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Environmental Illness Is Not A Life Sentence


Imagine a world where your dreams are manifesting before your eyes; a world full of hope and promise. Imagine all this coming to a sudden, crippling halt and down into the cocoon you go . . .

Imagine a world where your dreams are manifesting before your eyes; a world full of hope and promise. Imagine all this coming to a sudden, crippling halt and down into the cocoon you go...

In 1993, 22 years old, I'd just released my first independent compact disc of original songs. I found myself on television, radio, and stage. My family, friends and followers fully believed I had the brightest of futures. Imagine my concern when, just a few months later, I began experiencing an undeniable throat pain whenever I sang. Next came an unbearable fatigue, which left me sleeping for 16 hours and waking up tired. Pain from head to toe was to follow and all this forced me to abandon singing and song writing, the two things I loved most. I sought help, only to be disappointed by one white coat after another. Their tests determined the same thing there was nothing wrong.

I tried everything; a month without speaking, speech therapy, a change of residence. Nothing worked. Eventually, I discovered a holistic doctor who identified my condition as environmental illness. He prescribed a diet protocol and homeopathics and advised me to leave the damp East Coast climate. Two weeks later, shortly after my 23rd birthday, I sold what little I owned, purchased a plane ticket, and departed for the drier, yet unfamiliar, city of Calgary, Alberta.

In the years that followed, life was difficult. At home, I sometimes had to wear a mask for protection. (Sensitivities once required me to change my place of residence four times in six months.) I was grateful to work in a record store, although the common chemicals all around me, including perfumes my customers wore, caused reactions ranging from exhausting fatigue and universal muscular pain to mental confusion and severe digestive difficulties. I experienced overwhelming bloating. It transformed my waist from 28 to 34 and at times I still loosened my belt!

Whatever money I could spare went towards my health. At a snail's pace I forged ahead, trying every therapy, test or book I could find. Daily I swallowed a stream of supplements from a battery of bottles as long as my leg. I was alive but barely treading water. While friends found marriages, families and careers, I struggled with despair and recurring days of depression. I had tried everything, lost four of my best years and my suffering continued.

Then, one day, my life turned a corner. A gentleman entered the music store where I worked. I'd assisted him before, but on this day our connection was about to deepen. His name was Bud Richki, a physician who, as it turned out, was just about to receive new medical equipment from Europe equipment that had proved successful in treating what else? Environmental illness!

I began to visit Dr Rickhi's Research Centre For Alternative Medicine in Calgary as a patient in the functional medicine program. A new chapter unfolded in my life. The staff confirmed my ailments were untreatable with conventional medicine, but assured me they would recommend appropriate treatment, whether complementary or conventional. While my previous doctor diagnosed me with environmental illness, they chose to treat and evaluate my response from a symptoms perspective. In the following months, the regular treatments I received helped to systematically cleanse the toxins from my body. With Dr Rickhi's guidance I also discovered a new field of knowledge, one that included vibrational medicine and daily meditation.

It's now seven years since that distant day when I first found singing painful. I'm grateful for all my journey has given me; grateful for suffering that taught me to listen to my body; grateful for fatigue revealing the value of patience and persistence; grateful for loneliness leading me to appreciate friends. I'm grateful for the depression that allowed the development of compassion for those I see struggling. Grateful for anger and frustration driving me to carry on despite the disappointments that filled my life. Most of all, I'm grateful to those who helped me and stayed by me when I thought I had lost my way.

At 29, I live a relatively regular life. I manage the music store where I first came to work six years ago. I ride my bike to work and have energy at the end of the day. I dine out occasionally, enjoying foods that once made me very ill. My battery of bottles has vanished and my Research Centre visits are less frequent. The final stages of detoxification still deliver difficult days--but soon I'll be healthier than before environmental illness found me.
Environmental illness is not a life sentence.

May my story be a light of hope to all who stumble through darkness alone. If that is you, then please imagine a world where wellness is manifesting before your eyes, a world full of hope and promise. Imagine your suffering coming to an end as you break free from the illness that held you for so long.



Innovation for Good

Innovation for Good

Neil ZevnikNeil Zevnik