Rising from the Abyss

My Journey into and out of Chronic Illness

By Holly Reese, MSOM, L.Ac.

Rising from the Abyss My Journey into and out of Chronic Illness By Holly Reese, MSOM, L.Ac.It’s an enlightening exercise to write about one’s own life: to look back at who you were as a child, how you evolved over the years, and who you are now. In all honesty, I can say that I surprised myself.

I grew up in the small town of Lansdale, Pennsylvania, and was raised in a home environment that accepted a physician’s opinion as gospel. One of my parents’ closest friends was a doctor, and he would make house calls, dispensing whatever medications were deemed necessary at the merest suggestion of a cold, flu, ache, or pain. Drugs were good, along with all the latest and greatest technology of the medical world. I held onto that belief well into my early thirties.

As a teenager, I was a nerd and an avid Trekkie. I absolutely worshiped Mr. Spock, with his logical brilliance and scientific acumen. I was driven to understand how things worked and fell madly in love with the concept of computers and their apparently unlimited potential. It was one of the driving forces for my decision to pursue an electrical engineering degree at MIT. The die had been cast for my life. Or had it?

After graduation, my life should have been complete. I landed a lucrative programming job, purchased a cute home, and maintained a busy social calendar. What more did I need? Apparently, quite a bit. This led me to explore an entirely different side of myself—one that up until then I had neglected—my spirituality. But then the unexpected happened …

In 2002, my life ground to an abrupt halt with a debilitating illness. I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease called mixed connective tissue disorder. I was told by Western medical experts to expect nothing more than a continuous looping from bad days to worse days for the rest of my life. I was offered no hope for a cure—only an ever-lengthening list of medications to manage my symptoms. I traveled down that path for a time until I could go no farther. And then, I chose another way. This book contains my story.

—Holly Reese, MSOM, L.Ac.

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