With a family medical history that included a suicide and many cases of rheumatoid arthritis, educator and author, Diane Dawber knew she had a fight on her hands when she became severely disabled with FM, chronic back pain in 1990 and MCS in 1997. After 6 years, she still couldn’t walk, sit, reach or lift much without constant pain, despite doing everything suggested. After seeing Dr. Kathleen Kerr in Toronto, she and Judy began reading Sherry Rogers’ book, Wellness Against All Odds. Diane then founded the Health Pursuits Group to study the issues with others in similar situations. Books by Dr. Abram Hoffer, Dr. Doris Rapp, Dr. Jozef Krop, Dr. Robert Fulford and many others were read, tried out and reviewed. She discovered many hidden factors in her condition including a long-ago broken and unstable rib, many bulging discs, a small tether on her spine, environmental and food sensitivities and probably genetically-based nutrient deficiencies. Her sensitivity to petroleum products was such that she had to replace her furnace, flooring and products used in her home. Her nutritional deficiencies were helped thanks to Dr, Lendon Smith’s book, Feed Your Body Right, which inspired her to start the group investigating whether his discovery of the ‘sniff test’ for nutrients would help them target supplements more exactly and it did. The food sensitivities have been addressed by testing and the rotation diet which she has been using since 1995. Experience with that has lead her to write A New Spin on the Rotation Diet with input from her colleagues. Diane’s biomechanical issues have been helped by osteopathic manual therapy, Robert Black’s remedial exercise class, her daily walk and other strategies. All of her efforts have improved function and reduced pain, fatigue, and sensitivities so that she can now walk an hour instead of 5 minutes, play with her grandchildren, write a new book for younger readers, Looking for Snow Fleas , encourage other writers with a local open mic series and keep the Health Pursuits’ ball rolling. She is always buoyed by the sharp minds, hard work and good hearts of her Health Pursuits’ colleagues.
Judy was Diane’s first companion in the reading and experimentation process. Judy suffered the effects of 3 car accidents and was spending her time lying on her living room floor in constant pain, diagnosed with FM Despite being a migraine sufferer for years, she had worked, been a wife and parent, and participated in athletic activities such as skiing and canoeing and swimming. The yeast-free and allergen-free rotation diet have removed migraines from her list. Nutrient therapy, environmental controls, detoxification strategies and osteopathic manual therapy have improved the MCS, pain and dysfunction situation so that she has been able to return to her beloved cottage in the summers.
Joan had to give up work as an art teacher and was unable to continue on her own successful art career because of severe CFS symptoms from multiple sources -- surgery, heavy metals, childhood accident, and childhood polio. She is a founding member of the group and has been helped by the nutrient therapies (both oral and IV), detoxification techniques, allergy testing, the dietary strategies and her daily walk with her dog. She can now pursue her art and this year has opened her own gallery, Elska, which means ‘love’ in Icelandic.
Jo-Ann started with a diagnosis of CFS with a sidebar of high cholesterol and a family history of cancers. With a combination of nutrient therapy, detoxification techniques (both oral and IV), dietary measures, manual therapies, exercise, she wonderfully managed to continue teaching until retirement. She is now able to have a busy family, social and community volunteer life. She is a contributing member to the Health Pursuits activities.
