Wendy Lerman Blog

An addendum to the website http://www.wendylerman.com

Monday, February 10, 2014

Depth of Knowing

The doctor took one look at the baby and said “She doesn’t look sick” but I knew she had an ear infection. In fact, upon examination he couldn’t believe how badly both ears were infected yet she seemed fine, if you didn’t know her.

Just as I knew that–after visiting my PCP for months claiming– something wasn’t right, to the point where, on my last visit with him I stated–as noted in my chart-“Patient feels as though there is a tumor growing in her body, reassured her.”  Well no, he didn’t, in fact he tried redirecting me to psych. I went back again– after I found the tumor. Maybe if I had taken his word for it, as did my mom by accepting her doctor’s reassurance, I would have suffered the same fate.

It seemed like my children were always sick, understandably considering they went to different schools and an after-school program, therefore were exposed to everything. While undergoing chemo I had to take extra precautions so I decided I wanted to find a really good children’s multivitamin. At one of their annual physicals, maybe six years later, I inquired when our last “sick” visit was. The doctor stared at the chart for a while, then told me the date and said that whatever we were doing, keep doing it.

I knew something else was wrong. More cancer and many months of doctors trying to reassure me until one finally had the sense to biopsy. This was the big one. The kind that often goes undiagnosed for years, not months, so I was very lucky and my persistence paid off.

One of my surgeries didn’t take well and I had a big gaping hole in my body. The skin around it kept turning black and I had to visit the surgeon often to remove all the dead skin. It was scary and utterly disgusting so I’ll spare you from the gory stuff. After weeks of this he informed me that we would have to schedule a surgery to try and repair. He gave me one more week to come back, so he could assess and decided his surgical approach. I left and decided to take matters in my own hands and when I came back a week later, he couldn’t believe his eyes as he ran to get a camera. While not completely unheard of, yet extremely rare, I was growing new skin from the black dead skin. He asked what I was doing and when I told him, he just said, “Well whatever that is, keep it up”.

For seven years I knew something was wrong with my thyroid yet my blood tests were always in the normal range.  I even said that maybe my normal is different from what they consider normal. Finally a doctor heard me and ordered a test I never heard of. Normal is 0-20 and I came in at 2,795. I was dx with Hashimotos, an autoimmune disease of the thyroid. I asked what this means and was told that while I measure in the normal range for standard thyroid hormone levels , my normal is different and we should focus on getting it close to zero.

While I could cite many more examples of my just knowing things, this is not about right or wrong. I don’t know everything but when I do know, I just know. It’s a depth of knowing that I can’t put into words and a feeling that just nags until I act on it.

Well I have this feeling now. What I spent years piecing together makes sense so how can I get someone in the position to help–to take me seriously?

Do we really want to gamble with the fate of so many lives? Does anyone want to bet on me?

posted by Wendy Lerman @ 12:54 PM 0 Comments

Monday, February 03, 2014

Why Me?

My family was considered middle class until my mom’s health began to decline. It began in my childhood with her diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis and ended with her passing away ten years later–the start of my adulthood– from breast cancer.

Through my entire childhood, I watched helplessly as my mom struggled with her declining health. She knew something was wrong since the day she gave birth to me in an elevator. Multiple Sclerosis limited her movement, speech and thinking and eventually cancer began to feed off her body-yet she was determined to live and find the answers.

In 1987, shortly before she passed away, she sat amongst a room full of Harvard Medical School students, intent on sharing the wisdom she accumulated the previous nine years. Her focus that day was to ingrain– into these young minds-the relevance of the mind/body connection. She urged them, that while a patient might have a disease of the body, it was just as important to address the whole person-body and mind-in order to heal.

It was one of the largest funerals I’ve ever seen and I stood on the podium to read a poem I wrote. The words still echo in my head, especially this excerpt:

“Mother I love you, I’m sure that you know
I’ll be thinking about you, wherever I go
Understand why you left us? That, I do not.
I know there’s a reason. I’ll give it more thought.
Rest assured! I’ll find it! It may take a while.
For now, I’ll be brave and think about you and smile”

I’ve been having- what I can only describe as- spontaneous epiphanies since childhood. I was born with a high level of empathy, a burning desire to learn, a keen sense of direction and the innate ability to: identify problems, view them from varying perspective and utilize my original thinking to solve them. My sights were on Ivy League. There was always this sense that I was put on this earth to make a significant contribution for the greater good.

