My miracle story begins . . .
I had been working in Information Technology for 34 years when I started falling. I would just be walking along and suddenly I would fall. It started out slow, maybe once every couple of weeks. Then it got to be more frequent. Occasionally by hands would go totally numb like they went to sleep while was typing. I went to see my normal doctor who immediately sent be to a neurologist. What the neurologist did was stick pins in different spots in my legs and feet to test how much I felt them. Then he ordered some nerve conduction tests. The tests gave me a series of electric shocks on various parts of my upper leg to simulate a nerve signal. Probes at various positions on my foot measured the current. The attached computer calculated the speed and intensity of my nerve propagation. They did the same tests on my arms and hands.
The conclusion: My nervous system was not functioning properly. My nerve signal propagation was weak and slow. The signal from my feet when I stepped on any unevenness in the ground surface was not getting to my brain fast enough. And my brain’s signal to muscles for a balance correction was getting down to my legs in time. The result: down I went without any warning. Splat!
The doc said I had “bilateral idiopathic peripheral neuropathy.” Neuropathy is loss of nerve function. Peripheral means that it was in my limbs and not in the brain or spinal column. Bilateral meant that I had it in both my right and left arms and legs. Idiopathic means “we don’t know the cause.” Diabetes or trauma is often the cause of neuropathy, but I had neither. I did have some burning sensation in my feet and they got numb and woke me up during sleep. The solution offered was to begin taking Neurontin, live with it and come back in a month for retesting (stick with pins method) to see if it was getting better or worse.
Meanwhile my colleagues at Computer Science Corporation, (for whom I was a traveling project consultant), were embarrassed by my random falls and concerned for the impressions on clients. CSC decided to put me on medical disability leave.
For months I went back for the retest. The doctor said my condition was getting worse slowly. Specifically he said:” The good news is it won’t kill you; the bad news is it may put you in a wheelchair.” I researched neuropathy on my own and found that there are hundreds of variants, maybe of unknown origin and some caused by a DNA mutation and limited to a family with that mutated gene. The outlook was for a hereditary connection since I have an uncle with non-diabetic neuropathy.
Nerve biopsy is like a lightening hit!
Finally I agreed to my doctor’s suggestion that I had been resisting, a nerve biopsy in the Tulane University medical research hospital in New Orleans. The nerve doctor there made an incision in my left ankle, found the nerve to the top of my foot and cut it to get a sample for slides. DO NOT EVER AGREE TO A NERVE BIOPSY! It is like getting hit with a lightning bolt! I have been shocked by car ignition system, (unplug a sparkplug wire with the engine running), and the biopsy was about a hundred times worse!
I don’t remember all the medical mumbo-jumbo of the report, but the microscope slide of the cross-section of the nerve bundle showed only a few nerves when it should have looked the cross-section of a big underground telephone cable with many, many conductors. This was not a hopeful report!
My neurologist kept up his monthly pin sticking and increase in my Neurontin until I finally agreed to go for the most advanced neurological diagnosis facility in the US, the Houston Methodist Hospital next door to the famous M D Anderson Cancer Hospital. The 3-day intensive neurological exam had helped thousands, and I had hopes of some new and better news for me.
After the initial battery of tests that ruled out diabetes and some other causes, a group of doctors came to my room on day two. They were smiling and said that they had good news. They said,”There are some things that can relieve your neuropathy, but we need to complete all the tests before we give you the full report.”
On day three when they came back, the docs were not smiling. They said, “Non-diabetic neuropathy is usually the result of either nerve death or sheath damage by an auto-immune system attack. But you have both both causes: scarcity of cells and sheath damage!” They had been previously optimistic because they had found the sheath damage from my immune system first and there are treatments for that. Then they reviewed the slides I had transferred from Tulane and they saw the massive nerve cell death that left only a few remaining nerves. They said, “There is nothing that can be done about the nerve loss.”
