The Other Side of Impossible – A Book Review by Dr. Diane®
Book Review-‘The Other Side of Impossible’
I was reading an article written by Susannah Meadows and under the biographic information was a brief description of the book, The Other Side of Impossible. It immediately caught my attention, as it completely resonated with my own life story and that of several of my patients, including Tim Bransfield. Thus, I was compelled to contact Susannah and let her know I would like to read and review her book.
My motto, which you see throughout by website is “Help and Hope…There is a Way!®”. Susannah’s book provides readers with just that. Help, hope and the knowledge that there may be a way when you’ve been told there isn’t. When doctors told me that I would not get better after sustaining a brain injury, I took my recovery into my own hands and with my professional experience and perseverance I found a way.
The Other Side of Impossible introduces readers to resilience in the face of challenging health conditions that leave patients and their families searching for answers when traditional medicine simply wasn’t enough.
The book contains several true-life stories including the main story about Susannah’s son, Shepherd, who was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). His joint pain and stiffness was the beginning of a long and painful journey.
As many of you have experienced, when you go to a medical doctor there are often only two solutions; either some form of medication or some form of surgery. Occasionally, they might offer some form of physical therapy, speech therapy and even psychotherapy depending on the condition they are treating. Sometimes they might even mention acupuncture. Rarely do they recommend a change in your diet.
So too with Shepherd. He was given medication that did not help his continually worsening condition enough. Susannah and her husband, Darin, were also concerned about the drug’s side effects; it made Shepherd feel sick. Susannah wondered if there might be another option.
I spent years discovering complementary and alternative treatment methods that helped me regain my life when the doctors told me I would not make any further progress. In order to share the knowledge I had gained, and to help other survivors and caregivers, I co-authored the book, “Coping with Concussion and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury”.
However, there wasn’t a guide like my book, that offered specific conventional, complementary and alternative treatments for Shepherd’s symptoms. Susannah heard about another mom, whose son also had been diagnosed with JIA and had recovered after taking certain foods, including gluten and dairy, out of his diet and adding in fish oil and probiotics. She was a friend of Susannah’s sister’s husband’s friend, and she agreed to talk to Susannah over the phone, to walk her through what she’d done to help her son.
Susannah and Darin talked the other mom’s protocol over with Shepherd’s doctor, and he was okay with trying it. Six weeks later, Shepherd woke up and announced that his knees didn’t hurt anymore, before running out of the room. While it’s impossible to say what made him recover, the diet change seems like a likely explanation. Later, when he accidentally ate gluten-containing foods, he felt pain in his joints again.
This revelation was similar to how I discovered my Brain Health diet. Years before my accident in 1990, I had problems speaking. My Ear, Nose and Throat doctor said it was caused by my sinuses and required surgery. My ex-husband, Dr. Dennis Stoler, who is a medical doctor, recommended that I explore possible allergies before undergoing surgery. He encouraged me to see an Allergist. Lo and behold the allergy testing indicated that I do indeed have food allergies. From there I went on a six-month food elimination diet and discovered what foods would cause my hoarse voice. Once I changed my diet, all of my symptoms went away. I did not need surgery, medication, hospitalization, or further testing.
After my accident, to address the inflammation from my brain surgery, cerebral bleed and the bodily injury from the sixty-mile an hour auto crash, I included anti-inflammatory foods into my diet. Then again in 2005, when I got Lyme Disease, Martha Lindsay, our nutritional educator did muscle testing (Kinesiology) with me to treat inflammation, chronic pain, and other symptoms of Lyme Disease. Once again changing my diet, was key to improving my health.
Ordinary People Who Faced Daunting Medical Challenges and Refused to Give Up
Susannah’s book presents real-life stories of the pain, suffering, frustration, and fear that comes with chronic, debilitating autoimmune illnesses, as well as the help and hope that dietary changes can bring. An experienced journalist, she digs into the science of how and why food can impact disease. What is notable throughout this book is the struggle of the various families trying to find methods and solutions that will help, when the medical establishment is NOT providing any support. How many of us turn to the Internet to research alternative methods or go on social media searching for help with chronic pain, anxiety, depression and sleep problems? When surgery and medication are not the answer, where can you turn?
There is one sentence that Susannah wrote that says it all. “We need answers NOW, and we are not willing to wait.” The bold “Now” is my addition! Susannah Meadows is correct. We do need answers NOW. Most of you who have found this website were looking for answers or searching for methods of alleviating symptoms of chronic pain, inflammation, stroke, concussion, ADD/ ADHD, Autism, and PTSD.
