I started this Blog because God has sparked within me a desire to bring the message of health, hope and healing to all those who need it, but especially to those that have been touched by physical infirmities. At least some level of healing is available to all who ask, seek and believe!

Join me as I take a step of faith out of the boat and into the murky waters to begin my own journey of health and healing. We will be taking a closer look at how to find healing in our modern-day world and what God has to say about the process as well. Some of the posts will be on practical ways to achieve healing in our bodies; others will be inspirational and are meant to bring you hope. I think most of you will find that a lot of the information here challenges what you think you know about good health.

May Jehovah Rapha--God, Our Healer--open your hearts, minds and eyes as you explore this website. And may you never forget...to Always Hope.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


When I wrote Part I of this blog series, I was in a very positive mood. I felt like I was finally getting the outside care and help I needed and that I was done having to self-treat. It was such a relief to be handing over my care to what seemed like a doctor who finally understood all aspects of what was really going on underneath the surface of my illness and who knew that without a doubt, all the seemingly unrelated symptoms I was having were indeed connected. If any of you reading this have ever struggled with a chronic illness and tried, or are trying, to treat yourself in order to get well, then you know how exhausting, frustrating, stressful and defeating it can be. Likewise, when/if you find a practitioner or someone who steps in and manages your care so that you don't have to do it yourself, well, that can be one of the biggest joys and feelings of relief that you've had since your illness started. In any case, because of my cheerful mood, I realize now that I failed to lay bare my full experience with Florida Detox and Wellness (FDWI) up until that point. Yes, I semi-consciously overlooked things that I should have written about because I wanted everything to be right and to go right--especially the end result of my treatment--but I know it's important that no detail is left out this time.

In late December 2011, not long after I found Brenda Watson's card in the probiotic bottle, Googled her, and then learned of Dr. Sponaugle and FDWI, I used the contact form on the FDWI website to give a brief synopsis of myself to an unknown "patient coordinator." A man by the name of Jack Palumbo contacted me via email fairly quickly and simply said, "there [sic] is too much to say in an email.. [sic] Please call when you can as I can tell you with some degree of certainty that you are severely Toxic [sic]. Jack Palumbo XXX-XXX-XXXX" The rest of the email contained copied and pasted information, which I found to be a bit confusing since I had no references about the "Toxicity Program" or what was being offered to begin with. The information, verbatim, was:

Toxicity causes many symptoms of various diseases. Dr Sponaugle has developed a treatment plan to cleanse the toxicity from his Toxic patients that show symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, Autism, Alzheimer's, Lyme & Parkinson's Disease.
** We understand that it is a big commitment on your part to come to Florida for an extended period of time for treatment.
** We need to do extensive testing before your arrival. Dr Sponaugle will review all the results and design treatment options.

At Florida Detox and Wellness Institute we find the underlying cause of the Toxicity . Furthermore, Dr. Sponaugle’s pioneered IV Drip Therapy restores and replenishes the damage toxicity has caused.

Dr. Sponaugle will answer questions about addiction, anti-aging, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, depression, anxiety, etc. Get powerful and helpful answers - without even leaving your home!
Don’t miss this amazing opportunity!

Call-in toll-free number (US/Canada): 1-877-668-4493
Call-in toll number (US/Canada): +1-408-600-3600
Call-in toll number (US/Canada)*: +1-571-918-6008
* Call-in toll number (US/Canada) should only be used if the primary number does not work.

Attendee access code: 738 372 211

Meeting password (if required) 3333

To join the online meeting (options 2 and 3 above)
Click HERE to join the WebEx online meeting.

or copy the web address below to your browser:

Please follow the instructions that appear on your screen.

The description of the Toxicity Program is below.

Kind Regards,

Xxx-xxx-xxxx cell

Toxicity Program $9800.00

**Analyze and optimize more than 200 vital biochemicals including brain neurotransmitters, hormones, enzymes, amino acids, vitamins and minerals.
** Intravenous program restores numerous biochemical deficiencies and intestinal malabsorption issues.
**Diagnose and successfully treat “stealth” infectious intracellular microorganisms in Mold Toxic patients that are causing excessive inflammation and tissue damage.
**Restore vital nutrients and the “building blocks” of every cell in the body while simultaneously removing brain toxins.
**Remove harmful biotoxins, industrial and environmental toxins that accumulate in the brain.

