Sunday, April 18, 2010

Missionary Man

Many of you already know my husband. He is everything and more that you have come to know him to be: purpose-driven, compassionate, off-the-charts intelligent and a man of integrity. He had more of these qualities than anyone I knew when I met him 20 years ago and since then the challenges that he faced brought these characteristics into a new level of existence. I decided that as there have been many mountains we have climbed as our marriage, our family and our mission have grown, that the best way to add yet another dimension to our call was to offer to those interested in joining our mission of "exposing the epidemic" the part of his story that is not one that can be focused on in his teaching and yet it is a part that we have learned a long the way to be invaluable to those suffering. It is the emotional aspect of neurotoxic conditions. Whether you are the one who is neurotoxic or the partner of the one who is sick, the burden is immense. The pain is real. Emotional needs are not met. There are many paths that are sought. There are few answers. Hope is difficult to find and doom seems to lurk and attack without warning. I know your pain. I know it because I have been there and at times still feel the threat of what I thought was overcome. We fear what we do not know and we fear more what we have already suffered through.

When Danny and I were married, we had already known each other for almost 6 years. When we had our first child, Daniel, it was 2 years later. 2 years after that came another baby boy, Izik and within 4 months, my husband began experiencing a cascade of events that began a quest and a crusade.
I remember he had a bout with the flu and the next month again and the next month yet again. We were perplexed by this occurrence as Danny was not one to get sick. EVER! He was an avid cyclist and spent a few hundred miles on his bike throughout the week. I used to feel frustrated by his intensity with the sport but after our marriage and a baby and gaining some leverage as a result, he attempted to spend more time supporting my needs and I quickly learned that was better accomplished AFTER he put some time in the saddle. We had a relationship that just worked. We knew each other so well when we got married and our love was based on a genuine respect for one another. Even the things that were on each of our "lists" we knew we would probably never see much success in changing and we were ok with that as even those idiosyncratic behaviors were not points of contention for either of us, as much as areas that would perfect our marriage. We both understood perfection was not attainable on this side of heaven and so we both were satisfied with who we were to one another and how we just seemed to fit together even though in some ways we were very different.

When we looked back at the onset of his sickness, we recalled debilitating headaches that drove him off his bike. They lasted for well over the balance of the day and sometimes into the next day. He also had insomnia. It wasn't just sleeplessness. It was sleeplessness that forced him into another bed so that the baby and I could get "some" sleep and after a period of time he eventually began anticipating and fearing the night. Some nights I would go upstairs to check on him and find him curled in a fetal position. The strength and character of the man I knew was dwindling and the shift began to occur as roles were reversing.

I was the more irrational of the two of us as I assume women often are. By nature we are more emotional and do not look at facts to drive our decisions. For a brief moment I gained perspective beyond my tendencies and looked at the irrational behavior of my husband and saw with clarity all that I needed to know which was the philosophy that we lived our life by: there had to be a physiological explanation for the manifestation of his symptoms. We already lived a life that was sound and built on God's principles. We ate according to a premise that simply believed that if God made it, it was good for you and if man altered it in any way, avoid it. I had stayed home to give birth to my children and we didn't vaccinate and disrupt the immune system of the perfection to which God created the human race. We didn't take aspirin for headaches or any other drugs to cover symptoms. We believed there to be a time and a place for medicine but we knew that to be mostly in emergency situations.

Danny was solid. His philosophy was sound. His influence was contagious. He was a leader worth following and he gained his belief system based on the research of the science. He was not someone who just followed a trend. He needed proof. When the bottom fell out during this time, I was the one reminding him of what I ultimately had learned from him. I repeatedly reminded him that there just had to be a physiological explanation for what he was going through and that I just knew that God had created him with the slew of talents and abilities He did so that he could carry a message into the world that it needed to hear. I really had no idea what that was at the time but given the knowledge and purpose we were living out and sharing and our commitment and passion for God's ways being higher and better than our own, I just knew that there was a higher calling within it all. My only ability to see through the mess that we were living through was by a process of elimination: we had a good grasp of things that made sense but there were certainly areas within the realm of health that we didn't have experience with. At the time we lived in an old home in a small suburb of Pittsburgh that I had a thought about perhaps being part of the culprit: what if there was something in our house that was making him sick. It wasn't long before this that I too had some symptoms that were plaguing me and we weren't able to figure out the origin. I had this incessant tapping on the top of my head in the same spot for months, my neck would click when I would turn my head--and at times it was more aggravating than others, and I began having feelings of fear that would come and go. We would go to the bookstore and research and were led to believe that it was something relating to hormones--between having my first baby and being a vegan (eating no meat or dairy) and not being a proponent of supplementation it was quite possible that with the more reading he was doing the more a deficiency of some sort was a possible cause. After 2 babies, nursing, and more frustration and consequently more education I began eating meat. We learned it wasn't actually the meat, but what man had done to it to change its composition. That fit within our philosophy and within a very short period of time my symptoms dissipated.

