I am indebted to Dr Robert Lee "Bob" Culver and to Jubal Raffety and
to Josh LeGassick who inspired this conversation.
Some of my fondest memories of my childhood are of
and I fishing. We rented a rondavel (that's an Afrikaans
word for a whitewashed circular stone cottage with a conical thatch
roof) at the Oysterbeds Hotel on the banks of the Breede
Rivier (Afrikaans for "wide river") near the hamlet of
Witsands (Afrikaans for "white sands") in
We'd get up before dawn, load fishing tackle, coffee and sandwiches
into our fishing skiff and, driven by a
Johnson fifty horsepower outboard, head twenty miles up
the river where we would simply turn off the motor and drift downstream
with the current, catching spotted grunter, steenbras,
and kabeljou for dinner.
On various occasions throughout my life I've had the good fortune to
live on a beach. My guests and I fished at sunset, barbecuing freshly
caught fish on the sand, a delicious meal fit for kings in a divine
At some point in my life I discovered sushi, the Japanese
seafood delicacy. Sushi evenings were always special occasions. I loved
sushi. It was more than a meal. Sushi was a special treat.
One day out of the blue my body developed a severe
allergic reaction to seafood. Allergic reactions manifest differently
for different people. I'd never had one before. When it came on, my
lips swelled to the size of ping pong balls, the skin stretched so
tight it felt it would split. My cheeks looked like I was trying to
swallow tennis balls. My tongue was a big, floppy, protruding banana.
If the alarming change in appearance from Dr Jekyl to
Mr Hyde wasn't enough, in addition I was simply terrified
the reaction would also continue into the mucous membranes of my nose
and throat, causing them to swell and close my air passages,
suffocating and choking me slowly to death. It was disfiguring,
embarrassing, and very, very scary.
I pay close attention to my health and staying fit. I'm not satisfied
with anything less than optimal performance of my body. While I accept
the dictatorial reality of it, I'm not happy even with
those rare occasions when I have a cold. So the idea of suddenly
becoming allergic to my favorite food certainly didn't sit right with
me - to put it mildly.
The experts told me it was incurable. They said no one
could cure it. They said a cure was impossible. They said I'd
have it from now on for life. Some said it could eventually indeed
prove to be fatal (now that's an attractive future to live
into, I thought sarcastically). They gave me drugs to control it. That
was their best bet.
On two occasions I was forced to visit an emergency room where I was
put under observation and shot full of adrenalin to reduce
the swelling and avoid the danger of suffocation and choking. No, I was
not a happy camper. I started carrying a divided pill box
with me wherever I went. In it was prednisone (a mild steroid),
claritin (an allergy combatant), and various what I call horse
tranquilizers which reduced the swelling but made me want to
for a week. I also carried an epinephrine "pen" with me to shoot the
adrenalin antidote into my thigh in case of emergency. I almost fainted
at the mere thought of having to use it on myself.
The path to living with it was long and arduous. Since at first it
wasn't clear seafood was the cause, it would occur randomly, or
so I thought. Soon, putting two and two together, I realized it was
seafood and stayed away from it. Then one night when I was away from
home staying in a hotel leading a seminar, I was awakened at 3:00am by
my face swelling to the size of a basketball. I hadn't eaten seafood in
weeks! A new level of fear set in. Now it seemed it could be caused
by anything! I started becoming afraid of
eating - not a healthy situation at all.
I had discovered it was even worse than I realized. It turned out my
body was prone to contamination: if a chef so much as
touched seafood, then prepared my meal which didn't have
any seafood in it at all, my plate would be contaminated with seafood,
and my body would react just a surely as if I'd eaten it. And the
thing about contamination is it's out of my control. I could
avoid eating seafood, but how could I control the way people prepare my
plates in a restaurant kitchen out of my sight?
The next morning I got up onto the podium in front of the seminar,
invited everyone to take a good look at my face (some people gasped),
told them I was OK in spite of what I looked like (even though the
horse tranquilizers were knocking me out on my feet) and would continue
leading the seminar - which I did through completion.
When a friend of mine told me he'd been cured of a similar "incurable"
allergy, I was more than skeptical: I simply didn't believe he was
telling the truth. Even so, I couldn't disregard his account entirely.
He told me about Bob Culver, a gifted and talented natural healer, who
had cured him when the experts had also told him his allergy was
Eventually, with nothing to lose and everything to gain, I asked Bob to
take me on as a client.
I'm not going to try to explain what Bob did to me. I can't. But it
worked. He cured the allergy - the impossible cure. To say I'm grateful
to Bob for acting in the face of no agreement is putting
it mildly. Thanks to Bob I get to live a normal life again.
I proved the cure by eating sushi every other week for three months.
During that test, since that test, and in the last seven years there's
not been one single recurrence. Not from eating seafood, not from
seafood contamination. It's gone. This incurable fatal thing is
Gone But Not Forgotten
Indeed, the impossible had happened. The incurable was
cured. And yet ... even though it's gone, since then I've
lived in fear it would come back! That's the truth. It's
weird - I know. Even though it's gone, I've never eaten seafood since
then. I'm even careful - as I was then - to ensure seafood doesn't
contaminate my plates. I've gone off seafood entirely, and I'll
probably never go back. I'm clear my body's no longer allergic, that
there's no longer any danger of any given meal becoming fatal. And
yet ... the irrationality of it is in spite of
that, I've been run by the fear it would return.
Even though I knew it was gone, I still carried the divided pill box
with me wherever I went just in case. At times I forgot to carry
it with me, and when I found out I'd left it at home, I was concerned.
I carried that little pill box with me for seven years "just in case".
I also carried the epinephrine pen to shoot the adrenalin antidote into
my thigh ... just in case. I carried that pen with me for seven years
"just in case".
Today while walking in a vineyard in this awesome
where I live, it occurred to me how
I am to the fear of something that's been proven to have
no basis in reality anymore. It reminded me of my first experience of
It's common knowledge you can drop an
or a Sherman tank from an airplane by parachute. Both of
them will reach the ground safely and gently. How much
less concern should there be for a one hundred and eighty
In a situation like this, however, stone cold reality
simply doesn't apply. Irrational fear rules.
It was then I heard the call "Laurence, it's time to give it up.
This ... ends ... rightnow!
Miracle Among The Vines
A miracle occurred. There was no
Not quite believing I was actually doing it, I walked over to a vine,
dug a hole in the ground near it, and emptied the entire contents of
the pill box into the ground and buried them there. Then I took the
epinephrine pen and stabbed it into a piece of wood, shooting it with
the full antidote dose.
Total ecstasy! This thing has been cured for a long, long
time - seven years or so - but only today did I get free
I walked over to a trash receptacle and dumped the empty pill box and
the exhausted epinephrine pen in the trash where they belong. I was
shivering slightly, teary eyed, and totally elated. My body's been
cured, the impossible cure, for seven years. But now
there's a new sheriff in town, there's a new distinction here: