I have had my last operation, which was on my eyes. The membrane around my eyes and under my eye lids were replaced with placenta but unfortunately after a month the new membrane is dissolving leaving my eyes uncovered and open to any food or drink that I have. I am now too high of a risk to operate any more. I have been off all medication since September 2010, and have been in better shape than I have been in years. I do not recommend that anyone stop their medication without their doctor’s approval, but anyway, I did. The reason I stopped is because for over three years I was taking so much medication for so many different things and none of them were stopping the problems: but they were killing me. Doctors and friends are shocked when they see me now because I am in so much better condition, both mentally and physically. I have more energy, less pain and am more productive. My insomnia has been gone for over a year and I have no visible signs of vasculitis. I have a post-cancer patient who is also participating in this study, who has different problems yet many of the same symptoms as I do. He also has suffered from depression and Short Fibre Neuropathy, for which there is no medication. For the first time in fifteen years he is pain free and has his depression under control. The side effects of the cancer treatment are disappearing and his general quality of life has improved to the point that he wants to get his own horse so that he can ride more often. This is far from the end of the investigation or my practice of the ANIMO-ALBERO therapeutic riding program. That is just really beginning. Every day we are finding so many ways in which the horse can help people suffering from circulatory problems or the side effects of medical treatments, to reduce pain, to prolong a better quality of life and to help people deal with their fear when suffering with a terminal disease. We have now found that with a few months of continuous therapy the effects are long term and not short term as we had originally thought. I know that this program does not eradicate the disease and I don’t want to give anyone false hopes, but by just practicing this therapy twice a week, I have improved my quality of life and am living almost pain free; allowing me to be a wife, mother, grandmother and friend once again. This is something that was stripped away from me by Rhodatarula, Wegener’s disease plus a series of misdiagnoses; also by the ten years that were taken away from me by the more than thirty operations that left me so physically disfigured that I suffered severe depression and wouldn’t socialize for over three years. One trip to visit our daughter, Jessica, and grandchildren in Oklahoma; a trip that I thought would be my last, changed my life around 180 degrees. A little pinto gelding, by the name of Pronto owned by Patsi Smith, was the beginning of my new life and the investigation into the ANIMO-ALBERO program. I hadn’t ridden in over eight years and was coaxed into going riding with my children. I found that not only did I feel more energetic and happier but I somehow found a hidden strength inside of myself. This strength and self confidence made me start to go out with the family - not worrying about what people thought - and I found to my surprise that everyone was so nice to me and that my scars and bandages didn’t seem to make a bit of difference to them.
It is my dream, that one day the medical profession will take note of the work that we are doing and that thousands of people may benefit from what we have discovered and that the investigation continues for years to come.
Note: It is vital that family, friends and caregivers encourage their patients to go to therapy, no matter what kind it is. Usually the patient is too tired or doesn’t feel up to it but I can tell you from experience, that once you go you feel much better. I learned this way back when a volunteer, Sarah, that took me to my riding therapy, told me that even though I didn’t feel like riding, we would go and if I didn’t want to ride we could come back home again. It is a lesson I have never forgotten and am forever grateful to her.
This is me riding a beautiful Friesian mare called Frisona, who comes from the Yeguada Valdesol in Sorbas, Almería.