• Intake EKG
• Nineteen IV drips
• Thirty days of follow up consultations with Dr. Sponaugle and medical staff after treatment period


Additional Costs include:
• Lab testing (Both admit lab testing and 1st urine neuroscience are extra.)
• Rx medications (we will give vouchers and samples when available)
• Supplements.
• IV drip therapy (in addition to the 19 drips included in the price)

. Anticipated Schedule however may vary depending on your unique circumstances:


Monday= Intake, meet with the medical staff, EKG, Patient and caregiver attend workshop @ 2pm.
Tuesday= IV drip meet with Dr. Sponaugle today or tomorrow depending on schedule
Wednesday= IV drip
Thursday= IV drip
Friday= IV drip


Monday = IV drip
Tuesday= IV drip meet with Dr. Sponaugle today or tomorrow depending on schedule
Wednesday= IV drip
Thursday= IV drip
Friday= IV drip


Monday = IV drip
Tuesday= IV drip meet with Dr. Sponaugle today or tomorrow depending on schedule
Wednesday= IV drip
Thursday= IV drip
Friday= IV drip


Monday = IV drip
Tuesday= IV drip
Wednesday= IV drip
Thursday= IV drip, meet with Dr. Sponaugle to discuss final treatment plan.
Friday= IV drip

About a minute after I received Jack's first email, a second email appeared with an attached .pdf article from Life Extension Magazine, featuring Dr. Sponaugle. You can see the article HERE. Most everyone in the natural/alternative health world knows about Life Extension Magazine so I have to say, I was pretty impressed to see this recent accomplishment of his. The FDWI website itself is littered with articles, pictures and propaganda all touting Dr. Sponaugle's prowess and making the impossible seem possible. I mean, he certainly has all the celebrities, articles, research and pictures/testimonies of real, live patients to back up his claims. As an attorney, I like to see the evidence and Dr. Sponaugle was spoon-feeding it to me! Not only that, but there were scripture references predominantly displayed throughout his website and it appeared that his faith played a big part in his personal and professional life; a nerve-calming addition, to say the least.

Blaming myself for being just too toxic to comprehend much anymore, I disregarded the confusing nature of Jack's original email and signed up for one of Dr. Sponaugle's weekly webcasts. I couldn't believe that I was actually going to get to hear this guy speak AND have an opportunity to ask questions before I made any commitment to seek treatment with him. I had seen so many other doctors up until that point and never had I been able to give them a test run, so to speak, before I went. Had I been able to, I would not have seen 99.9% of them.

I listened to the fist webcast without asking any questions or making any comments. It began 20-30 minutes after it was supposed to start because Dr. Sponaugle was running late. A nice administrator named Audrey greeted the people joining the webcast and told everyone that the doctor was running late because he was still seeing patients. I remember thinking it was pretty refreshing to hear that a doctor was running late because he was actually taking the time to sit, listen and help the people he was treating. Audrey seemed to be broadcasting the webcast from Dr. Sponaugle's home and was simply waiting for him to get there. I later found out she was an employee of his who was in charge of the web-based content as well as various tasks around the office, but that she also watched his kids sometimes.

When Dr. Sponaugle finally arrived home and started the webcast, he made no apologies for making us wait. He spoke with authority and talked very fast. He didn't sound at all like he did on the video I saw with he and Brenda Watson. In that video he was clam, cool and collected. On the webinar he seemed discombobulated at times and would ask Audrey in a demeaning manner about why a slide wasn't where it was supposed to be, or he would tell her to change something for the next time. An hour and a half later, after he gave a very informative, albeit sporadic, tutorial, he started to answer questions from the listeners. In order to ask a question, you had to type it in a little box at the beginning of the webcast and the doctor answered them in the order they were received. Most of the people on the webcast (at least the ones asking the questions) were the caregivers of the prospective patients who needed treatment. They had their faculties about them and were able to listen, comprehend and articulate their questions well but many of them were distraught about the state of their loved ones and you could hear the desperation in their voices. At one point, a mother of a disabled Vet spoke and described how her son was suffering from a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and PTSD. He apparently was on all kinds of medication, including stuff for seizures. I cannot recall whether he was also self-medicating (using drugs/alcohol) but this poor mother was so distraught and you could tell she was absolutely at her wits' end. As she was explaining things, Dr. Sponaugle kept interrupting and telling her how he had seen this over and over again. He seemed to pride himself in being able to tell you about you or your loved one's physical and mental issues before he heard much of anything, and he did this, in my opinion, to prove his superiority, assert his authority, and to make you want to sign up for treatment right there on the spot. At one point, as the mother of the Vet kept asking questions and trying to understand everything, Dr. Sponaugle jumped in and said, "Well you better up his seizure medications because he could have a massive one at any moment." It was just such a jarring, fear-producing thing to say and the mother's stunned silence was broken only by the sound of her soft sobs and Dr. Sponaugle's voice telling her that her kid needed treatment right away. He was unapologetic and I think, if you would have asked him why he was so harsh, he would dismiss your mercy by saying that the mother just didn't get it, that her son was on the verge of a major medical episode--maybe even death--and that if he spurred that family into action due to the shocking nature of his statements, then it was all worth it. In essence, he was saving this kid's life, and that was the only thing that mattered.

