Parkinson’s: ‘Like Lazarus, I’m coming alive!’
By Jan Radtke
[Note: The following article appeared in the November/December, 1997 (Volume 13, No. 6) issue of Venture Inward.]
My symptoms – overwhelming exhaustion after any physical activity as simple as taking a shower, diminished clarity of speech, lack of physical dexterity and coordination, and a constant tremor on my left side – certainly got my attention. They made it difficult for me to lead an active life as a psychotherapist, a volunteer in church and community activities, a teacher, and to keep a busy social calendar. I constantly found myself drained of energy and stamina and unable to push myself into the physical reserve as I had done so many times before. Because of my history of excellent health, these symptoms perplexed me and my medical doctors. In 1992, an astute neurologist finally labeled them as Parkinson’s disease (P.D.). I had some knowledge of Parkinson’s disease since my father, in his latter years, had been diagnosed with this disease; and my paternal grandmother had also displayed Parkinson’s symptoms. But not me – I argued that I was too young at 49 to have this geriatric disease.
I knew enough to know that I wanted to be very cautious about taking the medication recommended by most neurologists, the dopamine derivative Sinemet. Sinemet is a doubleedged sword. It helps some people with P.D. some of the time but causes permanent disfiguring dyskinesias (continuous uncontrolled and often painful jerking muscular movements of the extremities, tongue, and head). Many medical and lay persons now feel that a major drawback is that the drug actually causes additional damage to the neurons of the brain. For these reasons I refused the medication for three years until I felt that I had no other options.
Sinemet gave me the ability to coordinate my body’s movements for approximately 45 to 60 minutes at a time, enabling me to perform an activity like getting dressed. However, a rebound effect subsequently occurred that actually increased the uncoordination, tremor, and fatigue. I began to carefully structure my day around my “on” time (a phrase often used by those on Sinemet), doing what had to be done – bathing, food preparation, seeing clients – in this precious “on” time. If I waited until the 45 to 60 minutes passed, my body would be. unable to do something as simple as untie a twisty tie securing a loaf of bread.
Parkinson’s disease causes disability by gradually and inexplicably killing dark cells near the base of the brain, called substantia nigra, producer of dopamine. Like the household lubricant WD-40, dopamine provides fluidity of movement. Without dopamine, I was robbed of the ability to perform the simplest of tasks. Tying my shoes, rolling over in bed, getting in and out of the tub, and driving a car became Herculean feats.
By late 1995, it took every ounce of my energy simply to dress, bathe, and prepare food. Even with medication, after each such activity I had to lie down and rest for an hour or so in order to regroup for the next activity. I managed to see a couple of clients a day, for I loved my work and found incredible satisfaction in helping my clients. But I knew the time was fast approaching when I would have to give up the career I had worked so long and hard to actualize.
A series of losses last year, including the unexpected death of my father in January and the death of my life work in February, plunged me into a deep, dark chasm of depression. I experienced feelings of uselessness as well as grief. I identified with Job’s wailing to God. I found moments of solace with prayer, meditation, reading scripture, and by writing poetry and painting during “on” periods.
In only a few years I had metamorphosed from owning a thriving, satisfying business and enjoying an active lifestyle to no income, applying for disability, and living a recluse’s life, rarely leaving the house. I had stopped driving due to the inability to coordinate movements.
Being of an independent nature, I hesitated to honestly share the depth of my dilemma. Once I shared how desperate my situation had become, the outpouring of support from my family, friends, and neighbors was overwhelming. Friends bought and prepared food or took me to the grocery store, dentist, doctors, and church. They wrote checks for bills, took me for outings, or came over for a cup of tea and to pray together. Neighbors did my yard work and picked up books at the library. One of the brightest experiences of my week was when my friend Normale and I visited a friend at the nursing home. I felt as if I had something to give someone else for a change.
My illness created a willingness in me to become more open and more creative to pursue avenues that offered even a hint of healing. I was familiar with alternative medical approaches since I had been involved in acupuncture for years. I now ventured into Reiki, craniosacral massage, chiropractic, hypnosis, homeopathy, Chinese herbs, psychic readings/ healers, and kinesiology.
My dear friend, Diane Kowalski, a member of A.R.E. for years, suggested I explore Cayce’s approach to Parkinson’s disease. The next day I joined the A.R.E. My initial response
to the readings for Parkinson’s disease was mixed. Cayce described various protocols: massage, the Wet Cell appliance, diet, living one’s ideals, prayers, and service. Yet there were no success stories of people recovering from Parkinson’s symptoms. I decided, nevertheless, to order the Wet Cell appliance and began my own treatment program. After a few months of stops and starts of my Wet Cell, I was contacted by the Meridian Institute about a research project on Parkinson’s. I applied the next day, and Diane, a self-employed horticulturalist (“Gardens by Diane”), drove me to Virginia Beach and served as my support person during the week-long A.R.E.-Meridian conference last November.
When we arrived, Kieth VonderOhe’s service-oriented manner and hospitality set the prayerful tone for a wonderful week. Throughout the conference, Diane and I wondered if we were experiencing a fantastic dream. I experienced an instant connection with most of the attendees and felt immediately comfortable in sharing intimately as if I had known them before. Psychic Mary Roach later confirmed this observation, saying that we had been together in previous lifetimes. Four of us close in age giggled, played, and talked into the night about our lives.
The staff of David McMillin, Eric Mein, Carl Nelson, Doug Richards, Tom Dewey, and Kieth presented a conference that Diane said “was a 10 course meal, with each course more scrumptious than the last.” We experienced the nurturance of the Cayce diet with Gabrielle Drinovan’s miraculous culinary skills. We learned the Cayce food principles, such as not to eat animal protein and starch at the same meal (no bread, rolls, potatoes, or rice when meat is served), and how to keep the body alkaline by eating fruits and vegetables as 80 percent of the diet.
