Ipswich: Jeanette Elisha-Ellis self-diagnosed her illness when doctors couldn’t and found her own cure - she tells all to James Marston
This was the Christmas she never thought she’d see.
And as Jeanette puts the finishing touches to the family Christmas tree at her home in Belstead she looks back on a year which saw her face the dramatic loss of her health.
She fights back the tears as she remembers those dreadful months when she was wheelchair bound, losing weight, unable to walk and suffering from terrifying episodes of paralysis.
She said: “I very nearly died. It was horrendous. This was the Christmas I didn’t think I would see.”
The 47-year-old art teacher is today looking towards a brighter future and has written a book about her experience in a bid to help others going through the same thing.
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She said: “I’d been with my husband for 20 years but in March we decided we would get married. By May I was seriously ill and feared for my life.”
Jeanette’s symptoms began when she thought she had pinched a nerve in her leg. She said: “I had a pain in my groin and my leg felt spongy. I couldn’t use it properly.
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“I went to the doctor’s who asked me to do some co-ordination tests, things that you usually do without thinking. I couldn’t do them so I was told to go to the hospital there and then. I think they thought I might have had a stroke but I had a scan and it wasn’t that.”
It was after this first episode that Jeanette started to get more seriously ill. She said: “It went to my other leg and I couldn’t walk more than a few paces. As the summer went on I had episodes during which I would collapse. My neck was swollen, my hair was falling out and I had a terrible pigmentation on my face.
“My blood pressure was high and I began to lose my short-term memory.”
After several trips to hospital Jeanette was told her blood tests were normal.
She said: “I had never used the NHS before and I needed help. But instead of helping find an organic cause of my illness I was pushed towards a mental health diagnosis because my speech was affected. I was slurring my words.
“Many people are taking to the internet to try and help find answers to their problems because they are being failed by some doctors. On purchasing my medical notes for research I found I had hypochondria written on them. The more I suggested what I thought was wrong the more they thought I was making it up.”
By August Jeanette decided to take matters into her own hands.
Already armed with the knowledge that some members of her family, including her children, suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome, she self-diagnosed her condition.
She said: “I realised I was getting nowhere so I studied genetics neurology and researched periodic paralysis. I was suffering from a myasthenic condition which is like a muscle weakness condition.
“I realised that the mineral levels in my body were extremely low.”
Jeanette self-medicated mineral supplements and multi-vitamins.
She added: “I also increased my amino acid intake – I ate lots and lots of protein. I stopped my paralysis attacks in two days. I was walking in two weeks and I have just got stronger and stronger.”
Now out of the wheelchair, Jeanette said she has managed to control and balance her hormone levels, lowered her blood pressure, improved her digestive system, improved muscle weakness and fatigue, improved light sensitivity, improved kidney function, stopped hot flushes, lowered anxiety, stabilised weight, regained sleep, improved food intolerance, and improved her short-term memory.
She said: “I was in a wheelchair for about four months. It was a nightmare and it was very frightening.”
Jeanette continues to wait for a diagnosis from the medical profession for her condition.
She said: “They wanted me to see a psychiatrist. Since this has happened to me I have found I am not alone. I am not saying that Ipswich Hospital is at fault it is just the system that isn’t working.” Though she still suffers from tiredness, Jeanette’s health has dramatically improved and her wheelchair remains unused.
She said she decided to write about her experience and her findings. Her book – The Eli Diet Theory – is the result of her research. She added: “The hospital and doctors couldn’t help me, so I had to help myself. The science is out there. People are turning to the internet because they know they are ill, even when medical tests suggest they are not. Doctors are missing vital signs of body imbalance, hormone and neurological disorders. Patients are criticised for turning to the internet, but like many, I felt I had no choice.”
“Blood tests, urine tests and EMG tests are not always picking up these problems.
“I know because they did not for me, but two tests done at home did, indicating a physical problem with myself and my children. My extensive research into neurology, endocrinology, genetics, biochemistry and other specialised areas indicate that we are overlooking some basic principles of biochemistry.”
Jeanette said The Eli Diet Theory explains in simple science a connection between how genes may affect body balance, immune, the hormone system, weight and disease, with emphasis placed on self-help and nutrition. Jeanette said the book has been written for the general public to understand the science, rather than being written for academic medical approval. However, Jeanette went on to say that she would like to hear back from researchers.
She added: “I have not been able to be referred to research departments because I have improved my symptoms myself. Not only that, I have improved symptoms within my friends and family, including skin conditions, memory and brain processing. If researchers are willing to contact me then this may help other people in the future.
“Although people are living longer, we are not getting healthier. Medical science has made huge progress in treating disease, but what if medical science is overlooking and over-complicating the basics of biochemistry, which would not only help identify disease but also help prevent disease?”