In Susannah’s book, she shares the story of one child, Jaxon Chan, who had ADHD. His family thought the only answer was to put him on a medication like Ritalin. In this case, it was their pediatrician who suggested that certain foods may be affecting Jaxon’s behavior and attentiveness. Jaxon, who was 10 at the time, decided to try an elimination diet to see if this was the case with him. For three weeks, he stopped eating eight different foods, and his mood and performance at school improved dramatically. When the family tried reintroducing each food, his ADHD symptoms returned.
As part of my consult with patients with ADD/ADHD, along with neurofeedback, I provide a brain health elimination diet, where after 2 weeks the person becomes keenly aware of what foods will directly cause brain fog, inattentiveness and many other negative symptoms. With Neurofeedback, there is evidence-based data that concurs with the neurological changes in the brain. So not only does the patient/client feel better, but they can actually see data on how changes in the brain occur as a result of foods which effect the ability to be attentive and present.
Another true-life story that Susannah presents in her book is about a girl named Tess, who had seizures. She tried medication after medication, but nothing could control her seizures. Changes in her diet seemed to alleviate some of her daughter’s autistic symptoms, but the seizures were relentless. Her mother refused to accept that she could not find an answer for Tess. They tried everything various doctors suggested, as well as more experimental therapies like cannabis. The seizures kept coming. Finally, ten years into the ordeal, Tess’s mother took her to yet another doctor who finally found the benign brain tumor that was causing the brain to over fire.
Once again, reading this story, I could relate to my own situation, where in 2008 I was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor, called a meningioma, in my prefrontal left lobe. My doctors said I could experience seizures or bad headaches from this. With my extensive background in hypnosis, I started using hypnosis and the right foods, which have reduced the size of the tumor and I have not had any seizure or headaches!
Tess’s family was never given this option, since the tumor was overlooked by the first two neurologists. Nor was neurofeedback or dietary changes ever suggested. They were extremely lucky to have found the right neurologist who discovered the tumor. Tess underwent surgery to remove it and is now seizure free.
The book also covers a remarkable story about children with food allergies and how yet another unconventional method changed and saved their lives. Susannah devotes an entire chapter to Amy Thieringer, a board-certified Nutrition and Health Coach who has a practice in Lexington, MA. Amy Thieringer created Allergy Release Technique™ (A.R.T.™), an integrative methodology that focuses on building and strengthening the body’s immune system in order to eliminate allergic responses. Reading the remarkable work Amy has done for allergies and for arthritis, I immediately called one of my closest friends, Bea, who suffers from chronic pain, swelling and gnarled fingers from arthritis. Also, she has chronic hives. For years, she has gone to numerous doctors, none of which have helped her or provided her what causes her chronic hives and the medication have not helped her painful fingers. She like the various people interviewed in Susannah’s book has searched and searched looking for help and hope. Most people after a period of time just give up and believe that they have to live with the allergies, chronic pain, arthritis or the side effects of the medications used to treat many of these problems.
In all of these situations, medical professionals don’t usually suggest exploring dietary changes, Amy’s Allergy Release Technique™, or other outside the box methods. I know personally when I was diagnosed with H pylori bacteria, which caused severe stomach pain, that medication was suggested. Instead, I chose to eat cranberries which alleviated my symptoms.
What Susannah has in common with all the stories in her book, is the title of the book… “The Other Side of Impossible”. With perseverance and hope, you can achieve the other side of impossible. I truly know this from experience. In January 2016, I was diagnosed with one of the rarest form of lymphoma (see my lymphoma story and methods of treatment). I was told by an oncologist, if I didn’t undergo chemotherapy and radiation, I would be dead within six months. I refused, found another oncologist, and as you have read, through change of diet and other nutritional methods, along with neurofeedback and hypnosis, my tumor has shrunk. I’m still alive to write this blog today.
So, do I believe and endorse what Susannah Meadows has written in her book, The Other Side of Impossible? You betcha!
By the time someone calls my office, as with those who call Amy’s, they have tried so many methods that have not helped. From what Susannah has written about Amy, I truly appreciate the work she does. Although Amy and I do not offer the same services, we do share in common what this book provides… Help and Hope!… There is a Way!®
The Other Side of Impossible is a must read!