CIDP + hopelessness
The lead doctor said that he was going to call my problem Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP) because that is a treatable problem that medical insurance would cover. He felt like it would be worth trying to get some relief from this part of the problem. He said he would not mention the scarcity of nerve cells because that is not treatable and would prevent insurance coverage of any treatment.
When my neurologist got the report, he began my treatment with a week of daily infusions of gamma globulin to boost my immune system. Gamma globulin is a dried powder concentrate of the immune system proteins from the blood of at least a thousand donors. The infusion procedure is to check into the hospital and wait for the solution of the powder into an infusible liquid. This preparation process takes at least an hour because if done too rapidly the solution foams. Since air bubbles must not be injected, slow mixing is the rule. Slow infusion follows, taking 6-8 hours to infuse the solution.
I did feel somewhat better after the week of infusions, so I was put on a program of days of infusion once per month. The gamma globulin must have been having some good effect because it felt like my energy got a boost with the infusions that I could feel gradually declining throughout the month. One month there was insufficient hospital supply of gamma globulin to do two days, so I got one infusion in the beginning of the month and the second one half way through the month when the hospital supply was restored. That worked better by giving two smaller energy spikes and declines. Thereafter I did one day in the hospital every other week.
Gamma globulin + Neurontin + Methadone
Meanwhile, my primary care physician put me on daily methadone to aid the neuropathy pain. My routine of daily methadone, thrice daily Neurontin, and biweekly gamma globulin infusions went on for over a year. Simultaneously, I noticed my mind would wander off into weird daydreams that had never happened before. When I mentioned this strange phenomenon to another neurologist at a health fair, he said: “Of course! Neurontin affects your nervous system. Where it the biggest concentration of your nervous system? In your brain.” I went home, read all of the side effects of Neurontin. That’s when I decided that the negatives outweighed the benefits and stopped taking it. I also stopped the methadone because the weekly hassle involved with getting it seemed to outweigh the benefits. Because it is a controlled substance, I could only get a week’s supply and had to go personally collect a new prescription from the physician each week. I continued the hospital infusions.
To understand how this happened, a little background is needed. Two factors converged to bring this about:
1) I am a stained glass artist as a secondary career. I had a small business with a couple of employees fabricating the glass that I designed while off on my IT consulting assignments.
2) My wife, Dona, met a high school friend who had become a hypnotherapist. She helped Dona with a life-long problem so profoundly that Dona decided to become a hypnotherapist herself. Dona got certified and attended a conference for hypnotists in Detroit. There she met an instructor whose energy she liked. She decided to take one of her classes in California.
Dona accepted my offer to accompany her to California from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where we were living at that time. I called architects from our hotel room and promoted my stained glass while she attended class.
Craziest idea ever!
One evening, Dona invited her instructor, Shelley Stockwell Nicholas, up to our room to me. Within minutes, she invited me to take her hypnosis class. My reaction was instantaneous: “That’s the craziest idea I ever heard of! Why in the world would I ever want to take your class?” Without hesitation, Shelley fired back: “It will make you a better stained glass artist!” That overcame my resistance and got me thinking, “Well, maybe it could help and it probably can’t hurt to find out.” By the end of that week I had decided to return with Dona for the hypnosis class in three months.
In my first hypnosis class I learned much that I had never heard before, but the most impressive fact was that my mind was running my body. It really impressed me that I had never heard that before. As someone with a past history of three disk ruptures, two back surgeries, hepatitis “x” (undetermined strain), and now neuropathy, this was intriguing news! I had never heard any of this in my family or my years of education. We also learned basic self-hypnosis. I decided that we should learn more in the next level hypnosis class.
My pink dilemma
Three months later, we are making our last minute preparations to travel on the week-end to California for the Monday-Friday class when my urine looks like pink grapefruit juice! The next day, my doctor checks my urine and confirms the presence of blood. He gives me an order for the series of tests to determine which from the list of 25 possible causes is responsible. My problem is no time for these tests before we leave on our trip for the next hypnosis class.
I have a real dilemma! I don’t want to cancel the trip, and I don’t want whatever the cause is to get worse, and I don’t want to worry about it for the next 10 days until I can get back to take the tests! What to do?
