Runa’s story

I am going to share my health story, so you can understand why I do what I do. You’ll also see how my health issues have through the years been an educational process in how to heal with natural remedies. My health issues started at an early age, and because doctors could not find out what was wrong with me, it took me forever to find out myself.

BORN WITH DAIRY ALLERGY

About 3 months after I was born, my mother stopped nursing me and started bottle feeding me with cows’ milk. I immediately changed from being an easy to handle baby that slept like an angel, to one that cried at night because of abdominal cramps. My mother took me to a doctor, who upon learning that my mother picked me up when I cried, declared that I was just calling for attention. Looking back I have discovered that these were the first signs of my dairy allergy.

The dairy allergy did not go away, but no one paid much attention to a two to three years old little girl who complained of tummy aches. Somewhere around the age of four, the allergy reactions turned into severe sinus infections. Without any notice green snot would suddenly run out of my nose. My mother took me to an ear, nose and throat specialist, and he pumped out snot from my nose with an old fashioned glass pump. I remember this so well, because I had to say chocolate each time he pumped.

This cleared the sinuses for a while, but as the infection was food related it soon came back.

MY #metoo STORY

About a month prior to my 7th birthday, I was to sleep-over with relatives, as my parents were going to a party. I was so excited when my Dad drove me there, but later that night the excitement turned into a trauma that has coloured my entire life and led to endless health issues.

When evening came the grown-ups that were supposed to look after me, went out for a few hours to see friends, leaving me in the care of a teenager. He waited till I was in bed, ready to go to sleep and then decided to practice his sex skills on me.

At that time, there were no books on sexual education for children. I had no idea what was being done to me, other than it was painful and terrifying. I couldn’t even scream, and if I had, no one would have heard me. I just lay there in pure terror, trying to arch my back, in a vain attempt to push him out of me. Of course that didn’t work. It did however possibly create the foundation for my back issues which started when I was about eleven.

Once he had finished himself off, I was left wet and hurting, and in shock. It took me forever to fall asleep. The next morning it was painful to pee, and that pain marked the beginning of my lifelong bladder issues.

AFTER THE TRAUMA

Following this traumatic incident, which I did not dare tell anyone about, I became very anxious. I dreaded all new circumstances, even going to school which started that fall. The effects of the trauma manifested in my digestive system and I started developing food sensitivity. I would throw up at night, if I had eaten spicy or salted food. Stomach aches and elimination issues became a regular thing. By the time I was ten years old I had developed a definite stomach ulcer as the doctor told my mother after I had been X-rayed.

I was hospitalised for three weeks in a ward with only adults. Being away from home just increased my anxiety. I kept losing weight at the hospital, till the doctors finally decided that if I put on weight I could go home. Within a week my weight was up, but when I came home, I had a nervous breakdown of some sort, which resulted in itchy rashes on both arms and legs.

During the next three months my diet consisted mostly of steamed fish and boiled potatoes with butter. That was my first experience of NOT eating what everyone else was having.

INFLAMMATION AND DIGESTIVE ISSUES

At the age of twelve I came very close to dying, and at the time no one knew why. I have later speculated whether I became so ill, because I got poisoned by DDT, which was then used in fruit farming.

I had been with my parents at our weekend home, and my mother had bought a melon as a treat for us. Which type, I’m not sure because a melon was just a melon in our minds, as we were not used to foreign fruits. I remember sitting outside in the sunshine, eating the delicious melon slices, all the way down to the skin.

As we headed home the next day, my temperature started rising, and my body started swelling. By the time we arrived back home, I had a fever of 39.5°C (102.1°F). During the night I got worse, my eyes sunk as my face swelled up, and my fingers became so swollen that I couldn’t straighten them. My feet became so swollen that I could hardly walk and needed help to get to the bathroom. As the day progressed my temperature rose and went as high as 41.7°C (107.6°F).

My mother called a doctor who made a house call, which was unusual. His guess was that this could be a reaction to the melon I had eaten, but other than that all he could do was prescribe something to bring the temperature down. Within a few days the swelling started fading and I seemed to have recovered.

In hindsight I believe that this incident set off inflammatory markers in my body, which have since then manifested in many ways throughout my life.

PSYCHOSOMATIC WITH BACK PROBLEMS

At about this time my father’s alcoholism started escalating. He had started drinking a few years earlier and developed the same drinking habits my grandfather (his father) had. He would disappear for days on end, leaving the home with no money, as my mother was at that time a stay at home mom. That added to my anxiety and made me very co-dependent early on.

