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Detox Learning Center

From Barely Existing to Truly Living — My Challenging Road to Find True Healing

  • By Fern Steiner
  • ·
  • 07 Oct 21

It is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of my health struggles. Many issues contributed to the challenges I faced as a child, teenager, and adult. Looking back, symptoms kept popping up over the years that I later saw as red flags to deeper issues. The winter I was 10, I had multiple rounds of strep throat, as well as scarlet fever. Also, I remember feeling like I was never rested, no matter how much I slept. Severe migraines started around age 17.

I grew up in a farmhouse that had a damp basement. I moved frequently during my later teenage years, and by the time I turned 22, I had moved into an apartment that I later realized had severe water damage. Although it took years to figure it out, I know now that mycotoxins were a significant source of my health issues.

The Downward Spiral

I remember struggling with severe depression throughout my older teenage years. My doctors listened and cared, but the medications they provided only brought partial relief. Little did I know that depression was only the tip of the iceberg when it came to my body and immune system's internal turmoil. 

In addition to the depression I continued to deal with at that time, I was also experiencing:

  • Constant debilitating fatigue
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Muscle pain
  • Pre-diabetes
  • Respiratory and sinus infections (multiple times)
  • Stomach pain
  • Strep throat (multiple times)

My doctors did many tests throughout those years, including surgery to try to diagnose the cause of my stomach pain. But everything was inconclusive. Multiple rounds of antibiotics became my life pattern, and I often only had a break of a week or two before another infection would set in.

My Lyme Disease Diagnosis

My family and I loved exploring the outdoors and it wasn’t uncommon to pull ticks off ourselves after a hike. Based on symptoms over the years, I believe I likely contracted Lyme disease as a young child. 

In 2008, I was diagnosed with meningoencephalitis (inflammation in the brain and surrounding tissues) and spent a week in the hospital. Although the doctors performed many tests, the exact bacterial cause of the infection remained elusive.

The next couple of years were a nightmare of more testing, many specialist appointments, added medications, and numerous diagnoses: Diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, hypertension, fibromyalgia, severe inflammation, and a stage 3 sleeping disorder. The only thing nearly every doctor was convinced of was that I had a mental disorder.

I was still working part-time, but my pain levels were increasing, as was the fatigue. It was becoming more and more difficult to function daily. 

In December 2010, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease, hypothyroidism, and severely abnormal hormone and neurotransmitter levels. For the next seven years, I took multiple rounds of oral antibiotics, at times four to six kinds at once. When that failed, I tried 72 days of IV antibiotics. 

For parts of those seven years, I would briefly feel better, but it was always very short-lived before the next co-infection would set in. I continued to take dozens of medications a day, including prescription pain medication. 

In 2016, I wound up in the hospital with uric acid kidney stones, which I later learned were caused by clogged drainage pathways. After having three surgeries in four weeks to crush the stones and release blockages, and receiving more antibiotics for kidney infections, my body had no strength left to bounce back, and I began the toughest, worst three years of my Lyme disease journey. 

When I Was at My Worst

My symptoms eventually included a laundry list of acid reflux, anxiety, brain fog, burning nerve pain, constipation, extreme fatigue and exhaustion, full body twitching and jerking, headaches, heart palpitations, insomnia, intense sinus and head pressure, intense sweating day and night, light and noise sensitivity, migraines, nausea, severe inflammation, severe stiffness, and trigeminal neuralgia. 

I continued trying many natural solutions in blood treatments, IVs, ozone therapy, and supplements. Any treatment I did, regardless of how supportive it was intended to be, would knock me out for a couple of days with severe pain and headaches. My body had no energy left to drain or detox, and my drainage pathways were severely clogged.

Instead of enjoying life, every day became simply a fight for survival. When the pain became unbearable, focusing on breathing was the only thing that kept me going, one second at a time. 

But giving up was not an option. Somewhere, somehow, I believed there would be an answer. I knew the life I was living was not one I could sustain; something had to change.

Any time I had some energy and a little less pain, I would search for answers online. Through my research I found the Chronic Lyme Disease Summits hosted by Dr. Jay Davidson, and quickly latched onto his wife’s personal story. It resonated deeply with me. 

The biggest change came when I dove into parasite cleansing in March 2019. The thought of parasites freaked me out, but again determination and desperation won. I decided unless I was willing to go all in, I wouldn’t be able to expect full results. 

Castor oil packs and coffee enemas also helped me open up my drainage pathways and decrease my pain. I learned so much from listening to Dr. Jay Davidson and Dr. Todd Watts, and quickly recognized the reasons why previous treatments only made my symptoms worse. My drainage pathways were severely clogged, and toxins were constantly building up inside me. 

Healing did not happen overnight, but in time, the improvements became more obvious. I had to learn to give my body time to rest and heal, accept where I was, and not be so hard on myself. 

By October 2019, I was on the road to recovery and able once again to pursue my passions and hobbies. Many times while performing simple tasks I loved — like cooking, laundry, rocking the baby, or even washing dishes — tears of gratitude would flow, just to be able to enjoy living.

I gradually reduced and discontinued many medications, and am now down to the last three. My body is functioning so much better, and my health is becoming more stable than ever before. I began allowing myself to think of a future that involved more than chronic illness for the first time in years.

Microbe SS Fern 2

What I've Learned and My Advice for Others

There is always hope. It may not always come the way you think it should, but an open heart and mind will eventually guide you to your answer.

Be grateful. You cannot be stressed and grateful simultaneously, so choose to find multiple things to be grateful for every day, no matter how tiny or insignificant they may seem.

Be patient. Healing does not happen overnight. Many times, it takes years to become severely ill, and it may take years to heal.

Accept where you are and give your body time to heal. Be okay with your progress, no matter how slow it may seem.

Our minds are so much more powerful than we know. If we aren’t willing to look at every part of our body, soul, and spirit, healing will be very difficult.

Above all, never give up. Keep that spark of hope alive. Healing is possible.