IF YOU'RE STRUGGLING, DON'T LOSE HOPE.
YOUR ANSWER MAY COME WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT.
in a NUTSHELL . . .
I'm Laera, and I have epilepsy. I'm a survivor of “anti" - epilepsy drug Levetiracetam, which worsened my epileptic seizures exponentially — to the point that I was blacking out unpredictably, multiple times every single day. Left unable to work in this condition and feeling quite desperate, I devoted the next few years of my life to searching for something, anything, that could help me reclaim my life . . . until I discovered that those feelings of desperation and pathos were the very thing holding me back from healing.
I now am immensely grateful that I can say the healing journey that sprang from my own health challenges has served as one of my greatest teachers thus far in life, for it introduced me to the real power of shamanic, energy, and natural medicines. I believe that our health — in all realms, spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical — is the greatest investment we can make during our lifetimes as humans.
UNABRIDGED . . .
Since being diagnosed with epilepsy at age 14, I’ve experienced ebbs and flows in the severity of my condition. There have been chapters of my life that were seizure-free for years: when I was a freshman in high school, I had a few petit mal seizures that one teacher of mine noted as strange episodes of my "zoning out" for several seconds at a time, but not losing consciousness; however, the AEDs I was soon prescribed (Keppra and Carbatrol), though energy-depleting, kept my seizures at bay. Upon graduating high school, I was tapered off of all AEDs, thanks to an "excellent" prognosis from my neurologist, who assured me that many kids outgrow seizures, and I was then seizure-free for another six years afterward, including all of college.
However, the chapter I share here was when multiple daily blackouts that could happen anytime, anywhere were the par for my course:
A couple of years after graduating college in Arkansas with a BA in Cultural Anthropology, I decided to move to New York City. I had landed a job there that put my research skills to use as a medical writer, which consisted entirely of researching and summarizing pharmaceutical drugs at various stages in the process of USFDA approval. Despite having been encouraged relentlessly during my childhood to "be a doctor or a lawyer" once I grew up (due to the presumed high-ranking position of each profession within the social hierarchy), at the time, working in or with the US medical industry had not been of particular interest to me. All I knew was that I had taken my AEDs during high school, and that the pharmaceutical industry invested in an absurd amount of TV air time with their advertisements. I had never taken the initiative to do any detailed research into pharmaceuticals. I had simply accepted the medical industry as being here to stay, more or less in its current form (what with allowance for whatever changes ongoing technological advancements would bring), and not going away anytime soon. Therefore, it seemed to be as good of a career base as any other out there, if not one of the best.
While reviewing details of pharmaceutical test studies, I gained a bit of insight into the Untied States' conventional healthcare system. Basically, I was amazed by how lacking some of the medical case studies that I read were. I came across some pharmaceutical case studies based on sample sizes that were surprisingly small. (Appallingly small, given that people's health was on the line here!) And yet, these same studies (in which, for example, 17 out of 17 participants fared well throughout the experiment) were almost always advanced to the next tier of USFDA approval. I’d learned in fifth grade science class that the smaller the sample size, the less credible the study, and would have assumed that the USFDA knew that as well. A couple of times, I was led to question whether the work I was doing was ethical; however, I shrugged it off, figuring that I wasn't a scientist, so what did I know?
Not long thereafter, I experienced my first-ever gran mal seizure while in New York. I woke up on the floor of my bedroom midday, with no recollection of having laid down to take a nap there. This happened on New Years Day, after two consecutive nights of heavy drinking, which was not exactly the norm for me, but also nothing I hadn't done before during my college years. I had never experienced any such reaction to alcohol intake. I questioned whether this could have some connection to epilepsy (which had nearly fallen off my radar entirely by that point in time), but I had no way of knowing what exactly had happened. So, I made a mental note of the event and moved on.
Two months later, the same thing happened after another two consecutive nights of drinking heavily in honor of St. Patrick. Given that this had been the first time I had hit the bottle so hard since New Year's, I feared that seizures were making a reappearance in my life . . . and that my freedom to simply have a casual drink (or, a few) here and there with friends while off the clock was now facing a newfound threat.
Having grown up in the quick-fix society of 1990s Midwestern, US — where I kept myself hydrated with Little Rock, Arkansas's fluoridated city tap water, fast food was the norm for an after-school snack, and any ensuing health issues that sprang up later on from such continuous, unhealthy intakes were to be dealt with via prescriptions and pill-popping, rather than by actually making adjustments to a lifestyle that was largely both ignorant and gluttonous — I did not even bother considering the eradication of alcohol from my diet (I was in my early twenties, and I wanted to maintain my right to party, goddammit!). Rather, I scheduled an appointment with a doctor, just like I'd been to do before whenever faced with health questions. The neurologist I saw wrote me a prescription for Keppra, since it had worked for me in high school.
