My story begins a long time ago in a land far away….in a small town just outside of Buffalo. Well, maybe not so long ago or that far away then. I grew up in what I always thought was an average American household. It probably was. Pretty sure, the cat was maybe a little weird though.
Any hope of being average was mostly blown away at the age of sixteen when I was playing volleyball at a family gathering and noticed a large lump on my neck. Soon after I was at a doctor’s office getting this checked out. We discovered that I had a low platelet count (idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura for those of you in medical land) and that this thing on my neck turned out to be a branchial cleft cyst.
Now, for those of you not already up to speed on platelets, they help you to stop bleeding when you get injured, and with a low platelet count you don’t want to cut into someone that can’t stop bleeding. This was a problem with having any kind of surgery (like one for a branchial cleft cyst) and a problem with having any kind of injury or fall. They told my mom to put a helmet on her baby so he wouldn’t bump his head. She looked at them quizzically and said her sixteen-year-old son would probably be opposed to wearing a helmet around. Both of these conditions typically happen in very young children, you see. Strange blood conditions were only the tip of the medical iceberg it turns out and new and more diagnosis would soon follow. I lost organs. I have a liver transplant. You would never know to look at me though.
I also do not look like I have stripes, but I am what we call in medicine a “zebra”. Now, let me explain, and no -- it has nothing to do with stripes. In medicine, you look for the usual and normal things first. If it sounds like a horse, looks like a horse, and acts like a horse, it is probably a horse…unless, of course, it is a zebra. Zebras are the weird medical things that pop up. I am a Zebra. I have had more than my share of unusual health things occur that are anything but typical. More on that as blogs unfold because my many medical zebra moments are at the heart of some of the turning points of my life; like changing my diet, changing my lifestyle, changing states, changing my career path, meeting wizards and magic gems, living off-grid –all that sort of thing.
I have nearly died a few too many times perhaps but a combination of modern medicine and natural medicine have let me keep playing on.
I was given the informal title of The Bard in this group. Maybe because I have dragged myself out of a few hospital beds to make it on time and on stage for a gig. Maybe it's the story telling. I have been enthralled by music since I can remember and my Welsh ancestry has maybe made me a bit of a teller of tales. These are surprisingly useful skills when I teach things like anatomy, chemistry and medical terminology. It may surprise you to learn that not everyone is instantly and easily fascinated by latin prefixes --hard to imagine, I know. I remember my grandfather picking at his guitar, blowing a traditional song on the harmonica, or his attempts at playing the accordion. My great uncle was a fiddler in country bands. I picked up the guitar and later the bass as a kid. I did not become the rock star I had planned to be somehow but ended up in naturopathic and acupuncture schools.
This is where I met what was to become our eclectic group, our clan, our tribe. I first met Dr. Sara Hazel (a.k.a. The Wizard -- though she denied the title for years) who taught a few of my classes. When she mentioned gemstone acupuncture and energy medicine and how she used them to help her patients -- I simply could not believe it at first. I am a bit of a skeptic at all times and need things to be proven to me. Homeopathy failed to impress me for years. Having had most forms of medicine fail to save many of my organs, even while they saved my life, I am not so easily convinced that any form of therapy has the answer. I did see that she had a real success rate with an integration of natural methods and a willingness to embrace whatever works. Still… gemstones? I was studying at an acupuncture school and learning Tai Chi and Qi Gong at the time, so it seemed somehow on the edge of these things, something that might just be possible.
I am the one that talked her in to teaching the first Gemstone Acupuncture class for myself and some fellow students. There have been dozens of classes since then and hundreds of students. She was reluctant at the time and tended to keep that part of her practice fairly quiet back then. Still skeptical, I was intrigued. I came to the first class. When I felt a sphere of rhodochrosite vibrate and almost jump out of my hand during a practice session I finally thought, “maybe this is a real thing”.
So I will tell you of our journey as we go, probably with a lot of music lyric quotes. After all, we are on a magical mystery tour on a magic gem bus. I made the musical compilation, of course.
“To make a reservation
Roll up for the Mystery Tour
The Magical Mystery Tour
Is waiting to take you away”
Music Player, Health Science Educator, Storyteller with degrees in Naturopathic Medicine, Psychology, and other training in medicine that help not at all when building Greenhouses and Solar Systems and off grid saunas, hot tubs, showers, and barns.