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Biography

Honeybees have fascinated me since I was old enough to start reading. I remember my 1st grade teacher reading a story about a beekeeper and his wife, who gave visiting children a lesson about honeybees along with a piece of comb honey.

My mother took me to grocery store and she bought comb honey in a small wooden box. I remember marveling at the work of art, and couldnt wait to dig into it..that was the BEE-ginning of it all.

I was off to the library and agriculture extension office to get books and pamphlets and anything else regarding honeybees that I could get my hands on. Back in those days, the Sears Roebuck farm catalog sold beekeeping supplies and bees. The years past slowly for the first grader who was now in 5th grade, still reading about and studying the honeybees, at which point nothing could have made me happier than to have my own beehive.

It was Sunday afternoon in April 1970 when I saw the postman pull up to our house. I thought to myself " there is no mail on Sunday, what is he doing here"? He came to the door and said he had a package for me, and there it was, a 3lb package of Midnight Honeybees…a trademark name for a super gentle honeybee. Talk about a surprise!!!

The years had past and I had lost interest in taking care of bees, but I had never forgotten or totally given up on my passion for them. In 1980 at age 22 I moved from California to New Milford, Connecticut, then to Vershire, Vermont in 1988. My obsession for honeybees began to grow again, and became as strong as ever, and I was certainly in a position to start keeping bees again, but this time I had ten hives.

One afternoon during that summer, a man had come knocking at my door with a jar in his hand, and asked if I would sell him some bees. I told him I do not sell bees, I sell honey, and even if I sold him bees they would not make honey for him in the jar. That was when he informed me that he was using the bees to sting himself to relieve and reverse the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. My jaw about hit the floor, not so much that he was stinging himself, as I had heard that beekeepers do not get arthritis because of being stung by bees, but when he said Multiple Sclerosis my first thought was “Why aren’t you in a nursing home?”

Five years prior to this incident, I was toying with the idea of becoming a nurse, and was a nursing assistant in a nursing home, and one of my assignments was a forty-two year old man that was so horribly stricken with the disease that he could not even produce a cough and had to be suctioned every twenty minutes. He succumbed to the disease. It scared me, and over time I developed and unsettling fear of the disease.

Paul, the name of the man who came to my door for bees, showed me how he was stinging, and how a man by the name of Charles Mraz who lived in Middlebury Vermont started and taught him this form of therapy. Middlebury was a good 2 hour drive from Vershire and it was not practical for him to drive up there three times per week. I gladly placed a hive for Paul on his property, so he would have access to all of the bees he needed. I met Charles one time back in 1988, and was impressed with his honeybee operation, but never knew at that time the impact he would forever have on my life. I ended a relationship in 1991, sold my hives, and moved. In 1993, I finally attended a tech school program and became a Certified Nursing Assistant, and then later furthered my nursing career, and moved to California to work in an AIDS hospice facility. With the onset of new and effective drugs in the treatment of AIDS, there was no longer a need for the facility and I worked as a private caregiver in the home sector.

In 2001, I began keeping bees again, for reasons of my own health. I began to display symptoms of the disease that was one of the biggest fears of my life. Numb hands, tingling in the feet, clumsiness, forgetfulness, pain in my legs, back and neck, vision problems… could it be? MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS. No, not me, I have feared this disease for nearly twenty years! That’s it; I am just paranoid, talking myself right into this. Just sting, you will be fine, you saw what it did for Paul. Besides you have a knee that is always in pain from a fall six years prior that never recovered. Do not go to a doctor, if you do, then this becomes real, even stinging yourself is an admission that something is not right. Just do it once in a while, because there is nothing wrong with you. Sting other people, the neighbor… she has been complaining about Carpal Tunnel and tendonitis. Just keep your symptoms, swept under the carpet, and then it is not real.
A few more people came over to try bee sting therapy. "Chronic pain from a shattered elbow? Lets see what I can do…it worked"! Then calls came from reporters from the newspapers…”We would like to do a story about you and beestings…sure, come on over! Then the summer of 2002, I went to Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky to attend the Charles Mraz Apitherapy Course. I scored next to the highest on the test, my first time having been there, or anything to do with apitherapy training, information. I was there to learn more to help others, after all…”There is nothing wrong with me…Until one woman approached me and said, “How long have you had MS?” I pulled her to aside and said to her, that I have never said that I have MS why do you say that? She said, “I just thought by the way you walk, I assumed you have it.” As the reality set in for what she had picked up on, I went back to my hotel room to cry. I saw her later that afternoon and said to her “I have never told a soul but I think I do have MS,” and began describing my symptoms to her.

