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Here I Am- At 17-The Year I Had A Near Fatal Accident That Led Me To Tech Wellness
As a young woman, she developed serious health issues that doctors failed to understand or fix. But she refused to accept their conclusion that she would never have children and probably needed a kidney transplant.
What happened? Listen to our podcast to hear the amazing details of how she cured herself and later, her son.
So often it seems, the challenges and tragedies we experience lead us to our true purpose. When Marilee asked me about my own story that day, she literally insisted that I write it down and share it with my community.
So I did and here it is. I hope you find a piece of your story in mine.
HERE'S MY STORY AND WHY I STARTED TECH WELLNESS
I grew up in Southern California when Southern California was everything.
My parents, three siblings (all born within 5 years) and I lived in the San Gabriel Valley, east of Los Angeles. It was a dream really. My Dad was in construction and built us a beautiful Mediterranean style home on a hill looking out over our town and the entire valley twinkling below us. Growing up there was like something out of a movie. Horses in the yard, summers boogie boarding down at the beach, a naturally diverse school of friends before diversity was even a thing. Our High School had 3,000 kids and there were 500 people in the marching band, our football team was CIF 4A number one and I was a songleader. We were living in a time and place where anything could happen; where dreams could really come true—and it seemed that they often did.
And that was the story of my bright, shiny life until I was 17 and a senior in High School.
It was a night in mid-March, when a former policeman with multiple prior drunk driving convictions, was helped to his car by bartenders who had over-served him until he was too drunk to find the car on his own, much less drive it safely. It’s just amazing to think that was fairly normal back then. You can’t imagine that happening today. His huge Cadillac found its way to the nearby freeway and he entered traffic—going the wrong way.
Yes, I was hit by a drunk driver speeding northbound in the southbound lanes of the 605 freeway. I was with a boy I was dating, who worked with me at our town's most elegant restaurant. It was a special night. He was SO excited to be driving his brand new car on our way to another town for dinner at the restaurant’s sister location. We both saw the car coming at us and he tried to miss it—but the Cadillac swerved into us head on. I didn't know at the time—but my boyfriend Oscar died on impact.
I remember so many images about the moments after the accident, people wondering if we were alive, the sound of sirens and paramedics freeing me from the car. But then I lost consciousness in the ambulance and didn’t wake up until a day later. The first words I remember were "Does she really have 2,000 stitches in her face Doris?" My sister’s best friend was asking my mom. My sister Janet, a one time Candy-striper, had come home from college in Arizona to spend her entire spring break in the hospital with me. #sistergoals
I was really, really blessed to have the family I had and the doctor and surgeons I had. I was told that on that first night I was in surgery for 14 hours there was so much to be done. I remember as the days turned into weeks at the hospital, the paramedics, firemen and the E.R. doctor coming by room to say hi and see how I was doing. They would look at me and tell me who they were and their faces would look concerned. I actually will never forget seeing my Dad standing in the doorway with tears in his eyes. I had never seen him cry before or since. He actually choked on "Hello babe" and had to turn and walk away.
Even so , I don't remember the hospital stay as being filled with pain and horror except for the day they finally told me about Oscar.
The story has so many odd and ironic twists. Oscar had just told me and the assistant chef a few days before that he was so incredibly happy with his life that if he died tomorrow he would be happy.
The week before I had taken pictures for our High School Annual--it turns out I had been voted "Best Looking." That night my face went through the windshield- my lips were torn off, my eyelids hung on by just a millimeter and my nose was pulverized as the glass went everywhere.
And although today, I have recovered and flourished in my life and I honestly don’t think about the accident that often, it has remained with me, influencing and impacting my life in so many powerful ways.
In my forties, during my seventh reconstructive surgery decades after the accident, a plastic surgeon found three pieces of glass from the windshield of the car STILL embedded in my face—under my cheek, cutting at my nerves! One of the pieces was actually quite large. My husband held it in his hand and said he couldn’t believe I had been carrying that around IN MY CHEEK for so long and that neither of us had felt it before. But there it was, hiding just beneath the surface. Like so many things.