I experienced a profound, spontaneous epiphany in 1994 while watching TV. We have access to any and all resources needed for everything–in nature–and whatever wasn’t found around us could be found within us. All the resources are provided; it’s just a matter of putting the pieces together.
In hindsight, I now realize the universe was nudging me into going back to school and then on to medical school. My son was one at the time and I chose to continue working my way, from the ground up, in the finance industry. Six years later, I was diagnosed with an invasive and very aggressive form of Breast Cancer.

I managed to prevail through that experience, catching two early stage melanomas along the way and I sure did learn a lot but I went right back into my normal routine, not realizing that by doing this, I was again, veering off my destined path of taking the pieces I’ve accumulated and paying it forward.

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” MLK Jr.

Two years later (2003) I received my biggest wake-up call that shook me to the core. I was diagnosed with an extremely rare and deadly form of cancer, known as Angiosarcoma. I was a single mom with two small children, faced with a battle with the unknown. Very little information was available and there were no standard methods of treating this disease. With no guidelines to follow, no long term survivors to consult with, I found myself in the driver’s seat having to utilize my internal compass to navigate down roads yet to be travelled. The time came where I had to call upon my epiphany from 1994 and get to work.

I wanted to live for my children’s sake but I’m also not afraid of dying. My fight to remain on this earth was driven by and intense passion of finding a way to complete my purpose. Sometimes obstacles are not meant to be overcome, but exist to redirect.

Angiosarcoma (AS) harbors the worst prognosis with a 5-year over-all survival rate  of less than 30%. To remain NED (no evidence of disease) for five years would be a miracle.
Yesterday was my 11th anniversary of NED.

I am not alive as a result of a divine miracle. I am alive because I had a choice: to travel the road exclusively from the traditional medical approach– or– to find additional modalities, with which to integrate and form a balanced approach. I knew the resources were available and it was a matter of finding the pieces and putting them together. The clock was ticking and my life depended on it.

While I could have spent the last eleven years rebuilding my life in corporate America, seeking ways toward personal financial gain, conforming to society’s standards, I instead, sacrificed much by dedicating my remaining time on this earth seeking solutions for my fellow man.

With great sacrifice comes great reward”. Napoleon Hill

Our nation is in crisis, health and financial, physical and emotional, individual and collective.There are not enough able-bodied individuals contributing to society.

My Objective: To demonstrate how to restore the physical and emotional health of most every individual by bringing awareness to the resources we need and how to integrate Eastern and Western Medicine. I would like the opportunity to prove that not only can this be accomplished, but how significantly it will cut costs to our nation, individually and collectively, thereby restoring our economy.

On December 6, 2013, after experiencing a worsening of lower back pain, I decided to seek help. My condition didn’t warrant a visit to the ER so it was just a matter of deciding to call my PCP or Chiropractor.

I called my Chiro’s office and they fit me in. The doctor recognized that my spine alignment didn’t warrant the level of pain I was experiencing and suggested I agree to a “sick” NRT( Nutrition Response Testing) visit. The testing revealed that I had an immune challenge involving my right kidney and my body tested for a supplement that would restore balance. Fifteen minutes later I left her office with a whole-food supplement and two days later I was brand new.

No health insurance was involved. Office Visit: $25.00 Supplement $11.00 Total 36.00

My health insurance is Medicare and Mass. Health.

Had I gone to my PCP, Office visit: $367.00 Labs (urine and blood est.) $200.00 Ultrasound (est.)$470.00   Possible CT (est.) between $3,000.00-5,000.00 and RX cost (unknown). Total minimum 1,000.00, Max 6,000.00.

I’m gathering patient examples from all ends of the spectrum but to cite one other example: I know a patient who was on dialysis. Once you’re on it, you stay on unless you receive a transplant or until you die. This patient did not receive a transplant, nor did he die yet he is not on dialysis any more.

While my focus is on NRT, there are many pieces to the puzzle and I worked very hard putting them together. I can’t live with this knowledge and not put it to good use.

Long ago the foundation was set but there came a time where it began to crumble– yet we continue to build upon this unstable foundation. It’s time to repair. It’s time to restore.

Out of the realm of possibilities for solutions and finding someone qualified to offer them begs the question: Why me?

Well why not me?

If we continue to think like we’ve always thought, we’ll continue to get what we’ve always got”

While I possess so many passions, all involving ways to be of service, I struggled to decide where to put my focus. I’d always hoped that I would know when I knew.

 As the poem that I read at my mom’s funeral states, “I know there’s a reason. I’ll give it more thought. Rest Assured! I’ll find it!”

I’m going to finish what my mom started. I now know.

posted by Wendy Lerman @ 10:19 AM 0 Comments