The rest of the question/answer session was much of the same thing, at least on the part of Dr. Sponaugle. Everyone's stories were different, sure, but no matter what your symptoms, Dr. Sponaugle would always relate it back to your toxic brain/body: excessive alcohol or drug use = toxic; Autoimmune Disease = toxic; Lyme Disease = toxic; cancer = you get the picture. Now certainly, I am oversimplifying the issue of toxicity here. All you have to do is read some of my other posts to see that the workings of biochemistry and microbiota in the body are not something that anyone really fully understands, BUT if there is someone out there who thinks they are pretty close to seeing the big picture, I would say it would be Dr. Sponaugle. And I have to give him credit; he is super-intelligent and knows a lot. He definitely knew more about what I felt like I my physical issues were than any other doctor I had ever come in contact with. Even his egotistical, overbearing attitude was dismissible because after all, he must be exhausted from seeing all these patients whose cases were so critical and from listening to all these stories people had over and over and over. I mean, I could understand his frustration because at the end of the day, if everyone was really suffering from the same thing--that is, toxicity--and you could treat them all the same way, then how annoying would it have to be to have to explain this in detail to everyone?! It's not always easy convincing people that the reason one patient has self-medicated with alcohol is the same reason another person has Alzheimer's. We have been taught the Alcoholism and Alzheimer's are two totally different diseases and that one has absolutely nothing to do with the other. When you go about trying to explain that they can be, and often are, related, people have a hard time wrapping their heads around that.

For me, what Dr. Sponaugle was saying made a lot of sense in my mind, but not only that, it resonated within my spirit. This is something I often check for when I am trying to discern the truth. I did not like his alarmist ways, or the fact that he belittled or demeaned anyone who challenged him or had a hard time comprehending what he was saying. I did not like that any time someone would try to correct him on a symptom or detail that they were giving about themselves or a loved one--simply because they were trying to get him all the relevant facts--he would either gloss over what they said, dismiss it altogether, or imply that they may not know what they were talking about. Further, while I was so grateful he took the time not only to explain his theories and to answer everyone's questions, and while I certainly felt like there was a lot of truth to what was being proffered, I couldn't shake the feeling that 1) it was a well-orchestrated, marketing campaign 2) he felt that everything that he said was straight from God's lips and there was no room for challenging it, and 3) perhaps the actual, underlying reason for such an extensive webinar session was because it satisfied the need to feed his own ego.

I listened to a few more webcasts over the next few weeks, all the while corresponding with Jack, who was one of two patient coordinators at FDWI. My emails and phone calls with Jack always left me feeling frustrated and like I had even more questions than before. He was certainly nice, but every time I asked him for any details of the program, or about what to expect, or how long I would need to be there, or how much it was going to cost, etc., I would always get generalizations--if my questions were answered at all. And then, trying to figure out what labs I needed, getting my prescriptions for the labs and trying to figure out when I needed to run them was a nightmare. I had health insurance, but could never get any clear information about what might have been covered and what wasn't so I was left without knowing the cost of anything. I was so, so sick at that time and I had never been so frustrated with a health care provider. Later, I would come to find out that Jack was not trained in the health care field at all and in fact was the father of a boy that Dr. Sponaugle had previously treated. Jack said the doctor had completely turned his son around and as a result, it appeared Jack became a convert, a devotee, a follower of all things Dr. Marvin "Rick" Sponaugle. Jack lived in Naples--several hours south of where FDWI was located--and didn't work out of FDWI on a regular basis but instead used his cell phone to field calls from prospective patients or their caregivers. The extent of Jack's role appeared to encompass giving people a little information about the treatment program, telling them the miraculous story of how the doctor healed his son, booking their intake date, and occasionally popping into FDWI with lunch for the employees and to see what was going on with everyone.