When I went to get that prescription filled at a Walgreens in mid-Manhattan, the pharmacist handed me a bottle that instead read, Levetiracetam. When I inquired about this, she looked me in the eye and told me, "It's the same thing." I felt a distinct churning in the pit of my stomach when she said this, but didn't see what more I could do at the moment, so I left with what turned out to be the generic version of Keppra (levetiracetam is the active ingredient in Keppra) and began taking my prescribed doses of Keppra with it, instead, the next day.
It didn't take long until I saw, with 20/20 hindsight, the value of trusting my gut. Within a short couple of weeks after beginning to take levetiracetam, I found that it was not "the same thing" as Keppra; I saw the frequency of my seizures literally exponentially increase. I soon was averaging three gran mal and/or tonic clonic seizures every day, sans alcohol intake entirely. [Since further researching levetiracetam, it’s become clear that I’m far from the only epileptic who’s had their condition worsened by this particular USFDA-approved generic AED.]
With my brain constantly hitting the reset button, I was living in a constant postictal state — that is, the mental fog that comes after a seizure and which can last anywhere from a few seconds to over a week.
I begrudgingly accepted that I couldn't risk losing my consciousness on my way to catch the 2am L train; I couldn't continue in New York like this. So, I packed my bags, picked up, and left for Little Rock, where made a pit stop at my parents' house while I tried to get a handle on my health and figure out my next move. I continued my medical writing job in New York from afar, and hoped that I could soon return to the city after subletting my room in Bushwick for a few (hopefully short?) months.
However, I soon found that the conventional neurologists in Little Rock weren't any more skilled with their AEDs than were the conventional neurologists in Manhattan. My condition wasn't improving, so it was time to investigate other treatment options.
I decided to travel to Portland, Oregon because a good friend of mine from college had told me several months prior to my health trauma that I'd love the place, plus I'd since heard encouraging news about the alternatives to mainstream medicine that existed in the city.
So, I bought a one-way ticket to Portland. Once I was there, I opted to stay. I explored what the realm known as "alternative" medicine might have to offer a struggling epileptic. I tried neurofeedback therapy . . . acupuncture . . . meditation techniques . . . ketogenic dieting . . . all while continuing to try various AEDs prescribed by conventional neurologists as well as specialist epileptologists. But, nothing seemed to work. (I only ended up with some newfound digestive issues after the neurologist who put me on the ketogenic diet failed to advise me about the risks of transitioning back to a carb-heavy diet too abruptly. )
A couple of years after I moved there, in 2014 cannabis shops began to spring up all over Portland in the wake of Oregon's long-awaited statewide legalization of recreational cannabis. Finally not needing a prescription (what can I say, but that conventional neurologists seemed attached to writing prescriptions for those conventional drugs they'd get commissions for prescribing), and finally having access to marijuana connoisseurs I could discuss my options with at the weed dispensaries, I bought some high-CBD, low-THC cannabis to try. I was hopeful that medical cannabis would be the light at the end of the tunnel I'd been looking for, since epilepsy was one of the primary conditions that it was purported to help.
I did find that, over the span of thirty months of desperately grasping to find a solution, medical cannabis turned out to be the only thing that exhibited any effect on my condition whatsoever. I saw the frequency of my seizures decrease. However, they were still happening every day, and I was still living in a perpetual postictal state and perpetual uncertainty as to whether any trip out of the house would result in my waking up in an ER because I'd had a seizure in public, people had flipped out, and I'd ended up with yet another ambulance bill I'd never needed and for which I certainly never would have asked.
If not even medical cannabis could give me the answer I was looking for, I didn't know what could. By this point, it was beginning to seem that I had exhausted all available possibilities.
I was 27, and had had aspirations in life. I'd always been a hardworking student, had graduated magna cum laude from university, and had once thought I'd be in grad school at that point, working toward my PhD in Anthropology. But, here I was instead, living on monthly disability payments from social security that were the minimum possible amount awarded by the state since I had had the rug swept out from beneath me before I was even able to establish a decent salary, barely able to support myself because of it, and forced to rack up more and more debt to get by in the meanwhile. And things showed no signs of changing.
