Artist Jenny Newland’s Heartwarming Story
Before I was stricken with ST I was a normal, healthy young woman. I was a very active, goal driven, disciplined and spiritual individual. My husband and I have raised three wonderful children and we had lived out in the country on a beautiful, fifteen acre ranch in Sanger, CA. We raised cattle, chickens, sheltie pups and kittens. I enjoyed playing tennis, horseback riding, gardening and painting. My career as a professional artist was blossoming and I was getting a lot of work. I felt like I was in the prime of my life and I was looking forward to the next phase in life.
In the year of 2004 I woke up with a painful, stiff neck. I had trouble getting my head to rotate from my left side to my right side. I tried to ignore it but it did not go away. I tried to disguise it in public by using sensory touch to my face by brushing my hand over my right ear to get my head to turn. It worked for awhile until I went to the chiropractor. Going to the chiropractor was a bad idea; the treatment he gave made my condition worse. I finally decided to see my family doctor to see if she could help me. My doctor gave me three cortisone shots, one in my right rhomboid muscle and two in my right trapezoid muscle but they didn’t give me any relief. My doctor suggested I start physical therapy to help and that is where I first heard of Cervical Dystonia. I made another appointment with my family doctor to discuss Cervical Dystonia but she just wanted to run more tests on me to make sure it wasn’t something else. I ended up getting a spinal tap, CAT Scan, MRI and multiple blood tests, all to find out that I have Cervical Dystonia or ST. The next step was to go to a neurologist and get botox treatments. By the time I had finally gone to see the neurologist my head was stuck to my left shoulder and I was in a lot of pain. After two botox treatments my head was now stuck to my right shoulder. My husband and I began to wonder if the neurologist was really confident in treating my condition so we stopped going to him. Frustrated and depressed I reached out to friends to get answers. My friend suggested I see a Homeopathic Chiropractor/ Neurologist. I was hesitant to get treatment from another chiropractor given my past experiences but my husband and I set up an interview with him and he assured us that he could help me. So after he had gained our confidence, I began treatment and continued for a year and I experienced some relief from my pain but never any lasting results. I also tried acupuncture and hypnosis-therapy and nothing helped.
By this time I had become very embarrassed and depressed about my condition and didn’t want to go out of the house. I felt pure panic before I would have to go to church or the grocery store or anywhere I would be surrounded by people. When I got brave enough to attend a social event I could feel my neck and shoulder muscles tense up and for the rest of the evening I was miserable. The pain would be so intense that I had a hard time focusing in on conversations. It was a very unpleasant experience for me. I had trouble with simple tasks like: getting food to my mouth, cooking for my family, typing, listening or watching TV, walking without losing my balance, getting dressed in the mornings and driving. Despite all these trials, I was determined not to give up my painting. My husband and I figured out ways to make painting work for me with innovative thinking. My husband Mike built me a padded, adjustable elbow rest. It made painting possible for me. Since my head pulled to my right I figured out that if I slowly worked my head over to my left side I could rest my head on my left hand. Then I would prop my elbow on the padded, adjustable elbow rest and then it would free my right hand to paint. I painted like this for six years and in that time frame I created fifty five paintings.
In June, 2007, I was devastated with the sudden death of my dad. It threw me into a deep depression and didn’t want to go on with my life. But God works in mysterious ways because just as I was going through the toughest battles in my life, God brought my seven year old nephew into my care. My nephew’s mother passed away five months after my dad died. So as I help this little fella work through the loss of his mother, I too was working through the loss of my dad. I needed him as much as he needed me.
In October, 2008, my husband and I put our house in California up for sale and then we moved to Payson, Arizona to help my husband’s parents out. In April, 2009 I was referred to the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, AZ. I saw another neurologist and he recommended another round of botox treatments. He was convinced that I would see real results because of others’ success stories. With no other options, I decided to try it again. This time I received a higher dosage of botox and I received eight shots in my neck muscles. After the treatment I noticed some relief and my head came up a little but after three months I was back at square one again. I also experienced a loss of bladder control after receiving the botox shots. Again faced with a dead end I considered going under the knife as my last option, but God had other plans for me.
I got so down hearted about my situation and I cried to the Lord for help. I prayed about my situation all night and, in the morning when I got up, I went to my computer. I had a new sense of hope and I researched Spasmodic Torticollis to see if I could find more answers; then I came across the Spasmodic Torticollis Recovery Clinic, Inc (S.T.R.C.). My heart raced as I started to read about the clinic and the testimonials.
I was filled with so much hope and I just knew the Lord had led me to this web site. I attended S.T.R.C. in February, 2010 and I met Abbie. She is the most patient and giving person I’ve ever met. Her story touched me and inspired me to move forward. She gave me the tools to beat this terrible disease. I have been following the program taught by Abbie which includes daily exercises & stretching, alkaline diet, massage, daily walks & talks with God and learning to listen to my body. I highly recommend reading the book “A More Excellent Way” by Henry Wright. It is when I started to read this book that I started to see more improvements in my body and my health. Today I am not holding my head up with my hands and I feel great. I still experience stiffness in the mornings and some mild spasms but after a hot Epson salt bath and stretching I feel much better. Please be encouraged and don’t give up, I know how discouraging this process of getting well is and I know if I can get through this, you can too. God Bless All Of You.
P.S. I am a professional artist and my artwork is sold throughout the world. I have an agent in Vermont that licenses out my artwork to be used on many products such as: greeting cards, tapestries, designer fabrics, limited edition plates, puzzles, popcorn tins and lots, lots more. Some of the brand names are: Robert Kaufman Fabrics Inc, Fabric Innovations, Bradford Exchange, Leanin Tree Greeting Card Co, Masterpieces Puzzle Co., The Tin Box Co., and even a movie house company: Columbia Pictures and many more. If you are interested in viewing my artwork you can visit this website: http://artlicensing.com/artists/jenny-newland.
Thank you for your magazine, I truly appreciate the time and the hard work you put into every issue. Also I am enjoying reading your new book “I’m Alive, I’m Awake, And I Feel Great! It’s great!
Jenny A Newland
(Ed. Note: We thought we would add the P.S. to Jenny’s article as it shows not only her great resilience but her very artistic talents. Way to go, Jenny. You’re a great role model in that you never give up).
I've found your web site the most helpful of them all. The way it's written really has helped me. Kristi, New Zealand