So when I thought about the potential for our house to be making us sick I convinced my husband to seek out a toxicologist. We went to a prominent hospital in the city and they ran a battery of tests. It was more than a few thousand dollars later and a statement that infuriates me: " you are just under a lot of stress and need a good psychotropic drug"! Our position for our response took us back to our philosophy. Quickly putting into perspective that those living in third world countries who were dealing with war or famine were under stress. We live in America and our stress is manageable for the most part--at least under normal conditions. Once we left there, even though we were under a new degree of hopelessness, we were also left to The One that allowed it and He would surely answer our cries for help. He already led Danny to a greater level of understanding of health and a greater commitment to His purpose and the primary one that was front and center was getting his own health back! I gained greater hope for God's call upon our life as I watched my husband on his decent days research and pursue authors, scientists, peer-reviewed journals and articles searching for avenues to lead to a road that would restore his health. The symptoms were brutal and seemed to have no predictability. He would watch a movie and whether happy or sad, passive or aggressive, Danny would not be able to recover. His heart would pound, his adrenaline would surge and he would be left spent and scared--if it were in the evening, he typically would not be able to sleep that night. There were times when I would be putting away the dishes or sliding hangars in the closet and he would tell me his nerves were jumping and I had to stop. He would accuse me of making more noise than necessary to accomplish tasks. There were times when the kids would make noise (and be kids) and he couldn't tolerate it. I would have to grab them and rush out of the house. I can remember leaving in bare feet and the kids in their pajamas. I can remember the feelings of desperation that washed over him out of nowhere and I would be driving us somewhere and he would share his mental he always did...and I was SCARED. As those dreaded feelings erupted within him and his ability to communicate it with such emotional intensity, I anticipated him taking control of the steering wheel and ending it for both of us. I hid knives at times due to my fears of the power of his irrational mind.

I remember gauging life events as signs that things would soon improve. When I got pregnant with our 3rd child I immediately thought we were soon to be through this ordeal. When my cousin was murdered by her husband and he killed himself and her 7 year old twins--and one vaccine damaged--were now our children, I again arrived immediately at the same conclusion: surely God wouldn't allow this as there was no way Danny could handle it otherwise. We were living in crisis mode and couldn't seem to escape. Our new baby boy, Simon, was only 6 weeks old when the tragedy occurred. Daniel was 5, Izik 3, Simon was 6 weeks and Dylan and Olivia were 7. My head was spinning. My husband was just on the brink of finding the answer--mercury poisoning due to the improper removal of amalgam fillings and a diagnosis of Mad Hatters Disease. Knowing what it took to get Danny to where he now was, with hope on the horizon was truly a gift from God that we knew had a call attached to it. A new purpose with greater responsibility with unknown knowledge within even natural health was unfolding. Knowing what we had just learned over the past 3 years came with a price. The bible says the more you know the more accountable you are and now we also had another life to apply this knowledge to: Dylan's. He had a diagnosis of Sensory Integration which is an Autism Spectrum Disorder and my cousin Lisa, Dylan's mom, had been handed that diagnosis with a disclaimer: He will never be mainstreamed.

The past 3 years of living hell and simultaneous trust in what God was going to bring out of it had not allowed for room for giving up or giving in. This steadfast perspective led me to look to God as the author and perfecter of my faith. I now understood that the seed of hope and purpose God planted would become a tree with lasting fruit. If Danny was to be the deliverer of this information then I had to be his supporter and the mother of 5 children all uniquely challenged as a result of the burdens they were all carrying for different reasons.


  1. can't stress enough how inspiring and important your story is.. I love love love this... keep writing!!

  2. I dont think anyone knows the extentof what those years were like for you guys and i just want to say that no matter what your marriage is a great example and an inspiration to all couples and parents out there. We all have our struggles and some days it feels like there is no light at the end of the tunnel but this shows that the weakness is what makes us strong and going through those weaknesses and low points together is what makes you stand out as not only a husband and wife but as partners and supporters and president of your partners biggest fan club. love u guys!


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