Dear Donna,

Three years ago I was so sick I didn’t think I was going to live much longer. I was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver caused by the hepatitis C virus. I took medication that cured the hepatitis but my liver was diseased and damaged. The diagnosis was confirmed by a CT Scan and the report was very grim. My liver was scarred and shrunken. My body was unable to digest protein and it was turning into ammonia and poisoning me. I was disoriented and had difficulty focusing on daily activities. My hands had tremors and I could barely sign my name. I lost forty pounds in one month. There was no muscle or fat left on my body, I was skin and bones. My whole body ached and my joints were painful. I had a constant pressure headache. My face was drawn and my eyes sunken into my head. My hair was thin, brittle and falling out. I bled and bruised easily. My skin was like rice paper and sometimes ripped and bled from a simple touch or bumping into things. I remember removing a bandaid and watch ing the skin tear like paper. I also had ascites, a pleural effusion, a distended stomach and fluid in the abdomen, a side effect of cirrhosis which also caused a painful and debilitating hernia. My legs and ankles swelled from standing or sitting too long in one position (edema). My heart rate was 42-46 beats per minute (bradycardia), and my blood pressure was dangerously low. My gall bladder was swollen and had gallstones. I had surgery to repair the hernia but It was not healing properly.

Prior to my cirrhosis attack, I suffered from chronic severe heartburn. I was in so much agony I had surgery to repair my esophagus. I only experienced minor improvement. Shortly thereafter, I became ill with cirrhosis and my heartburn came back with a vengeance, it was worse than it had ever been. My esophagus was raw, I had difficulty swallowing (dysphasia), frequent choking and coughing, food and pills would get stuck in my throat. My voice was hoarse and my ears were aching and clogged. I was as miserable from my digestive disorder as I was from my cirrhosis. I was taking six heartburn pills every day, 2 Prilosec and 4 Zantac maximum strength. All of that medication only took the edge off the heartburn. I was placed on a low sodium and low protein diet and prescribed several other medications to stabilize my condition. I was barely existing on a diet of oatmeal, rice, grits, eggs, low acid fruits and melons, nutrition shakes and an occasional piece of meat.

I was desperate, gravely sick, unable to sleep and living one day at a time. I was afraid to close my eyes, I feared I would not wake up. For fifteen months I existed like this and never gained an ounce of weight. Some days were better than others but my condition didn’t change. I was embarrassed to go places or socialize because I looked and felt so bad. One day I got a phone call from my sister in law and she told me about a supplement that was beneficial for heartburn. While researching this supplement I came across an article that recommended drinking milk kefir and eating cultured foods as a way to improve heartburn and regain health.

I ordered milk kefir grains online for $10 or so. The second day after drinking my homemade milk kefir I told my wife I felt different. My stomach didn’t ache as much and my esophagus felt soothed and less irritated. After a couple of days of feeling improved my heartburn returned and I slipped back into the same rut, but I was determined to stick with it and give it a chance to work. I drank kefir twice a day and sometimes more and little by little I started feeling better. With each monthly doctor visit, I would report some improvement and I would ask to cut back on my medications. Most notably, I started gaining weight, real muscle, and even a little body fat. My doctor asked me what I was doing different and I told him about milk kefir.

Along the way, I found your website, and listened to your incredible story of healing. Your knowledge, enthusiasm, and sincerity kept me going when I didn’t think it was going to work. You explained how these foods worked and what I could expect from drinking milk kefir. I learned to make cultured foods and soon had homemade sauerkraut and kosher pickles in my refrigerator too. In four months’ time I became a different person. I felt alive again, I was gaining weight and I was eating real food. I reduced my heartburn medication from six pills down to two pills. In time, I was able to stop taking all other medications. All of the horrible side effects of my cirrhosis were improving.

It’s now been 23 months since my first drink of kefir. I have gained back all the weight I lost from my disease. I am active, energetic and living life again like I never thought possible. I still have cirrhosis, my liver is damaged, but somehow my body is compensating and I am living without any of the side effects like those I described above. I know the milk kefir has completely rebalanced my gut and allowed my body to digest foods and heal itself. My heartburn is gone, I can eat any food I want, even foods that I haven’t eaten in more than ten years, including spicy!

I want to thank you for the incredible work you are doing. Your energy, enthusiasm, and spirit kept me going when I thought I wasn’t going to improve. I want to encourage you to continue sharing your story and your knowledge because you have helped so many people rediscover their health and enjoy their lives the way it was meant to be. You have helped me tremendously and I am so grateful for that.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart, (and my liver too, haha),


Tom Ribel