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Published: 20 years ago

Issue 86: How I got Healthy

Free & Noncommercial Online Health and Wellness Newsletter
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Meet Shelly: My Story - How Raw Food & Natural Hygiene Helped Me Reverse My So-Called Incurable Disease/Illness

The Nightmare Begins

My nightmare began at the end of 1996. At 25 I was what society would consider healthy. A low-fat diet, daily exercise, and drinking water instead of pop. I ate what I thought was a well balanced diet and I was fit and very active. I felt good, had a great boyfriend, now husband, and life was good.. How drastically everything would change.

Migraines & Stiff, Hard, Painful Muscles

I started to fall ill. Terribly ill. It began with a migraine that came one day and never left. Accompanying the migraine was a pain at the base of my skull and severe muscle tightness, and pain. My muscles in my neck and shoulders became as hard as rocks and nothing I did would relax them.

Over the next six years I would bounce from various types of doctors and specialists in the allopathic medical community (conventional medicine) with various symptoms, but the ones that were always a constant were the migraines and the debilitating muscle pain and fatique. It was literally never ending.

No doctor could help me and my list of symptoms kept getting longer. Added to the debilitating migraines and muscle tightness, fatigue and pain was.. 50lb weight gain, extreme excitability/nervousness, panic attacks, shortness of breath, great loss of libido, painful intercourse, fibrocystic breasts, irregular heart beat, chronic sinus infections and yeast infections, lowered immune system and more.

My body was quite simply falling apart. I felt like a 20-something trapped in the body of an 80 year old.. But not a healthy 80 year old, a dying 80 year old.

Hair Loss, Loss of Libido

I started losing tons of hair. I remember calling my husband in to the shower and showing him a handful of hair. I just started crying. He attributed it to the fact that I always colored my hair. He didnít understand and didnít really talk to me about my illness. I really resented that but I know understand he was just scared and didnít know how to help me.

But hair wasnít the only thing I lost. I lost all desire for being with my husband sexually. In fact I became repulsed by the thought of having sex. I completely lost my libido as well as my vaginal fluids. Sex became extremely painful. It would cause bleeding and pain and it soon became non-existent.

The Cure Is Worse Than The Disease

I was taking all of the drugs the doctors were prescribing to me but none of them helped me. No matter what drug I would take I would have side affects from it. The cure was for me worse than the disease.


I had become chemically hypersensitive and couldnít tolerate any drugs. I continued to take Excedrin migraine as they Ďseemedí to give me some relief.. But only if I would continually take them. I was taking 6 and 8 during the day. Then at night I would have to take Tylenol P.M to knock myself out otherwise I would not sleep at all.

I became digestively hypersensitive and developed leaky gut. My stomach would bloat out to the size of a 9 month pregnant women from foods though I couldn't narrow it down to anything in particular. It would happen with almost everything.

I became sensitive to noises.. mostly because I had migraines constantly and all noise drove me literally insane. Bright lights and sun were also very bothersome. I couldn't be outside without sunglasses as my eyes would water uncontrollably and make my headaches even worse.


Suicidal Thoughts

I was suicidal from the pain. I was merely existing, not living. I didnít want to live anymore as the pain was too much for me. I wasnít even 30 years old, the thought of even having to live to the age of 50 in the condition I was in was depressing, frightening and horrifying.

Going Crazy

Every muscle, joint, bone, tissue, fiber of my being hurt. Not just mild pain, severe pain on a constant basis. As new symptoms came on some of the others would disappear but the main ones.. The migraines and the debilitating muscle pain and fatique were always a constant. It sounds unrealistic to be in that much pain and for it not to go away. I know. I couldnít believe it myself. I started thinking I had to be crazy because the doctorís tests and x-rays couldnít find anything wrong with me. I started to question my own sanity. I started telling myself, you are not sick, you are not sick, your body feels fine, you are not in pain.. But I was in pain, excruciating pain. If someone can get well from positive affirmation alone I assure you that I would have done it. But it is not as simple as that.

