Case Histories

Linda Shepard
Fatigue/Weight Loss/Memory Loss

On April 1, 1989, 1 quit cold turkey a long-term six-pack-a-day Mountain Dew habit I had become quite a junk-food addict and rarely exercised.

Then I concentrated on a healthier lifestyle. I began lifting weights regularly, rebounding and working toward eating only properly combined fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouts and drinking only distilled or reverse osmosis water. I stopped using detergents and make-up and switched to as many things made of natural fibers as possible.

In spite of all my efforts, my physical and mental health began to deteriorate rather than improve. Family, friends and acquaintances blamed my vegetarianism and some mentioned anorexia nervosa. I had never weighed more than 115 pounds and by August of 1991 at 29 years of age and 5'6", I tipped the scales at a mere 82 pounds. I knew a return to my previous habits would only cause more problems.

My major concerns included lack of energy, weight loss, memory loss, inability to concentrate, a deterioration in my ability to spell and pronounce words clearly, an inability to make decisions, inability to build muscle and rapidly failing eyesight. My condition put my job in jeopardy. It got to the point where I would drag myself home from work and wonder if I could gather the energy to wash my hair before crawling into bed.

In October, I read about mercury poisoning from dental amalgam fillings and made an appointment with a nutritionist who verified my diagnosis.

Tests indicated damage to the digestive system, lungs, pharynx, improperly functioning glands, backed-up liver and lymphatic system among other things. He suggested I begin digestive enzymes, continue my exercise and healthy eating and consider replacing my mercury amalgam fillings. I believe my healthier lifestyle allowed my body to begin getting rid of some of the stored mercury. When the mercury began to circulate, my symptoms worsened. I began spending endless hours reading everything I could find on the subject of mercury poisoning and getting even less done at work.

I had biocompatibility testing of dental materials done through a lab in Colorado and went to a local dentist who does removal/replacement. He recommended crowns and bridges. I decided to check with dentists in the Dental Maintenance Organization of the medical insurance through the company where I work. One dentist said he would replace the fillings, but only with new mercury amalgams. Another said he would do the replacement in the order I requested and with materials from my compatible list. He thought he could save most of the natural tooth structure and simply replace the fillings. The third dentist's office called to schedule an appointment but it turned out they didn't have the materials I requested. They called to reschedule in mid-January, but before they began the work I asked for the list of the materials they intended to use and discovered they planned to use the materials they use for everyone else and which happened to appear on my highly reactive list. They kept stalling and either tried to deceive me or simply didn't pay attention to anything I said.

By December, 1 weighed 100 pounds. I also began taking vitamin C supplements and a multi-mineral supplement not for nutrition sake, but to help rid the body of stored mercury. When I went to a doctor from my insurance company, he wanted to start from scratch and ordered blood work, chest X-rays, a CAT scan, urinalysis and other tests, all of which I refused. He indicated he planned to treat the symptoms rather than the cause. He did read the collection of mercury-related information I presented and said he believes the subject needs more study and urged me to have the tests he had ordered.

In mid-February, I began looking into the possibility of going to my sister's dentist and staying with her while I had the work done. I wrote to a dentist in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, with some questions after my sister sent some literature he had on the subject. He practices mercury-free dentistry and has done mercury removal/replacement for a number of years. He called me the day he received my letter. I had decided to ask him to do the work and began on checking on travel arrangements when my supervisor told me the personnel committee had decided to put me on probation, demanded that I take two work days off and show immediate, significant and steady improvement or lose my job.

I took sick leave from work, packed my bags and took the bus from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Eau Claire, Wisconsin. I arrived on a Sunday and left a message on the dentist's machine indicating I would like to see him. A patient cancelled a Monday appointment so he fit me in for a consultation. This dentist and his staff then arranged and carried out a marathon of magic and miracles. On Tuesday immediately following removal of all mercury from the upper right quadrant, I had major rumblings of the digestive system, ravenous hunger and specific sensation in the segment from the tip to the first joint of the right thumb, index and middle finger and in the arch of the right foot. According to the reflexology chart, the area of the head corresponds to the brain and the arch of the foot corresponds to the digestive system.

I slept much of the afternoon and as the anesthetic wore off, I could feel the sensation of each different kind of work the dentist had done: drilling, grinding, scraping, packing, etc. I felt only pressure and no pain and had those sensations only on the upper right quadrant, but in no particular order. It occurred to me later that I hadthe removal of all the mercury from the lower right quadrant on Wednesday, I had the digestive rumblings, the ravenous hunger, a short-lived headache and sensation in the little finger of my right hand. On Thursday, I had work done on the upper left quadrant in the morning and the lower left in the afternoon. I again experienced the digestive rumblings and ravenous hunger as well as focused headaches.

I began breathing through my nose after a lifetime as a mouth breather. I could breathe cold air without pain i my lungs, nose, mouth and throat and no longer had cold hands and feet. I noticed an increase in energy. I began sleeping more naturally, not a "comatose" sleep as before. I could sit up straight more comfortably and no longer salivated excessively at night.

Upon returning to work, I quickly resumed an acceptable level of performance and even worked many additional hours on a special project. I also found I could increase the weights on the weight machines after not having the strength to do so for over a year.

I had gone to a dentist every six months from about age five until twenty and remember only one appointment when I had no fillings. At the time of the removal/replacements, I had large fillings in all remaining molars and several other teeth. I know I cannot attribute all my health problems to mercury, but I believe it played a major role in my condition. Many of my symptoms went unnoticed or got shrugged off as heredity. When I think about it now, I would bet my grandmother and mother both also suffered from mercury poisoning.

Most dentists also promote fluoride. In my case, a dentist had pulled apparently healthy teeth (four molars and my wisdom teeth) rather than removing ones with large fillings. Many dental practices can cause additional damage in unhealthy teeth or damage otherwise healthy teeth.

I paid through the teeth with my health as well as with money. My parents paid to have the original fillings and braces (additional metal in the mouth), then I paid to have them replaced. No one can estimate the value or extent of the difference between the quality of life of one who has had mercury poisoning as compared the quality of life had that same individual not had mercury amalgam fillings.

I continue to see improvement and evidence of detoxification. I would like to take this opportunity to thank dentist, his staff and all their patients who rescheduled on my behalf. Up until I went there I had a fear and mistrust of dental personnel. Perhaps I had a fear of unhealthy dental practices. With healthful living and time for continuing detoxification, I may have a chance to rebuild some of what the mercury has damaged.

I would also like to thank my sister and her fiancée for moral support, transportation, lodging and food during my stay in Wisconsin and other family members and co-workers for their patience and support while I figured this out.