Then I remembered the important lesson from the first class, “Your sub-conscious mind is running your body.” I realized what I had to do.
I used the self-hypnosis that I had learned to put myself into a relaxed state where my sub-conscious was more receptive. I gave myself this instruction: “Sub-conscious, because you run my body, I know that you know what is going on with this blood in my urine. I also know that you know how to fix it because the body is made to heal itself. I not only give you permission, but I COMMAND you to fix it NOW!”
My miracle story #1: I learn how to cure myself!
The next morning my urine was normal color. We went on our trip as planned. My urine continued to be normal in the following weeks. I never had the tests performed and I never went back to the doctor. Case closed! That is my first miracle story! I commented to Dona how powerful that whole experience was. Her response was, “Why don’t you use that process on your neuropathy?” My reaction was, “Duh! I should have thought of that, but I didn’t!”
Self-hypnosis for neuropathy
I made myself a CD of instructions to my nerve cells and immune system that I played as I fell asleep each night and first awoke in the morning. (These are the two most powerful times for infusing sub-conscious instructions because the conscious, resistant, critical mind is not fully present at those times.) The summary of the instructions was “Nerve cells, grow back. Don’t worry that the doctors say you cannot! Just do it!! Immune system, leave the nerve cells alone!”
My miracle story #2: I cure myself again!
After doing this daily for about five weeks, I noticed that I was feeling better. I stopped the hospital infusions and continued to feel good. My symptoms disappeared. I realized that again I had worked my own miracle of curing myself!
I am a scientist at heart with a degree in secondary education with math and physics minors plus seven years teaching chemistry, math, and physics. My science mind wanted to understand what had happened. I found my answer in the many medical studies about the medical benefits of hypnosis. These studies document the ability of hypnosis to switch off pain and accelerate many types of healings.
The moment of decision
A deep emotional sense of loss swept over me. Here I was 65 years old, and I had never heard about this power of the mind to transform the body. I was disappointed that I suffered several back surgeries and the pain resulting from refusing the third surgery when I could have turned this pain off if I had known about this power. When I thought about the millions of people who suffer from back pain needlessly, I decided to dedicate my future to informing others of their power. I decided to leave behind what I knew best, engineering computer systems. My future would be helping people use the power of their mind to get themselves well and happy. That day my career as a mind trainer and medical hypnotist began. With Dona, I registered for the next hypnosis class that would move me from master hypnotist to hypnotherapist. It was during that class that the next miracle began.
What is deep inside?
During the first day of class the instructor, Shelley, asks me while I am in trance, “If you could be doing anything in the world right now, what would you most like to be doing?” I answered, “Watching the sunset on the Pacific Ocean.” The rest of the class turned and looked at Dona who was utterly startled by my answer. I was dumbfounded! I had never thought or expressed such a desire before.
I thought about that response over the next days. As I did, I detected some sub-conscious connections that had been below my awareness level. I associated love with the sun because the big orange sun was low on the horizon that moment when I really understood how much God loved me. It was the deep unconditional love of a woman that moved me. It was a depth of love that I had not experienced in that emotional way from my parents. It burned deep in my soul. For the first time I really knew that I was lovable and really, really loved! That orange sun got deeply imprinted along with that feeling of love.
And then there was my art. I had been painting sunsets, and doing them in mosaics and stained glass. I did them just because I like them, without realizing my spiritual connection deep inside. As Dona and I talked about the idea of moving to California to pursue our new hypnotherapy careers, its possibility seemed to grow. But what would it be like to move from our roots to California? What are the housing costs? Where do you start?
Shelly wanted to help us settle this issue since it was her question that stirred all this up. She was friends with a couple who lived nearby and was undecided about either selling their house or remodeling it. Did we want to take a look just to get a California housing idea? We agreed, and so did Doctor Lilly, the owner. The house was 50 years old and desperately in need of being remodeled. There were big wrinkles in the aged carpet and black around the air ducts with a tiny kitchen and ancient appliances. The view was spectacular, not just 180 degrees, but 270 degrees of unobstructed view of the ocean. The opportunity looked really interesting, but we needed some references to gauge its value.
