Early October 2017 was sunny and beautiful, a perfect time to finish fall clean-up chores as we headed towards winter. Jesse was weed whacking and the kids teamed up raking leaves and cleaning up debris.
I was in the kitchen putting the finishing touches on my pie crust recipe when Aidan came bursting through the door. My heart stopped, the blood drained from my face as he shouted “Dad is on the ground and can’t get up!” My mind raced. Was he alive, did he have a heart attack, maybe a stroke?
Flying out of the house I shouted over and over, hoping he could answer back. I heard a faint, “I am over here.” Thank God, he could talk! As I rounded the corner I could see him on all fours struggling to stand up.
Right away, I crawled under him and heaved with all of my might as he steadied himself with the shovel in his hand. It was so scary. I didn’t know what we were dealing with. Was it a slipped disk or did something rupture? Should I call 911? What if moving him paralyzed him?
Seeing as he is a stubborn, strong man he was determined to walk. He bellered and groaned back to the house with a slow, scraggly limp, putting all of his weight on the shovel like a crutch.
The walk back to the house was painful and long and he collapsed again once he made it inside. I felt so lost and scared. Jesse is my rock, the cornerstone of our family. I felt every range of emotion as he laid on the floor groaning in pain.
There is no instruction manual for these parts of life. I wasn’t sure if the ER could really get to the heart of the problem. I knew that whatever this pain was, it was rooted in his poor food choices and the strain of his job. How could we find help and not a band-aid?
We went to a chiropractor where he found little relief. There were no x-rays taken and the questions swirled in my mind all the more. Jesse was in so much pain and we didn’t have any diagnosis.
The tenacity that led me out of dark times in my own health journey rose up and I knew we needed an advocate, someone, that would dig deep and give us a total-health picture.
I prayed as I scrolled through holistic doctors and chiropractors in our area scared that if I didn’t find the right one Jesse could die. Over the last year, I watched his health decline; it felt like I could lose him any day. I prayed as I kissed him goodbye for work each day that it wouldn’t be the last time. I knew deep in my heart something was wrong.
That is when I found Dr. Justin Hammon at Next Level Health Center. His website talked about treating the body as a whole. He addressed the importance of our food and lifestyle choices. I read several reviews and knew we found the right man for the job.
My husband needed to hear from someone other than me that finding health would require a big change. As soon as Jesse saw his x-rays and the results of the blood work, he was ready to make that change.
Jesse’s body was in a disease state and his digestion/detox pathway (stomach, liver, kidney, pancreas, spleen) was shutting down. His nervous system had begun to shut down as well, which caused his hip to collapse and open like a flower.
His blood work showed that he had startling-high levels of iron in his blood and organs. Turns out he has a genetic disorder that causes him to store and not regulate iron.
Dr. Hammon used chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, muscle work and nutritional counseling to get Jesse back on his feet again. On day 1 he was standing and walking with help, by day 7 he was walking normally with decreased pain as long has he wore a Serola belt around his hips. 3 months later, Jesse was strong enough to return to work but we were far from out of the woods.
Structurally Jesse was doing great but he seemed to be getting sicker and weaker the longer he was home. He was pale, kept passing out and had lost over 40 pounds, a lot of which was muscle. One day in February he asked if anyone had tested him for cancer (which was a question in my mind too). Why was he making so many good choices but seemingly getting worse?
It was all of the iron! Having severely high iron can cause heart disease, cirrhosis of the liver and pancreas, and mimics severe anemia. Thankfully his body was handling the stored iron without tissue damage but it was causing him to be weak, pale, and faint. The one comfort as we progressed through these scary months is that his blood doctor is also one of the leading cancer docs in our area and they have been monitoring him like crazy.
All of these issues had been festering under the surface for the last few years and when we removed the crutches that were masking the symptoms his system crumbled.
He has had over a dozen blood draws to remove the toxic blood from his body and now he is feeling significantly better. He still has some of the symptoms of anemia and has to build his strength back up but he is on the road to recovery. The months have been long and the doctor visits seem to multiply but now there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
On a positive note, he has made huge changes that are reversing the years of damage. Structurally he is strong and getting even stronger all of the time. I will never cease to be amazed by the power that food has to either heal or destroy our bodies. Eating gluten free is not a cure-all but it absolutely does help reduce inflammation so our bodies can heal.
Why are you gluten free? Has it helped you heal?