So, I finally decided to quit desperately grasping for a solution. I remember the moment that I made this choice, because my surrender to my life's reality did not feel at all like the defeat I had subconsciously feared that it would (even though surrender was not an option I had even before considered). Rather, my release was a palpable victory that felt like rediscovered light-source energy.
I was standing in front of the kombucha display inside my local grocery store at the corner of SE Hawthorne and Cesar Chavez Blvds., deliberating over what flavor I wanted to purchase. I had never expected to be shopping for my groceries with food stamps, but like it or not, that's the corner I had been unjustly shoved into anyway. I could choose to view this situation with the resentment I'd been schlepping around up till that point because things hadn't gone the way I'd planned in life due to no bad decision-making or fault of my own, aside from the naive faith I'd been taught to carry, by default, in the words of those who wear white lab coats . . . Or, I could shed the battle gear and free myself from combat mode. My perspective on any given matter was one thing that I would always have control over, and was arguably the one thing that no external entity could ever take away from me. As long as I still had my consciousness, I had my perspective.
A lightbulb went off as it struck me that — even with my consciousness constantly in question, and my memory having suffered permanent damage from the thousands of shocks to the brain I'd suffered — all thing considered, I still had a lot to be grateful for in life if my biggest concern at any given moment was whether I would prefer Tantric Tumeric or Cosmic Cranberry kombucha. So I opted to gracefully surrender to my situation of not having to work a job (even if it was because I had been rendered unable to do so), and accept this blessing that had been bestowed upon me. I was essentially living in early retirement. Countless people spent their entire careers striving for this.
A palpable sense of relief washed over me, as the burden I had taken upon myself — of being so deeply invested in claiming that which I had previously considered to be justice for myself — evaporated from my shoulders. I simply let go. I freed myself from all the heavy, low-frequency energy of resentment and determination I had been carrying around. I peacefully shook hands with my situation.
It was the literally the week after my aforementioned release that, to my great surprise, the antidote to my everyday seizures fell into my lap.
I had a seizure during the yoga class at my local food co-op. The yoga teacher, Sonya (who, unbeknownst to me, was also a shamanic healer and conduit), told me afterward that it "came to her" that I should apply Frankincense essential oil to the bottoms of my feet three times per day. Needless to say, I was skeptical upon hearing this, what with having opened myself to trying numerous other innovative remedies, with no success . . . what with noticing the doTERRA essential oils sales kit that Sonya had with her (hmmm, I wondered, Is this a New Age Mary Kay lady of sorts, driven first and foremost by an ulterior motive to sell?) . . . and, what with never before having heard Frankincense referenced much at all, with the exception of the Christmas story that I'd had shoved down my throat countless times as a child growing up in Arkansas (and, only ever within the context of its accompanying Myrrh and Gold, at that — could Frankincense even stand on its own?? And, on my feet, of all places?!?).
However, there was something about the way that Sonya relayed this information to me that was noticeably genuine. I could tell that she wasn't merely trying to make a sale, or relaying to me the same information that she had repeated countless times prior to other clients, like the MDs I had seen far too many times. I was not one to buy into information that purportedly "came to" anyone by some mystical means; and yet, I could viscerally sense some deeper, wiser, higher-frequency origin of this news that Sonya was channeling to me. Given that Sonya closed our conversation by simply handing me a free sample of Frankincense to try out, with no sales pitch or catch of any sort, I figured I had nothing to lose by giving it a shot, in any case.
So, I accepted this gift of Frankincense and did as recommended: applying a half drop to each big toe mound of my feet, thrice a day. I kept expectations low while adhering to this regimen.
Six weeks later, I was surprised, heartened, and impressed to find I was down to averaging one seizure per week. I was actually having some days of the week when I was not postictal, and had my wits fully about me. And the frequency of my seizures continued to decrease from that point forward, as I continued to use Frankincense — and Frankincense alone — daily.
If not for Sonya's suggestion, I doubt that it otherwise would have occurred to me to use Frankincense essential oil for my epilepsy — and even if it somehow would had occurred to me on my own, I doubt that I would ever have thought to put it on my feet. One thing that was now obvious was that there was probably a reason why those known as the Wise Men in Christianity's ancient tale of Jesus's birth had brought Frankincense to the newborn baby they considered to be their king.