Summer 1993, after a full day of biking, tennis, softball and swimming with husband and two active boys Mary Grace awoke the next morning with excruciating pain under her left shoulder blade and life changed forever. Severe cervical spondylosis meant her left arm became paralyzed prior to neurosurgery on her neck. After surgery her hand and arm muscles were so weak she could not operate a can opener and had to clean her teeth in bed in order to support the weight of her electric tooth brush. Returning to visiting home nursing job or any form of work was impossible. A disabled nurse in chronic pain, unable to absorb nutrients from food due to constant diarrhea she found a Wellness Consultant trained in Nutritional Symptomatology, changed her diet, and started on Shaklee nutrients. Finding these strategies very helpful, Mary Grace became a Certified Level 2 Wellness Consultant and a Nutrition and Sport Symptomatologist .Because of latex allergy, environmental sensitivities (even reacting to toilet paper) and asthma (requiring puffers up to 6 times a day) she became a staunch supporter of environmental clean -up and environmentally friendly cleaning products which has helped local hospitals, dentists and doctors improve their conditions. There were many setbacks, including breast cancer. She thanks God that with the help of osteopathic manual therapy, iv nutrient and homeopathics, Shaklee Air Filter, Shaklee vitamins and cleaning products, a Far infra Ray Sauna, support and advise from an extra special GP, and The Health Pursuits Group her quality of life continues to improve. She has been cancer free 7 years, she rarely uses puffers, cane or soft cervical collar and has been able to travel, walked to the top of Mount Vesuvius, and designed her new home. She is moving towards an active social life and has the satisfaction of helping many others with the Health Pursuits strategies. December 2008 an exceptional Dentist placed an orthotic on her lower teeth to correct Myofascial Pain dysfunction (TMJ) symptoms that she had 25 plus years. In the two weeks since she reduced her strong pain medication by one third and reports an increasing energy level.
Jo-Ann contracted polio in 1953 at age one, which resulted in multiple surgeries to correct her shortened leg. After yet-another surgery in her mid-twenties, she developed allergies to “everything”. She began to follow a rigid rotation diet as suggested in "An Alternative Approach to Allergies"> (Theron Randolph) and her health improved rapidly. She was able to resume her work as a registered nurse and later a computer programmer until her early-fifties when she experienced a series of flu-like illnesses which resulted in significant muscle weakness. As a nurse and a patient, Jo-Ann has seen that traditional medicine doesn’t necessarily have the right tools to treat chronic illnesses without negative side effects. The knowledge gained in Health Pursuits about non-traditional alternatives assists her to manage her own health issues. She continues to follow a less-rigid rotation diet, minimizes toxins in her environment, takes supplements when needed, and paces her activities as suggested in "The Post-Polio Syndrome" (Dr. Bruno). Her exercise routine includes light rebounding daily and short walks with her adorable little dog. She has an active social life and is a major contributor to Health Pursuits activities with her computer, multi-media and organizational skills.
Janet has been diagnosed with FM and disabled since 1992 . She has found many factors contributing to her condition. A dental infection was poisoning her system. Correcting that helped. An injury to her left foot had caused severe problems in her right foot which an orthopedic surgeon had told her was only treatable by fusing her ankle. Several treatments and prescribed exercises by osteopath Robert Black soon made such a difference that surgery is no longer required and her mobility is improving all the time. Correcting hormonal imbalances helped. She tests for nutrient deficiencies as well with the kit and is usually able to correct those with food choices. She was president of the Fibromyalgia Society of Ontario until volunteering with the Health Pursuits Study Group and with Disability Rights committees both municipally and provincially.
Although only a member for 4 years, at 75, Bea didn’t want to waste any time and she hasn’t. After over 60 years of fruitless chiropractic and other manual work to relieve a neck injury as a teenager, she discovered osteopathic work with Robert Black and has made major strides in correcting the problem with both treatment, prescribed exercises and his remedial exercise class. She did the allergy testing and discovered that the foods she thought were good were her allergic foods, including eggs and cane sugar. She got a nutrient test kit and discovered her deficiencies and took steps to correct them She is so enthusiastic and so much better that she is a major contributor of time and effort to Health Pursuits, keeping the test kit team on track. And she said she didn’t have much of a story!
Tertu was disabled with PTSD in 1988 from workplace stress. In 1994, her car was broadsided and she suffered injuries which included brain injuries which were not detected until several years later. As a former, physical education teacher, she has struggled mightily to regain mobility, stability, and cognitive function. Her strategies have included manual therapies, Robert Black’s remedial exercise class, acupuncture, nutritional and homeopathic strategies and some diet as well as the brain-building nutrients in Empower Plus from truehope.com. She can now walk her amazing surfer dog and volunteer with health Pursuits and other community organizations.
Patricia has suffered for many years with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) Fibromyalgia (FM) Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) and the concomitant digestive and sleep problems which often accompany these disorders.
