Not sure how to start one of these, but here goes. Several years ago, about 6 or 7 years, I began to get really sick. Just all of a sudden it seemed. I started to swell up from inflammation and then the pain set in. I could hardly walk anymore. I was getting more and more exhausted with every move I made throughout the day. All I wanted to do was sleep. I remember how horrible I felt, even now, I remember while talking about it. I would take more and more pain pills I was already prescribed for a back issue I’ve had for years. I suppose they just stopped helping and I needed a higher dose. I gained a lot of weight too. That certainly didn’t help.

A friend of mine was already seeing a doctor for her pain and unexplained weight gain and brain fog, so she suggested I go see him too. I agreed. I really didn’t know what else to do. To shorten this story lets just get to the part where I was diagnosed with a boatload of things, like fibromyalgia, RA, spinal stenosis, and the list went on. I walked out with a fist full of drugs for free and a list of prescriptions I was to start taking immediately. One of which was a form of chemo drug. I felt numb. My daughter and newly born grandson were with me. I waited forever to be a grandmother, and there I was, standing in a Doctors office, watching them decorate a Christmas tree, looking at my grandson I waited for my whole life it seemed, and I couldn’t even hold him in my arms without it causing me horrible pain! I started crying and it seemed I never stopped crying for a really long time. I thought about all the things I wanted to do in my life, still, and that I was never going to get to do them. I pictured my hair falling out. I cried again. I tried with all my might to climb up in my daughter’s SUV and it took all the energy I had! I kept staring down at the fist full of prescriptions wondering what happened to my life! I was a vibrant woman who trained horses and showed them alongside my daughter, how did I end up here? My daughter was trying to look like it was all ok, but I could see that look in her eye as though it were my reflection. The tears just kept burning my face. I was so lost that day.

I went on to fill the prescriptions, started taking them, first started with the full pack of steroids. Oh my goodness. I thought I was King of the Mountain when I was taking them. No pain, energy to burn. House as clean as a pin. And then they wore off!! The pain was even more horrible. ( the doctor warned me it would happen). Then every morning I had my cup to fill with prescriptions. A paper to write down when what and how much of all that poison to swallow. I got so depressed I was losing focus altogether on what the purpose of my life was.

Now, the second month of doctor visits, weight gain noted, 40lbs so far, and more burning pain in my limbs. Another doctor to visit. This time a new one. A specialist. The elevator door opened and all I remember seeing were rows of reclining chairs with IV poles hanging from them and patients sitting and watching TV. My heart raced. The tears started filling my eyes again. I realized my life was no longer my own and I was now a patient. After spending a great deal of time in an office spilling my guts to this new doctor about my symptoms, I just started crying and couldn’t stop. She handed me a box of kleenex and I really don’t remember how long it took for me to stop crying and get dressed to leave.

More prescriptions. They filled them there at the office. I was now in a fog I couldn’t see a way out of. My friend drove me home. I don’t remember even talking to her or thanking her for being there. Because I felt so alone, maybe I thought I was alone.

Long story short the steroid meds were administered wrong and I was so wound up I couldn’t stand it. I called to get help. They told me to call my own family doctor and ask them for a prescription for Valium. I knew then, I was in big trouble.

I got mad. I got really mad. I immediately started looking for another doctor. One who really cared. Low and behold I found one. He also told me I didn’t have all those diseases, and that he needed to wean me off those meds!! I had blood work, X-rays, etc. to confirm I didn’t have all those diseases but that my body was indeed reacting to something. The inflammation was real and so was the pain.

I started searching the internet for old fashioned home remedies. Herbs, spices, elixirs, whatever it took. I had remembered my grandparents used home remedies and that their parents did too. So I decided I was going to find some and make them myself.

I found a website that mentioned fermented veggies. It explained that way back when they fermented veggies and the benefits were unbelievable. So I searched more. I found a woman named Donna Schwenk who made ferments and milk kefir. I had to know more. So I read her blog like someone starving for food! I drank it in. I talked about. I would get up in the middle of the night because I couldn’t sleep, so I read and I learned. I watched videos on how to make this stuff. I immediately ordered the starters. I made my first batch of fermented veggies. It was so good I ate way too much of it at first. I felt the “die-off” they speak of and it was unpleasant, but I didn’t stop. I knew this was the stuff I was meant to eat. I knew I was on the right track!! I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, Donna was my teacher!! I went from veggies to water kefir then to milk kefir, then to Kombucha. I fermented everything!! My husband said I was a mad scientist!! I laughed. I said, “I’m making my own medicine”. “It’s healing me from the inside out”.. I thank the Lord for Donna. I call her my hero. I’ve told her that more than once on facebook. She is my hero. I believe God took me to her website and she is the reason why I am still, after 7 years, can’t believe it been that long, still making my ferments. My family eats my ferments. They drink my kombucha and my water kefir. I use my milk kefir for my protein drinks, and for making my salad dressings, and dips. I have used it in soups and much more. My husband loves my ranch dressing and he dips his veggies in it. My lake friends love my fermented salsa. They talk about that the most. My favorite is my orange water kefir. My whole family drinks my orange water kefir. No more experiments with flavors, orange is their favorite. The grandson I spoke of earlier that I was not able to hold, is now 8 years old and I hold him as much as he lets me. I have another grandson who is 6 and he lets me snuggle with him a lot. I certainly hope you can read how much I appreciate having my life back. Thanks to Donna and her research and forging ahead for us, I do have my life back. We have a houseboat and we go every weekend and every spare minute. I have kayaks and I use them a lot. I went on a kayak adventure of 14.7 miles on the river and I had my Aunt with me and I did all the rowing for both of us!! Yes, it hurt later, but I think it was worth it!!

I’ll say it again, Donna is my hero and she will always have that title as far as I’m concerned. I have a lot to thank her for. I know and I believe that fermented foods and drinks are what healed me. I was taking 28 pills a day! But I don’t any more! Now I’m a supplement girl! I am 58 years old this year. I didn’t feel like I would ever make it to this age. Oh, one more thing, I’ve had many people say I do not look 58 years old! Thank you, Donna, for doing the groundwork and making the public available to your research. I have purchased your grains and still have them all this time later. They still continue to make me well. My sister in Australia is also a follower. Take care. Here’s a big atta boy from me in Kentucky!!