By age twelve I was having daily migraine headaches. They continued till I was thirty-five, when I made dramatic changes to my diet. My digestive problems escalated, my tonsils were taken out, after I had been on and off antibiotics for more than three months; and by the time I was fourteen my back problems were so severe that I was excused from all sports in college (I was a year ahead in school) and sent to a back specialist who put me through a special exercise program.

My shoulders were continuously inflamed, and our GP prescribed muscle relaxants to treat them, with little results. It wasn’t until many years later that I discovered that the major meridians of the body, such as the large intestine, small intestine and the triple burner meridians, run through the shoulders. No wonder the shoulders were inflamed, as these organs were always out of balance.

My diet in my teenage days consisted mainly of sandwiches I bought at the college canteen, soft drinks and sweets, which could easily replace regular meals. Although all my issues were digestion related, none of the doctors I went to see ever asked me about my diet.

Eventually, as no one could find out what was wrong with me, I was at the age of eighteen hospitalised for a thorough check-up. For a week I went through all kinds of tests. When it came time to discharge me, the doctor politely told me they had not been able not find anything wrong with me. They had therefore come to the conclusion that my dis-easer were psychosomatic – i.e. with imaginary.

LOST WANDERING BUT LEARNING

This diagnose still left me with all the pain and the digestive issues I’d had before, and no guidelines on how to heal them. In search for some help, I went to a gastroenterologist, who after talking to me for a few minutes, had me lie down on the examination table, pressed his fingers into my abdomen here and there, and declared this was inner tension. He may well have been right, but his remedy was to put me on Valium, asking me whether I wanted 5, 10 or 15 mg.

I didn’t even know what Valium was, so I opted for 5 mg. I took one tablet, and then decided this was not the way for me to go. I later discovered that the doctor in question was heavily dependent on prescription drugs himself, and freely wrote out prescriptions to most of his patients. That explained a lot about the strange characters in his waiting room.

By this time, I realised I had to take things into my own hands, so I decided the first place to look was the library, where I found a limited number of books on natural ways to heal the body. I read and read, tried some of the suggested therapies, but with no guidance and little of the knowledge I have today. At the same time, I started reading spiritual books and tried to figure out from the books how to meditate.

BABY BLUES

I was 22 years old when my older son was born. I had only put on 7.5 kg (16 lbs) while carrying him, so the first question I got when I came to the clinic was: “Are you sure you are due now?” Yes, I was sure because I was in fact overdue and had been in labor for about 12 hours. I guess though the staff did not believe me, because they put me up in the delivery room, forgot to tell me where the bell was, closed the door and left for coffee or a chat. About an hour later the water broke and by the time they finally answered my vain attempts to call them my son’s head was already appearing.

Although giving birth to him was one of the most amazing experience of my life, the complications around it were not. Because I had not been properly prepared, the midwife cut me to make way for the baby. The afterbirth broke, and the doctor on duty early morning Christmas Eve was a medical student. When sowing me up after the delivery, he did it all wrong, and I suffered severely till my next delivery, which was seven years later. I bled heavily after the delivery, and by the time I left for home I only had 63% blood, but when I was admitted my blood level was at 96%.

No one knew anything about baby blues in those days, but I’m sure I got them. I felt inadequate as a mother, I worried too much, my son did not sleep well and no matter how much I ate and drank, I kept losing weight and my hair fell out at a ridiculous rate. Six weeks after his birth I was down to 47 kg (103 lbs) which for a 174 cm (5,7 ft) tall woman was way too little. I needed suspenders to keep my trousers up – and I was a single mom.

DIAGNOSED BY A TECHNICIAN

I’ll skip quickly through the years that followed. They were filled with digestive problems, sinus problems, and bladder problems, as well as water retention and blood sugar spikes and drops, so at one time I thought I had developed diabetes type 2. I had my nose operated on in order to heal my sinus problems, not realising then that they were diet related. The operation did nothing other than to cause me pain for weeks following the operation.

My urethra was operated on, in order to heal my bladder problems, which it did not. It only made me feel like I was peeing razor blades for a week or so after the procedure.

I was tired of always being unwell, without really being sick, and no one seemed to know what was happening in my body. I tried many alternative therapies, but none of them seemed to help me regain balance in my body.

