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Mercury Poisoning Nearly Ruined My Life

And trying to find a cure was equally painful

Once a month, MEL Radio’s The Struggle Is Real podcast features a guy who has been through some shit in order to find the light, lessons and LOLs from his life’s darkest moments. On this episode, comedian Andrew Michaan talks to host Lara Marie Schoenhals about his two-year battle with mercury poisoning, an affliction that was almost as impossible to diagnose as it was to shake.

How he got mercury poisoning in the first place

“It was a few things. Each of them taken on their own probably weren’t the issue, but taken together, they were too much for me. I grew up in a town in Colorado with a lot of mining and tailing piles. I feel like that affects kids — especially because I have a lot of friends and family who have had weird health stuff. I also got two tattoos that had a lot of red ink in them, and apparently, red ink can have mercury in it. Then, right after I graduated from college, I went to Japan and ate sushi for a month. Whatever the reason, when I finally had my blood tested, the mercury level was off the charts.”

The low point

“Immediately after college, I started feeling sick all the time. I don’t even know how to describe it. I just couldn’t think straight. I felt like I always had the flu or a cold. My stomach constantly hurt. And my energy was super low. I went to a bunch of Western doctors, and they were like, ‘Maybe you have anxiety issues or are depressed.’ I told them, ‘The only thing I’m depressed about is that I feel sick all the time.’ That’s a symptom, not a cause.”

“There was a point where I was going to five or six different doctors a week. I did vitamin C drips. I did infrared saunas. I did this one thing where I held metal rods while arm-brace-esque headbands were tied to my forehead and stomach. A bunch of stuff like peanuts and extracts were placed in a petri dish near me, and if the machine I was hooked to beeped a certain way, it meant I was allergic to whatever was in the petri dish. According to some people, it’s a legitimate allergy test. It sounds insane now, but at the time, I was willing to talk to anyone and try anything to get better.”

The even lower point

“I started taking these chelation pills every four hours. I would even wake up in the middle of the night to take them. They made me feel crazy — supposedly because they’re pushing the mercury out of your brain. Do you know when you think about death too thoroughly and your mind feels very weird? It was kind of like that for the whole day. And not about a specific thing, just this general malaise.”

What does it all mean?

“Perspective is the biggest thing. Now that I’m better, I’m extremely grateful that I can get up every day and not feel terrible. And that there’s nothing stopping me from doing the things that fulfill me.”

Listen to the full episode below.

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