That surgery wound up lasting fourteen hours and it left me with amnesia for three long days afterwards. I couldn’t remember that I was married, that I had children, who was President of the country. I kept telling the nurses I was in high school and I just gotten in an accident. The doctor said it was like my memory had been yanked back to the time it just happened. It was almost like removing that glass caused things to rewire in my brain. Eventually, the memories of my life and where I was at that time came back to me, but it was a crazy experience and it got me thinking about the other ways that the accident had changed the path of my life.
PUTTING THE PIECES BACK TOGETHER
One of the things that got me through the surgeries and recovery process in the hospital was pain medication. Back then, that meant morphine--lots and lots of it every day.
By the time I got out of the hospital weeks later, I would have to go back for "booster shots" every day and then every other day and so on to taper off the opioid. I didn't realize that the pain I was experiencing was partially from the accident and partially from morphine withdrawal.
I had visions in the hospital; I saw my future husband and the fact that I would host a TV show someday. And I believed these visions--three months after the accident I was telling friends who came to see me with tears rolling down their faces not to worry about me—I was going to have a show and a really cute husband. My mom told me that night that I should keep those messages from God to myself :)
The Belief Of Others Made Me Believe In Myself
Faith and hope. There was a lot of it in my home. The prayer chain of names lifting me up-to this day lays atop the old family Bible.
My parents and family were really incredible. They did not want my life to stop. I completed senior year at home and then my dad took me on a tour of potential colleges in the family station wagon. I layed down flat in the back as we travelled 800 miles because I couldn’t sit or stand without crutches until seven months after the accident. Isn't that crazy- plus I actually went to college ON crutches, just months after going through this! My family made me believe not only that I could do it, but that I should keep my life moving ahead. And so I did.
As a freshman at UC Santa Barbara, I was so lucky my RA (Resident Assistant) in our dorm, was also the Mayor of Isla Vista (yeah, it was an unincorporated little city that actually had a college aged mayor and city council back in the day) That little enclave of free thinking hippies, was actually perfect for healing.
The Mayor made sure introduced me to the Co-op, natural whole foods and alternative organic healing aids like Tigers Balm and aromatic oils. I became a vegetarian (and stayed one until I got pregnant years later and had overwhelming cravings for In-N-Out Burgers.) When I could walk I spent hours on the beach, I biked to classes and although I didn't know then—I was exactly where I should have been to give my body all the right things.
Finding Success and Love, But Still Feeling Bad
My life continued to speed along. I transferred to UCLA and then to Arizona State to finish my degree in Communications. An internship at the respected on-campus TV station gave me a chance to become a producer, garner an Emmy nomination and then get hired at 20 to host a local Monday through Friday television show on the local ABC affiliate. How on earth did I get an on camera job- with scars and a flattened nose? I think it must have been the sheer confidence I had- knowing without a doubt that it was my destiny because of the visions I had as I laid in the hospital bed.
But when I saw myself on TV, I felt like those scars were all I could see. I wanted to do something about it so badly. One of the first things I tried was bovine collagen injections. I got them a dozen times, every month or so, because they really seemed to help the appearance of the scars.
I'm glad I didn't know back then that the scars from my injuries would linger. It probably would have overwhelmed me. But as I was taught, I stayed optimistic and kept moving ahead. I felt so very blessed and I think it was because I was really grateful to be alive—really excited, happy and oddly confident. I felt almost fearless. After everything I had been through, what could stop me?
I did meet that boy-his name is Halister - we got married early on we're still in love today. We ended up working together as journalists. He won 3 Emmy's and my work earned me a Gabriel Award, a Golden Mike and An Emmy- I found them in our office storage room when we were moving a few years ago and snapped this photo for packing them away again.
