Avital: Hello. Welcome. We have Dr. Brooke Goldner with us. She is the best-selling author of Goodbye Lupus and a board certified medical doctor. She's the founder of VeganMedicalDoctor.com and creator of the hyper-nourishing healing protocol for lupus recovery.
Brooke, would you walk us through your story of how you started having health issues in childhood, how that felt during that process, and what ended up healing you?
Brooke: My story began when I was 16 years old. I was a normal, nerdy kid, enjoying my little group of friends, but weird things started to happen. I started having arthritis, which is not typical for that age. It would move around in my body, and I began having arthritis in different parts of my body, which is not typical of kids that age, and I couldn’t figure out why. I had a passing thought maybe it was from playing volleyball, but then I reminded myself that I mostly sat bench for volleyball, so that wasn’t a good explanation. At the same time,I started getting rashes, including a butterfly rash all across my face, which is typical of lupus. My energy levels plummeted. I began getting migraines that would last for days, and I would vomit from the pain. Once, after being at a pool all day with a friend, I had a migraine, vomited, and ended up with a bright red rash on my face. My dad looked at me and said, “You know, I think the skin is a window to your health. So I think we should go to the doctor.” I didn’t take that suggestion very seriously because my dad always jokingly spouted off what I call “dad science.” But I now teach that as a truth, and something was terribly wrong.
At the hospital, I was diagnosed with lupus, a serious autoimmune disease that can spread throughout the body, affecting the heart, lungs, kidneys, and brain. My blood tests and kidney biopsy confirmed that I had stage 4 kidney failure. Because of the severity of the disease, my doctors had little hope that the medicines normally used would save my kidneys. They said if they didn’t do something very radical, I might not make it past six months. The best we could hope for was dialysis, and worst-case scenario was that I would not survive.
I had a hard time taking in what was happening. I was only sixteen, and more worried about the cute guy in my biology class than life and death issues. For my family, it was devastating—I’m an only child, and my mom comes from a family of Holocaust survivors, so they had high hopes that I would do many great things.
In a desperate attempt to shut off my immune system, I was given chemotherapy in addition to high-dose steroids, which was an experimental treatment at the time. I had chemotherapy once a month for two years, from age sixteen to eighteen. It was pretty rough, but my family always kept me focused on my purpose in life and the fact that lupus was just something I was dealing with. I now give that same message to people struggling with disease, telling them: “Don’t take the disease on as who you are because then everything else crumbles away and you just suffer. Instead, focus on why you’re on the earth.We’re not on the earth to suffer but because we have a gift we were born to give.”
To learn more about the book Healing Happens: Stories of Healing Against All Odds, and discover more inspirational stories and transformative health and healing tips, please visit: http://www.healinghappensbook.com/