The Smorgasbord of Symptoms and the Prescription Cornucopeia: Part 1


Road Signs, Schmode Signs

It may seem curious for someone with 18 years of experience in pharmacy (and a husband in acute cardiac healthcare) to ditch conventional medicine in the midst of an acute health crisis. I consider western medicine essential and I’m thankful to have access to it when needed, but when my life was at stake, natural healing did what man-made treatments failed to do.

Though I tried desperately to follow the prescribed path, it only led me further and further into the woods. So I ended up doing an about-face, and headed in the opposite direction.

I was a healthy 33 year old mother of two, working a full time job when my adventures began in 2005.

I did my best to keep things as normal as possible for the sake of these two:

The Smorgasbord

Over a period of 7 years, the symptoms began appearing in worsening cycles. Without a diagnosis that made sense, I called each acute event a “flare up”. Here is the smorgasbord of symptoms:

  • The worst: Unexplained rashes, lesions, and open wounds on my scalp, face, neck, chest, arms, and torso. They were both extremely painful and deeply, unbearably itchy:


I know. Weird and gross.

Here’s the rest:

  • Almost total hair loss, including my eyebrows and eyelashes.
  • Numbness and pain from my right shoulder blade and neck down to the fingers of my right hand; there were a few times I couldn’t even lift my head without using my hands to prop it up.
  • Extreme swelling from head to toe. Sometimes I couldn’t fit my glasses on my face, let alone get into my pants; on occasion I would gain up to 10 lbs overnight in fluid retention.
  • Extremely limited digestive function (this was ongoing for years). People kept asking me if I was pregnant because I looked about 5 months along. I experienced extreme pain any time I ate, even in small amounts.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but a big piece of the puzzle was my digestive system. When I began to notice an unwelcome change in my waistline at the ripe old age of 33, I thought it was just due to “getting older”. As you can see, I began without a clue. I’m now 44, and it is freaking

With that established, let’s move on…..

The Cornucopeia

I went to a series of doctors over the course of several years, starting with general practitioners, then allergy specialists and dermatologists, each referring me to the next specialist. I ended up with the following list of prescriptions:


  • Oral steroids (Methylprednisolone packs + extra tablets)
  • Topical Steroids (Clobetasol ointment for body and Clobetasol solution on scalp)
  • Valium (Yeah, I was a little upset)
  • Lexapro (and depressed – took it once and hours later was crying and yelling at my husband for no reason; threw it out the next day)
  • Antibiotics (Amoxicillin to prevent infection of all the open rashes and wounds)
  • Trazodone (supposedly so I could sleep at night – quit this one after a month or so)
  • Anti-histamine (Hydroxyzine – slightly better than Benadryl as I was able to stay awake while driving :/)
  • And the very last prescription: Risperdal!!!???? (never took it; stay tuned to this blog and you’ll see why)

I initially trusted this cornucopeia of prescription drugs to save me. After repeated flare ups that began arriving closer together (instead of every few months they became almost constant) I realized that whatever “it” was, it was worsening each time I took another round of steroids. I became desperate. I was afraid that I would end up unfit to go out in public, or dead.

I turned away from the path I was on with only a seed of faith that I could make it out alive.

You can read all about it in my next blog post: The Smorgasbord of Symptoms and the Prescription Cornucopeia: Part 2

Thanks for reading!

Be GoldenWell.


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  • Dannelle LeBlanc
Comments 4
  • Angela

    Thanks so much for sharing. So glad you made it through!

  • Jonquil

    Great post with great photos of your amazing journey. I can’t wait to read the next post.

  • Courtney

    WOW! Looking good! Although this story is awful, it’s a joyful read, because I know it has a happy ending.

  • sandee

    very interesting, Dannelle. I am looking forward to reading what happens next.

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