Further research on my part revealed that Frankincense has been known as the King of Oils for centuries in the Middle East because of all of its healing capabilities. There not only are 60+ specific known health issues that Frankincense is known to directly heal; Frankincense also amplifies the healing effects of other herbs (hence, other essential oils) when used in conjunction with them (I think of it as being similar to Reiki's Choku Rei symbol of power, which I often use in healing sessions that are not Reiki-focused).
I find the fact that I was entirely deprived of any information about the potent healing force that is Frankincense, specifically — or about any healing herbs, for that matter, what with the plethora of them that exists and has been known to humans for ages — to be unacceptable. All that I knew to do for my own health issues was to use a few, basic over-the-counter remedies (i.e., Dimetap for congestion, Tylenol for headaches, etc. . . . ) once the going had already gotten tough and symptoms were already there. Any semblance of health-consciousness or preventative medicine (like, awareness of what nutrients I might or might not be getting from the food I ate) was unbeknownst to me while growing up. And yet, here I learned that essential oils not only are just as effective as pharmaceuticals; they are sometimes more effective than pharmaceuticals, and without such harmful side effects.
For me, essential oil of Frankincense was truly life-changing. Hence, my passion for spreading awareness of, respect for, and access to safer, healthier modalities of medicine. Growing up, I had been entirely deprived of any knowledge of do-it-yourself options for personal health care in 1990s Arkansas, where I was taught in elementary school a food pyramid that positioned dairy as being on par with meat in essentiality to the diet, fruit as being on par with vegetables, and grains as being the absolute foundation of it all, of which we should consume the most.
My mission extends far beyond shifting the mainstream modus operandi to usage of the natural before usage of artificial substances once symptoms have already appeared. I believe that a solid understanding of what it actually means to be healthy, and the ability to prevent countless issues and symptoms from appearing in the first place, is of utmost importance. My mission is also to spread awareness of, and respect for, how absolutely crucial investigation and addressment of the root cause of any given health issue is to actual healing — and, of course, access to methods of doing so.
Hence, my passion for working as a shamanic and energetic healer.
Studies of quantum physics from years prior had already erased any lingering doubts I may have harbored that energies not yet measurable by modern scientific means exist throughout the multiverses of outer space. By the time I regained control over my consciousness thanks to Frankincense, and therefore some degree of control over how a typical day in my life would look, I was inspired to delve even further into studies of unseen energies. This was triggered in part by the depth of impact that Sonya's ability to set ego aside, and selflessly intuit and channel exactly the answer I'd been seeking, had had on my life. It was also undeniable that my answer had come to me only once I adopted an entirely new energetic frequency that was viscerally different from, and higher than, that which I'd been carrying for years prior.
As a patient of conventional healthcare, I had had both positive and negative experiences with doctors. Unfortunately, the negative largely outweighed the positive. I spoke with too many neurologists who clearly lacked much respect for me, or consideration of my input as a patient.
While I believe that there is certainly a time and a place for conventional medicine — that is, namely, surgery; and despite all of my trips there thus far having been unnecessarily imposed upon me, ER's can indubitably save lives, too! — the question still remains: WHY would we NOT turn to NATURAL healthcare (including shamanic and energy medicine, given that everything is, naturally, ENERGY!) as our PRIMARY GO-TOS when in need of treatment? Most of all for long-term treatment of chronic conditions? And, thereafter — when and if nature is ever unable to do the job as needed — only then turn to pharmaceuticals as the alternative modality perhaps worth trying?
Is it because of the lack of corporate lobbyists in, and the general public's widespread lack of knowledge of, natural healthcare? The lack of insurance coverage of natural, energetic healing modalities??
This is our HEALTH, fellow Earthlings — the foundation of our existence!
It's well worth whatever financial leaps and bounds are required to take care of our health in whatever way is least harmful to us. Less-than-optimal health can make or break the quality of our time spent alive on this planet as humans, regardless of however wealthy we may be in other areas. And we may not see that certain artificial substances we take in are damaging our health until they have already been doing that damage for years on end.
There are exceptions to any rule, but one tenet upon which people from all social spectrums and cultures from around the world can agree is . . .
IT IS HARD TO BE HAPPY WITHOUT OUR HEALTH!
Regardless of whether or not you are inspired to purchase any healing treatments from me, I hope that, above all, you find my story inspirational . . . whatever form
of benefit that may take for your own life and personal wellbeing. Aho!
PEACE STRENGTH LOVE VITALITY JOY SIYAPE HEALTH UNITY
IF YOU'RE STRUGGLING, DON'T LOSE HOPE.
YOUR ANSWER MAY COME WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT.