Guest Post: Rosemary Wagler 

29 07 2016

Hi y’all! This is Rosemary, Andrea’s sister, posting here. She’s a little indisposed right now. And by little I mean a lot, and by indisposed I mean sleeping. 🙂 She says for the first time in years, she is able to sleep deep and feel rested when she wakes up. Our doctors say sleep is healing, so we think this is a good thing!

It looks like she left y’all hangin in the airport. So I will do my best to update y’all on everything since then.

Her appointment in Arizona was interesting. The doctor there takes a whole different approach to this sickness thing. But, in a way that’s encouraging because we’ve exhausted every other option and she’s still sick. She informed y’all of the protozoa that showed up in her blood work. In short, the doctor in Arizona didn’t know what it was, other than a similar one showing up in India. Her PCP said perhaps one day, they will be able to diagnose this unknown protozoa and name it bontrager after her.

How do you treat something you can’t identify? Mr. Arizona is going about it as he treated other similar cases. For one thing, she is going on a no-fat diet to starve the parasite. That means not even healthy fats like olive oil and avocado. She is also going on a plant-based diet. So basically no meat or animal products, no refined sugars, and no gluten. Yes, it is very hard to cook this way! We are so glad it’s summer and we can get fresh fruit and vegetables from the garden. She has been on it for about three months now, and bless her heart, is getting very tired of such a restricted diet!


Mom’s gorgeous garden!

The challenge comes in when trying to mix the two diets. She can’t have dairy, so we try almond milk, which has 5% fat per serving. On the other hand, we can get non-fat cows milk. She can’t have white flour but the alternatives are coconut flour (5% fat), and almond flour (23% fat.) She obviously can’t have peanut or almond butter (not even the organic brand!). There are two items that make me happy. Both maple syrup and xylitol (sugar replacement) are 0% fat and they help a lot with sweetening things up! I could write forever about the things we’ve learned since she started this diet but i’m guessing it won’t interest you so i’ll move along. You’re welcome. 🙂

Sauna. Mom and I are pretty hopeful about the sauna, but lets just say Andrea isn’t too cracked about it. We bought an infrared sauna at the beginning of the year. It’s an amazing way to detox. We feel part of Andrea’s problem has been, we haven’t quite understood the importance of detoxing. It should be common sense right? I’m sorry to say that we missed that major point. She has been using Cholestyamine as a way to detox but we’re hoping the sauna will move things along faster. The reason Andrea doesn’t like the sauna? It sends her into a seizure every time. Her doctors stress the importance of it though, so we keep pushing it. The key is to build up slowly. When she started, she could only do about 3 minutes at 90* F. She’s worked up to 15 minutes at 100*. We’ll take any little improvement we can get!

We have a family friend that has offered to do a free chiropractic treatment every week. That has been such a blessing! Joe takes her to Spartanburg every Tuesday night. This is no ordinary chiropractor either, he trains other chiropractors and is quite brilliant! Plus he is from Australia and has a killer accent. 🙂 Speaking of Joe, it’s such a big comfort for us to see our sister/daughter in such good hands. He stays optimistic and is ever encouraging and does so good about meeting her emotional needs.

I think she is doing pretty well overall. She goes to church, although she sits in the back with someone. She comes home every day at three and mom feeds her no-fat, no-sugar, no-gluten, and vegan sorts of meals. After she eats, she goes into the sauna for fifteen minutes, has a seizure, then mom takes her home and she usually sleeps it off. She tolerates crowds and noise so much better. The other night we hosted a baby shower for my sister-in-law (I’m gonna be an aunt soon! happy dance!) and she sat right in the noisy, crowded living room and only had one seizure. Her seizures are mostly the absence seizures which sometimes she can pull herself out of them and isn’t quite so confused afterwards. Sometimes she has the twisting kind but she usually heads them off with ativan before they get too bad.

When she has these absence seizures, her eyes glaze over and she will fall if she can’t pull herself out of them, or if we don’t stop it. It used to only take a quick wave in front of her eyes to get her to snap out of it, but recently her eyes have begun to roll back and we have to shake her head a little or use cold water for the longer ones. The longer she is “out” the more she tends to be very confused when she snaps back. She will often speak in an exaggerated whisper, call Joe “sir” and use very formal words like “mother” and “father.” Long ago, we learned in order to cope in these situations, you have to laugh or cry. Crying isn’t very practical most of the time. Who wants to spend five minutes in a parking lot crying as you try and convince her to get in the van as she emphatically whispers “Stop treating me like a child!” She also doesn’t mind if we laugh so that’s our coping mechanism of choice.

That is the current state of the union! If someone has a recipe you think is inside her limitations, please share! Mom is having a hard time coming up with food ideas.

Of Airport Anxiety 

27 03 2016

I’ve never liked flying. 

I really, really dislike the take off and the landing.

And something always happens when I travel via airplane.

Either spending the night in an airport, a VERY scary landing, being delayed for HOURS on the plane, having a shouting conversation with a Mennonite preacher on the way out of customs, (he at the top of an escalator and me at the bottom 🙈) and mostly being considered a child. This makes for some very interesting moments if I’m traveling alone.

Tomorrow will be my first experience traveling with my current seizure disorder. My dystonia has been acting up the last week and the bright lights, the noise and the crowds have me a bit anxious.

My mom and I will be flying to Pheonix, Arizona for an appointment with Dr. Fry of Fry Laboratories. Joe is unable to go. He manages my aunt’s chicken farm and a new flock of chicks will be arriving on Tuesday. 

We will be flying out of Charlotte, NC at 2:30 pm and arriving in Pheonix at 6:30 pm. Our return flight departs Pheonix at 11:30 pm on Tuesday and arrives in Charlotte at 8:30 am on Wednesday. 

I’d like to ask for your prayers, for me, that I could handle the trip without my body reacting too much, for my mom, since the bulk of responsibility will be on her, for Joe as he stays home, and for our appointment with Dr. Fry.

Thank you all so much! Knowing we are covered in prayer gives me more confidence about this trip!

Be Joyful in Hope

17 03 2016

An evening can begin like this:


Youth Valentine Banquet

And it can end like this:

My day can change in five minutes.
Then we have the absence/petit mal siezures. These can last from ten seconds to almost a minute and occur with no warning. If I am standing, I will fall. A good day is two to five seizures. A bad day is ten to fifteen.

Both a dystonic storm and an absence seizure are far more likely to occur when I’m tired and have had a lot of brain stimulation. But sometimes they occur for no reason at all.

In November of 2014, we had a panel of labs done which showed that I was in remission of Lyme and all co-infections. When I began to have an increase of seizures and other neurological issues, my doctors feared a relapse. They had done everything they knew to do, and don’t know what to try next. 

We did a lot of research. In our exhaustive search of the internet, we found a video made by Justin Vanderham of his wife, Christa’s, battle with Lyme disease. Her story and symptoms are similar to mine, with the exception that she is now totally healthy. 

Of course that grabbed our attention and we started looking into what her “magic pill” had been. Now it’s a very long story, watch their video here, but in short, after months of IV antibiotics they discovered that Christa’s body was unable to rid itself of toxins on its own. They began to use a powder that acts as a magnet, binding the toxins and then flushing them out of the body. 

They also discovered Fry Laboratory in Pheonix, Arizona. This laboratory has been on the cutting edge of research on Lyme Disease, it’s co-infections, and tropical diseases. They are very thorough and the most comprehensive of any I’ve used. 

Through extensive blood testing they found Christa was positive for a certain type of Protozoa. She had done a lot of international travel beforehand she got sick. Perhaps she was infected during her travels or, as my doctor tells me, a tick can deliver borrelia burgdorferi as well as protozoa in the same bite. 

    My doctor did a preliminary panel which showed, as before, a remission of all things Lyme. They also tested for the same Protozoa for which Christa Vanderham had been positive. This was negative. However, they did see another type of Protozoa.

Yesterday I went in for more labs. A lot of lab work! They are testing especially for tropical diseases of the Central American corner of the world. 

I have done quite a bit of traveling, and haven’t exactly stayed in areas tourists consider safe or attractive. I’ve waded barefooted through flood waters, I’ve drunk rain water caught in a cement water tank, and I’ve eaten the most amazing food you can imagine from street vendors in multiple countries. Once I was stung by the infamous “docta fly” of Belize, twelve times on my right foot. The swelling was so bad, my foot could scarcely fit into my flip flop. So it is possible to have contracted an uninvited guest.

Perhaps you think I endangered myself by not being more careful. But the truth is, God controls what happens. Of course I must not be foolish, but what I’m trying to say is that my traveling companions ate the same food, drank the same water and hiked through “the bush” (jungle) right behind me. They did not become ill. It wasn’t God’s plan for their lives. Their journeys have included trials I have not faced.

So if you find yourself traveling in a third world country, leave your thigh high boots at home, refrain from drinking river water and trust God with your health. 

But I digress, forgive my sermon! 

We don’t know for sure what has invaded my body but it seems to be a type of Protozoa. Whether its mode of transportation was a tick or some hungry Central American parasite, we do not know. 

We have an appointment with the doctor who founded Fry Laboratory and has spent considerable time researching these diseases. Whether or not he can help me is yet to be determined. But our options are few. If this trip doesn’t give us the answers we need, we are considering the Mayo Clinic. 

I am taking the powder, Cholestyamine, to help with my own detoxification. I have had good results so far with minimal side effects. 

Perhaps March 29th will the start of a journey to better health. While I would love to be perfectly healthy with no pain or seizures, I want to joyfully submit to God’s plan for my future.