Blurred Vision

Somewhere in all this hell my vision started to get blurry, really blurry. So much so I didn't like driving. I couldn't read traffic signs, I couldn't make the 'outlines' of images out. I went to eye doctors but surprise, surprise, they could find nothing wrong with me. My vision didn't even change. How can this be? Was I really going crazy? I couldn't understand how one person could have so much wrong with her yet no text could find out what it was.

The Fake Smile

All the while I was trying to 'pretend' to family and friends that I was 'alright'. I had to go about daily life.. I had to function. I had to work, I had to pay bills, I had to be a part of society. No x-ray, mri, ctscan or blood test could find anything wrong with me. Every test said 'you are not sick'... but I was in torturous pain. If I had to go around family and friends I would take Excedrin migraines, make my appearance, and then come home and drop in exhaustion from the pain and pretending. Sometimes pretending to feel 'good' was actually harder than living in pain. It was if someone painted a fake smile on my face. I didnít want anyone to see me in pain or crying. I was ashamed and embarrassed by my illness.

My husband watched me cry every day from the pain. My muscles were so hard, so sore, he couldn't even touch me to massage me to try and alleviate some of the pain. Thank God for a wonderful man! He stuck by me every step of the way and helped me with everything. Normal every day chores, like washing the dishes caused me terrible pain. I would have to the dishes sitting on a stool because my legs were to sore to hold me up. I could not bend over to tie my shoes without an intense feeling of strangulation. I would start to black out every time I bent over. My husband would tie my shoes for me many days as just tilting my head downward would cause me to feel as if I were going to pass out.

Loss of Feeling

I also started to loss feeling in my face and my extremities. One day it was so bad my mother thought I was having a stroke and rushed me to the doctor. After about 10 minutes in his office the symptoms started to subside. This loss of feeling would come and go over a period of a couple of years but my doctor could never find a 'reason' as to why it was happening.

I was having loss of feeling in my face and extremities but I was also having loss of feeling to the world and life in general. I was merely existed, not by any stretch of the imagination living.

My Immune System Was Shutting Down

I soon was catching every cold and flu bug. But when others would catch it and be sick a few days. I would ďcatch it ďand literally have it for weeks on end. I was always sick. I was never well. Not even for one day. I was in constant pain on a daily basis.

Sinus & Yeast Infections

On top of everything else I was fighting a constant losing battle between sinus infections and yeast infections. I was living with chronic sinus infections and taking the doctors antibiotics. My body reacted violently against taking the antibiotics, and why shouldnít it? By taking them I was putting toxins in my body. The antibiotics caused me to get severe yeast infections. The kind that are so bad you donít want to have any clothes on and you donít want even move. Some women I am sure will be able to relate to this. It is pure hell. It burns, itches and hurts.

Somewhere in this nightmare the insomnia began I donít remember when but it was hard hitting. For years I didnít get more than 2 or 3 hours of sleep a night, some nights even less. But it was never a full 2 or 3 hours of sleep, that was a total count for the entire night. I would sleep an 20 or 30 minutes, wake up and toss and turn for 15 or 20 minutes and then a fall back asleep for another short period of time, and wake up again and do it all over again. On and on all night long.

I donít remember when the insomnia started but I remembered how it started. I started to have a horrible sensation just as I would start to fall asleep. All of a sudden just as I was dozing off my entire body would jump and I would let out a gasp. I would grab my husband and it would scare him half to death. ďWhatís wrong?Ē He would say, I would only reply I felt like I was going to die. I have no idea what this was but it was so horrific that I actually became afraid of falling asleep. Even though it was just a brief second of time, it was the most horrible feeling in the world. There are no words to explain it.

Panic Attacks

Panic attacks started around this time to. Every morning I would dread my husband leaving for work. I had a paralyzing feeling that he would die and not come home. It became difficult for me to go out in public. I went from someone who loved being the center of attention, to someone who couldnít even deal with looking the check-out girl in the grocery store in the eyes. Even just driving became almost impossible, I felt an overwhelming fear that I would run off the road or a car would swerve in to my lane.

