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. 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.

    Readingrainbow wrote on March 21st, 2014
    • Mother Teresa is quoted as saying, “God has no hands but these.”

      Alice wrote on March 21st, 2014
    • 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.

      Mark S wrote on March 21st, 2014
    • 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.

      Marg in New Zealand wrote on March 21st, 2014
  2. What an inspiration! It’s about more than getting in shape–it’s about being healthy, whole and happy–congratulations Marg!

    Susan Slattery wrote on March 21st, 2014
  3. Can I print this and just put copies all over the hospital where I work?

    Knifey wrote on March 21st, 2014
    • Fine by me – check with Mark though please.
      It’s all true.

      Marg in New Zealand wrote on March 21st, 2014
  4. 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.

    JG wrote on March 21st, 2014
  5. Wow, so inspiring! Put tears in my eyes. Congrats and all the best!

    Jen wrote on March 21st, 2014
  6. Truly, truly beautiful… Thank you so much for sharing your amazing story.

    Jen wrote on March 21st, 2014
  7. 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.

    Linda A. Lavid wrote on March 21st, 2014
  8. 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!!

    Carol wrote on March 21st, 2014
  9. Love, love, love your story!

    CJ wrote on March 21st, 2014
  10. This makes me so happy I wanna cry! 😀

    Cecilia wrote on March 21st, 2014
  11. I have never commented on a Friday success story before, but this is just the best. Big congratulations!

    And to echo a couple of other comments: if you haven’t already, please tell your doctors the changes you made that led to your recovery — maybe it will open some minds and ultimately help others.

    Miz Pat wrote on March 21st, 2014
  12. Marg – that is quite the story! I’m so impressed with how you took charge and kicked a terminal disease out of your life! Way to exemplify a healthy lifestyle and acknowledge your blessings! Thanks so much for sharing this inspiring story.

    Jon T wrote on March 21st, 2014
  13. Marg, you look amazing! Way to take your health back into your own hands. Thank you for this inspiring story!

    Katie wrote on March 21st, 2014
  14. Yep, brought tears to my eyes, congratulations! I see a long, healthy road ahead of you! You can be so proud!

    Patti A wrote on March 21st, 2014
  15. Congratulations Marg!!! Truly tremendous work. You are an inspiration to us all.

    Michael Chekanski wrote on March 21st, 2014
  16. Thank you for sharing your story.

    Christopher Lee Deards wrote on March 21st, 2014
  17. Wow. This is one of the more amazing transformations. I am glad that you are getting healthy, This is freakin’ awesome!!!

    IcarianVX wrote on March 21st, 2014
  18. Oh, how truly wonderful! Your faith brought you to the right people! And I’m guessing Mark Sisson has one heck of a lot of Brownie points and Gold Stars in his guardian angel’s notebook!

    maidel wrote on March 21st, 2014
  19. Way to go, Marg! My hubby’s kidneys failed nearly 30 yrs ago and he’s done dialysis for over 25 yrs (plus a couple of failed transplants). He eats primal for the most part and we do home hemodialysis daily with the NxStage machine so he feels pretty well and leads a more normal life. Good for you that you took charge of your health and life! We try to do the same even though my husband is totally machine dependent. God bless you!

    Laurie wrote on March 21st, 2014
    • Oh my heart goes out to you… that is a big deal. I’m so glad that you are eating right! :-) I imagine he feels SO MUCH BETTER!

      Marg in New Zealand wrote on March 21st, 2014
  20. This wonderful story just illustrates the foibles of “medicine” as it is practiced today.
    I do believe most people would be better off just going primal and giving up doctors ….except for skinned knees and broken bones. Seriously.

    Way to go Marg. You are a wonderful inspiration.

    Sitara wrote on March 21st, 2014
    • Please don’t disrespect the entire medical profession on my behalf! I am very grateful to the doctors and nurses who have kept me alive thus far and especially those who were able to perform surgery on my daughter at 3 months old so that she didn’t grow up with this inherited problem.
      Thank you for your encouragement. I actually feel on top of the world today (even though I live at the bottom of it!)

      Marg in New Zealand wrote on March 21st, 2014
      • Oh Marg, I don’t disrespect the entire medical profession. Really I don’t. I just get frustrated sometimes. Our dedicated professionals seem to work miracles sometimes. It is just that here in the US we see so many unnecessary drugs prescribed and unnecessary procedures ordered in the name of profit and not healing. Just as junk food and processed food is marketed to the public, so are drugs and procedures. My remarks came from feeling the pain of what you have gone through and relating to many others who have told their stories here about prescriptions for chemicals instead of health. I think you are amazing and I can’t tell you how happy I am for you.

