One morning in the late summer of 2013, I just couldn't get out of bed. I had just come back from a one month long vacation in the Dominican Republic, and for the last few days of my trip, I had come down with a fever and terrible body aches. I came home pretty relieved to be able to rest my body and recover from whatever I had caught. As I woke up that one morning, I realized that I was very sick. The kind of sick that makes your entire body ache, feel feverish, and weak. I was so weak and feverish I couldn't see straight or think straight. My body was really hot, but I was also freezing cold at the same time. I just wanted to be huddled up in bed all day and sleep. I'm sure many of us have experienced being this sick at one point in our lives. Well, problem with me was, I stayed sick for weeks...and ever since then it wouldn't go away. Normally a cold or flu like this goes away in a few days or a week, right? Well, mine didn't go away for 2 whole years. Can you imagine how sick I was? It was a nightmare. Along with feeling this sick, there were also a long list of symptoms that came with my chronic illness. I had what is known as Fibromyalgia.
I had all of these symptoms and more, but the most debilitating one by far was my back pain. Now, I have had back issues for a good chunk of my life, but this pain was different. I remember when I was a kid and would complain about back pain and body aches to my mom all the time. She would take me to the doctors and they would always say: "oh, it's just growing pains. You'll grow out of it." But I never did. Now, these back pains wouldn't impair my day to day life when I was younger. I still went to school, had a job, took tae-kwon-do classes, and many more things (I just asked for many massages more often than other people normally would). However, when I got Fibromyalgia, everything changed. The first big change I had to make was switching my full time job at Wholefoods Market, the job that I thought would be my career because I was just so passionate about health, to a part-time position because my body couldn't take the 40 hours a week of standing. On one eventful day, I had the responsibility of opening the Whole Body Department on my own. I came in early and did my duties. After about 20 minutes of working, when the store hadn't even opened yet, I suddenly got a severe back spasm. My back hunched over and I was in excruciating pain. I couldn't straighten my back at all! I was crying like crazy and was on the floor all by myself for who knows how long, until someone finally found me. They had to call my mom and she had to help support my weight and walk me to the car and to the doctors.
My mom and I (I'm on the right). Crying from the pain. Crying was Everyday I was on the lookout for new
I was always wearing baggy sweat something I did everyday for hours ways to relieve my full-body pain that I was
pants because normal clothes hurt on end. I would often cry myself to experiencing, to help me cope in my hell.
me. I was also always wearing the point of exhaustion and could finally In this photo I have my massage pillow
sweaters even when it was hot finally fall asleep. I felt like I was stuck in that I would live on everyday, a
outside because my body my body, trapped in a life of pain. I wished homeopathic pain cream, a hot/cold
was always cold. and prayed for a new body. water bottle, and a menthol pain relieving
patch. These things would only ever I often contemplated suicide. provide temporary relief of a few minutes or hours. The pain would always come back stronger.
It was obvious my condition was getting worse. Every day I had full body pains: throbbing, stabbing, poking, "feeling like my body was on fire", and sharp back pains that made me gasp for air. I was also met with random chest pains that felt like heart attacks! I had trouble taking deep breaths. I had severe constipation along with the pains that come from not being able to use the bathroom (I wouldn't go to the bathroom for weeks on end without assistance like laxatives and prescriptions.) I suffered from unbelievable migraines that would make me faint in and out of consciousness. I experienced nausea and dizziness almost 24/7. Brain fog was just something I had learned to accept (it was hard for me to talk to people sometimes because I would forget words and simple everyday vocabulary. I could also no longer read books like I used to). I would get stabbing pains in my rectum in the middle of the night that made me feel like I had to be rushed to the hospital. I was sensitive to everything: light, sound, touch, textures, clothes, chemicals, perfumes, animals, you name it! I felt like I had to live in a bubble in order to survive. I avoided the outside world as much as I could. I had so many more symptoms it would take an entire book to write them all down and indeed I should write a book about my experiences one day.
