Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
21 Mar

No Longer Terminally Ill

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


You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. You have truly Grokked On!

    Groktimus Primal wrote on March 21st, 2014
  2. 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}

    Elenor wrote on March 21st, 2014
  3. An extremely moving story. All best to you and yours.

    Andrew wrote on March 21st, 2014
  4. All I can say is wow. This is just an amazing story. Miraculous, really.

    Alice wrote on March 21st, 2014
    • +1

      Karen wrote on March 21st, 2014
    • +1

      Melissa wrote on March 21st, 2014
    • +1

      Geoff McDonald wrote on March 21st, 2014
      • +1

        Colin wrote on March 23rd, 2014
  5. You look lovely – and so happy! I’m glad that everything has worked so well for you – keep up the good work :)

    Kami wrote on March 21st, 2014
  6. Just cried. That happened. So happy for you and your family! :’D

    Beck W wrote on March 21st, 2014
  7. Goosebumps. Just goosebumps in a good way. And a little speechless.

    paleocrush wrote on March 21st, 2014
  8. Awesome story. Sometimes when people question the methods of their doctors, good things happen.

    BodyweightFan wrote on March 21st, 2014
  9. Your doctor said terminal and your completely turned it around. Truly amazing!!!

    Melissa wrote on March 21st, 2014
  10. 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.

    Judith wrote on March 21st, 2014
  11. This is amazing and inspiring. Thank you.

    Alice wrote on March 21st, 2014
  12. Wow – congratulations! You look great!

    Kate wrote on March 21st, 2014
  13. Thanks for sharing! I really needed this kind of boost this week.

    Shelley Reed wrote on March 21st, 2014
    • +1

      Alexandra wrote on March 21st, 2014
      • +1

        Angela wrote on March 25th, 2014
  14. What an inspiring story! You make me feel as tho there actually is hope for me. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Helen O'Neill wrote on March 21st, 2014
    • 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.) :-)

      Marg in New Zealand wrote on March 21st, 2014
  15. Wow. Wow.Wow. Go you!!! Way to take your life/health in your own hands & make a change! Truly inspiring :)

    Peggy wrote on March 21st, 2014
    • YES! +10!!

      Miz Pat wrote on March 21st, 2014
  16. Congratulations Marg! That is the most inspirational friday success story ever!

    colleen wrote on March 21st, 2014
  17. FANTASTIC!! Congratulations to you…and your family!!!

    AustinGirl wrote on March 21st, 2014
  18. 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!

    Joy Beer wrote on March 21st, 2014
  19. Now that is a success story!!

    AMY wrote on March 21st, 2014
  20. Tears are rolling downmy face. Well done . This is probably the most inspiring story on MDA. Love it , Love Friday success stories.

    malcs wrote on March 21st, 2014
  21. 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.

    Primal and Proud wrote on March 21st, 2014
  22. 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!

    primalpal wrote on March 21st, 2014
    • Indeed.

      Marg in New Zealand wrote on March 21st, 2014
  23. Kaboom! That is a success story. Well done Marg. Good for you.

    BW wrote on March 21st, 2014
  24. Wow Marg. That’s a success story! Thank you for sharing it here. Amazing.

    Bryan wrote on March 21st, 2014
  25. Wow, more tears shed here, too! Thank you for sharing such an inspiring story. Congrats and keep it up!

    TC wrote on March 21st, 2014
  26. 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.

    Janice James wrote on March 21st, 2014
    • 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.

      BFBVince wrote on March 21st, 2014
  27. Beautiful story from a beautiful person! Grok on!

    Jessica wrote on March 21st, 2014
  28. 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!

    Jess wrote on March 21st, 2014
  29. I got a little misty as well! What a fabulous positive story and example. Food as medicine! Grok on!!

    Joe wrote on March 21st, 2014
  30. You are one hell of a fighter, Marg. Nothing can stop you. Congrats!

    Nocona wrote on March 21st, 2014
  31. 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!

    PrimalHealth wrote on March 21st, 2014
    • 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!

      Marg in New Zealand wrote on March 21st, 2014
  32. Congratulations Marg. Great great story. Salute to ya for pushing through when many others would have caved.

    Sean wrote on March 21st, 2014
  33. 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!

    Jane wrote on March 21st, 2014
  34. Another crier here! What an amazing story! I’m so happy for you and your family. Congratulations on regaining your health, what a blessing!

    Jill wrote on March 21st, 2014
  35. 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.

    Jenny wrote on March 21st, 2014
  36. 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! :-)

    Pam wrote on March 21st, 2014
  37. praise The Lord Jesus! This Is fantastic! I’m So happy For You! Pardon My Phone, It Won’t Randomly Stop Capitalizing Most Things. 😛

    Kati wrote on March 21st, 2014
  38. 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!

    Grokesque wrote on March 21st, 2014
  39. 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!

    Pastor dave Deppisch wrote on March 21st, 2014
    • That is exactly how I feel! Thank you.

      Marg in New Zealand wrote on March 21st, 2014
    • +1+1+1+1!

      NMCynthia wrote on March 21st, 2014
    • Amen! SO happy for you and your family!

      Heidi P. wrote on March 25th, 2014
  40. Just amazing. I have nothing else to add.

    Jana wrote on March 21st, 2014

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