I'm so glad Hal was there on my healing journey with me. Helping me figure out how to heal my scars and other hurts I couldn’t see but could feel manifesting in my body.
SURGERY AFTER SURGERY: THE ACCIDENT AFTERMATH CONTINUES
I'll spare the gory details, but that accident basically crushed my body. Over the years I've had over a dozen accident related surgery's.
Finally, our lead doctor suggested we go to Scripps in San Diego for a week of testing. At the end, I was given diagnoses of Crohns, to Lupus and MS. I was devastated. Those results sent me to the library to research those diseases which sent me into a tailspin of fear and anxiety.
Hal and I learned way back then that some people (like me) do much better not knowing the details of the disease they have been diagnosed with. It just scared me so. From that point forward, Hal would always do all the research on anything that happened in terms of health and then flag it for me IF he saw me manifesting a symptom. I always tell people that fear is worse than any exposure or bad food or toxin.
Fear can make you sicker faster than anything and keep you from getting well.
TURNING TO NATURAL AND ALTERNATIVE HEALING
I was given a drug regime for the Lupus and Crohn’s, but I remember they didn't make that pain in my abdomen and the cystitis go away. Other issues like really bad Candida layered on so we tried a bevy of natural doctors,- Reiki, colonics, aromatherapy, intuits and everything else you would imagine someone would try when they felt like nothing was working.
One of my physicians had me see a masterful counselor and practitioner of Transcendental Meditation and biofeedback, James Menton. He also had MS and urged me to see nutritionist and hair analyst pioneer Dr. Larry Wilson and Dr. Paul Eck. My case was so weird Dr. Eck had me over to his Analytical Research Labs to do follow ups on the minerals and the ratios of minerals that were found in my body.
At the same time I was led to jinshin jytsu and my healing journey was on a solid path. Mary Burmeister the founder of jsj was awesome as I told her about my illness.
She said "Oh, I don't treat labels, you can have them if you want them, but I'm not interested in them. I treat your body's energy flows."
How good is that? She helped me see all the states of dis-ease in my body not as scary diseases, but rather as stuck energy. That relieved so much fear.
Natural and Alternative Meet Western and Traditional Medicine. The Key To A Healthy Healed
For all of us, finding relief for chronic pain or injury is a journey of searching for what’s right and helpful for our chemistry. Drugs and traditional doctors didn’t resonate and frankly weren’t as effective as alternative healing strategies. But those were not instant cures- they took an investment of my time and commitment and hope.
I started bi-weekly Chiropratic sessions with a smart doctor who encouraged all the natural modalities I was implementing but also made sure I held space for traditional western medicine and urged me to continue to try and find a reason for my constant abdominal pain and cystitis.
Doctors weren’t much help until I was in so much pain that Halister found a specialist in Southern California, Dr. Nicholas Thanos. After a long conversation about my history, my pain, all my diagnosis and treatment, he did a brief exam. When he said, “I think I know what your problem is.” I wanted badly to believe him, but I also had heard that before. He explained that he found scar tissue that could be pulling and causing the unrelenting pain. It’s funny how we had told all the other doctors the exact same story and none of them found this issue- I'm glad I didn't give up!! Healing is Definitely a journey- sometimes a complicated one.
The outpatient surgery lasted less than 30 minutes and the relief was immediate. He removed the scar tissue and the pain was gone. The scar tissue had come from internal bleeding from the accident and as scar tissue some times does, it had grown. Years later, I called Dr. Thanos to thank him for changing my life. When I got him on the phone, I asked him if he remembered me. “Oh yes,” he said. “I’ve never seen a case like yours, before or since. I’ll never forget you.” Which isn’t something you don’t expect to hear from your doctor.
After that surgery, I kissed the ground I was so happy the pain finally stopped.
Healthy Living With Organic and Natural Foods, Cleaners, Sunshine, Grounding, Energy Healing, chiropractic, and of course, medical doctors!