She has been hospitalized twice (1994 and 1999) with diverticulitis. During and since that period, it was recommended four times by three surgeons in Toronto and Kingston, Ontario that she should have two feet of my colon removed. In 2004, she was diagnosed with 27 hidden food sensitivities through an IgG blood test in Florida. She has avoided these foods religiously since that time and her digestive problems have improved 90%.
In 2005, she sought a second (or fifth) opinion regarding the colon resection. The surgeon performing the colonoscopy used a pediatric scope because the previous surgeon had not been able to get past the sigmoid colon because of strictures. She still has diverticular disease, but the colonoscopy showed no strictures, no inflammation and best of all, she was told categorically that no surgery is required. Avoidance of the "forbidden" foods, adherence to the rotation diet have improved her life immeasurably.
In some ways, Patricia has been a pivotal member. She came along just when the group had the ‘sniff test’ kit well organized. She had just had a batch of blood work done, did the kit and went back for her blood work results and found that the kit had matched it except for one item. That gave the group incentive to keep researching this method. Again, with the rotation diet, her results of working with Diane to set up a workable rotation was the impetus for the book.
Patricia has successfully campaigned for safer locations of cell phone towers and is our most vigilant member in looking for information on the effects of electromagnetic pollution.
Retired nurse, Barbara, has been diagnosed with CFS and MCS. She uses a variety of nutritional, environmental, dietary and manual therapy modalities to manage. Here’s what she has to say: “It’s been my experience that many health challenges can be improved by paying attention to diet. People often don’t realize they have either allergies or intolerances to certain foods. Eliminating those foods can allow the digestive system to heal. This clearly improves the ability of the body to absorb much-needed nutrients. Personally, I’ve improved after eliminating mainly wheat, dairy, corn, rice, tomatoes, sugar and junk food. The list used to be longer. Fortunately I can now tolerate spelt, millet, and quinoa if I don’t overuse them. I continue to educate myself to alternative approaches. Changing my diet was not the whole solution for me but it has made life better and easier for me and my family.”
Writer, artist and retired educator, Liana, is a new member of the group and she has this to say:
“People who haven’t seen me in a while are shocked when we meet. They can’t believe I’m the same person that I was just 14 short months before. I have experienced a 90% improvement in my health and quality of life, 90% of the time, in just over a year. In addition, I have lost more than 22 pounds. Yes, I still have challenges, but they are few and far between now.
Through my doctor’s clinic staff, I was introduced to the support group, Health Pursuits. This dynamic group of individuals encourages reading and research to help people, with multiple medical needs, find solutions. The leader, Diane Dawber, and the group members have introduced me to new tools such as the Nutrient Test Kit and the Rotation Diet.
With the help and expertise of my medical team and the support of Health Pursuits, I have been encouraged to tackle my chronic, debilitating pain, crippling digestive issues and immobility in a variety of ways. I have gone from a virtually house-bound woman to a much more independent person, who can even do a little gardening and vacuuming on good days! The bloating is gone from my body, I have a wonderful new diet and life is suddenly exciting. For more details, visit my web site at www.foodchallenges.ca”
These are only a few of the Kingston, Ontario Health Pursuits members. There are members in many other provinces, states and beyond.
Current Board Members
Diane Dawber, Chair
Sheena Bromstein, Social Media
Adrienne Frandsen, Business
Lynda Snider, Treasurer and Production
Christine Connolly, Business
Founder, Diane Dawber, BA, MEd
A teacher and consultant for 25 years until disabled by illness. She has been a published author since 1984 with subsequently 7 books of poetry for adults and children (Borealis Press, Quarry Press, and Hidden Brook Press,) and 5 nonfiction -- Reading to Heal: an annotated bibliography of the best books on alternative and complementary medicine (Quarry Press, 1999;) Lifting the Bull: Overcoming Fibromyalgia, Chronic Back Pain and Environmental Illness (Quarry Press, 1999), and the workbook, rotation diet book and Nutrient Scent Test books for Health Pursuits.
As with any health-related strategy, you should consult your medical practitioner for individual guidance. Health Pursuits Reading & Research:
MEND offers only education in researching the alternatives for better health in shortertime. Information provided on the web site, in newsletters, on Facebook, atmeetings, or in other Health Pursuits publications, does not constitute health careadvice in general, or for any individual.