By age 35 I had given birth to my younger son (six years earlier), and had been working with my husband for a few years in the company we were running. One of our employees was married to a technician at our then, one and only TV station. Her husband had made a battery operated, hand-held device that was used in treatment of the meridians instead of needles, as in acupuncture. He had also written a book in Icelandic about the meridians, according to Chinese medicine, with diagrams and descriptions on how to treat various imbalances in the body.

She offered to ask him to see whether he could help me heal. After two sessions, he twisted his beard, as was his habit when in deep thinking, and said: “I think I know what’s wrong with you!” He told me he had just bought a book that he was willing to lend me for one day only. His wife brought it to work the next day, and that evening when I had put my sons to bed, I sat down to read.

I read till 4:30 a.m. and on every page I found explanations for everything that had been assaulting my body for so long. The book was called The Yeast Connection, by William G. Crook. Yes! I was suffering from severe yeast overgrowth in my GI tract, which had spread to various parts of my body.

I bought the book on the meridians and the hand-held device. Both traveled with me wherever I went for the next fifteen years, till the device broke down, by which time the inventor had passed away. Through these years I also studied and learned a lot about the ground principles of Chinese medicine.

Knowing finally what I had to tackle, I changed my diet, my migraine headaches disappeared, some of my digestive issues healed. I did however continue to be co-dependent, so when I went out to dinner with my husband and friends, and was asked why I couldn’t eat like everyone else, I ordered food that I knew would hurt me – and suffered the consequences afterwards.

A few years later I started working with the late Hallgrimur Magnusson. He was a medical doctor, who at this time was the only doctor in Iceland who knew anything about candida. He and I had gone to college together, but ways had parted after graduation. Now a joint interest brought us together. In order to educate others, we started running workshops and gave talks several times every year. Eventually, we ended up co-authoring a book about candida, which has sold in 10.000 copies (per capita that would equal 10 million in the States).

STARTING MY REAL HEALING JOURNEY

I’m a clairvoyant and somehow, I had always believed I would die at age forty.  Many times I told my husband we had to do this and that before I turned forty, because then I would die. In hindsight, I didn’t die, but my old self did.

A year before my fortieth birthday, I opened the first metaphysical bookstore in Iceland, selling all the self-help books that flooded the market following the New Age movement. Discussions about sexual abuse were surfacing and I bought books from the States on the subject for the other women, not realising they were for me. I had buried my traumatic experience so deeply in my subconscious that it did not surface until it was triggered by a discussion with someone who came to the bookstore, and had suffered the same. I told her: “This happened to me too, and it has had no effect on my life whatsoever!”

That was the biggest lie I had ever told.

When it dawned on me that it had indeed affected not only my health, but also my emotional life and general behaviour, I set to work, determined to heal myself. I read all the books I had intended for the other women, joined email groups in the States and signed up for newsletters from other survivors, went through rebirthing processes and basically every treatment I could find.

After a year of all these processes and self-work, I of course had to share what I had learned with others, so I started workshops intended for other victims of sexual abuse.

Although my healing journey started at age forty, it has continued till this day. I am still working on the last residues of this very traumatic experience, realising even better the debilitating effects it has had on my life and health.

INFLAMED JOINTS

My diet was good, on and off. Yet, there were too many “treats”, too often, for me to heal completely. With all the emotional issues connected to the sexual abuse surfacing, I was prone to dive into sweets and sugar, in between walking the line. There was little stability in my life, and a lot of work.

Shortly after my fortieth birthday I started to get bouts of, what I discovered a decade later is called acute arthritis. One of my joints, could be shoulder, elbow, wrist, fingers, hips, knees or toes would flare up with excruciating pain. None of the pain killers I tried worked on the pain, nor did anti-inflammatory drugs relieve the swelling.

During the first 2-3 days of each bout, the pain kept me from sleeping. If it hit my hands I could neither hold a fork nor a toothbrush, and I had difficulty dressing and undressing without help. If it was either of my arms, I would wear a sling for days, and when it hit my hips or legs, I would need crutches to get around, once I was able to get out of bed.

I went to see doctors during the bouts, and they looked at my symptoms and shook their heads. They neither knew what this was, nor did they know how to treat it. I didn’t want to use the medications they suggested I should try, because they had  no idea whether they would work or not. They were just guessing.

I had watched my grandmother and later my mother, go the drug route, and never get better. They just got more prescription drugs. So I chose to keep looking for  help from the alternative community, and tried various diets, but nothing seemed to help.