The week was filled with Wet Cell applications, breathwork, attitudes and emotions, ideals, Cayce diet, healing prayer from the Glad Helpers, meditation before breakfast and lunch, daily dream work at breakfast, a chiropractic adjustment, a steam bath and massage at the A.R.E. Health Services Department. The climax for me was when David McMillin read reading 4085-1. 1 knew at that moment that Cayce’s protocol would work for me. Cayce prescribed alignment of mental attitude, daily applications of the Wet Cell appliance alternately with chloride of gold solution/nitrate of silver solution, and a thorough daily massage following the use of the appliance. Having studied this disease since my father’s diagnosis, I had never read or heard of any promise of cure for this progressively debilitating neurological disorder. And yet Cayce said: “If there is that attitude of bringing help and of keeping helpful forces through the periods when the applications are made, we may eradicate almost entirely this deficiency that is called the Parkinson’s disease.” (4085-1)
But fear crept in: How was I going to have the energy and strength to integrate these complicated protocols into my life? I also knew that my old independent nature would have to yield to be able to accept the help I would need. There was no way I could massage my own back. I would have to deal with my issues of asking and receiving if I was going to heal. My choice of life or death was clear. Was I going to be stoic and go it alone and not actualize Cayce’s God-given recommendations, or was I going to let others into my life by asking for their help?
When I returned home, I prayed, got out my church bulletin, and began making phone calls for help. Again, I was overwhelmed by the response: 19 people now help implement the
Wet Cell protocol into my life. People volunteer as they can; some come monthly, others weekly – yet another lesson for me of life’s abundance.
Using the Wet Cell, which is like a low-voltage battery with the voltage of a flashlight, I sometimes feel a tingling in my extremities and a sense of peace and calm. I meditate during the one-half hour application time and return from the experience feeling blessed by God’s presence. I have made the Wet Cell / massage a priority in my life and rarely missed any days using them.
The dietary principles, other than giving up sugar, were easier to apply than I expected. Like many persons diagnosed with P.D., I crave sweets, especially pastries. When I ate sugar, I quickly felt a surge of energy but subsequently dropped like a lead weight and felt my valuable stamina and strength drain away. Eliminating white sugar and drastically limiting other sweets (honey and maple syrup) have been crucial to my body’s healing.
I have always eaten a fairly healthy diet, so I found the recommended foods not a dramatic change. I had been eating organic fruits, vegetables, and grains for years. The amount of vegetables Cayce recommended was, however, a shift. Since cleaning, chopping, and preparing vegetables was labor intensive, friends offered to do this and store the vegetables ready to use into zip-lock bags. This gift helped me conserve energy for other activities.
My meals became simpler: oatmeal or fruit for breakfast, a salad for lunch, and some protein (lamb, fish, poultry) and steamed vegetables for dinner. I savored every bite. Between meals I carefully squeezed in six to eight glasses of water with lemon juice to keep my bowels regular and provide my body cells enough liquid for proper functioning.
After applying the Cayce protocols and Wet Cell appliance/massage for five months, I found that some aspects of healing were very subtle and others dramatic. The most dramatic for me has been regaining the coordination to return to driving my car. As energy and coordination permit, I now drive to the grocery store, to a doctor’s appointment, or to church. On many days my voice is stronger and more audible. I am able to write checks for bills or write a short note in cursive with more ease, and do my own food shopping and food preparation. Most nights I can turn over easier in bed, consequently waking up fewer times at night. I am able to get out of the tub with less struggle. Although my energy, stamina, and coordination are still unpredictable and I have not been able to return to work, I feel a pervading sense of inner peace and strength knowing that God’s presence is a given in my life.
I have found this healing journey to be one of peaks and valleys. Some days I can do many of the activities listed above, and on other days the only activity I can perform is to pray and meditate all day, since that is all my body will allow. For me, this healing experience has not been a graph continually climbing, rather, a line that runs a very jagged zig-zag course.
I was not alone in benefiting from the Cayce regimen. Several of the other nine participants in the program shared their results. “My health and happiness grow stronger each day,” says Glen Goessman of Kirkland, Washington. “I can tell even after this short a time that good changes are happening in my body. The Wet Cell works! My smile has returned and I’m sharing it with my friends. I am no longer such a ‘dead pan.’ I have more stamina. I require less sleep. My eyes are stronger; they don’t cross as much and I can do more reading. Miracle of miracles, my sense of smell has returned! … I am more aware that the Lord walks with me.”
Marissa Richardson of Durham, New Hampshire, says: “I have moved even more clearly into absolute certainty that healing is taking place or will take place. I have the sense, actually, that this is the final chapter in my seven-year quest for this healing. Physically, I go longer periods between doses of Sinemet, some improvement in energy and experience of movements when I’m tremor free!”
Judith lovonna of Meridan, Connecticut, writes: “Less rigidity, more great days as opposed to not so great.’ More relaxation. An inner awareness that I will be fine. Also a concern and heartfelt feeling of wanting all of our group to heal.”
I am encouraged by periodically talking to David Atkinson of North Carolina, who has dramatically recovered from ALS, an “incurable” neurological disease, since he used the Wet Cell/massage therapy. He is an inspiring example of what Edgar Cayce stressed in reading after reading for P.D., that we must apply the healing protocols “consistently, persistently, prayerfully.” He also said, “Don’t give up!” – important words for those of us diagnosed with P.D. or any chronic illness.
I will continue the Cayce remedies until the “still, small voice” within directs me otherwise.
But already I feel like Lazarus. I have come alive again and, bit by bit, am regaining strength, stamina, and coordination. I felt God’s hand placed upon me in blessing to be able to be
a part of this experience.