I had become unavailable. I could no longer hang out with friends and eventually lost most of them because they didn't understand what was happening to me. I missed so many family get-togethers as well. No one understood what I was going through because they couldn't physically see it with their eyes and their reasoning was because I was too young to get sick. I felt as if I was an elderly woman of 100 years old living in a 20-year-old body. Many people accused me of being a hypochondriac (someone who is abnormally anxious about their health.) I would also hear things like I just wasn't getting enough exercise. However, my pain was so bad that I couldn't even do the simplest of tasks like washing the dishes, preparing a meal for myself, and basic hygiene tasks like showering and getting dressed. I felt like such a burden to everyone around me. I became depressed, with anxiety, and suffered many panic attacks each week. I would self-harm to take my thoughts away from the pain I couldn't control. My body pains were so debilitating and I was so desperate for an answer. Writing this now, it's really surreal because I never thought I would have come out of that hell. It feels like a past life to me now.
Most days I stayed at home. I had lost my job because I was always calling out because I was in pain and couldn't work. Before this, I tried going on a temporary leave of absence to find out what was wrong with me. I went to many specialists during this time. First, the gastrointestinal doctor for my constipation issues. $3,000 later after an expensive colonoscopy, they still couldn't tell me what was wrong and how to fix my problems. My medical insurance didn't cover any of my medical expenses because the deductible was too high. I also went to a gynecologist who told me that my uterus pains and irregular cycle were perfectly normal and had to do with the fact that I had an inverted uterus. According to her the solution was to get pregnant, have a baby, and hopefully, the uterus would sort itself out; (again, another flop).
I then finally went to a rheumatologist (I had been waiting for this particular appointment for 4 months!) I was very hopeful because a rheumatologist's specialty is in dealing with disorders of the joints and muscles, which was my primary problem! I was so happy but also very nervous. I thought that if I had to wait this long for an appointment to be seen then it must mean that I was finally going to know what was wrong with me and how to fix it. Sadly, this appointment turned out to be the biggest disappointment of all - the one that crushed my spirit almost completely. When I arrived at the clinic they had already taken my blood work the week before. The doctor strode into the room, glazed through my blood work and said the words "All good, you are perfectly healthy." This is not something I wanted to hear because obviously, something was very wrong with me! I then proceeded to tell him all of my symptoms and suddenly he stopped me. He told me to stand up and walk across the hallway in a line as straight as I could. I did. Then he told me to come back into the office. His assistant was there. I struggled to stay seated properly on the table as my spine and back pinched and hurt. He said the only options for me were to see a psychologist because my pain was stress induced. I told him "That can't be it! I'm always in pain! Whether I'm happy, sad, resting, not resting, having fun, bored, with people, alone, it doesn't matter, I'm always in pain! I don't have a job or any big responsibilities because I'm disabled. I have no real stresses in my life besides the pain I am in." I hate to say this but after I said this in between my tears, the doctor just walked out of the room, without another word. Siting there, completely shocked and disoriented with tears running down my face, I thought to myself, there goes the only chance I had at getting better. A professional who specialized in pain disorders had straight up told me that the pain I was feeling for all these years was all in my head.
What every doctor visit entailed. I would hear these words every single day when
No answers and the medical bills interacting with others. Whether it was from friends
piled up. I was still sick and in pain. family, doctors, etc., no one understood the pain
Retelling this story isn't easy I was in. I felt so alone in my quiet suffering.
I'm tearing up thinking about how hopeless I felt all of the time back then. After this doctor's visit, my mom said that I should see a counselor, to at least talk about my feelings. I had lost most of my friends and I'm sure most of my family members didn't believe that I was actually sick. So I took her advice and did see a counselor. I saw this counselor for a few months and it was quite nice for a while. She helped encourage me to start new hobbies, so I started learning how to wire wrap crystals into jewelry, slowly I might add but eventually, I started my own Etsy shop to sell my jewelry. I found out through social media that a lot of people with fibromyalgia took up jewelry making to keep their sanity and to make some money since they couldn't work in the real outside world. This art form kept me busy for most of the day. I could make jewelry in bed, take pictures of my creations, and market myself online all while being at home. Yet, the pain persisted. I eventually got a pet. My pet bird made things more bearable. I was able to cope with her company while my boyfriend was at work, but what was always on my mind was the fact that the rest of the world went on with their lives and I couldn't come out and live my life too.
One of my very few friends that was always The sweetest friend I could ever ask for!
there for me. I kept on being strong so I could We had a close bond.
take care of her the best I could.
During this time I was looking into many different natural modalities and alternatives like massage, acupuncture, physical therapy, eastern Chinese medicine, and chiropractic work. I gave each one of these therapeutic modalities a good chance, but all of them seemed to provide only temporary relief (a few hours to a few days), only to have the pain come back more aggressively.