THE BLOOD TYPE DIET

Eventually, I found some answers that helped. My husband and I, were at this time running a summer hotel in rural Iceland. We also ran a small publishing business, and published books and a monthly magazine. In one of the book reviews, for our magazine we reviewed Eat Right 4 Your Type the first blood type diet book by Dr. Peter D’Adamo N.D.

His work and research made so much sense to me, and I discovered foods that I needed to avoid completely. One of the symptoms A-types can expect, when on a diet that does not match with their blood type, is acute arthritis. That was me, and this information fitted another piece into my health puzzle. I ended up translating D’Adamo’s books and we published all three of them.

I was not as successful with my A-type diet as others around me were with their blood type diets. It was not till  Eat Right 4 Your Life was released that I discovered why. After a test I found out that I was a non-secretor, and had to avoid certain foods, otherwise recommended for type A. The major foods that I needed to avoid were corn in any shape and form, and sugar. These would trigger my arthritis, in particular the corn.

LOSING A HUSBAND, AND OVERWORKING MYSELF

In end December of 2004, my husband passed away at the age of 66. He hadn’t been feeling well for a few months, but this was all the same unexpected. After the initial shock, I had to take over the four businesses we were running and decide to focus on the one that we had invested the most in, a small rural hotel.

I took over the roles both of us had handled, hired staff, stepped in for the chef when needed, and basically did everything that needed to be done in the business. I was often short of staff, which meant more workload and my days were long, from six a.m. till midnight, day after day for six months.

My diet went out the window during the summer months. I tried to take supplements regularly, but all exercise was abandoned, and I just worked and worked. Even though I picked up better habits during the winter months, my health kept declining.

After six years of this routine, during which I also lost my mother, that I was very close to, I hit a total burn-out. I went to see a naturopath and she took a blood sample and put it right under the microscope. The red blood cells were all sticking together, and we found only one white blood cell in the sample. It disintegrated in front of our eyes. My immune system was non-active, and my health could be measured at 0-1 on a scale of 0-10.

GUIDED BY A LONG TIME FRIEND

I went to see my long-time friend, Dr. Magnusson. He put together a plan for me, based on the fact that I now also had developed hypothyroidism type II. I did my best to follow the plan, but my body was so weak, and I was so ill, that I feared I could never work again.

At one point I asked him to apply for disability benefits for me, just so I could survive on something. After asking three times, he finally agreed and told me to come to his office, where he had spread out the papers I had to fill out. As I picked up the pen, he said: “If you fill this out, you will never get better!”

My reaction was to put the pen down, and say: “Oh, you mean… Then I will not fill it out.” To this day I cannot thank him enough for these words. Instead of me filling out the papers, we sat down and discussed what else I could try in order to heal. He suggested I would go to a clinic on the west coast of the States where hypothyroidism was treated. They were fully booked far into the future and referred me to Dr. Sharon Stills N.D. who was at that time practicing in New York.

If you think it’s expensive to buy healthy food and supplements to maintain your health, then wait till you have to pay medical bills, in a country where you have no insurance (I of course did not have any in the States). Dr. Stills diagnosed me with a a severe case of gluten intolerance (celiac disease). She gave me a specific diet to follow and a list of supplements to use. With natural remedies she treated my hypothyroidism, and within a year my thyroid back in balance.

To cut a long story short, it took a few years for me to fully understand the implications of the celiac disease, and the need to follow a strict diet. I was still co-dependent at times, in particular when I went out with friends, and thought I could have gluten “now and then”.

DEEP CLEANING BEFORE POLISHING

In the fall of 2014, I went on a two months cleanse. It helped reset my health and find ways for a balanced diet I have followed since then. Once I had cleansed, I could start polishing, much like with a floor you need to wash well before you polish it.

Being me, I had to share the cleansing experience with others, and started coaching people through my program. During the last four years, more than fifteen hundred people have attended it, in a country with a population of 350.000 people.

I now use food, supplements, lifestyle and exercise to stay healthy and mobile. I no longer get bouts of arthritis and feel better than I have ever done in my life, safe for my bladder. I was recently, and finally I’d like to add, diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis. Not to worry though, because my naturopath in Iceland is helping me heal with foods and supplements.

Through the years I have invested in an extensive library of books on alternative healing methods and continued to study with various teachers. I read and learn something new about our amazing body every day, and it never ceases to amaze me how ingenious the design of the body is.

I’ve been on Planet Earth since 1950, although I always feel like I’m only 23 years old. I take no medications, love every day of my life, and plan to stick around for a long time yet.