Dying at 27
I’d been waiting for weeks. Months even.
When the results came in, I wasn’t expecting much. I’d had so many tests before.
Until I received an emergency phone call from my doctor.
I had life threatening parasites.
My inflammation markers were off the charts.
My immune system was wrecked.
My liver could rupture at any moment.
It was so serious my physician couldn’t help me.
It was Christmas break.
The specialist’s office was closed for the holidays.
I knew I was going to die.
Mis-diagnosis to Insanity
Back in 2005 or so, in my mid teens, I began to develop strange digestive symptoms. Fuelled by a destructive relationship to food and an eating disorder, I soon became extremely ill. By my mid twenties, I was wracked with aches and pains, fatigue, acne, eczema, allergies, and sensitivities. I couldn’t sleep at night and couldn’t stay awake in the day. Exercise was out of the question and eating was agony.
Living in the UK, I had the benefit of the NHS (free national health care) on my side, so I went from doctor to doctor, pleading for help, desperate for answers. Time and again I got patronized, misdiagnosed, and ignored. Their answer was always some form of pharmaceutical bandaid which caused more side effects than anything – and they certainly didn’t cure me.
In short, they thought I was crazy, depressed, and hormonal. In truth, those things had become true as I was systematically mishandled. But it wasn’t because I was a head case that this was happening; I had become a head case because this was happening. It was my own personal decent into a certain kind of insanity.
Ditching the Doctors
When doctors finally told me nothing was wrong and I was “in the prime of my life” I broke in two. If this was my prime, then life was over for me. I could hardly eat anything besides carrots and olive oil (my skin literally turned orange). All I could do was barely scrape through a day. I was miserable and resentful and angry and just so incredibly sick.
It was the loneliest place I’ve ever known.
The divorce was mutual; I had ditched the doctors and they ditched me. That relationship was dead.
So I tried acupuncture, massage therapy, and herbalism. I’d followed online gurus, self-medicated, and self-meditated till I was numb.
Until I found Brie, my functional medicine practitioner.
Finally, someone who understood my suffering! Who took my complaints seriously and had genuine answers that made sense and produced results.
Thank God this would all be over soon.
Dying in Two Different Countries at Once
I grew up in the states. Small town, big family. When I was 20, I moved to London to work as a make-up artist. I got married and became a UK citizen.
Brie, my functional medical practitioner, lived in California and we liaised via Skype. In 2015, I was back in the US, visiting family for Christmas.
That’s when I got my life threatening parasite diagnosis.
And I needed specialist care. Immediately.
I had no insurance.
I had no connections.
I couldn’t stay in the US for treatment.
I didn’t even know what treatment I would need.
I contacted emergency care in the UK before I flew back, to let them know the situation. So I could get care. So I wouldn’t die. So my liver wouldn’t rupture and fill my body with poison.
But nothing happened.
There was no rush. No sense of urgency. No immediate care. No emergency procedures.
My NHS doctor casually referred me to the tropical diseases unit, saying I’d get an appointment in a month or two.
And I knew, without doubt, I’d never make it to that appointment.
At 27 years old, I would die scared and alone.
Two Months of Dying
I was crying in the shower. Again.
Head in hands, rocking back and forth.
Regret and pain and loss, streaming down my face.
It’s not how I wanted my life to end.
I wasn’t ready for death.
I was scared. So, so scared.
Waking Up from Death
In the end, I didn’t die. But I spent over two months (a total of 67 days) believing with every bone in my body that the icy voice of death would whisper into my ear at any moment, calling me to my grave.
It changed me.
The fact is, many parts of me did die that winter. Layers and layers of fear and doubt fell away, laying bear the truth. Exposing my mortality and frailty – and awakening my life and vitality. Priorities became scalding hot to the touch with blinding white clarity.
Living was a privilege. A chance. A brief miracle.
Dying once was enough for me.
12 Things I Learned from Nearly Dying That Could Save Your Life
This stuff could save your life. It saved mine.
1. You Are What You Think
You’re not crazy – you’re in control. You determine what the experience becomes. Think wisely.
2. Healing is a Mindset
You must engage your brain to access your body. They are intrinsically linked.
3. You Are Your Own Best Healer
Listen to the way your body speaks. Learn its language. It always knows.
4. You Must Get the Right Kind of Help
Fumbling in the dark will ruin your soul. Being mishandled by doctors is even worse. Find a functional medical practitioner to heal you from the inside out.
5. Health Goals Are Essential
Get clear about what your healing success looks like. Visualize it. Meditate on it. Bring it to life.
6. You’ve Got to Shed the Past
The past will keep you sick. Old ways, old stories, old habits. Examine. Get honest. Get rid.
7. Life Really is Short
Too short for bullshit. Move on.
8. Fear is a Faker
Respect fear for it’s role in protecting you and then step over it. It will only trick you into believing every kind of lie.
9. You Might Not Know What You Thought You Knew
Perhaps the clouds will part to reveal your deepest desires. Your truest self. Stuff you never dreamed of. Stuff you swore you’d never do. Prepare for a life unexpected.
10. Knowing Who You Are is Vital
Finding out who you really are and what you really want will connect you to your highest purpose and passion. Make a plan to live meaningfully, beautifully and exceptionally.
11. Healing is a Choice
You have to want to heal. You have to get your priorities straight. You have to get rid of blocks and excuses.
12. Many Cures for One Malady
There is no one pill fits all solution. Find your own healing way. Use whatever works for you. Find what feels good. Try everything. Listen to your bod.
Life or Death
Life or Death
You choose, honey.
It’s time for you to decide for yourself.
Whether to live or die.
Doesn’t matter whether you’re sick or well or beautiful or wealthy.
You have to make the choice.
Benjamin Franklin said, “Most people die at 25 and aren’t buried until they’re 75.”
Tell me. Where did your near death experience take you? What darkness have you known through illness or loss? How did you find your way back home? I want to know.