that I couldn’t even wheel myself down the hall. I asked the doctors why I was getting worse, but they told me not to worry, that I would improve in time.
But I was worried. I was confused, and intuitively I knew that something was very wrong. I wondered if it might be my medication, so I asked the medical staff about the drugs they were giving me. I was told not to worry, and they gave me no further information. I was becoming terrified from watching and feeling my body fall apart. So I decided I had to investigate on my own.
I asked a fellow patient to wheel me to the nurses’ station; and when no one was looking, I examined my chart. The doctors were prescribing an oral dose of aminophylline, the same medication they gave me in the emergency room, that had caused my heart to stop.
Did my medical team know? Did they not read my chart? Was I reading my chart wrong? I had been raised to trust medical professionals completely. For twenty-five years, I had entrusted my life to a group of people who were doing the best they could with the information they had, but here I was—dying.
But what could I do? How could I escape the outcome they were leading me toward? I was in a wheelchair, my breathing wasn’t strong enough to allow me to walk, and they told me I would not breathe at all without the drugs.
How could this be happening? How could there be such an apparent contradiction? My medical team, after a lot of head shaking, admitted that they were aware that the drug was the same, but they considered it the best medication for me. They said the small, oral doses would not affect my body as had the larger, intravenous dose.
I felt myself on the path to a slow death versus a fast one! I could feel a growing sense of panic and loss of hope. I realized I needed to take control in order to save my own life.
I made a decision that I was going to get out of the hospital alive. Acting on my intuition and against my conditioning, I stopped taking all the medications. I began to palm the meds and pretend to take my doses. As soon as the nurse left, I would throw out the meds. I visualized the pain leaving my body. I took long showers and visualized my lungs clean. I drank large quantities of water to flush the drugs from my system. I ate only the fruits and vegetables that my friends brought to me. I never told anyone at the hospital what I was doing.
With each passing day, my medical team remarked on the wonderful progress I was making. I said nothing but continued my regimen.
Within one week I could walk well enough to sign myself out of the hospital. My doctors were upset. They tried to convince me to stay. They couldn’t understand why I wanted to leave when I was finally improving. I told them I had stopped taking the drugs and that was why I was improving. They really didn’t understand. They wanted me to go back on the drugs and on the program in the hospital.
I was convinced that I was onto something, something that would help me. I knew the path I needed to take to save my life. I was still in pain, but I managed to get out of the hospital against the advice of my doctors and against the wishes of my family.
Even after this experience, I went to see a pulmonary specialist at the University of Pennsylvania. It was hard to break the patterns of a lifetime. He gave me a prescription for prednisone, a corticosteroid drug. Each time I took it, I initially experienced a day or two of relief. But by the third day, my pain would come back and breathing would again become difficult. My doctor’s solution was to increase the dosage. I continued this treatment plan for three weeks. But I was in pain, still wheezing, and beginning to bloat. I looked up prednisone in the Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR). I discovered that it was classified as a “dependent” drug—the more I took, the more my body needed for survival. Eventually, this drug too would kill me.
The next day I called my specialist to ask him about my findings. I could feel him shaking his head over the phone. Yes, he finally admitted, it was true; however, if I stopped the pills, I would die. I had faced this dilemma before. There had to be another way.
I recalled a course I’d recently completed in critical thinking. In this course, we had to examine media—films, books, news articles, etc.—to find errors in logic. I did well in this class, and now it seemed time to apply this learning to my life. I knew this meant that by taking charge of my life, I also would be taking charge of decisions concerning my death.
I went to the local health-food stores (this was back in 1975, before Google) and looked at alternatives. Nothing made sense. Most of the books talked about plans that contradicted each other. I didn’t have time to experiment. Instead, I read about the body’s immune system and how it was designed to rid itself of toxins. I decided to take the chance on trusting my own body.
All of my childhood, I was sick. I spent most of my younger years in bed or visiting the doctor. I suffered from severe, constant colds, headaches, and several bouts of pneumonia. I was allergic to dust, animals, pollen—almost everything. I couldn’t live the lifestyle my friends took for granted. I couldn’t run and play with the “normal” kids because my chest would constrict with pain and I would wheeze and gasp for breath. I was a chronic asthmatic.
Doctors injected me with whatever the pharmaceutical companies were pushing that year. On days when I was well enough to go to school, I carried an inhaler and a well-stocked pillbox. I was a walking medicine cabinet. I endured chronic eczema, an irritating and embarrassing condition for which I was given medicated soaps, special lotions, artificial light applications, and numerous other treatments that never helped. That was how I grew up. That was the life I knew—my normal life.
Contrary to all professional advice, I put my life in my own hands because I believed I could be healthy.
I did most of my research in the area of physiology, the study of how the body functions. When I studied the immune system, I was hopeful. I learned that toxicity is the key component for disease. I learned how the body is constantly trying to rid itself of waste, which is poisonous to the body. I decided that the only logical way to heal my body once and for all was to allow it to purge the toxins quickly before they finally killed me.
I threw out the pills!
After 25 years of pain and suffering and coming close to death so many times, it only took my body two weeks on a water fast to clean up the asthma. I can still remember the first deep breath I took without pain.
I learned so much from that experience.
I learned how to build a healthy immune system. I discovered that a strong immune system is extremely capable of keeping us healthy.
I learned about the power of the mind, the importance of a positive attitude, and the power of beliefs. I changed my negative, erroneous, and harmful beliefs into positive, accurate, and powerful ones.
I learned the power of decision. I decided that I was going to get out of the hospital alive and I was going to continue on my new path to get healthy.
I learned the power of action. I had to make a plan and follow it in order to change my life.
In order to get control of my life, I developed a plan for myself based around the research I did in physiology. I didn’t have a choice. Well, actually I did; but that choice, to die from the medications, wasn’t too appealing. The plan became my only alternative, and it worked.
Through my research and personal experience, I learned about toxicity and how that was the basic cause of my disease and much disease in general. I learned that by cleansing my body of toxins and keeping my internal fluids pure, I could get and stay healthy.
After some time I decided to share my plan because I knew there were others who were facing problems with their health and for whom the medical community had no answers, except drugs and surgery.
I wrote a small book based on physiology and health, called Body Ecology. When I was in graduate school, I expanded Body Ecology into Perfect Body: The Raw Truth and then revised it and changed the name slightly to Perfect Body: Beyond the Illusion. In 2016 I realeased Perfect Body for Life. It's my favorite book to date. In" Perfect Body for Life" we explore mind, diet, exercise, sex and pleasure and their powerful influence on our happiness and overall health.