A Matter of Life or Death

by Caroline von Fluegge-Chen

A Matter of Life or Death

Janna was referred to me by the owner of Natural Body, a day spa down the street. Her back hurt. While I was adjusting a few people up front, Janna was reading chiropractic literature in the exam room. When I greeted her in the back, she nearly burst out in tears. “I need help Dr. Caroline. I am at the end of my rope and I don’t know what to do. Please, can you help me?” Janna is a stunning brunette with giant blue eyes.

Looking beyond the surface, I saw a young lady who was sickly pale, extremely gaunt, and completely exhausted.  Janna has been on medication to treat insomnia, anxiety, migraines, OCD, memory loss, low thyroid, panic disorder, rheumatoid arthritis, depression and fibromyalgia since childhood. Heavy duty drugs: Cymbalta, Tramadol, Lyrica, Leflunomide, Clonazepam, Estrogen-Methyltestos, Xanax and so many more that she can’t remember and I don’t know how to spell. Janna’s illness had gotten to the point where she had to drop out of college and move in with her parents. She spent her days nearly comatose wrapped in a blanket watching TV. She had no appetite. She did not participate in family activities. Her boyfriend broke up with her. Janna had a pulse, but she was not truly alive.

Again, I stated my purpose: I don’t take people off drugs – not my scope of practice. I get the nerve system working properly. I remove interference. The body figures out the rest. Janna’s parents attended the report of findings follow-up visit as well as the new patient orientation. Their view of chiropractic was completely altered from the typical back pain doctor stereotype to “My God, Dr. Caroline might be the person to help us get our Janna back.” No one wanted to admit this was truly a life-or-death situation. We all knew it, though. Time, cost and appointments were not questioned. Urgency came first. Education second. Relationship third. Commitment fourth. Compliance fifth. Love was the glue that held these factors in place.

You may read Tony and Lisa’s letters thanking me for saving their daughter’s life in this newsletter. Janna is off all of her drugs, she is fully involved in family life, she is in a relationship with a wonderful young man, her sense of humor is back, she is planning hiking adventures, she’s enrolled in school, she has belief in herself, she understands healing from the inside out. Privately, Janna told me that she would not have made it another year living like she had been previously for most of her life. No parent wants to bury their own child. Janna could have been a statistic, a goner, one the system couldn’t help. Instead, it took committed parents, Janna’s cry for help and a chiropractor who is firmly rooted in the principles of chiropractic to save a life.