All too many of my cases are what I privately refer to as onion cases. By this I mean the opposite of a simple case. There are multiple complaints. I call them onion cases because these people get better in layers, like pealing an onion. As each skin comes off, the next becomes visible. Sometimes when the patient overcomes an existing complaint, another appears that was not there in the beginning, probably this new one is a complaint that they had at an earlier point in their life, one that had gone away. Onion cases take a long time to completely heal, sometimes years. There frequently are psychological aspects to the case that surface with different physical problems. If I were not an effective psychologist I could not succeed with most of them. The average medical doctor probably considers onion cases to be hypochondriacs, but they usually are not.

Almost always the first symptoms that demand attention are the most life-threatening, like immune system failures, liver failures, pancreatic failures, nervous system failures and heart failures. With these eliminated, new complaints appear. Often these are endocrine system imbalances or weak endocrine glands, anemias, mild heart conditions. Then it gets down to eye or ear infections, muscular or skeletal weaknesses, mild skin problems, sinusitis, teeth problems; things that aren't serious but that do degrade the quality of life. Each one of these layers also carries with it a psychological component; each of these layers can take three to six months to resolve.

I had a pretty good idea from the first visit that Daniel, not yet 30, was going to take some time to get well. He already had a degenerative condition not usually seen until middle age--crippling gout and arthritis. He had badly distorted joints, walked with considerable pain, lacked a full range of movement, had enormous fatigue and consequently, a well-justified depression. Daniel was about to give up working as no longer possible, but he liked his job. And he certainly needed it.

Daniel's analysis showed massive allergies to foods, a systemic yeast and multiple virus infections and multiple organ weaknesses: a life-threateningly weak immune system, weak pancreas, weak adrenals, weak large intestine. Because he could hardly accept anything he wasn't allergic to and because he could not afford to quit working even for a few weeks (though he was about to be forced into complete disability) I put him on a Bieler fast. This is a monodiet of fairly substantial quantities of either well-cooked green beans or well-cooked zucchini, the choice between these two foods depending on the acid-base balance of the blood. (Henry Bieler, 1965) In Daniel's case my choice was zucchini, one pint of plain zucchini puree with a little kelp and garlic added (no salt, no butter, no nothing else) every few hours. I also put him on heavy vitamin support and protomorphogens for his desperate immune system. While on the Bieler fast he did daily enemas at home. Had colonics been available to him, Daniel couldn't have afforded them.

Within three weeks he was far more comfortable, had less pain, more energy even though he was still eating nothing but zucchini, had less swelling in his joints. During the first month he lost about ten pounds and had been skinny to start with. I then added other cooked nonstarchy vegetables to his diet and we continued the same protomorphogen and supplement program for another month.

Once each month Daniel came to see me. Each time he had slightly improved organ strength and was able to tolerate a few more foods. By the third month he stopped losing weight because we added small quantities of cooked rice and millet to his diet. However, to continue his detox, I had him water fast one day a week, staying in bed and resting all day. At the start and end of the fasting day he also took an enema. He continued a weekly one-day fast for many months. By the fourth month, his immune system testing stronger, a new problem appeared. Daniel had intestinal parasites. So I also put him on a six month program to eliminate those.

Daniel required monthly dietary adjustments because he quickly became allergic if he ate very much of anything very often--broccoli or rice for example. During this time he became aware of many negative emotions associated with childhood, of young adult frustrations and disappointments. He was really very angry about many things in his life, even though he had for many years maintained an invariably pleasant social veneer. But now he began expressing some of these feelings to me and to his associates.

Daniel had an abusive girlfriend, but as he improved this relationship became insufferable. So he broke off with this woman and found a new relationship that was much more positive, one based on mutual respect and admiration. There are frequently strong connections between repressed anger and depository diseases like arthritis and gout. Daniel could not permit himself to constantly be made angry and still get well.

His next layer of symptoms did not appear until nearly eighteen months after he had first come to see me. By this time he had good energy, had returned to hiking and skiing, camping and canoeing. He had worked as a printer but was now bootstrapping his own print shop on a shoestring, and became entirely self-employed. He had a good romantic relationship. The parasites were gone; his gout and arthritis was virtually gone; many of his food allergies were gone. Now his body was demanding that its acid/base balance be adjusted and he began to pay attention to the minor back problems he had all along. Daniel had also developed a new problem--inflammation of the eye. It was so severe that he went to an opthamologist seeking immediate relief because he could hardly see. I put him on massive doses of vitamin C and protomorphogens for the eye and we attacked the other problems.

Now I still see Daniel every three months for minor dietary and supplement adjustments. His emotional space is very positive. His business is doing well. His love life is doing well. He has developed no new problems and all the old ones are under control. His organ systems, though better, will never tolerate many insults, physical or mental, but if he lives within his limits, he has every chance of a long and happy life.

Daniel has become a friend of mine by now and I like to see him but I expect I won't see Daniel very much at all any more. He has learned what he needs to know to take care of himself. This is a typical onion case that resolved successfully. However this case might not have worked out so well had Daniel not possessed a high degree of personal integrity and bravery, had he not faced and resolved his emotional conflicts. Fortunately, Daniel had always conducted an ethical life, without dishonesty or a secret collection of disreputable acts. Bodies are easy to fix; they are carbon oxygen engines that work on chemistry and respond unfailingly to physical measures. But the entity that runs the body is not so simple. The thoughts and emotions of the spirit impinge on a body as powerfully or more powerfully than all the vitamins, dietary reform or protomorphogens I can provide. The mind, and the spirit behind that mind, can make a body sick or can prevent it from getting well or staying well despite everything I do.