Then around the holidays of 2014, my boyfriend's mom got diagnosed with stage 4 thyroid cancer. She was devastated. She was scheduled to have her thyroid removed in a few weeks. The doctors had told her that she had to remove her thyroid or otherwise she would die. She wasn't happy about having surgery to remove her thyroid and really didn't want to do it, but felt like she didn't have a choice. She was so sad and scared and would cry every day in fear of her life. I knew I had to tell her about what I had learned regarding an alkalizing raw food diet to heal cancer many years ago. I told my boyfriend first. I said I have to at least tell her. We both decided to sit her down and told her she could heal from cancer if she took it upon herself to only drink green juices and eat fruits until the cancer was gone from her body. She was willing to try anything at this point, so my boyfriend and I helped her. She was able to cure her cancer in just 6 weeks. Many people called it a miracle, but I knew it was the power of nature! Seeing the success that my boyfriend's mom had, I thought hey why don't I try the raw food diet for my "incurable disease"? I had only heard it curing cancer at this point in my life, but it couldn't hurt to try for my illness!
I took my herbs everyday along with In the beginning of my healing journey
a eating a high fruit/ raw food diet! I took when I fasted for 17 days on just grapes!
herbal formulas for the kidneys, adrenal glands, I got really skinny but my body detoxed
brain and nervous system, and stomach and a lot during this time. After all of my fasts,
bowel to name a few. I also drank the heal all tea my body rebuilt itself very nicely with
and took the GI broom every night! the help of raw foods!
I finally was headed on the right road of detoxification; the road that would lead to my complete healing. Detoxification was my golden key to getting out of my pain and suffering. Eating fruits and herbs and following a raw vegan diet truly saved me. They cleansed my body of the acids and toxins that were causing me pain, they gave me an energy I didn't even know I was possible to experience. My skin redness cleared up overnight and my body also slimmed down within the next few weeks. My extensive list of health issues disappeared, many at the same time! I used to suffer from panic attacks every other day and they were finally gone! My mood was as peaceful and as clear as a blue sky. My suffering from chronic constipation and Irritable Bowel Syndrome for most of my life was no more! Through the next few months I cleared out so much of the mucus, parasites, and old junk that had been stuck inside of me for most of my life. You wouldn't believe how many buckets of mucus I eliminated by eating raw vegan foods and taking herbs. So many of us are living with these pounds of mucus inside of us. I was 125 pounds when I first started my journey to healing. Now I am healed and clean and am 95 pounds. I cleansed 30 pounds of toxins that were inside me.
Before: 2014 After: 2016
Here I was always sick, exhausted and in Here I am finally healthy and free to be whoever
pain. I suffered from a long list of issues, want to be and do whatever I want to do!
including hypersensitive skin as seen in photo. 30 pounds lighter with clear skin, no pain My face was always red, oily, and itchy! or inflammation, and confident in my abilities!
Healing myself was worth it 100 percent. Many times during my journey I had to say no to temptations all around me. Through the many different fasts I embarked on to detox even deeper, I learned that I was addicted to cooked food and that I used cooked food as a means to comfort myself when I was sad or stressed out. Going on the raw food diet allowed me to face my deep-seated fears and be present with them. I didn't have food to numb my worries and problems anymore. I was able to transform these fears into love by being gentle with myself and doing what was best for my body at every given moment. I developed a connection with my temple that I never had before. My intuition would let me know if something was right for me or wrong for me; whether that was a certain food, habit, place, friendship, relationship, etc. I learned to put myself and my health first above everything else. That is what I teach to my clients. Your body is your space suit on this planet Earth; you've got to take care of it to experience this life to the fullest! If you are sick, in pain, or unsatisfied with your body, then how can you reach your full potential?
On this journey, I have realized what my mission in this life is. It is to help all of the living creatures on this planet. I have suffered so much in this life and feel so much empathy to all those who suffer, whether they are people or animals. I never judge anyone as I know everyone is on a different path. It is my dream and goal to help as many people as I can in their pain, fears, and suffering. As you can see, I was once very ill too. Don't lose hope. It is possible to heal anything! Do not listen to the naysayers. If I had given my attention to the negativity, I would not be healed and alive today! I am the proof that detoxification and regeneration is the key to healing!
Until next time,
Ailin Duran D.S.
-Ailin Duran D.S