About Dr. Monica Y. Jackson , PhD.
Dr. Monica Y. Jackson, Ph.D. is a Special Project Director and Distance Education Coordinator at a community college in Southern California. She is also an online professor with various universities. She thrives on learning and is currently enrolled in the School of Ministry. As the founder of Life Skills Enterprise, her mission, passion and purpose is to build, inspire and model excellence in the under-served by mentoring in food (choices), faith (building) and future (development). She is also the author of Eat Healthy without Sacrificing Taste. For more information visit www.lifeskillsenterprise.com
Dr. Monica Jackson’s Personal Story of Health – March 25, 2016
Medical doctors misdiagnosed me not once (with Cancer), not twice (with Lupus), but three times (with Osteopenia). Although three curveballs were thrown my way, I did not strike out!
During an office visit, my primary care physician, of more than 10 years, walked into the examination room and said, “I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I need to refer you to a neurologist to stage you.” I had been hospitalized for an unrelated illness, and while being examined, the technician “saw something.” He faxed a report to my doctor stating that he discovered a large mass, 6” x 6” x 4,” in my right kidney and recommended further evaluation. Based on this one fax, my doctor immediately concluded that I had Cancer.
During another office visit, this same doctor said the following after receiving the results from routine blood tests. “Your ANA factor is elevated.” She went on to ask about my family history. I informed her that a maternal aunt had Arthritis, Lupus and other ailments. Her response was, “If your aunt had Lupus, it is in your family tree and most likely you have it too. I need to refer you to a rheumatologist to be treated.” I had no symptoms or complaints. She also informed me that I was vitamin D deficient and had osteopenia based on one bone density test. She was surprised that I was not experiencing severe bone and joint pain, a symptom of lupus. In fact, I was feeling great and had no discomforts, whatsoever!
I sought a second opinion from a neurologist. He concluded that I did not have a mass or Cancer. I also sought a second and third opinion for the Lupus concern. The first rheumatologist said, “Your ANA factor is elevated. You are asymptomatic, but I want to put you on medication for a time period, and most likely for the rest of your life. So, if anyone tells you that you have Lupus, you can tell them that you are already being treated. Before you start taking the medication, I need to refer you to an ophthalmologist to check your eyes, now and periodically, because the medication can affect your eyesight. You are being treated for UCTD – Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease.”
When I looked up the word ‘undifferentiated,’ I discovered that it meant change, alter, modify. The first thought that came to my mind was “how can something that changes, or is undetermined,” be treated? So, I made the following statement to the doctor, “I don’t have Lupus. There is no cure for Lupus and there is no way to prevent the disease, right?” His response was affirmative. I politely thanked him and left his office, never to return for treatment.
I returned to my regular doctor for a follow-up. She reviewed the rheumatologist’s report and said, “You are being treated for Lupus and, although you don’t have it, I really think you are going to develop it.” Um, humm, huh; did I miss something? None of this made sense. Therefore, I decided not to return to another doctor until I could locate one who made some sense and would not insult my intelligence, or what I perceived to be intelligence.
A couple of years later, yes a couple of years, I located a naturopathic medical doctor who sent me for expensive and routine lab work, that was not covered by my PPO – boy was I surprised by the bill! Tests determined that my ANA factor was still elevated. She referred me to a rheumatologist who she said practiced more naturally. Well, I visited that doctor and he wanted to prescribe similar treatment, medication and antibiotics for six to eight months, or for life. An alternative was colostrum, yep breast milk!
In my experience, antibiotics are for infections, short-term and could be ineffective when taken for prolonged periods. They also have their own side effects – ladies know exactly what I am talking about – the dreaded yeast infection, treated with more prescription drugs. The doctor’s final option was do nothing and allow the disease to manifest itself, which may or may not occur. Humm … The last portion, “may not occur” is what I focused on and concluded that these doctors were truly practicing medicine. Now, I am not belittling the profession because they are only following what they have been taught. However, it is time for a shift in healthcare. True healthcare requires each of us to be our own advocate. It takes time and effort, but it is better than the alternative.
Well, it has been eight years since I was told that I needed to be “staged.” It has been five years since I have been told that I “most likely” have Lupus. Guest what? To this very day, I have never been diagnosed with Cancer, Lupus or Osteopenia and feel better than ever, at 51-years young. Most people would shout for joy about this, but I did not. I was a bit perturbed because:
- No doctor should deliver such distressing news without having proof and facts.
- There was a reoccurring theme from three different doctors – to medicate, medicate, medicate, for something that had yet to develop and was essentially unknown.
- Medical professionals need to operate within their area of expertise and consult with subject matter experts/specialists instead of delivering unfounded, opinionated diagnoses.
- A different patient receiving such news may not have handled it well or be alive today. The what-ifs of accepting the recommended treatment were personally unsettling.
These experiences caused me to question the “practice” and traditional medical treatments. What I discovered was actually quite scary. So, what did I do? I watched my former pastor, Diego Mesa of Abundant Living Family Church, transform right in front of my eyes. Doctors had given this individual one year to live, and recommended the usual and customary chemotherapy and radiation. He met Dr. Tony, discontinued treatment and nearly nine years since he stopped treatment, he is alive and well.
I consulted with Dr. Tony Antonacci regarding my medical concerns. I followed the supplement and detoxification plan customized by him and the precise nutrition plan eloquently delivered by Ms. Lisa Fiore. Their combined advice and expertise made perfect, logical sense. It inspired me to act, not react. You see, their approach was healing through food and lifestyle change, not just for me but for my entire family. Drugs were not prescribed and medication was unnecessary.
The beneficial side effects of the treatment were: (1) I felt better than ever, (2) I discontinued taking popular supplements (vitamin D, calcium, fish oil, multivitamins) and (3) I lost 30 pounds and went from a size 12/14 to a 6, as shown in the pictures (taken in 2012 and 2015). I also began experimenting with recipes, sharing with others and encouraging them to make lifestyle changes. I consult with Lisa regarding food choices and share what I learn with others.
Today, I aim to eat 90 to 95% healthy. I am selective about the not so healthy foods that I consume and make wiser choices when dining out. When I allow myself opportunities to eat something that I should not, I make sure I increase my Probiotic and Digest Aid Enzymes and cleanse, at least once per quarter. If I can do it, so can you. It’s a choice. Choose wisely! You only have one life to live on this side of eternity. Live well, be well and eat healthy without sacrificing taste.
Dr. Monica Jackson