She told me her husband was diagnosed with ALS, and she with MS… they had three small children. Eventually we were both correctly diagnosed with Lyme disease infection, and both treated. Unfortunately it was too late for her husband, he died …she was spared. The treatment of bee stings and antibiotics was successful and the symptoms are gone. She implored me to be tested for Lyme disease. Marlene Wood, I thank God every day for your persistence, and saving my life.

This woman spent a year trying to convince me to be tested for Lyme, as my symptoms worsened…Denial had thoroughly set in.. here is nothing wrong with me, at least I tried to convince myself of that, I only need to sting other people, and myself on occasion. Finally after a long battle of arm-twisting, I finally consented to see a lyme disease specialist. Marlene had my hopes up, after all, lyme is treatable. After a lengthy consultation, and some basic neurological testing, and MRI, the devastating news hit like a speeding train. "I am sorry, your symptoms are classic to Multiple Sclerosis, and I don't thnk you have Lyme, but, because you lived in the New Milford, CT area during the 1980's, which was one of the hottest spots in the world to contract the disease, I will have you tested. Take these antibiotics for 3 weeks, and then have your blood drawn for the tests", the doctor said.

Shock? Fear? Numb? Scared? Every one of these emotions were bouncing off each other every 10 seconds as I came out of his office, to the car. Thankfully, my friend Lynda was with me when I was given the grim news, and kept me from falling apart. The next day, there was no more denial, no more putting off a regular regimen of bee stings. "Here...I am going to place a sting on your Achilles tendon". I screamed no ice?? She said "NO", and just touched the bees abdomen to the area and quickly gave up the spear loaded with healing medicine. "It must be a dud, I didn't feel it, do another." "I didn't feel that one either" Fear really began to set in, it's worse than II thought...I panicked and became frantic and started stinging all over the bottom half of my right leg, I remember crying, but ot because the stings hurt, but because I had NO sensation to the pain of a sting. A beesting is suposed to hurt!Neuropathy, nerve damage, had taken place. I began the antibiotics to get ready for the lyme tests, and soon after starting, all of my symptoms became worse, the wrenching deep pain and spasm in my leg, my spine, the muscle twitching, vision loss, violent tremors,I couldn't walk, my head is spinning. My god, this is not right. The symptoms came out in a torrent flood of rage. I finally had my blood drawn, and had to wait another 3 weeks to get the results, which I was sure were going to say negative. The phone call came in from my doctor. "Reyah, you have tested highly positive for Lyme disease infection on both tests. "I said, "So does this mean a couple weeks more of antibiotics? A shocking moment when he said, "At least 18 months, to 2 years of anitbiotic therapy". Little did I know that my fight had only begun, and after I began IV antibiotics the disease flared horribly. It was dying, but not going quietly.

Over one year of twice daily IV antibiotics through a picc line (rocephin 4 grams daily), 5 years of oral antibiotics, aniti parasitic meds and 25,000 beestings, and a weekly infusion of a high dose vitamin IV cocktail for 2 years.I finally am feeling human again.... Rather than mostly "bad days" I have mostly good days. I have traveled to Belgium and the Netherlands twice to speak about, demonstrate and teach bee venom therapy to doctors, patients, and caregivers. I have spoken at and am scheduled to speak about apitherapy in the United States, Canada and India, have done a few local and national television, magazine and newspaper interviews. My most recent project was with "The National Geographic", then from Sydney Australia, a group working for "The Discovery Channel." They came to my home to film the sting clinic in progress, and interview my clients, and me working with bees.

There is nothing new about apitherapy; the healing properties of the hive have been demonstrated time and time again since the beginning of beekeeping. There are documents in China dating well over 2000 years regarding sting therapy, and the healing benefits from other honey bee made products. Hypocrites himself utilized live and dried honeybees in his practice referring to the venom as a "strange and mysterious medicine." After all, how could something that caused such initial pain, relieve pain? Something that causes initial inflammation be anit-inflammatory? Indeed! Honeybees and their perfect society, are very mysterious, which I am sure is what keeps me focused on these marvelous creatures, and the medicine chest that offers something for everybody, known as "The Beehive". Conditions and diseases from A to Z can be helped and improved through the use of something in that beehive. I see this on a daily basis, having given stings to over 2000 people from around the world, and to date having received over 25,000 stings myself. For now, BEE healthy, BEE happy
Reyah
For more info feel free to write to my e-mail or call me at 802-280-7544