Barb has lived with Multiple Sclerosis since she was a teenager when very little information on the devastating disease was available.
Process Of Patience In Illness
Unless you’re desperate, have a serious illness or both, you’re not likely to go running to your nearest Naturopathic Dr. and ask for an appointment to begin Apitherapy or BVT treatments. But if you are sick, hardly anything is off the table to try until you’ve searched every corner to find an effective solution that works for you without a host of negative side effects or reactions. That’s how we are and none of us can actually say ahead of time what we would be willing to do or not do.
In my case I was in a desperate situation. I already knew I had multiple sclerosis. Had been living with it since I was a teenager but didn’t have a name for it until I was in my thirties. With good doctors keeping watch on any new symptoms things were going along just fine when my husband unexpectedly died leaving me with our six year old son. I was still shaken but I kept working. I needed to. I was blessed with wonderful, understanding bosses who allowed me to nap whenever I needed to.
It was a typically quiet day at the office and I had just refilled my coffee cup as usual. But I wasn't feeling that great. Of course with winter in Alaska, you could never tell. There was always some bug or flu virus of sorts going around. It was Fur Rondy February in Alaska and 30 degrees below zero outside. The day before it was 30 degrees above zero. Quite a drastic dip overnight. Could well be a recipe for any illness.
As the day went on I was feeling worse by the moment, quite certain that I must have caught something. No matter, I'll just nip whatever it is in the bud with one of those nighttime cold medicines when I get home, I told myself.
When at home I took the medicine as directed and put myself and my seven-year old to bed early.
At about 3AM, I awoke to go to the bathroom. I was dizzy as a fast merry go round bouncing from one hallway wall to the other as I attempted to maneuver my way to the bathroom and back again to my bedroom.
Stubbornness Isn’t The Answer To Everything
In the morning it was slow moving getting my son ready for school and then getting myself ready for work too but I was determined.
I wasn’t about to give in to a cold, the flu or the like. But I wasn’t to have my way no matter how stubborn I was. In the next few days it was a hard lesson in stubbornness and I wasn’t the only one involved. My coworkers became more than a little concerned regardless of my show of courage. Watching me bounce from wall to wall down the long hallway at the office was probably a sight to behold. It was the best that I could muster up. The dizziness had stepped up in increasing degree to the point that it was just plain irresponsibility on their part to let me continue. So upon readying to leave to go home one day, a coworker and friend put out her hand for the car keys. Whatever was going on, I was done with that round.
What To Do When Your Doctor Doesn’t Believe You
Time To Ask For Help
The next morning a friend came to take me to see the doctor. It was awkward not being able to do much in the way to help myself. I could only allow myself to be helped.
Still stumbling over myself the nurse just put me into a wheelchair. What follows is locked in memory as both discouraging and insulting. After the typical long wait, the doctor came in and asked a few questions. One of things I told him was that I was continually dizzy all the time. He told me when my doctor would be back and wrote me a prescription for what they routinely give patients for dizziness and vertigo. Many months later when I had opportunity to read my medical file, the doctor had wriiten, "patient claims to be continually dizzy all the time." It hurt that he didn't believe me. Why in the world would I make up something like that. I had my share of hard knocks in life but I had been enjoying the life given to me. Despite losing my husband several months before, I had a son I loved, a great job with an awesome team to work with and good friends I was most grateful for.
I went home discouraged and got into bed. It was the safest place for me. And the bathroom? It was crawl baby crawl. No more bouncing business. If someone happened to be there checking on me, I’d get some help.
A girlfriend started doing all my shopping and cleaning. We joked that my bank wouldn’t know who I was anymore after I got well. One of her older daughters began spending the night so she could walk my son to school in the mornings and back home in the afternoons. She also did the cooking; mostly just reheating what her mother cooked for both our families.
This process went on for a few months. The dizziness continued with the bed spinning (in my head about every 30 minutes) and I lived on crackers and ginger ale just to keep the nasty tasting bile in check. But I mostly stayed in bed. I was just too weak to do much else. Even the music that had been such a vital part of my life, I was unable to tolerate. A friend had recently given me a piano as a gift, but the sound of it was painful and nauseating. Pitifully, I begged the kids not to play it. Soon they came and took it away.
The Friendly Suggestion
Sometime during the fuzziness and frustration of it all, a friend called. He suggested I try Apitherapy or Bee Venom Therapy for layperson clarity. He proceeded to tell me about the "Bee Lady" in Maryland and how it changed her life. I have to tell you that I was most indignant with him. I just about cried on the phone at the thought of what I thought was a ludicrous suggestion. But my very dear friend and avid beekeeper on the side was undaunted by my manner and took it in stride as he continued to tell me how it all worked and the miraculous medical changes he had seen. He was sure it could pull me out of the current Multiple Sclerosis relapse I was in. We chatted some more and I promised to think about it.
