At 20 years old, I was a college student in San Diego, California. I woke up one day with an ugly rash over most of my body. At the school clinic, the doctor looked perplexed and wanted to present me before the top dermatologists, to see if they could determine what was going on. I was excited to have it resolved, as a young woman it wasn’t helping my self-esteem.
A few weeks later, the top dermatologists in town hovered over me and examined my skin. They didn’t talk to me, ask me any questions, or even make eye contact. I don’t exactly remember, but they probably rubbed their chins, and then handed me a small brown bag filled with steroid creams.
I do remember walking away feeling like a piece of meat. It was as impersonal an exchange as there ever was. I also knew that the creams weren’t the answer to why I suddenly had my skin condition. I reflected on all the other patients out there who may have had similar experiences and my heart went out to them. That was my realization, in 1978, that something was really wrong with our medical system.
The steroid creams calmed down the rash temporarily, but I knew drugs weren’t the answer and that they could have bad side effects. Thus, my journey to healing myself began.
I started reading books on nutrition and whatever else I could find related to alternative health. At that time there wasn’t much. I learned that there might be some foods that I was eating that were causing me problems.
Besides my skin issue, I also had digestive problems, a lowered immune, and was tired most of the time. I vividly remember going to the library to study, and after eating a bagel with cream cheese, had absolutely no mental focus and would literally fall asleep on my books.
I also learned that stress can play a role in one’s health. Who knew? I was constantly stressed. I was stressed over exams, choosing a major, living situations, boys, and my skin. If that wasn’t enough, my father was in a near fatal car accident at the time and for a couple of months I was driving two hours to Los Angeles every week to see him in the hospital.