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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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March 21, 2014

No Longer Terminally Ill

By Guest
149 Comments

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

Hi Mark,

I’ve had serious kidney disease all my life, although I was not diagnosed until I was 26 years old. My kidneys never grew properly due to reflux nephropathy and I developed another disease inside the kidney (FSGS) which was diagnosed as terminal in 2011. Along the way I had developed thyroid issues, Type II diabetes, and asthma. I was on medication to reduce high blood pressure as this is very dangerous for kidney patients, and I had also started statins to reduce cholesterol and as a common preventative drug for renal patients! The side effects of all these medications were getting very hard to live with! I felt like I rattled (filled with tablets) if I moved and this was distressing. I used to be a sailing instructor at an outdoor pursuits centre. I was used to being fit and active, and now a 2km walk was a real struggle.

Living with kidney disease was all I had known, but as I got older the pain and the severe infections had me hospitalised about once a month or more often, and alongside a preventative antibiotic, I was also receiving massive doses of strong ABs intravenously at least ten times a year. I didn’t feel that good, to be honest. And I was large: 125 kgs (275 lbs).

Marg - Before

At 46 I had my left kidney out as it was seen as causing these horrific infections. The operation went badly with the surgeon starting off keyhole, missing my stunted, mal-formed kidney and trying to remove my pancreas, meanwhile cutting an artery to my spleen and having to cut a 40 cm cut to get it all fixed. I had nine blood transfusions in the first three days after surgery. I was in hospital for a month and initially it was unsure if I would survive.

When I returned home it took about a year to recover, although I didn’t have as many infections. That was 2010. By 2011 I received news that my right kidney was dying and to go home and make a bucket list. Fortunately my family and I are fairly content and having been fairly adventurous most of our lives had only a few “big” things left that could be done giving my failing health. One of those was a trip to the US to see family and friends (including Mickey Mouse) and a rail trip from Omaha to San Francisco. We had a great time that summer (for us) of 2011/12.

In mid 2013 I was progressively worse (as expected) and diagnosed with liver disease also. IT WAS THE BEST THING THAT HAPPENED TO ME. I REFUSED to live with liver disease. On top of everything else it was too much!

I got busy. First I cut the statins against medical advice and that took care of all the rashes, severe dandruff and eczema I had developed. I started eating a grapefruit a day and that took my cholesterol down enough for my doctor to be very happy.

Next I cut out wheat – that took care of the diarrhoea and to some extent the night sweats. I lost a bit of weight, which was a nice bonus.

Finally I cut out all processed food – I called it going clean… but then I found your website and I got serious. Since August 2, 2013, we have been Primal and by October 10 my kidney doctor was so excited that I was more and more well that he said he couldn’t see dialysis being necessary in the next two years, maybe ever… in fact he thought I might live to be old! He cut my BP medication half, cut out my kidney meds and stated that I no longer was diabetic and cut out that med too. Yehaa!

The liver disease took a little longer to clear – I was expecting six more weeks but by November 14 it too was gone and all the results were in the normal stage. Dead smack bang normal! It was such a delight. Since the beginning I have lost a total of 35 kgs (77 lbs) and am back to walking/running 4+ hours a week, lifting heavy things (my body) 4×10 minutes a week and sprinting once a week for 10 minutes. I exercise when I feel like it. 🙂 I eat what I want – I just make sure I want good, basic, Primal food.

Over the years I have had a lot of people praying for me and I can say that God has been very good to me. The biggest result has been the attitude of my family. My husband is so excited that I am not only no longer terminally ill but fit and active again, which is nice, but OUR KIDS have really changed. They used to “look after” me and now I am enjoying looking after them. I knew things had really changed when my teenage daughter said, “Now, Mum, not only will you be here to make my wedding dress, but you can meet my children.”

Marg - After

Marg

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149 Comments on "No Longer Terminally Ill"

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Groktimus Primal
2 years 6 months ago

You have truly Grokked On!

Elenor
Elenor
2 years 6 months ago

oh yeah, THAT is a tear-jerker!! Congratulations! Amazing… and tell your daughter to have lots of kids — so you stick around a long long time! {wink}

Andrew
Andrew
2 years 6 months ago

An extremely moving story. All best to you and yours.

Alice
Alice
2 years 6 months ago

All I can say is wow. This is just an amazing story. Miraculous, really.

Karen
Karen
2 years 6 months ago

+1

Melissa
Melissa
2 years 6 months ago

+1

Geoff McDonald
2 years 6 months ago

+1

Colin
Colin
2 years 6 months ago

+1

Kami
Kami
2 years 6 months ago

You look lovely – and so happy! I’m glad that everything has worked so well for you – keep up the good work 🙂

Beck W
Beck W
2 years 6 months ago

Just cried. That happened. So happy for you and your family! :’D

paleocrush
2 years 6 months ago

Goosebumps. Just goosebumps in a good way. And a little speechless.

