Bette’s Story

A month before my first birthday, on our way to Grandpa and Grandma’s house for Christmas, a drunk driver smashed into my parents’ car.

Built in the days before seat belts were mandated, our little car had none.

My mother smashed through the windshield, then bounced back, her face hitting the dashboard–where she left her perfect teeth embedded. She suffered a traumatic brain injury, from which she never fully recovered–although doctors proclaimed her to be as fit as a fiddle.

My father hit the steering wheel with his ribs and the dashboard with his knees. While he couldn’t walk for a while, he recovered.

Fortunately, my brothers (7 and 5 years old) and sister (not quite 3) were protected because they were playing on the floor in the back seat–which my father had suggested just moments before–to limit their energetic activities a bit.

I torpedoed, face-first, from my mother’s lap into the car door. The impact tore the skin from my forehead, and I suffered a concussion.

Doctors didn’t know (and still don’t) that most concussions damage the pituitary gland, which controls the endocrine system, which, in turn, controls all of health. (Another thing doctors aren’t taught.)

According to the docs, I was fine–within minutes after the crash, in fact.

But my mother realized something was wrong.

And so started my doctor visits, each of which ended with the verdict I was fine, followed by a little sermonette to my mother about not making a mountain out of a mole hill, as the saying goes.

But God bless my mother. She kept trying. (Note to doctors: Believe the mother.)

We moved a lot, so a new town meant new doctors, and maybe one of them would help. But, no.

Meanwhile, as the “She’s fine” chorus continued, my health slipped away. By my early twenties, I was in very deep trouble.

For one thing, my brain became undependable. While teaching computer programming at IBM, I would suddenly forget why I was in the room. Given the army of people staring at me as I stood in the front of the room alone, I was obviously teaching, but what?

I couldn’t hold on to a thought. Speaking became a chore because I couldn’t come up with the words I needed. Most of my hair fell out, and what was left changed color. I couldn’t stay awake. I answered the phone in my sleep and never knew it.

My blood pressure was 70/40. My blood sugar was 46. My body temperature topped out at 95–on a good day. My pulse was about 50. I had Raynaud’s Syndrome. Shingles arrived in force. And on, and on and on.

Doctors still said I was fine. One doctor suggested my problem was I wanted to get married. Another suggested my difficulties came from emotional problems he was sure all preachers’ kids suffered. (I was too brain-dead to ask what problem all doctors’ kids suffered.)

Finally, at long last, I found a doctor who took me seriously. One who had enough clout to do the right thing, whether or not it was the accepted answer, and recognized internationally for his diagnostic skills.

After several long office visits and more tests than I knew there were tests, he told me I had panhypopituitarism – meaning every part of my endocrine system was in a world of hurt. Huge problem, no known cure.

Shortly after the diagnosis, we moved across the country, and I ended up back with “You’re fine!” doctors, and I realized it was up to me. Okay, I can do this. I have to do this.

And so I started researching.

But nothing happened quickly. It’s hard to find information that contradicts what medicine wants you to know. The research may be fabulous, but if the conclusion offends the poobahs, under the carpet it goes.

It took me years to figure out the entire puzzle. And I got hooked! In finding my healing, I also found a calling to get excited about. I’m still digging around in research, especially since the internet is setting free solid studies buried for fifty or more years.

I learned:
● How the endocrine system actually works, what makes it not work and what makes it work better.

● Our bodies falter without good nutrition–which turns out to be different from what we’re told is good nutrition. So I studied a lot about nutrition–and found it improved my health even more than medicines.

Nutrition includes a lot more than diet. Vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other supplements–whatever it takes to meet your body’s needs–are essential. And they have to be quality supplements, not just any old thing you pick up at the grocery store, drugstore, etc.

● We’re surrounded by enemies–toxins in the air and water, toxic artificial ingredients in our food, genetically-modified foods that do enormous harm to our DNA, and more. So I studied a lot about toxins. We can’t get rid of all toxins, but we can lighten the load, which gives good nutrition the help it needs to win the battle.

So that’s the stuff I write about.

Along with the 500-pound gorilla nobody talks about: Getting diagnosed. Diagnosis is a lost art.

Nowadays, doctors are required to diagnose via simple blood tests–many of which are unreliable.

The doctor who diagnosed my pituitary problem used tests–some simple, some very advanced–not to diagnose, but to support his analysis of my symptoms. That doesn’t happen any more.

I couldn’t get diagnosed nowadays because insurance companies limit the time doctors can spend with a patient and which tests doctors can order. As you might guess, it’s a money thing.

But without a diagnosis, how can we know what to do?

It’s about symptoms–as it always has been.

Symptoms tell the story of your health. They are your body’s way of telling you what’s going on. And who knows your symptoms better than you?

The really good news is that our bodies want to heal. They fight like tigers to heal. Our role is to give our bodies the support they need to win the fight.

Okay, you can do this. You have to do this. Unless you like living in your ditch.

God is good,

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