Last week I started off PART ONE by bringing everyone up to date on the path my life has taken over the past twenty or so years. Despite all the facts listed, I don’t want anyone to think I’ve spent that time focused on illness alone because I haven’t, and there were many, many happy events over those years. In fact, after 1996 I began to ignore the bad in favor of the good, and faced life praising the God who’d made it.
Nevertheless, since September, 2009, my daily health has become a reality I’ve had to deal with whether I want to or not, and many of the challenges have been substantial. Over the last year there have been too many days when taking a shower became the equivalent of a whole day’s work, and by ten in the morning I was spent. What about the rest of the day though? I can hardly drive anymore, so shopping is another thing now dependent on my husband. And what about making supper? Paul cooks very well, but he works long hours and is often away on business; meanwhile, Joelle is just beginning to learn how, so I can’t depend on her for meals yet either. And with hardly any energy to do it myself, it’s even tougher to teach it while I’m doing it. Finally, over the last three or so months, some things as simple as rolling over in bed or pulling on my socks have become especial torments, and after a shower it often takes five minutes just to get my socks and sneakers on. All that just leads to more questions though: Where does life go from here? Will I need full-time care? Will Paul have to change jobs so he can stay at home to care for me? I know he’s been thinking in that direction, even if I haven’t wanted to consider it. My tendency has always been just to ignore things, and hope they’ll go away.
Reality needs to be faced though, even if you don’t like the facts it’s giving you. For me that never meant crying out for doctors or their drugs, that I’ve learned over time not to trust. Instead it meant looking to God for answers and waiting to see what He supplies (per Philippians 4:19). I am a wife, and a mother to an eleven year old daughter I also home-school, and all of those jobs are being adversely impacted by my health. What does the future hold, for both of them and for me? Is this what God wanted for my life? Was there some great cosmic lesson I need to learn from all this? I knew that the apostle Paul said that he was made strong in weakness (in II Corinthians 12:9), but the truth was I was having some difficulties coming to grips with that ‘weakness’ part.
Even worse than those questions though, was this one: Was this the ‘quick’ progression that the neurologist had warned me about six years ago? Everything in me rebelled at that conclusion, refusing to believe that he might have been right in the first place. I had gone five years successfully keeping the ‘dragon’ (Hal Huggins’ description of MS) at bay, losing some ground to it, yes, but nothing to the extent that this past year has had to offer. This year has rewarded me with a body that is undeniably deteriorating; I’ve begun falling into a pit, and there doesn’t seem to be any way out.
I probably need to tell you two more things about me right now that are rather pivotal to this story. Number 1) I like puzzles of all kinds. And Number 2) I love to read. New questions had already surfaced by this point, questions in line with this enigma: How and why had this retrogression begun last fall when I’d made no changes in what I’d been doing for the previous five years? And why had I degenerated so s-l-o-w-l-y back then, but so quickly now?
An answer to that mystery, which came in book form, was astounding: What if my rapid failure was being caused by something other than MS? In PART ONE I mentioned “It’s All In Your Head”, the book that was loaned to me by the woman I’d so ‘coincidentally’ met and talked to in church. After the service on the Sunday she brought it in for me to borrow, I went home and discovered some ‘wherefores’ for all the ‘whys’ I’d been asking. Mercury toxicity (specifically dental mercury toxicity) mimicked and/or incited autoimmune diseases. Could this be cause and effect? For me, it took only one book of facts to convince me of the cause, but then again, I’d been living with the effects for a long time and saw how well this answer explained my problems. For my husband, a nuts and bolts technology geek, it took a little (all right, a lot!) longer to consider what was being presented. I’m not entirely sure he’s convinced yet, but he’s willing to give dental revision a try if it will give us a chance at a normal life again. The medical field offers no such chance, and I’d made my choice a long time ago to forgo the Chinese Menu approach to the drugs they were willing to supply. As anyone who has it soon comes to learn, medical doctors offer little hope for incurable autoimmune diseases like MS (or Lupus, or ALS, etc.). Instead, they serve up a cocktail of drugs to treat some of these diseases’ various pains and degeneration and try to slow down their progression. While that’s helpful for many, I’m sure, it is not a cure.
But what about those other medical doctors who also have initials listed after their names? Oddly enough, as I read on I learned that dentists might not only hold the key to curing MS, but that they might have been the causative agent by putting mercury amalgams, root canals, and crowns in patients in the first place. As I researched further (in many other books and articles) I realized that I needed to investigate my own time-line to see if anything looked suspicious.
In one short phone call in August, 2010, I asked my dentist’s receptionist to give me the facts about two specific items: The dates of my crowns and the dates of my root canals. And during that call I found what I consider to be my own personal smoking gun-or would that be a smoking drill? In January of 2004 I had had a root canal done. And guess what? In February of 2004 I was making my first (but not my last) visit to a medical doctor because I’d broken out in a body-wide case of hives. I was put on steroids for the awful itching, but continuing problems led me to end up at an allergist’s office. Contrary to the first doctor, he wanted to wean me off the steroids because he didn’t like their side effects (and neither did I). After much testing there that turned up nothing new, I eventually ended up with yet another doctor, because now I was having problems with my walking. Get the picture? Throw in that side-trip to Hawaii (in April, 2004) that I told you about in PART ONE, and I came home just in time (May, 2004) to have my first crown to cover the root canal I’d had done in January.
Writing this now, I can see the pattern clearly. It wasn’t clear back then though, for who would have ever thought that dental work could cause such weird and varied symptoms? I never did, though I can certainly connect the dots now. By June, 2004, less then six months after that January root canal, I’d had an MRI and been diagnosed with MS. Is this cause and effect, or am I just imagining things?
One of the worst things about what was going on then without my realizing it, and what adds even more insult to injury now, so to speak, is that we paid big money for me to have two more root canals and two more crowns done after that time. (And yes, I do have lousy teeth, something I either inherited from my mother (!) or can blame on the scarlet fever I had as a child!) To bring things up to date though, and ignoring for the sake of brevity the other dates and ‘coincidental’ happenings in my life that occurred after each dental invasion, can you guess when the last root canal on a big, two-root back molar was done? You get bonus points if you said September of last year, because that means you’ve been paying attention.
So yes, on September 1st of 2009, I had one last root canal done (#4) that seems to have been the thing that pushed me over the edge, health-wise. I say ‘last’ root canal on purpose, of course, because it will, indeed, be the last one. Now I’m set to go to Texas to a new kind of dentist, one who will spend most of his or her time removing all the dental work I’ve previously had done, and all of my root canaled teeth. This dentistry will be done in accordance with mercury toxicity protocols, which are scientifically complicated, difficult to do, and because of that, more than a little expensive. Do you wonder why I can’t wait to go, though? Or do you still merely see all this as coincidence, and a giant waste of time, money, and pain?
Well, it might appear so to you, but I’m convinced otherwise. Nothing is ever wasted in life, and I don’t think God has taken me down this road for no reason. Because, oh yes, God has taken me down this road, and been with me on it every step of the way. Have I neglected to say that? Trust me, I haven’t neglected to notice it.
All that leads into to PART THREE, I think. If God has led me to this place, how did he do it? Think of all the ‘wherefores’ and ‘whys’ I still need to answer, and all the new puzzles I still have to solve! But most intriguing, and certainly most important, I’m absolutely sure I’m going to have to have a discussion about ‘coincidence.’
Is there really any such thing?