Despite all the confusion I experienced trying to get started with treatment at FDWI, I did get my lab work done and on Sunday, February 19th, 2012, my mom and I were headed over to Palm Harbor for what I hoped would be my last stop on my journey to healing.

To be continued...

Always Hope

Monday, April 8, 2013


It was one year ago this weekend that I returned from six weeks of treatment at Dr. Sponaugle's Florida Detox and Wellness Center. I don't really know why it's taken me a year to write this blog (or series of blogs, as I have planned it). With my illness, I have had a hard time finishing what I started so I am trying to be more cognizant of that. I guess for a while, I was waiting to see what the final outcome of my treatment was. I really, really wanted to give people an honest and in-depth assessment of my treatment, let them know what they could expect if they went, and most importantly, let them know whether it worked for me! But after a while, the task just seemed daunting and monumental. Quite a few people have contacted me in the meantime though and have asked me for an update; now I plan to give it.

I have yet to put all my symptoms on my blog because I really wanted the tone here to remain positive. I did write my symptoms down in my Journal and reading over them can be downright depressing, but I am now going to list them for you here because I remember scouring the Internet looking for anyone that had similar symptoms to me and wanting to know what they did to get well. I am going to write them verbatim from my Journal entry on October 8, 2011. I think doing so will give you an idea of the helplessness and hopelessness I was feeling that day. It is important to note that I never stayed in that mindset. I had to constantly renew my mind to pull myself out of feeling that way, but it is important to be honest and say that there were certainly days and even weeks that I felt very helpless, hopeless and desperate. When I look back, it was in those times that I can see God's hand on me the most.

October 8, 2011
I am having a rough day today. It's so frustrating not knowing what is really going on in my body, and even worse, not being able to do anything about it. I am so weak that I can hardly sit up or write. Even as I write this, I do it from my bed in a reclining position and I have to take frequent, short breaks. My mind keeps failing me as I cannot remember how to spell simple words and even if I could, recalling the words I want to use is a most difficult task in and of itself. I have also been transposing my letters a lot and leaving out words in sentences altogether. I cannot speak correctly either and am constantly changing tenses in mid-sentence. This is not what one should expect from a straight-A English major.

My eyesight is blurry and I have strange, depth-perception problems. I would go get glasses, but I have done so in the past and as soon as I did, my eyesight would improve. My anxiety is through the roof. The strange, neurological feelings and sensations that go through my body day and night are enough to make anyone uneasy. Agoraphobia comes and goes but even on the days I don't have that, I still don't feel well enough to leave the house.

I am constantly dizzy and disoriented. I cannot stand or sit upright comfortably and I can only stand and sit upright uncomfortably for a few minutes at a time. My oxygen saturation seems to be low, or perhaps it is my body's inability to convert anything to the energy it needs to function. All the things that a body is supposed to do without a person noticing (like breathing, swallowing, your heart beating, blinking, etc.) are noticeable to me.

My spine feels like it is in a vice grip and I am constantly contorting my body into different positions and poses to try to find some relief, but even if I find that relief, it is only momentary. Plus, my muscles are so weak, I cannot hold myself in any one position for very long.

My heart is constantly beating rapidly within my chest. I am always aware of it and often feel it in my throat and ears as well. I cannot escape it and it is exhausting. Many times, I have palpitations--anywhere from a small flutter to heavy-hitting thuds where I am sure my heart will just explode and that will be the end of me. These heavy-pounding sessions often steal my breath and I have to cough several times just to try to get everything going again.

Often times, I feel like there is a fire raging just beneath my skin, yet my skin is not hot to the touch. Many times, my skin feels sore and I feel like I have just been in a physical fight. I bruise easily and any sort of pressure on any part of my body for too long (including wearing a bra and socks/shoes) is uncomfortable and noticeable. I cannot even have a cat on my lap without it creating an uncomfortable amount of pressure for me.

