Pain, Stress & the Immune System

We heard it over and over again: “You have the best of both worlds.” We lived in Florida in the winter in a beautiful villa surrounded by palm trees, flowering shrubs, and flowers that bloomed all winter. In the summer we enjoyed our cottage on beautiful Lake Michigan. For 13 years we lived a life filled with gardening, swimming, golfing, music, and dancing. In Florida we were part of a church that has over a hundred ministries, so we found plenty of worthwhile things to keep us busy. We were as happy as one can be in an earthly paradise.

Our fantasy world fell apart in June 2005 when our second son, Bob, was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 55. That same month a nephew died of cancer. We were filled with hope for Bob when we saw his determination to fight this dreaded enemy as he filled his summer with a healthy lifestyle and his beloved activity. But he lost his battle with cancer and died in December 2005. We were numb with grief.

Just two months later we traveled to North Carolina to attend the funeral of another nephew. This time it was a case of deep depression and suicide. We did not question the wisdom of going. We knew we had to be there for my sister and her family. I had not really come to grips with my own grief, and the weariness I felt on returning to Florida after the funeral was indescribable. I ignored my physical state and believed that keeping busy with all my activities would help me through my grief.

What I was ignoring was the stress-caused fatigue and depression, which led to a complete breakdown of my immune system. I was diagnosed with a virus that caused sores in my mouth, plus pneumonia and chronic fatigue syndrome. I had no appetite and could not chew food, as I was suffering from dry mouth. I lost 13 pounds, which I could ill afford. After being hospitalized twice with vials of antibiotics put into my veins, I returned home with a rash covering my body. After each visit to the doctor with a new prescription, I developed another rash. Added to all this was sciatica pain, which made me miserable.

I decided to give up on traditional medicine and turn to alternative medicine-peptides, supplements, chelation (the removal of heavy metals from the body), prolotherapy (a treatment for chronic pain that entails strengthening the ligaments and tendons), and ultraviolet light therapy. You name it, I had it, at the cost of thousands of dollars. Slowly I recovered some energy, but I began to believe I would never fully recover.

A year and a half later, in the fall of 2007, when I could no longer deal with the pain from the sciatica, I went to visit my chiropractor. Seeing my suffering, she tried to help me. After the treatment she told me about Kristine Jacobson, who was having success in treating many different illnesses using apitherapy, or bee stings. I laughed loud, it sounded so ridiculous. How could bee stings be of any help for all my problems? But crazy as it sounded, I took Kristine’s card and called her that very night.

My first visit to Kristine’s house lasted about two hours while she explained apitherapy in full. Still skeptical-and my husband, John, even more so-I decided to give it a try. I began having bee stings three times a week. It became a regular routine of stings, propolis, bee pollen, and royal jelly. After a few weeks the intense itching from the bee stings subsided. My visits to Kristine’s house became quite social, with all of us “stingees” enjoying our visits and improved health. Cathy, the excellent Bee Club cook, provided goodies that took some of the sting out. Our only fear was the occasional bee flying around, ready to sting us where it was not needed. If it happened to land on Kristine, we all wanted to take the sting for her.

After about a month of stings I began to feel my mood change. I was less depressed, as my immune system slowly recovered. I had more energy, and my sciatica disappeared with just a few stings. I no longer suffered from constant headaches, and my concentration improved. I was able to sleep without waking up frequently during the night. A scar from recent surgery diminished, and the itching stopped. The yeast infections that had plagued me for so long disappeared.

After three months we began to work on a problem that developed 50 years ago when a virus attacked the nerves in my face. This had caused a loss of feeling in my lips, and the numbness gradually spread to my whole face. Kristine began stinging my head and lips. After the first few stings I began to feel the stings slightly. We discontinued that treatment when I left for Florida in January 2008. We will continue the stings, believing in the miracle of healing and in the likelihood that the feeling in my face will come back after 50 years of numbness.

Last Friday was my first visit to Kristine’s Bee Club after returning from Florida. I was happy not only to see everyone but also to hear that I had been missed. Because I had been away so long, Kristine started with a small sting.

This was interesting, because I felt that I was coming down with bronchitis, to which I’m susceptible. Over the weekend I followed Kristine’s advice to breathe vinegar fumes and then drink it. I have been able to sleep without coughing. I was really pleased about that because two years ago when I became ill, it all started with a slight tickle in my throat. That doesn’t seem like enough to damage the immune system, but one thing had led to another.

If you want to boost your immune system, I would advise you to try apitherapy. In addition, you might find some pleasant surprises along the way. My skin, hair, and nails are healthier, and people tell me how well I look. And these benefits do not cost thousands of dollars!

- Hilda DeVries, Grand Rapids, MI
August 17, 2009