When class was over on Friday, we contacted a real estate agent to show us some houses that overlooked the ocean. We didn’t really like any of them, but we did get a good feel for the pricing of houses in the area. We were used to homes in Louisiana where the land was usually about 1/5th of the total value of a home and the building 4/5ths. Along the California coast it is more like 4/5ths is the land and 1/5th is the house. By the end of the day I had sufficient reference points to make an offer on the spectacular view home that needed the remodel.
Sunday morning Jon, Shelley’s husband and former contractor, accompanies me to make our offer. Dona stays with Shelley and is feeling very queasy about this plan. She says to Shelley, “I am 65. I think I’m getting too old for all this moving.” To which Shelley responds, “You better make up your mind because Duncan is up there making an offer!”
When I make the offer to purchase the house, Dr. Lilly immediately says, “No!” It was not “let’s talk,” or a counter offer. In that instant my offer tipped the balance of indecision to “we will remodel.” She realized that they would never find another house with such a spectacular view and she was not ready to give it up.
When I told Dona about the rejection of our offer, an involuntary tear began to roll down her cheek. That as when she knew that she was ready to move to California! We departed for the airport and the flight back to Louisiana thinking that we would be back in three months for the next class and more house-hunting. In the meantime we could do some internet housing research before we returned.
It was August 10, 2006, the day that airports in the United States, Canada and the UK began enforcing tighter security about liquids and other objects carried aboard airlines. We got to the Los Angeles International airport hours early to allow for the expected delays. Everything went smoothly. I called my daughter to pick us up in New Orleans at midnight as expected. Eventually our flight arrives; the incoming passengers are debarking; and our bags are out on the tarmac waiting to be loaded.
Don’t get on the plane!
I get a cell phone call from Shelley who says, “Don’t get on the plane! We found your house!” I begin scratching my head and trying to figure out what to do next . I tell Dona Shelley’s message. Dona says,” Tell her you will call back. Go tell the gate attendant that you have an emergency and can’t go on the flight.”
I do that, and the attendant asks what our bags look like. She radios down to the baggage handlers to grab our bags before they are loaded into the plane, makes a notation in our computer record, and sends us down to baggage claim to get our bags. She never asked what the emergency was, and the notation meant that we did not have a fee for changing our departure date. I call my daughter and leave a message for her not to come to New Orleans to pick us up because “our flight is canceled.”
As we grab our two lonely bags off the conveyor belt, my daughter calls back and asks, “Was it just your flight canceled that was canceled or were there others also canceled?” She is concerned because of the new security issues. I admitted to her, “Actually we canceled our flight because we are going to stay a few more days.” As I hung up, Dona said, “She is going to figure it out that we are moving to Los Angeles!”
My miracle story #3: The universe delivers our perfect house
While we were waiting in the airport, Jon and Shelley had looked at an open house for sale to see if met our specifications. Because it had no ocean view, it did not. They asked the real estate agent if he knew of a house for sale with an ocean view. He did and directed them to a home a few blocks away. The house was not open, but it had an ocean view, and was unoccupied at the completion of an obvious remodel as seen through the windows. This house met every one of the criteria we had developed, including Dona’s wish that not a single remodel or update be required; she wanted “a bow on it.” Besides calling us, Shelley also called the real estate agent for the house to meet us at the house.
We all met and inspected the house and the back yard with a magnificent mature tree that forms a canopy over most of the yard. The elevation is 900+ feet and the ocean is about 3 miles away with unobstructed view as the land falls off steeply from our backyard. The property behind the house is unsuitable for development and owned by the city.
My miracle story #4: All proceeds like magic
Trusting the Universe that had led us this far, we signed an offer on the house the next day without even figuring up how we would finance it. From that moment, everything continued to proceed as if by magic.
