Patti’s Story

As Josette and Jake’s mom, I am immensely grateful for the many chances we have been given to overcome our family’s debilitating migraines and the accompanying mental health declines. I do feel that if we had known what we now know when our children were growing up, life could have been very different. It is with these thoughts in mind we have created HMI in the hope that other people will suffer less and find the way to live full and happy lives.

Josette was a beautiful, happy child. She excelled at and adored playing the piano, had close friends and spent time rollerblading, jumping on the trampoline, and generally doing all the things that kids do. In about the 6th grade she became increasingly withdrawn and serious. The health professionals we sought out recommended antidepressants and obsessive-compulsive medications – not a mention of nutrition, gut health or anything outside of pharmaceuticals. Josette did not improve and in fact became more withdrawn. Helping Jake with his almost daily migraines drew my attention away from Josette when she really needed me. My method of coping with relationship/behavioral problems was learned in my own family growing up. I will call it wishful thinking – I felt that if I believed we were a “normal happy family” hard enough it would just happen. This, combined with a level of denial – “this just can’t be happening” resulted in Josette drifting into despair. Our children’s suffering has been a source of great pain/guilt for me, and I thank whatever mercies allowed us to emerge into compassionate adults with a better understanding of how to be healthy mentally and physically.

Much has been said about the role of faith in healing; I’d like to share my thoughts on this. Like the Dalai Lama I have no particular religion except kindness. While a belief in a higher power is key to many people’s healing, I believe that what is helpful in dealing with the stress of illness, pain and doubt is something available to people of all religions and no religion. For me, it is important to learn to be still- to quiet the mind and its fears and allow peace to enter. You can call this prayer, meditation, or just stillness. It is in this stillness that one can realize one’s connection to all matter, all life, and with this comes a deep respect and peace. We contain elements of animal, vegetable and mineral within us. We are the manifestation of many parts that are within us; we are connected to everything. We do not exist as separate, alone beings. It is the deep listening to both your body and your mind that can provide the calm and insight that are key to healing. So whatever makes sense to you is as valid as anyone else’s practice; religion or no religion. Just acknowledging the struggle you are facing and the possibility of being free from suffering, and being open to healing is enough.

My debt is beyond measure to the Gerson Institute – and to my husband, Richard, for discovering and experimenting successfully on his own health issues with the Gerson therapy. Dr. Gerson cured his own migraines with proper nutrition. This concept is so simple and makes so much sense – if you think of a plant – the plant will thrive given the proper nutrients and non-toxic soil – but will sicken if it’s in a toxic environment or denied the basic elements it needs.

We are not different. Given the history of both Richard’s and my family, it is apparent that without tending to our nutrition and deeply listening to our bodies and minds, we would of course have issues.

It’s not easy, its not straightforward, it requires a real change in one’s relationship to food and stress, but the freedom from migraines and the life that blossoms in their absence is worth it.

Both Josette and Jake are my heroes – they have suffered and persevered, and want to use their experiences to help other people heal.