Memory Loss

Memory loss would rear its head down the road too. Iím not just talking about forgetting a phone number or forgetting to pick up something at the grocery store, I am talking serious memory loss. I remember one day being in the car with my husband and I got off the exit ramp and just sat there because I didnít know which way to turn to get home. It wasnít like a forgetfulness, it was more of a not knowing. It scared me and I started crying. My husband shrugged it off that he gets that way tooÖ but I know he doesnít this was something different. We were only 5 miles from home. It was a road we took for years.

My speech became slurred, which was part of the reason I also didnít like to be in public. I knew what I wanted to say in my head but getting it to come out was another story. I stuttered and changed subjects in the middle of a sentence. I didnít want to get in conversations with anyone for fear that I would be talking and forget what we were talking about.

Add To The Mix Heart Problems

While new symptoms kept appearing I continued to go to doctors and take their prescription drugs. Sometimes the drugs would help me but only as long as I was taking them, as soon as I stopped taking them I was sick again.

One trip to a nurse practitioner for either a sinus infection or a yeast infection, I canít remember, ended up with me in the hospital. She gave me a sulfa drug and I broke out in hives all over my body. I had told the nurse practitioner that I thought I was allergic to Sulfa, she asked me why, I told her I thought I got a rash, she prescribed it anyway. Like an idiot I took it. I took it for 10 days and it did nothing, I didnít get a rash, but it also didnít help my sinus infection. I went back she gave me another round and my body fought back violently! That next day I had hives covering every inch of my body. I was running a high fever and my throat started to close. I called my mother in law who rushed me in to the clinic. They gave me a shot of adrenalin to the chest to prevent my throat from closing. This went on for two more days with the nurse practitioner meeting me and my husband there in the middle of the night twice to pump me with adrenaline. I was too sick to fight back and my husband was to trusting in conventional medicine to ask any questions. A day later my mother carried me in during the day and told them to call the hospital. I remained there for three days.

In the hospital a heart specialist came in the room and told me I needed heart surgery. Scared to death, tubes coming out of me, and all alone I sat there speechless watching him draw a picture of a heart with a bunch of wires coming out of it. I said nothing. I just kept nodding.

The doctor never came back in the room. I told my husband he told me not to worry about it. Needless to say I had a few choice words for him as I was worried about it. From that point my heart started causing me serious problems. My panic attacks increased in severity to the point of running my life. My heart hurt so bad I couldnít even walk to the mail box to get the mail. I was constantly winded. Going from one room to the next wore me out. I was in my 20ís why did I feel like a dying 80 year old? What was wrong with me?

I Wanted To Die, But Opted For Surgery

I was desperate, suicidal from pain and something had to give. My husband called me from work one day because he saw an advertisement about a new clinic that was performing sinus operations. We discussed it and thought it might be an option. I called and made an appointment. I met with the doctor and I was so relieved to hear him say that he found polyps and a devated septum. Could it be true? Could I have surgery and get rid of my sinus problems and other pain? He said not everyoneís migraines go away but many peoples do. I was positive this is what I needed. This too was a horrible mistake.

Once again instead of getting better I got worse. Much worse. I had such a violent reaction to the surgery that when I came home I vomited for an hour straight. But that was just the beginning. By the time night hit I was running a high fever and shaking so uncontrollably my husband was sitting on me to keep me from shaking. He was sitting on my legs and holding my shoulders up against the back of the couch. I shook so hard blood ran from my nose. I begged him not to take me to the hospital, I thought if I went I would die there. I really thought I was dying that night and I wanted to die at home. My husband called the doctor at home three times that night and each time he said sheís just having a reaction to the anesthesia. Oh yeah, did I mention that my nose was ripped during surgery, this made me stay under an hour longer. I still have a scar.

A week went by I was suppose to be better. I was worse. A month went by I was suppose to be better. I was not. The ENT (ear, nose and throat doctor) suggested I go and see his friend a neurologist. This would be the second neurologist I would see. He had me keep a sleep journal which was very easy as I simply was not sleeping. I was now literally years with not one decent nights sleep.

He put me on celebrex for my joint and inflammation in my neck and shoulder muscles. He also put me on ambien to help me sleep. My body reacted violently again. Now pills that were suppose to be knocking me out were keeping me wide awake.