The other diagnosis still hung in the atmosphere,but I kept on with my healing helpers;
- Bible study-spiritual practice
- Jinshin energy healing,
- Supplements to detox my body from heavy metals from drugs and surgery
- Weekly Chiropractic Visits
- A functional medicine physician prescribing Nystatin for candida
- Organic fruits and veggies, tahini and tempeh
- Healthy low toxin house
My husband put up with our house smelling like the vinegar we used throughout the house to clean. Our clothes didn't smell like the Tide and Downey I grew up with- in fact they didn't smell "clean" at all- and that bugged my man- but at least we had scented hand and shower soap. -Dr. Bronners was in every bathroom. I used 20 Mule Team Borax as laundry soap which was also my ant killer when I combined it with sugar. I would sprinkle the concoction around the house a few times a year when the ants came out and Halister would patiently help me scrape it off the concrete when it got wet and dried. But NO Ants! And we did the same thing with diatomaceous earth when spiders appeared.
You natural gals and guys and biohackers are so lucky to have so many wonderful pure clean choices now! We found Seventh Generation back in the 90's and finally our local exterminator started using natural oils. I love that there are options now so we can have help living clean and green. Here are my trusted favorites now.
The Scary Labels Fade and Disappear
Slowly I began to feel better until I was a fairly normal, fairly healthy 29 year old. I would get MS symptoms like brain fog, numbness and stiffness and headaches from time to time, but the Crohns just disappeared and my extremely high Lupus related ANA finally came down to normal. I was blessed with my first baby at 30 and my second a few years later.
Of course my girls grew up the same toxin free natural environment that still keeps me in balance today. I interviewed doctors while I carrying my first child and Dr. Bill Sears was my choice. He was there at both their births. It was awesome to have the father of attachment style parenting guide me through motherhood and respect and encourage my toxin free lifestyle.
We built our first home in the 80's with natural paint- it came in only one color then and natural wool carpet.
My healthy lifestyle of organic food, sunlight and natural everything in my environment kept me feeling vibrant and symptom free, mostly.
I definitely got so much better- but lingering effects of surgeries and complications from the devastating accident made it super important that I continue focusing on choices that mad my body stronger and happier.
I was very sensitive to what worked with my body and what didn't. When I was 31 Hal got me my first cellphone and I realized immediately that it didn't feel good.
I had electromagnetic sensitivity, but I didn't know it then, I just knew holding the cellphone was something that was very uncomfortable. I started to notice later that I didn't feel good near my phone- then later, near the WiFi. I would get that tingling, then numb feeling. I got crazy headaches when I was at our computer-filled office and I didn't feel good in the room near the WiFi that was in the garage in last house well over a decade ago.
Hal believed me which was great and would turn it off every time I complained. Then one day he came home with a little switch that had a remote control that I could press to turn it off and on whenever I wanted to. It was so smart- it's actually the item I recommend everyone get- our WiFi Kill Switch belongs in every home. I think so anyway.
Just last year my daughter Jastyne said "Hey mom, you know how you say that you felt the energy from the cellphone the first time you put one in your hand?, Well, it's true- I just saw the video of you opening your gift and you actually shake and flinch when it turns on and pull it away from your head!"
EHS is real!
I didn't completely understand my EMF sensitivity for a long time. I thought I had a sixth sense.- but I found Dr. George Carlo's book in 2005 and reached out to him in 2007 and he helped me understand what was happening with a condition called EHS for Electromagnetic Sensitivity.
Why Do I Have EHS?
Throughout the years of research and meeting people with EHS, I always ask how they found out or why they think they have the sensitivity. People will tell me they noticed it after a new WiFi or after being on their device incessantly for an extended period of time, some will say they noticed it after a long illness.
Gunnar Heuser an extremely renowned Chemical Sensitivity researcher and doctor noticed that chemically sensitive and chemically injured people often go hand and hand with EMF sensitivity and even their brain scans are similar.
