“You know the thing that you go in that takes you up to the next floor and you push this thing and it takes you up to the next floor.” An elevator? “ Yeah that thing.” Denise Alexander began having symptoms of Mercury Poisoning in 2000. Her symptoms started as constant headaches that she described, on a scale of one to 10, remaining at a constant five, then came extreme fatigue, uncontrollable jerks and hearing people but not being able to respond.
By Courtney Cox | firstname.lastname@example.org
Denise Alexander had been experiencing unusual symptoms for a year that doctors could not diagnose. She moved to Florida to live with her parents because she, a grown woman, could no longer take care of herself—her symptoms had worsened. Finally, a bittersweet hope by the grace of God, had came into her life. A doctor, Dr. Don Colbert, had diagnosed Alexander with mercury poisoning. And her treatment and her recovery were a long and painful process that put her strength and faith to the test.
Blurred photos, out of respect for Alexander’s request to keep them private, of her recovery process. For almost a whole year, she went on not knowing what she had. One team said there was nothing wrong with her, she needed to see a psychiatrist. The other team said there was something wrong but they didn’t know what it was. Doctors could not give her an answer and that was frustrating, she said. “One doctor was really insulting and condescending,” she said, adding that they were convinced Alexander was fabricating her experiences.
Alexander had to re-learn that a stove is hot and burnt herself plenty of times in the process, she said. “I had to learn how to cook, which is a really complex mental function that you don’t really think of, you take it for granted.”
“The first serious event happened after I came home from church and laid down to take a nap and when I woke up, I couldn’t move my legs. I was telling my legs to move but they wouldn’t move.” Eventually she was able move. “The second major event was I was taking a shower and my leg kept buckling … I drove to the chiropractor’s office, I went to park the car and I slammed the car into the curb,” Alexander said. It had seemed much further away to her. When she got into the chiropractors office, her face started to twitch and her arms were jerking, muscles spasming—they thought she was having a stroke and called 9–1–1. That was Alexander’s first hospital visit.
Dr. Colbert’s Facebook page. “I came to FL on Thanksgiving day in 2001,” Alexander said. She was watching television, which wasn’t usual for her, and came across a pastor interviewing a doctor on a show. Alexander said that God came to her at that moment. “His instructions were, ‘This is the man you need to see,'” she said. She met with Dr. Donald Colbert two weeks later. He told her “I can’t say for sure, but I suspect that you have some kind of toxicity. I can’t be sure, but we’re going to run some tests and we’ll see what comes out of that.” Two weeks later he ran more tests. Alexander got a call shortly after from his office saying that her mercury levels were off the charts. “He said, ‘There’s so much mercury in your body, we can’t even measure it.’”
“I was actually quite relieved to finally have somebody be able to tell me what was going on,” she said. “I eventually got to a place where I couldn’t care for myself anymore.” She had to leave behind her teaching job and friends in New Jersey to live with her parents in Florida, a place she swore she would never live.
Tuna contains some of the highest levels of mercury. Everything from seizure like episodes to memory issues can be attributed to mercury poisoning. “I ate pretty much salmon and trout and I took canned tuna to lunch pretty much every day. I’d say probably three to four times a week,” Alexander said. One of the most toxic subjects known to man—and Alexander was hypersensitive to it.
Information from the Food and Drug Administration. “There isn’t a definite source but he [Dr. Colbert] said it could have been from the salmon, could have been from the tuna. I had a few amalgam fillings,” Alexander said. And oftentimes, she said, many dentists will say amalgam fillings are harmless.
Alexander has had her amalgam fillings replaced. Her response to these fillings: “Just don’t use it anymore.”
“I didn’t work for about three years,” Alexander said. She was not receiving any source of income in that time. ”By the grace of god next year I should be finished—debt free.”
Alexander holds her personal bible that has her name embroidered at the bottom. “I had an understanding that what I was dealing with was life threatening,” Alexander said. “I never felt like I was going to die I just knew that death was a possibility.”
“What really kept me mentally sane, the only thing that kept me sane, was the promise I found in the scriptures of the lord,” Alexander said.
“When we started getting rid of the mercury, that’s when I got really got sick,” Alexander said. The treatment, David Mary Paul (DMP) is a solution that goes into the body that has Vitamin C molecules and the mercury attach to it and it gets excreted from the body, she said. But she was hypersensitive to everything and for a whole year she could not digest food. On top of that she had extreme chemical sensitivities and sensitivities to cold and heat that resulted in seizure-like episodes. Progressing from a wheel chair to a walker was a great accomplishment, she said. “Just having stamina to walk to the corner and back without the use of a walker and oxygen. It took me a long time to get off oxygen,” Alexander said. “I can remember standing at the door and just wishing I could walk to the mailbox.” She praises God that she doesn’t have to wish that anymore.
Alexander, a minister, opens her bible that’s filled with notes and highlighted pages throughout. “The lord said, ‘Little by little I will drive them out before you until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.’ I understood that I was going to recover and the more I spent time with that scripture I understood that, little by little, I was going to gain victory over every symptom until I was completely free and that is why I’m still here,” Alexander said. “It was the word that kept me alive and sustained me.”
Alexander didn’t forget faces, but she found that she was forgetful of names. And not just family members, but animals. She had a container of animals she brought into her class one day and she had to ask her class what kind of animals they were—she could not remember.
Alexander with one of her good friends, Valerie Cotton, who she met upon her transition to Florida. It took Alexander about five years to regain some of the skills she lost. The emotional part was the most difficult, she said. First leaving her career, losing her independence and then, being a grown woman, relying on her parents to take care of her.
“It’s made me stronger because it—I had to be totally dependent on the Lord everyday for simple normal things. I just turned to him and leaned on him for everything. I needed Him for everyday simple things,” she said. “When you really know Christ personally, not just as a religious kind of association, there’s an intimacy and there’s a relationship that changes your life. Because I was so desperate and I needed him so much. He would give me what I needed when I needed it.”
Article image from New Vision: Uganda’s Leading Daily. Alexander believes that there is not enough awareness of the dangers of mercury. “I think a lot of it is undercover and under wraps … especially with the dental industry wanting to convince people that there’s no harm in amalgam fillings, I beg to differ,” she said. “Just don’t use it anymore—period.”
“Dr. Colbert said to me, ‘You’re so rare.’ I said, ‘Why? Don’t people survive it?’ ‘No, not the kind you have,’” she said. “The woman you see now, isn’t the woman you see before.”