I threw my sleep journal, celebrex and ambien in the garbage. I told my husband I was dying. For months I discussed with him that if I died I would want him to get married and he would just not answer me.

My husband knew he would have to start going to doctorís appointments with me because I was very much ready to call it quits. We started looking for another doctor.


I ended back up at a doctor who treated me years early when I first started falling ill. A general practitioner/osteopath. He had years earlier tested my blood, did x-rays, etc. but never found anything wrong. He did do chiropractic on me and had me sit in traction for months but I never got better. I stopped going after I spent thousands of dollars out of my pocket and had nothing to show for my money. I didnít have insurance and I couldnít afford to keep going. I didnít see any point in it either as I wasnít having improvement and I didnít really understand why I needed to be cracked.

So back at this doctor he flips through his charts and says to my husband and I, "Shelly you've been coming in her since Jan. 1997 with these exact same symptoms.. Did you have a car accident a fall, blow to the head, anything around that time." I told him "No". My husband agreed. We couldnít come up with anything.

He had me stand up and pushed on some points on my body. Each point hurt. I explained that for years Iíve been living this way. I told him no matter where you touch my body, no matter how lightly you touch it, I am in pain. Serious pain! My eyes filled with tears. Every inch of my body hurts and I told him so. He told me he thought I had Fibromyalgia and went on to explain that it was incurable. He said he could give me drugs to make it a little more 'livable', but that it could not be cured. He told me to go home and research it on the internet. I left with a prescription for Prozac. He told me that they didnít know exactly why but that Prozac helped alleviate the pain of some Fibromyalgia patients.

I was pissed and felt like bursting in to tears. I felt Prozac was for depression or mental problems and I did not want to take it. It took everything I had not to lose my cool. We took the prescription and we left. My husband convinced me to take the Prozac and against my better judgement I did.

I just didnít believe I had Fibromyalgia. Yes, I did have all the symptoms of Fibromyalgia but I also had many other symptoms that werenít associated with Fibromyalgia like the severe pain at the base of my skull, and the inability to bend over without feeling as if I was going to pass out. It didnít make sense to me.

God Was Guiding Me

Like a good patient not only did I take his drugs, but I took his suggestion and turned to the Internet to do research on Fibromyalgia. God was leading me in the right direction, but it would still be a few years until I realized what he was really trying to tell me. While searching for Fibromyalgia information I found a story of a women who had fallen ill after having taken the birth control injections of depo-provera. All of a sudden a light bulb went off in my head. The doctor asked me what happened around January of 1997 and I couldnít remember, but then it hit me, that was around the time I started on the birth control injections.

I called the doctorís office who gave me the birth control injections and told them to look in their records and see when my first injection was. It was in November of 1996. It all made sense.

Hindsight is 20/20

In the very beginning as I started to fall ill I remember that I questioned the birth control injections. I know some of you reading this will ask, why didnít you just stop taking them? Well hindsight is 20/20 as they say. I was stupid, yes. I was foolish, yes. But I am human and I made a huge mistake. Millions of people are making this same mistake and trusting their health to dangerous prescription drugs on a daily basis.

I Put My Story Online

Shortly after I read that womenís story I put my own story up on the internet at Almost instantly women all over the world started emailing me to tell me their own horror stories about what happened to them as a result of the birth control injections depo provera. At that point I turned my back on conventional medicine. I refused to believe Fibromyalgia was incurable. I couldn't continue with life if it meant dealing with this severe pain on a daily basis.

Lost In The Maze of Alternative Medicine

I did leave conventional medicine, but very unfortunately, I jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire. I decided to try alternative therapies. But there too I was lost. Nothing was working. I was lost in the maze of alternative healing. I spent thousands of dollars but I never got well. I tried homeopathic remedies, whole system health scan, cranio sacral therapy, deep tissue massage, eft, etc., etc., but nothing worked. The pain was still there and on the homeopathic drops I was once again getting worse. I told myself at that point.. 'You have two choices.. 1) get well or 2) die'. Again I was suicidal from the pain and the frustration that nothing I did would alleviate the pain.