BodyweightFan
BodyweightFan
2 years 6 months ago

Awesome story. Sometimes when people question the methods of their doctors, good things happen.

Melissa
Melissa
2 years 6 months ago

Your doctor said terminal and your completely turned it around. Truly amazing!!!

Judith
Judith
2 years 6 months ago

Fantastic story! I admire that you took responsibility for your own health. Now I need to find a tissue. You look beautiful, keep up the great work.

Alice
Alice
2 years 6 months ago

This is amazing and inspiring. Thank you.

Kate
Kate
2 years 6 months ago

Wow – congratulations! You look great!

Shelley Reed
Shelley Reed
2 years 6 months ago

Thanks for sharing! I really needed this kind of boost this week.

Alexandra
Alexandra
2 years 6 months ago

+1

Angela
Angela
2 years 6 months ago

+1

Helen O'Neill
Helen O'Neill
2 years 6 months ago

What an inspiring story! You make me feel as tho there actually is hope for me. Thank you so much for sharing.

Marg in New Zealand
Marg in New Zealand
2 years 6 months ago

Oh Helen – there’s always hope! You can make small changes that add up… (but I know how you feel when it all looks a little hopeless.) 🙂

Peggy
Peggy
2 years 6 months ago

Wow. Wow.Wow. Go you!!! Way to take your life/health in your own hands & make a change! Truly inspiring 🙂

Miz Pat
Miz Pat
2 years 6 months ago

YES! +10!!

colleen
colleen
2 years 6 months ago

Congratulations Marg! That is the most inspirational friday success story ever!

AustinGirl
AustinGirl
2 years 6 months ago

FANTASTIC!! Congratulations to you…and your family!!!

Joy Beer
Joy Beer
2 years 6 months ago

Add me to the list of fellow Grokkers who shed tears. You are inspiring and I’m so happy for your family that they get to keep you!

AMY
AMY
2 years 6 months ago

Now that is a success story!!

malcs
malcs
2 years 6 months ago

Tears are rolling downmy face. Well done . This is probably the most inspiring story on MDA. Love it , Love Friday success stories.

Primal and Proud
Primal and Proud
2 years 6 months ago

This is what it is all about! Taking charge of your own vitality and future! Thank you for sharing this story with us and congratulations on your new life! These stories should be in the waiting room of every single doctor’s office.

primalpal
primalpal
2 years 6 months ago

Trying not to cry here at work…great job Marg. I love it! God is good!

I’m glad he led you to the PB lifestyle!

Marg in New Zealand
Marg in New Zealand
2 years 6 months ago

Indeed.

BW
BW
2 years 6 months ago

Kaboom! That is a success story. Well done Marg. Good for you.

Bryan
Bryan
2 years 6 months ago

Wow Marg. That’s a success story! Thank you for sharing it here. Amazing.

TC
TC
2 years 6 months ago

Wow, more tears shed here, too! Thank you for sharing such an inspiring story. Congrats and keep it up!

Janice James
Janice James
2 years 6 months ago

Marg, do your doctors understand what is responsible for your success? They often tell us to take their medications and lose weight and don’t begin to know how impossible that is when you’re eating the wrong food.

BFBVince
2 years 6 months ago

Went to the doctor for a check up yesterday for the first time in a long while, only because he was a paleo doc! Someone who actually gets it. Its funny, he said the medicine for a majority of the things patients have issues with is diet. You have a headache, paleo, you have heartburn, paleo. Awesome to see real life success to real health problems.

Jessica
Jessica
2 years 6 months ago

Beautiful story from a beautiful person! Grok on!

Jess
Jess
2 years 6 months ago

Tears here as well. Wow, that an amazing story. Thank you so much for sharing. I loved the line that you had always been an adventurous family and had only a few big items left on the bucket list. Sounds like you now have many more wonderful adventures ahead of you 🙂 So, so happy for you and your family!

Joe
Joe
2 years 6 months ago

I got a little misty as well! What a fabulous positive story and example. Food as medicine! Grok on!!

Nocona
Nocona
2 years 6 months ago

You are one hell of a fighter, Marg. Nothing can stop you. Congrats!

PrimalHealth
PrimalHealth
2 years 6 months ago

I am finishing my last year of medical school; and this is truly inspiring and fascinating! You are a shining example for the mainstream medical community as to how impactive lifestyle changes can be. You are correct — FSGS, DM, and other causes of chronic kidney disease are deemed ‘incurable’. I would make sure your clinicians are well-informed of the specific changes you made, even if they initially scoff at you. I admire your courage. You look great, BTW!