        Sitara wrote on March 21st, 2014
        • I share your frustration – I find myself wanting to tell everyone that there is hope, not just pills. One story at a time. One day at a time.
          Thanks for your happiness.

          Marg in New Zealand wrote on March 21st, 2014
  21. wow! This brought tears to my eyes. You are an inspiration!!

    Duncan wrote on March 21st, 2014
  22. Just amazing. Definitely brought a tear to my eye. Thank you for sharing your story, and may you “live to be old” and enjoy all your grandkids!

    Stacie wrote on March 21st, 2014
    • Thank you.

      Marg in New Zealand wrote on March 21st, 2014
  23. What an inspirational story. Wonderful! I have shared this link, your story with a group of people I know. I know they will be inspired too.

    Jacq Flying Primal wrote on March 21st, 2014
  24. Marg – an amazing and inspiring story! So happy for you and especially happy you will now be able to stick around for your family. :) Well done!

    Shelli wrote on March 21st, 2014
  25. awesome. on the verge of death and now perfectly healthy all because of diet. And great to see god being glorified through it as well!

    Shawn wrote on March 21st, 2014
    • Not quite perfectly healthy, but I can live with the half-a-kidney I still have. God has been very good to me, it’s true.

      Marg in New Zealand wrote on March 21st, 2014
  26. AMAZING story! Thank you for sharing!

    Jenn wrote on March 21st, 2014
  27. WOW what a turnaround. I will certainly be sharing your story with the doubters. Did you do much calorie counting to lose the weight?

    CAR wrote on March 21st, 2014
    • NO NONE I was actually so sick for most of it that breathing was a conscious exercise! Seriously. I don’t believe calorie counting works but I know the weight fell off when I got the input correct.
      Truly – it was not about losing the weight, but that was a nice bonus. It was about kicking the liver into working properly. Pretty motivating reason to adhere to healthy food and drink choices. All the rest was such a surprise!

      Marg in New Zealand wrote on March 21st, 2014
  28. Awesome story of not only turning the corner but storming your way back to a healthier life in such short time too. Congratulations

    Korree wrote on March 21st, 2014
  29. You are a true inspiration! I’m so happy for you!

    Stacy wrote on March 21st, 2014
  30. Congratulations, amazing, Marg you rock

    wildgrok wrote on March 21st, 2014
  31. WooHoo Marg! Good for you. I’m inspired to take control of my own health too. Hope you live to see lots of grand kids and maybe even great grand kids as well.

    Coleta wrote on March 21st, 2014
  32. YEEHAW!! Amazing! Love this so very much. :)

    Cynthia wrote on March 21st, 2014
  33. What a wonderful story to start the weekend with! So thrilled for you and your family– and beautiful smile :)

    Spinner wrote on March 21st, 2014
  34. Beautiful story! It is always wonderful to hear of people able to triumph over medical issues with a non-medical, natural approach. It sounds like you have come back from the brink and the future looks bright! Congrats!! Nice job!!!!!

    Goddess wrote on March 21st, 2014
  35. What an amazing story. You’re truly touched me with your story. You’ve made me realize just how much our lives truly are in our own hands; and no matter where we are in terms of health, we can take control and reverse these life threatening diseases just by nourishing our body properly. Blessings!

    CJ75 wrote on March 21st, 2014
  36. YOU GO!!!!!!!!
    as an RN I can not say enough about how wonderful it is to see you take charge and feel better….

    Lisa wrote on March 21st, 2014
  37. That’s awesome, and some heart strings were plucked.

    Animanarchy wrote on March 21st, 2014
  38. Wow – amazing. Keep on keepin’ on :)

    Elizabeth wrote on March 21st, 2014
  39. Great job! It’s great to feel good! High five!

    mindie wrote on March 21st, 2014
  40. I LOVE reading a story like this, about someone near my own age, who has reversed many years of poor health! It is so inspiration and thrilling. The human body is incredible in that it clearly can heal if given the right ingredients. Fabulous story – all the best to you wherever you are – Britain, Australia? Thank you very, very much for sharing your story.

    Debbie wrote on March 21st, 2014
    • Thanks Debbie – New Zealand.

      Marg in New Zealand wrote on March 21st, 2014

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