Speaking of pressure, it is terribly difficult to fly in a pressurized cabin in an airplane. It seems to heighten my dizziness and the pressure changes play tricks on my mind. I have no fear of crashing--only flying. I had to give up scuba diving years ago because I couldn't stand the pressure changes any more. I also do not like to be in any enclosed spaces, but this may have something to do with being put under blankets as a child.

My mandible joint on the right side of my face has seemed to separate from its rightful place. It has shifted and I can feel a lump in the joint area itself. My gums will bleed for a few days and then won't bleed at all. My eyes and my mouth will be dry for a few days or even a day and then will seem normal. My limbs are constantly falling asleep and there are sometimes crawling sensations in my forearms and down my shins. One month, I will have terrible menstrual cramps; the other, hardly any at all.

My endocrine system is messed up. I am currently taking Amour Thyroid and bioidentical Progesterone. Before the Progesterone, I had six months of terrible, disfiguring, cystic acne on my face. I never had a problem with my face before that; now I have lasting scars that will be with me the rest of my life. Sometimes, I experience internal tremors--like I am leaning up against a generator. This improved greatly with Progesterone but it still happens on occasion--especially upon waking or going to sleep. I cannot handle stress--bad or good--as my adrenals are burnt out and I do not have the proper cortisol responses.

I feel dizzy, off-balance, even drunk at times. I have lost over 2/3 of my hair, including the hair on my head and the hair found on other regions of my body. I cannot move quickly for fear of a pounding head or a blood rush to the head. I am pretty sure it is P.O.T.S. My ears are constantly draining with a wax-like fluid and are wet to the touch.

I have bad episodes of Seborrhea Dermatitis where my whole scalp will become infected. My face is always peeling, as is the area around my eyebrows and lips. My face and chest have developed telangiectasias (small, dilated blood vessels). My body cannot regulate its temperature anymore. Doing simple lawn tasks will cause me to overheat but there are no warning signs.

My symptoms migrate all over my body. Someday one thing is affected; the next it is five things; the next ten. I feel differently minute by minute sometimes. I have food allergies. What may seem not to bother me one day will make me break out in hives the next.

I obsess over things I shouldn't. I am constantly worried about whether I said or did the right thing. Social interactions can leave me feeling elated or defeated. I long to interact with people but the obsessive need to be able to control peoples' perceptions of me is exhausting. I did not used to be this way.

I creak and crack and pop. There is pressure in my joints. I don't have a lot of joint pain, per se, but I am constantly laying down or reclining. When I find myself having to sit straight up in a chair, I do have pain. Also, one of my first symptoms was terrible joint pain in my knees.

Sleeping is difficult. I vacillate between insomnia and sleeping for 9-10 hours at a time. I crave fatty foods--meats and cheeses, but I am already overweight. I haven't had any success in losing this weight, including six months at the gym, working out 5 days a week for 1-2 hours per day. I would not be able to physically do that anymore.

I can be short-tempered, moody and irritable. My life seems to be lived in stops and starts. I have sensory overloads. Light, smells and sounds bother me and I don't seem to be able to process them well. I have what I call "Autistic-like episodes." The only difference between myself and an Autistic child sometimes, I believe, is that I have an already-developed brain and can verbalize to others what it happening to me. I can feel loud sounds or bass from a passing car deep within my chest and it is uncomfortable. When my husband lightly snores at night, my eardrums vibrate incessantly.

My chest and muscles are so tight. It is only by going to cranial sacral therapy each week and having my body manually manipulated that I feel like I can breathe a little again. But by the next week, I am locked back up and my breathing is again labored. I have terrible chronic fatigue. It literally feels like I am not making the energy at a cellular level needed to sustain my life force. I am not trying to be an alarmist, but I do feel like death could only be a moment away.


So there you have it: my symptoms as I was experiencing them in the days and weeks leading up to October 11, 2011. There have been others that were not included here, but this is a pretty comprehensive list. When I wrote this, I was feeling pretty desperate and was really seeking help from God with a specific request that I needed some sort of outside help. I just did not have the physical, mental or emotional capacity to treat myself anymore. A couple months later, my prayers were seemingly answered in the form of a bottle of probiotics that had an insert in it which led me to Dr. Sponaugle.

To be continued...

Always Hope