A mutual friend also called that same day and after learning of our friend’s idea, commented that I really didn’t have anything to lose and I should at least think about trying it. I did ponder it for a bit and then forgot about it. It was a lot to take in right then, being dizzy, nauseous and weak from malnutrition most of the time.
Multiple Sclerosis and Vertigo
Neon Sign Help
I had given up going to the doctor's office. I went back and forth from my primary doctor to the neurologist several time. Whatever they typically used for cases like mine wasn't working on me. It agravated my symptoms even more. I could have told them myself that typical medicine didn't work for me but they were of a different school of thought and what did I know anyway right?. It was frustrating. So I didn't go back.
A nurse called one day. I'll never forget it. It made me laugh and made me thankful to her for a lifetime. According to her, even after I had ceased going in to have the doctors check me out, my situation still had them in a medical quandary.They were scratching their heads because they didn't know what to do with me. Medical and pharmacology school hadn't prepared them for patients like me whose systems didn't respond well to standard pharmaceuticals. The nurse's kind suggestion to me was for me to make myself an appointment to be seen at a holistic or naturopathy clinic. She already had one in mind.
New Adventures In Healing
I rolled the information the nurse gave me around in my head for a few weeks, finding out whatever I could on the clinic with the help of a friend. One term my friend mentioned was acupuncture. I’d heard of it but had never tried it myself. She said it was one of the clinic’s specialties. This put me in a bit of a panic for a few days but I finally determined I would go ahead and make an appointment. The days prior to the appointment I spent trying to psyche myself up. Praying turned out to be better. It gave me peace about whatever lay ahead of me.
My boss from the office took me to my first appointment. He was more nervous than I was, asking me every few minutes if I was okay and did I want him to stay or come back to pick me up.
As soon as I entered the clinic it was like walking into peace itself. I felt immediately at home and comfortable. That’s saying a lot considering I wasn’t able to get out beyond going to the doctor’s office.
Everything about this clinic was welcoming. When you’re sick that’s important; maybe not on a conscious level but certainly deep down within your emotions where it matters.
By the time I met the Naturopath, I was primed to receive other good things. He was humble, listened intently and was very kind. I left there that day with my first homeopathic tablets for the relentless dizziness. The peace I initially felt continued throughout my day and helped me with a good nights sleep.
Using Acupuncture As An Alternative Therapy
First Acupuncture Experience
The doctor had prepared me before hand at my first visit that he would be administering acupuncture on my next visit if it was okay with me. I was prayed up and ready. My life had always been a continuous adventure of ‘Firsts’. Why should this be any different.
It wasn’t what I’d expected. I was so accustomed to pain I just assumed there would be some. But there was no pain; only a dull feeling of being poked. It feel good to lie there. It felt good to lie there and just be.
Again, just as previously, I left with a residual feeling of peace.
My First Bee Venom Therapy Treatment
Not exactly sure what I expected this day. But as usual, I felt at peace as the doctor explained again what would be occurring and how. He had taken the precaution of having a bee-sting kit on hand in the event that it turned out that I was allergic to honey bees. In which case we would cease all BVT treatment right away.
I watched as he brought the bees into the room. They were in a glass mason jar. He was calm, so was I. The plan was to do one sting as a test to determine whether I was allergic or not. He used an ice cube to deaden the test area before positioning the bee to sting, a step I would later abandon as unnecessary in favor of the time it would save me in the scope of a day.
After more than half hour, he was satisfied that I wasn’t allergic to the honey bees. To be certain, he made up the remaining time with an acupuncture session, during which time there still was no reaction to the honey bee sting.
The Bee Therapy
My 22 Year Relationship With Honey Bees
You Read that right. I refer you back to my earlier statements about not knowing what risks a person is willing to take to be well. I will say it again, you never really know to what extent you’d be willing to go to be healthy. Remember I also had a young son to raise. If it wasn’t for God’s help and friends I wouldn’t have gotten through those 22 years. They flew by literally.
The doctor started me out slowly with only 4 to 5 stings in the beginning, then gradually increasing them a few each office visit until by the time I moved to a different part of the state I was up 10 to 15 each visit.
Moving Closer To My Beekeeper Friend
I relocated not far from my beekeeper friend. So with a steady supply of honey bees I continued with the treatments, administering them myself, developing my own comfortable routine, making changes along the way. I increased the number of stings until I was up to 20 to 30 three times a week. To some that may seem excessive. Each Naturopath or practitioner has their own opinions about how much is too much. For me it was the right amount.
As I mentioned before, I ditched the ‘icing the area’ step because it took entirely too much time. I probably endured a lot more itching than I would have had I used the ice. But it worked fine for me for 22 years.
Believe It Or Not
There you have it. Believe it or not. I for one am very grateful. I was able to raise my son, mind you with lots of help from God and friends from time to time. He is grown with his own family now. Things could have gone a very different way. No regrets here. I’d do it again.
Barb Johnson (author) from Alaska's Kenai Peninsula on July 13, 2008:
It was necessary.
Jeni D. on July 10, 2008:
This made me tear up :( you are a brave woman momma!