Editor’s Note: Janet Komanchuk suffered for years from what she calls “painful, chronic and debilitating” fibromyalgia. She is a retired teacher and now lives in the Tampa, Florida area. She tried many things to combat her condition. Her message to patients is “never give up”. All during that time, her family doctor supported her journey. She moved away from him years ago and recently wrote him a letter thanking him for his support. We thought it was worthy of republishing.
Dear Dr. V.
I’m writing to thank you for your understanding, compassion and commitment to helping me. When others, be they colleagues, friends, physicians, or family, rolled their eyes at me and suggested that my numerous fibromyalgia symptoms from widespread chronic debilitating pains, irritable bowel, insomnia, inability to focus and even function were a woman-thing, all in my head or out-and-out malingering you never doubted the severity of my illness.
Undaunted you researched and prescribed yet another medication, always hopeful that this one, unlike its countless precursors, would work. Never did you hesitate to refer me to yet another specialist, be they rheumatologist, neurologist, osteopath, orthopedic surgeon, neurosurgeon, physiotherapist, psychologist… Never did you scoff at the alternative, complementary or holistic treatments I tried on my own. Be it iridology, homeopathy, body talk, tai chi, yoga, reiki… you never discouraged me.
You were there for me when I could no longer teach and applied for a medical leave. Then as my condition worsened you supported my application for disability.
When I could barley walk or even open the door to your office, when I could no longer comprehend what I read you still never gave up on me. Even though I was ready to give up on myself, contemplating suicide, you shared another humorous anecdote, suggested another course of acupuncture, another cortisone injection, a sleep lab, a tapping seminar you had researched, a physician working with self-hypnosis…
Still my condition deteriorated until I could no longer look after my home, my beloved dogs, or myself, until I saw no alternative but to give up, to surrender to my illness. As I considered spending what I was certain would be my final days in a nursing home drugged out of my mind in a vain attempt to control my pain my Uncle Bill suggested an alternative..
Would I be willing to see Andrew and Tamara Overlee, the founders of Joy of Healing who had helped him and so many others with all manner of problems? he asked.
“Of course I would!” After all I was terrified—not only of “living” with this horrid pain, but also of dying!
When I returned from my sessions with the Overlees and came to see you, you listened. When I told you about the help I received—the energy work and the counseling that helped me to identify and resolve all of the unresolved issues and stressors in my life that were making me so very ill, you listened. When I told you that I was feeling better, even though I still had some pain, and announced that I decided to stop taking all of the medications you prescribed, you listened.
At each of our following appointments, I reported my progress. The pains continued to decrease until they were completely gone. Each day I walked farther. I swam farther and attended more aqua size classes. I continued to juice and eat a healthy diet, eliminating sugar, dairy, wheat and most processed foods. As I grew stronger physically, emotionally and spiritually you listened.
Then I told you that the Overlees would be coming Medicine Hat, Alberta from Montana and offering wellness sessions and classes. You not only listened, you even made an appointment to see them for yourself. After your session I overheard you tell Tamara, “If you and Andrew helped all of my patients like you helped Janet I would have no one left to treat.”
Because of the amazing mind, body, spirit wellness work of Joy of Healing I have been in remission, both pain and prescription free, for nearly fifteen years. And I am forever grateful.
I am also grateful to you, Dr. V., for if it weren’t for your acceptance, encouragement and dedication to helping me I shutter to think of where I’d be today. You gave me the courage to continue my search for the illusive help and healing that I so desperately needed. You kept me from giving up on myself before I found the beautiful work that saved my very life. You helped me to keep hope alive.
Thank you Dr. V. for believing in me, supporting and encouraging me.
Love and Blessings,
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