Please read our EHS guide to learn more about Gunnar's work- I had the opportunity to meet and interview this brilliant man who called himself the EMF Doc several years ago and he nodded in agreement and said that what I had learned about my brain and morphine made a lot of sense.
EHS and My Brain
Almost a decade ago, I had the opportunity to have an EEG of my brain done. My dentist, Greg Vigoren was on the Board of the Brain Treatment Center in Newport Beach when it opened. The center did something called about transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for symptoms of autism, anxiety and other chronic conditions. It sounded strange- why would I want to go there and do that?? Dr. Vigoren was super excited about it and was inviting all his patients and staff to a two week try. The dental assistant and a hygenist encouraged me, they said they had loved it- they were sleeping great after two weeks and felt more focused.
My understanding is that the founder, Dr. Gin had researched and compiled thousands of EEG-s and correlated various brain patterns to many different conditions. Here's a sampling of his research. Back when the center opened, they were hoping to treat PTSD and autism. I didn't have the access to this recent interview with one of the founding center doctors that tells how brainwaves and magnets work- but I thought it would be interesting to learn about it.
The first step was an EEG. I'd never had one so that was an experience. The consulting doctor went over all the waves that had been recorded and told me that all looked normal and good- except for that one. "What's wrong with that one?" I asked, "Well, he explained, that little jig-there(just a squiggle on an otherwise really pretty wave on the screen)-that jig says you're very sensitive." "Really?" I asked, "sensitive to what?" He told me I cold be sensitive to anything- light, sound etc. "To EMF?" I wondered. "Absolutely." he said.
Wow, how did I get that? He told me it was from opiates can cause this pattern. WHAT?! I was incredulous. "Opiates!" I said no way, I don't use opiates. "Sure- ok" he said deadpan. I argued and defended. Finally I remembered the 6 week hospital stay and and all the morphine they gave me. wait- morphine is an opiate. Could the weeks of morphine in the hospital have caused this little "jig" making my body sensitive to EMF?
Dr. Heuser thought that could be the answer too.
I never even tried the magnets- because just having the EEG or maybe it was being around the magnets, gave me a disturbing headache. I'm just offering it here as one of the learnings I've had along the way.
I can tell you that the Brain Treatment Center has treated thousands of military PTSD victims and from the press, had success. Here's a new company, Wave Neuroscience which appears to be utilizing the data from scans and doing similar treatments.
I do continue to be EMF sensitive- although many days I can be symptom-free by choosing to feed my body and treat my body well and avoiding EMF.
The Silver Lining Of My Cloud Is Tech Wellness
I didn't enjoy using wireless devices so I didn't use them much. I was able to watch the rest of the world become obsessed with the technology, while I never felt comfortable even carrying one. That gave me insight into the other tech "toxins" of blue light, privacy stealers and FOMO, distraction etc.
Under the guidance of George Carlo, Stephen Scott and building biologists and great functional medicine doctors I learned how to deal with the invisible energy that clearly effects my body's energy. I built a natural home that has no wireless and no dirty electricity and low electrical fields.
I continue to do all the things that I've learned help my body stay healthier. I avoid EMF. I treat myself to energy healing, daily grounding walks, a daily unplug and a gratitude practice, meditation, non-toxic and organic and locally sourced food and cleaning products when ever possible, natural products through out my life a regular circadian reset, my faith and coffee! And I LOVE love really love what I do. I share the message of living safely, healthy and balanced with technology with the goal of thriving with tech, mind, body and soul.
My health and wellness journey has given me hope and confidence that healing is possible.
I Was Born With Faith And Trust In God
But my confidence and hope we’re hard fought. And I believe there is capacity for you, for anyone seeking to heal or feel better to do just that. It starts with awareness-awareness that creates a lifestyle of mindfulness, hope, peace and positivity.
I'm here to share science-backed accurate information about the man made EMF, Privacy, Mental Health and Safety issues that come with our devices. My goal is simply to create awareness so that you can make informed and mindful decisions to thrive with our amazing technology.