We are blissfully married and have three beautiful children, 2 in College and one finishing up High School. At the onset of my illness, we had a small hobby farm in the northwest corner of rural New Jersey….and, yes, there is a rural area of New Jersey and I’m here to tell you, it is beautiful!
Our little hobby farm had a small herd of milking goats from which we made organic artisan cheeses, a flock of laying ducks who provided lovely organic duck eggs which were greatly in demand at the local coops and Heritage Breed Ducks which we bred for the pure joy of keeping endangered breeds alive. Of course, we had an army of chickens out there doing their duty and reducing the tick population and laying eggs to earn their keep.
On our little farm, we homeschooled our three children. Being second generation homeschoolers, it was a natural choice and our children loved it. Our family ate naturally, cooked organically from scratch as well as locally purchased. We tried to be responsible and active and enjoyed a vast array of activities.
Then, in the summer of our life, a storm cloud moved in. In less than 4 months from the onset of a rare Neurological Disease, I went from completely normal to being a paraplegic and in more neurological pain than could be controlled by medication. For a long time, no one could determine the cause. It was finally theorized that a rare form of Chronic Disseminated Neurological Lyme Disease infected the spinal cord fluid causing damage to my central nervous system. It was also thought there was an underlying neurological disease that had never been diagnosed that was part of this layering. Whatever you want to call it, in the end, it meant severe pain and being relegated to a wheelchair.
In the mist of the war we were raging with this rare neurological condition, we were then faced with a very aggressive form of breast cancer. Being as I was so weak from the initial treatment for the Lyme Disease, having the breast tumor removed was not possible right away. By the time I was able to withstand surgery, it was an almost 3 1/4 pounds, 14 cm across, Triple-Negative Tumor. Every doctor I saw gave me a death sentence.
With the determination and drive from my Husband, we began a therapy I had chosen. It was completely natural and is based on the ideology that if your body is strong enough, it will fight the cancer on its own. Since conventional medicine only gave me months to live, we decided to tackle this ourselves. Using the Gerson Therapy, our entire family worked together on the treatment, everyone helping in one way or another. When the tumor was finally removed the oncologist was amazed to find that the only 2 lymph nodes taken with the tumor were actually negative of cancer and the tumor had grown out of the body and therefore did not require the expected muscle and skin grafts to close a deep wound. The therapy had worked. Josh and I were always organic/homeopathic but after fighting the illness for the last eight years, our knowledge has increased vastly. We are now in our 5th year of clean cancer numbers. I remain on the therapy in a maintenance pattern thanking God for each and every day.
So, that is my story in a nutshell, however, there is another side. Through the last 8 years, I have never had a single day in which I was out of pain. Since that September day in 2007 when the pain first hit, I have not had one single minute of my life that I was not fighting to find a way to deal with a neurological pain that little can be done to help. I have been told by many doctors that they rarely get patients at my stage because most people choose to end the pain on their own. For me, that is not an option, regardless of the pain I must endure, my husband and children mean too much to me, so, I had to find a way to channel the pain and find a way to function.
My husband remembered I had knitted throughout our married life, although I must admit, with the children and the farm, not to mention our business, knitting had taken a back seat. In an attempt to help me focus, he went to Knit Picks and purchased an entire set of both double-pointed and circular needles. I had every size I would ever need! With the addition of a little yarn and some knitting accessories, which we all know, is half of the fun, I was ready to start knitting. And, Knitting I did! I have spent much of the last eight years with needles in my hands. It just became a part of me.
I am often up at night when everyone else is asleep. Due to my condition, sleeping doesn't come easily so I am often up working on my projects so I can keep my mind off the pain and on something productive. Having been an active person, suddenly becoming someone who couldn’t walk and needed help just going to the bathroom, it was nice to actually produce something of use again. Knitting didn’t just help me focus my mind away from the pain, it helped me mentally deal with my new situation in life.
The more proficient I became in my knitting, the more I expanded. I had just begun to spin before I became ill, so, I waited, eight long years, until my legs were able to move enough to make the wheel turn and I could begin to spin again. I wasn’t going to be defeated, I knew with work, I could one day use my legs enough to fulfil my dream, and as of Christmas of 2014, I began spinning daily on my Ashford Kiwi 2 Wheel. I may not be able to walk, or even stand , but I can spin!
The Fiber Arts have given my life dimension again. Our family knows what a help they have been in my life and our goal is to bring Traditional Fiber Arts to others who are struggling. No matter what your disability, there is a Fiber Art you can enjoy! There is no physical limitation that cannot be worked around so you can enjoy Fiber in some way!
Thank you for joining us!
Josh and Lynne Rule