On The Right Path But Making A Wrong Turn

Once again God was leading me but I wasnít seeing things clearly.

My next doctor was a homeopathic doctor in my home town. He was treating me with spinal manipulations and homeopathic remedies. He also was the first person who talked to me about raw food and fasting. Before you get an appointment with him you are giving information to take home on what to expect with his treatment. There was mention of what books to read, books on fasting and chiropractic. His information also said that our diet should consist of at least 75% raw food.

I read a couple of the books he requested, which had a huge impact on my health, and started increasing my intake of raw food. However he put me on the diet Eat Right For Your Blood Type. This diet did not work. I couldnít eat most of the food that was supposedly beneficial to my blood type and the foods had no problems with and really enjoyed, like tomatoes were suppose to be bad for me. Yet I continued to follow the diet as a good patient. I did not get well. Once again I was worse instead of better.

While ultimately this doctorís treatments and diet plan failed me as conventional medicine had failed me, I still learned very valuable information from him. Had I not seen him I may have never learned of raw food, fasting, and colonics. Eventually as I was again was sliding down hill, this doctor told me I needed a colonic. God was still working to try and guide me in the right direction. There were a lot of bumps and turns on the path I was taking but he was still leading me.

I Called Paula

I had meet a nutritionist previously who worked with one of the many doctors I was seeing. I knew she did colonics so I gave her a call. She knew I had been on 75% raw for months, but also had been eating chicken, mozzarella cheese, yogurt and others things that I was Ďallowedí on the Eat Right For Your Type diet.

I Went Raw

Paula put me on a 30 day raw food diet, followed by a two week juice fast. After those six weeks I went to a vegan diet which was 'high raw' 80 to 90% raw. Currently I am 100% raw and feeling MARVELOUS!! I don't know if I will go back to cooked vegan foods ever.. too early to say, but I don't think I will. If it's not broke why fix it right?

More Than Dietary Changes

I had to make more changes than just dietary changes however, I also had to make strict lifestyle changes. I had to encorporate daily exercise, fresh air (at least 1/2 hour outdoors daily), sunshine, rest (both physical and mental), I had to let go of all negativity too. I had to let go of any anger or hatred that I held towards others.. I also had to remove myself from being around negative people. You can all probably relate to this. Do you have anyone in your life that puts you in a bad mood just because they are always so negative and in bad moods? If so, you will have to stay away from these negative people. It is an entire dietary and lifestyle change that must be made.

I also had to remove many other chemicals from my life. I had detoxed my body, for the most part, as I am still doing some detox. But I had to detox my home too. I threw out all of my household cleaning supplies, as well as personal and beauty care products and replaced them with safer alternatives.

Learning and UNLearning

On my road to recovery I had a lot of learning and unlearning to do. I continued to read I had a lot of 'un'learning to do. Everything I had been taught about nutrition and health was wrong. The doctorís drugs are not safe. Conventional medicine does not cure, it suppresses.

Only our bodies can cure, and they can only do that if we set for them the proper conditions to do so.

When Life Gives You LemonsÖ Make Lemonade

While depo provera was by far the worst thing that has ever happened to me in life, it was also the best thing to have ever happened to me too! Had I not fallen so desperately ill I do not know if I would have ever made a change to this new lifestyle of natural hygiene (plant-based vegan diet,raw food, exercise, physical and mental rest, sunshine, pure water, fresh air). I believe everything that happens to us in life happens to us for a specific reason. I wholeheartedly believe that God intended for me to learn the lessons of natural hygiene and that is why I had to take the journey I did. Whether it was just to help myself, or whether it was for the purpose of being able to share my information with others.. I'll never know. One thing is for certain, I'm thankful for it.

For more pictures from Shelly's personal photo album, click here.

Join Shelly on her raw food message boards, or catch her in her raw food chat room click here.

More RAW & JUICY before and after photos, click here.

For more information on Shelly's book Dying To Get Well, the detailed, step-by-step accounts she took to CURE her so-called, 'incurable' disease, go to her web site


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