How I Reversed My Severe Chronic Disease And Recovered My Health
My Death Sentence
“Oh God! No!” I cried out, completely broken, with tears pouring down my face.
“Why? Why does this keep happening to me God?” I pleaded aloud.
I’d just punched myself in the face and woke myself up from what turned out to be about half hour of sleep. The most sleep I’d seen in weeks.
The year was 2017 and I was dying. I was in my late 20s at the time but I might as well have been in my late 80s.
I couldn’t sleep, I was getting daily debilitating migraines, my arms and legs were tingling and at times uncontrollably shaking, and I was violently acting out my dreams in what I came to learn was called REM Behavioral Disorder (RBD).
This last symptom, although annoying yet seemingly harmless, was anything but. In fact RBD as I soon found out was essentially a death sentence.
You see anyone who develops idiopathic RBD out of the blue, such as I had done, goes on to develop either Parkinson’s Disease, Lewy-Body Dementia, or Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) within 14 years of the onset of symptoms according to the Cleveland Clinic and a myriad of other scientific institutions and publications.
The Science Is Clear
The science, as I soon found out, was quite clear about those who were having RBD nightly and what their futures looked like. It was a certainty that a crippling neurodegenerative disease was on the horizon, whether that be 5 years from now or maybe 14, if you were lucky. And if you were really lucky you’d get Parkinson’s and end up like Muhammad Ali where you’d eventually lose your movement and speech but at least you wouldn’t be as debilitated as many with Lewy-Body or MSA.
But as certain as the science was in diagnosing the prognosis of someone with RBD they were equally certain in their inability to reverse the symptoms, or God forbid, heal it. Yes, once you were confirmed to be on this trajectory your solitary move was to pray for mercy. Your death sentence was final but perhaps your years in prison before the metaphorical execution might be lenient.
Who I am
My name is Justin Stenstrom and I’ve been in the personal development arena for nearly a decade. I run a health podcast called the Elite Life Podcast which has been a Top 20 ranked Health Podcast in all of Apple. I’ve collaborated with some of the best and brightest minds in the personal development community including the likes of Dr. John Gray, Robert Greene, Anthony William, Dr. Bruce Lipton, Prince EA, Wim Hof, Jocko Willink and many others.
My whole life has been dedicated to optimizing health and happiness and becoming the best version of yourself. To pushing the envelope in all aspects of human performance and creating a truly elite life.
I’ve always had a self-improvement mindset and skepticism towards anyone who said I couldn’t do something. Especially when it came to my health.
The Depression Days
As a teenager I was suicidally depressed. The doctors threw all kinds of medications at me including anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds but I intuitively knew they weren’t the right option for me. So I went on a journey of discovering natural approaches like meditation, self-hypnosis, NLP, diet and exercise, and a few key supplements. It took about a year but I completely reversed all the mental health issues I was going through and cultivated the inner strength that would guide me later in life.
Shooting Elbow Pains From Brushing My Teeth
A couple of years after I developed crippling tendonitis in both of my elbows from lifting weights. It got to the point where I couldn’t lift a gallon of milk without shooting pain in my inner elbow (called golfer’s elbow) or I couldn’t brush my teeth normally without even more shooting pain (tennis elbow). I was in my late teens and all the doctors and specialists I consulted had never seen anyone so young with such bad elbows. They all came to the same consensus: I had to stop lifting and would be stuck with this problem for life. The best approach would be to work around it and never, under any circumstance, lift anything heavy.
Well, to keep things short, I didn’t listen. I researched the hell out of tendonitis and found a book that talked about a concept called eccentric lifting – where you do only the negative portion of the lifts that aggravate your tendonitis. On top of adding some inflammation-supporting nutrients to my diet and supplement regimen and doing this eccentric lifting routine, within two months I completely reversed all the tendonitis in both of my elbows and could lift as much weight as possible. I even went on to break my own personal lifting records shortly after and continue to lift without any pain today.
My Days As A Half-Dead Zombie
Several years after this I was playfully wrestling a friend when I took an accidental knee directly to the face. This led me to have a delayed but very real post-concussion syndrome effect that lasted many months. (My brief history of boxing for two years when I was a teenager also undoubtedly contributed to this syndrome too as I’d taken a number of major blows to the head during that time. Your brain’s ability to take a shot only gets weaker with time as I’ve come to learn.)
For me, the post-concussion symptoms included a never-ending, dull headache diffusely spread throughout my head, light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, fatigue, nausea, and a complete inability to focus, concentrate or comprehend anything at all. It was like my mind was on vacation. As much as I would try to get it to work, it just wouldn’t.
And nothing I did helped. I tried NSAIDS like Ibuprofen and Naproxen, Acetaminophen, fish oil, sleep, light deprivation, and just about every mainstream approach imaginable. Nothing worked. Once again, all the doctors I consulted said there was little to nothing I could do aside from what I’d been doing and that there was a good chance my brain would never fully be back to normal. They did recommend several heavy-duty medications for migraine relief which at first sounded promising until they concluded by saying it would do nothing to reverse the post-concussion and was more for bringing the headache level down from like a 10 to an 8 – and oh yeah, came with a laundry-list of very real and unfortunately pretty common side effects including weight gain, depression, anxiety, rapid pounding heart beat, worsening headache, seizures, and more.
Fixing My Broken Brain
As you may guess I opted for a deep-dive into my own approach. And after about a month or so of turning over stones I was able to find a holistic approach that included hyperbaric oxygen therapy, photobiomodulation, and brain-supporting foods and nutrients. It took a bit of time but within a few months I reversed my symptoms. The headaches disappeared, the light and sound sensitivity evaporated, the fatigue and nausea were gone, and I could focus and concentrate once again and comprehend whatever I wanted to. My mind was back and I felt like myself again.
Fast forward several years later and I’d been in the middle of running my health podcast, sharing great personal growth information with the world, and leading a pretty happy and successful life. My health problems were all but behind me… until they weren’t.
The Worst Health Crisis Imaginable
They popped up almost out of nowhere, although there were a few minor incidents and accidents, that probably contributed to them leading up to my first account of RBD and my new onset of recurring headaches and sleep issues.
I think my life beforehand was setting me up perfectly to deal with this newfound obstacle. And my previous wins despite the major odds stacked against me gave me the optimism and hope I’d need to endure the pain which was to come. And it gave me the attitude that I could and would conquer this problem just like I’d done the others before it. Although I didn’t know how, and all my attempts at resolution up until then were failing, I knew the answer was out there. And I was going to find it. Either that, or I was going to die trying...