The owner, a woman in her 80’s who had been the only occupant since the house was built in 1950, accepted our offer and had the contractor complete the few picky details that we insisted upon. The financing worked out better than expected with refunds (later at closing). We stayed an addition week to get the house inspected and initiate all the necessary paperwork for the purchase.
When we returned to Louisiana, our gown children found it difficult to believe that we had suddenly decided to move. Some suspected that we had been captured and brainwashed by a” crazy California cult!” We told them to get their stuff out of our attic because we were moving and going to sell our Baton Rouge house. While in Europe we had bought an antique bedroom set for each of our children and some of that was still in the attic. Some were not ready to take their share and wanted to leave it. Dona’s motto was, “Pretend we have died and gone to California. We are selling the house empty. If you want your stuff, you have to take it now!”
We moved in by mid-October, barely 70 days after the first hint of change. What followed was the normal getting settled and starting my business officially in February 2007. I continued my hypnosis studies. As I was completing my course in Hypnosis for Anesthesia, I discovered that I had an umbilical (belly button) hernia that needed surgical repair. I had always heard that you should “walk your talk.” I was becoming a hypnotist to assist persons to use hypnosis for pain, even in place of anesthesia. I felt I needed to use hypnosis for for my surgery so I would have that experience. I planned on asking Shelley, my teacher, to hypnotize me in the operating room. When the surgeon nixed that plan “because of hospital regulations about personnel in the operating room,” I decided to do it myself with self-hypnosis.
My miracle story #5: The surgeon can’t tell the difference
The doctor agreed to permit me to use self-hypnosis for my anesthesia. So I wrote myself a script of walking across the sand at the beach into the ocean up to my chest. The water was so cold that it numbed my body up beyond the surgery area. Therefore I would be totally comfortable during the surgery. After several practices with my miniature tape recorder to get the script right, I was ready! On the day of surgery when the anesthesiologist brought me the pink paper to sign, (the one that says anything can go wrong, including you can die), I refused to sign it. I told her that I was not going to have general anesthesia. She flew into a rage and stormed out of the surgery prep area. A few minutes later she returned and said,”I have only one question. Do you want me in the operating room or not?” I answered: “Not.” I suppose that meant that she did not get paid.
The operating room nurses told me to wait until that got the monitors hooked up on me before starting my recorder with headphones. Minutes later when I heard the surgeon making preparations, I decided I should start my self-hypnosis script. It was too late! I was just walking across the sand when I felt the pressure of the scalpel. But it didn’t matter! I was so convinced that I would be comfortable that I was totally comfortable and without pain, even if only lightly hypnotized. The only part that was slightly uncomfortable was when the surgeon was puling the stitches tight, so I laughed to send some extra endorphins flooding to my brain.
When the surgeon and his assistant did the inventory of tools, the assistant surgeon said to my surgeon, “I wasn’t so sure that this guy was going to be able to put himself out like this.” I was, of course awake and aware as you always are when hypnotized, so I thought this was a very funny statement. I spoke up and said,”You know guys I am not really OUT. I’m just listening to everything you are saying.” They didn’t say much after that.
Because surgery recovery is about getting the anesthesia out of your body, there was not need for me to go to recovery. I went back to surgery prep area. When the surgeon came to see me a few minutes later, I said to him, “I can pee on demand. Is thee any reason to keep me in the hospital?” He answered, “No” and discharged me within 30 minutes. Because I used hypnosis, my wound healed rapidly with very little discomfort. I later had an office with that surgeon until he retired. His testimonial that he could not tell the difference between me and someone who had gas anesthesia is still available. Why he risked his reputation permitting a relative stranger to do his own anesthesia is another part of this miracle.
Why the miracle stories?
What I learned though the events recounted in these stories is:
- We have a very powerful mind that controls every aspect of our body, and which seems somehow able to draw upon awesome, even infinite, power.
- Our thoughts and intentions have a powerful effect on people and circumstances so that magic and miracles seem to happen automatically.
The important message for YOU from these miracle stories, is you have the identical same power. You can work your own miracles with the same tools.