Around 1993 I started seeing a therapist in Morristown, NJ. I started to see him when I developed multiple iatrogenic detached retinas that caused me to lose the sight in my left eye. I was given a bleak prognosis – based on medical statistics, it was likely that the retina in my right eye would detach also, leaving me with little or no sight. He suggested to me that I consider a career in massage therapy. He had himself worked as a massage therapist to put himself through school, and he suggested that if I did lose my sight, it was something I could still do. That suggestion stayed with me, and in 1996 I took a severance package from a well-paying corporate job to initiate a career change into fitness and massage therapy. I became the Fitness Director at the YMCA in my hometown and went to massage school at night. I met Rose, who would later become my wife, while we were both attending massage school.
My Greatest Challenge
I developed kidney disease in 1998, shortly after I connected with Rose. I was already well into the process of a career change and was moving toward physical therapy when chiropractic school was presented to me as an option. Rose and I moved to Georgia in 1999. I had an idea of what attending chiropractic school would be like in terms of the education I would receive, and it was nothing like what I anticipated. It was a very stressful situation as I tried to make the best of a situation in which I was very unhappy. In 2002 the school I was attending, which was involved in a contentious accreditation re-affirmation process with the accrediting body, had its accreditation pulled. My reaction was a combination of anger and depression. I was 2/3 through with school and would have nothing to show for it. On Christmas Eve I awoke with my ankles swollen. I remembered a doctor in New Jersey who once said to me when you see swollen ankles think kidneys, so I asked my current doctor, who was treating me primarily with Traditional Chinese Medicine, to refer me for a urine test. I had the report faxed to me. I can remember the feeling of my legs giving out underneath me when I read the report. I had severe kidney disease. Life-threatening, as it turned out. I began getting massive doses of steroids intravenously at another doctor’s office to no avail. I was in kidney failure. I started accumulating fluid in my tissues all the way up to my abdomen. I could feel the fluid sloshing around if I rolled over. This was serious. I was on a downward spiral if this process wasn’t reversed quickly. Six months of treatment with cytotoxic drugs followed. I developed a neuropathy during the chemotherapy treatment that left me unable to use my right arm. All the while, I was trying to salvage a career by becoming an athletic trainer and was doing an internship while the kidney disease was at its worst.