Sarah D: Good intentions, deadly result

Cindy Heibel TMs parents died within three weeks of each other, right at the Christmas 2010 holidays.

They were 63 years old.

Cindy TMs at that stage in her grief that she TMs angry with her parents for not doing more to protect their health.

They could still be here, still seeing their grandchildren, if they TMd have been more careful, says this Hannibal mom.

Cindy shared her story with me over a glass of wine one night (good for the heart :)!

She TMs just a jolly character, quick to laugh and easy to talk to. When she told me what happened with her parents, she was able to shake her head and even chuckle about her situation|but there was no mistaking her pain. She agreed to share her story with you in hopes of helping someone else avoid the grief she TMs going through.

Cindy TMs mom, Cheryl Chapman, had a host of medical problems, including diabetes. When she contracted swine flu last year, that really did her in. The flu taxed her body to the point that her pancreas failed. Pancreas help digest food. Without it, Cheryl became malnourished and lost a lot of weight.

Cheryl TMs sister stepped in to help. She researched some websites that offered homeopathic remedies. She found an all-natural pill that promised to help her digest food. Those pills, straight from some crackpot company in India, eventually killed Cheryl Chapman.

I just thought, ~you TMve never listened to your baby sister before, why start now? TM Cindy told me with a rueful smile.

Now, Cindy TMs aunt had her sister TMs best interest at heart. She loved Cheryl and just wanted to help. And truth be told, Cheryl TMs days were numbered because of her ailments. Those pills just sped the process along.

Stumped by why her liver was failing, Cheryl TMs doctors in Utah performed a biopsy. The test revealed deadly amounts of heavy metals in her liver. Specifically, she had toxic amounts of copper and nickel. After asking some questions, the doctors learned of the homeopathic pills Cheryl was taking every time she ate. Two weeks later, Cheryl died of liver failure.

My mom was a nurse. She should have known better. This time there TMs no smile in Cindy TMs voice, only regret.

Why would Cheryl do such a thing? A couple of reasons; ones we can all understand and appreciate. The doctor had prescribed enzymes to help Cheryl TMs digestion and pancreatic function. She couldn TMt afford them. She didn TMt have health insurance and hadn TMt qualified for Medicare yet. And Cheryl was desperate. She knew her body was failing her, and when her sister stepped in with a possible solution, Cheryl decided she didn TMt have anything to lose. So she gambled--and lost, big.

If you take nothing else away from Cindy TMs tale, she asks that you remember this: TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR! We all know that, right? So why don TMt we do it? Why would we place our trust in some wingnut out to make a buck instead of our physician? I don TMt know why, but I can admit I TMve pulled some dumb stuff myself without talking to my doctor. I TMve learned my lesson, thanks to Cindy, and it TMs her sincere hope that you TMve learned your lesson too.

Next time, we TMll talk about Cindy TMs dad and how his wish for a clear driveway drove him to his death. Until then, take care ~Sarah.