Marg in New Zealand
Marg in New Zealand
2 years 6 months ago

Thanks so much! My renal physician told me that this was the new wisdom and most nutritionists are still in the old, when it comes to food. He was so excited for me. I still have to be really careful about staying free from infection, but yes, life is good! Bring hope to your patients – I’m so glad that you have this primal-food information at the start of your career. Enjoy!

Sean
Sean
2 years 6 months ago

Congratulations Marg. Great great story. Salute to ya for pushing through when many others would have caved.

Jane
Jane
2 years 6 months ago

Wow. I’m so happy for you! I hope that soooo many people see this and that they make the changes that can save their lives!

Jill
Jill
2 years 6 months ago

Another crier here! What an amazing story! I’m so happy for you and your family. Congratulations on regaining your health, what a blessing!

Jenny
Jenny
2 years 6 months ago

wow, amazing! tears came to my eyes, too, at how you made changes and changed your health, and can look after your family! and meet your daughter’s children.

Pam
Pam
2 years 6 months ago

Marg – this may be the most amazing success story I’ve ever read here! I’m so happy for you and that you’re feeling well and healthy! What a feeling that must be after so many years of I’ll health and suffering! Congratulations to you – you’re truly an inspiration! 🙂

Kati
Kati
2 years 6 months ago

praise The Lord Jesus! This Is fantastic! I’m So happy For You! Pardon My Phone, It Won’t Randomly Stop Capitalizing Most Things. 😛

Grokesque
Grokesque
2 years 6 months ago

OMG Marg – a truly inspirational and moving story, thank you for sharing. If anyone has doubts about what this lifestyle can achieve, that story should hit the spot!

Pastor dave Deppisch
2 years 6 months ago

Marg– So glad you give God the glory. He led you to MDA and Primal, but when you think of it, God also gave us the natural things in this world for our subsistence and health and when people like Mark Sisson and others are given the insight and the forum to encourage us and inspire us many will benefit.

The things you have endured you did not endure alone! Blessing to you and your family and to the One who knew your story would motivate so many others!

Marg in New Zealand
Marg in New Zealand
2 years 6 months ago

That is exactly how I feel! Thank you.

NMCynthia
NMCynthia
2 years 6 months ago

+1+1+1+1!

Heidi P.
Heidi P.
2 years 6 months ago

Amen! SO happy for you and your family!

Jana
Jana
2 years 6 months ago

Just amazing. I have nothing else to add.

Readingrainbow
Readingrainbow
2 years 6 months ago

God? Mark Sissons (and a bunch of other people) brought this info to you, and you had to put it into action. God could have just healed you instantly but didn’t. Don’t be silly.

Alice
Alice
2 years 6 months ago

Mother Teresa is quoted as saying, “God has no hands but these.”

Mark S
Mark S
2 years 6 months ago

Silly?
It’s fine if you have such a narrow view of God that you cannot comprehend all of the ways he might work.
It’s not fine to belittle someone’s beliefs.

Marg in New Zealand
Marg in New Zealand
2 years 6 months ago

You know God let me go to hospital so many times, so that I know how others feel. I am happy with the journey. I think I might have been a little arrogant had it been instantaneous.

Susan Slattery
2 years 6 months ago

What an inspiration! It’s about more than getting in shape–it’s about being healthy, whole and happy–congratulations Marg!

Knifey
Knifey
2 years 6 months ago

Can I print this and just put copies all over the hospital where I work?

Marg in New Zealand
Marg in New Zealand
2 years 6 months ago

Fine by me – check with Mark though please.
It’s all true.

JG
JG
2 years 6 months ago

This is such an eye opening story when you think about how the majority of people are just like Marg. Being put on medication after medication to treat ailments caused by the original medications which was the result of poisonous foods.

Best of luck Marg and great job.

Jen
Jen
2 years 6 months ago

Wow, so inspiring! Put tears in my eyes. Congrats and all the best!

Jen
Jen
2 years 6 months ago

Truly, truly beautiful… Thank you so much for sharing your amazing story.

Linda A. Lavid
2 years 6 months ago

I’d like to say something different, insightful, inspirational but everything would pale to your remarkable story, attitude, perseverance and faith. Thank you. Thank you.

Carol
Carol
2 years 6 months ago

Marg – what a truly inspirational story – your daughter’s comment at the end brought tears to my eyes, a smile to my face and joy in my heart! (My daughter got married this past fall, so I know how important it is to be there for your daughter.)

It’s stories like yours that inspired me to make a complete change of career at 50 years old and become a Nutritional Therapist. Your story will be one that I will share with my fellow classmates and my future clients!!

CJ
CJ
2 years 6 months ago

Love, love, love your story!

Cecilia
Cecilia
2 years 6 months ago

This makes me so happy I wanna cry! 😀

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