The film ‘Living a Life Worth Living – a Cure for Schizophrenia in Ecuador’ is not ready. But a translation with one of the patient’s interviews is. Please read an interview with Narcissi, a 45-year old woman who had the B.E.A.M surgery five years ago, interviewed with her sister Angel.
Hello, my name is Narcisa Valencia. I am 45 years old, and I live here, in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
(For how long did you have the Schizophrenia symptoms, before having the BEAM procedure?)
I started to show schizophrenia symptoms since I was in school around 15-18 years old age.
(What were your symptoms when you had Schizophrenia?)
I came to have my procedure when I was 40 years old, so it has been five years after my surgery, and my symptoms, they always were there, I had perceptions, I thought that my family didn’t love me, I totally was out of focus, I couldn’t concentrate in my studies, I was a very good student , but after all this started, I couldn’t sleep, I had problems to establish relationships, and I stopped going out of the house, my siblings always have been there for me, but I always was rejecting them, and after the surgery this has been changing, I even lost weight, I weighed 300 pounds, the surgery has helped me a lot, and it’s not just me who say it, my family and my friends can confirm it. I do sales for a living, my sister prepares sandwiches and I am the one who sells them, and the clients tell me: “Narcisa I don’t know what you are doing, but I see you better and better every day”, and to tell you the truth I am not aware of this, but I have been getting better a lot.
(How old were you when you first start showing the symptoms?)
I started showing the symptoms when I was around 15 -18 years old.
(Were you treated by other Psychiatrists during this time?)
Yes, I went to see several doctors, some of them very prominent doctors, from here in Guayaquil and Quito, and when I was 40 years old my family was giving up on me, labeling me as a mental sick person, because I had a very serious crisis. Before this, I had another crisis at the age of 19 years, at that time I went to see Dr. Salvador Peralta, one of the Psychiatrists here in Ecuador, he ordered me to be admitted to the Hospital, so all my family members pull together some money and Dr. Peralta tried several therapies including hypnosis, so I felt better, I got out, started going to College and everything was fine, in 1997 we moved from the house we rented for almost 20 years, but in the new place I felt that the neighbors didn’t want me, I wasn’t feeling well, and I had another crisis, my family took me again to Dr. Peralta.
( Were you on Antipsychotic treatment also?)
I was taking risperidone.
(How did you first find out about Dr Macliff?)
I knew about Dr Macliff, because my family was always looking for the best doctor, when we were young we all came to see a Naturopath doctor in Quito, we traveled there, the same happened with Dr Macliff, my whole family has been treated by him, even this sister here with me, He has helped her with her Diabetics, with some vaccines that he has developed. I thank him very much, I thank my family.
(After you had the surgery, what changes did you notice in yourself?)
After the surgery, I started getting better, first of all I can sleep now, before, I was in my bed unable to sleep at all, even though the next day I had to do my daily activities and I was feeling terrible, Now, I sleep like a baby, my sister sometimes asked me if I heard anything during the night, but no, my sleep is very comforting now. Another thing I feel after the surgery is this sensation of security, before I would tremble at the least thing, now I feel more secure in myself, I feel the love of my family, I can see how they worry about me, I am more conscious of what is happening around me, before I was like if I wasn’t here, just living without living.
The sister, Angel:
Changes I saw in my sister, well, before the surgery she had a very serious crisis, in which she attacked one of our sisters, and it was right at that moment that we in our family realized how big our problem with Narcisa was, and my siblings went to visit the two best Psychiatrists in Guayaquil, both had already treated her previously and both told us that She was hopeless, that she had no remedy and that they recommended the best thing to do with her was to send her to the Psychiatric Hospital and keep her there until her death. Their only solution was to keep her sedated almost 100% of the time, and that we would have to accept these facts and come to visit her just on the Visitation Day, Sundays. So after this terrible crisis we all had to move to my brother’s bedroom, inside the same house, because of her attacks, she tried to attack our parents too, and we were afraid that she would attack us all too.
So we were all in my brother’s bedroom, and then my brother was watching a TV program called “Al Rojo Vivo” where they say: “there is a solution for schizophrenia, and it is in Guayaquil”, so my brother says, Let’s go! let’s see this Doctor, we have nothing to lose, since the other doctors gave us no hope or solution for her situation. So my parents and my siblings all came to see him and he told us about the surgery, at first this seemed illogical to us, didn’t make any sense to us, considering what the other doctors had told us before. Anyway, she came to see him and that very night after her first visit to his office, she looked peaceful, so we started seeing some hope to her problem, and after we raised all the money, we came to ask Dr Macliff to do the procedure, so he made the first interviews with her and after the third day we noticed how calmed she looked, in the first 15 days after the surgery, while she was still in recovery, we saw how she could tolerate my other sister, and one of the events that I remember, one event that gave us all a light of hope, was on December 24 of 2012, the same year of the procedure, she started to get ready to go out for Christmas Eve Dinner, we spent several years without seeing her at these dinners, because she never wanted to do it, and she was very happy at the dinner, sharing, talking, smiling with our parents, with our siblings, and since then everything has been evolving for good, not suddenly because it’s not like from one day to the other everything is going to change, it’s a process, but she is really living, this procedure gives life to whoever has Schizophrenia, and not just only for the patient, but for the whole family of the sick person, because this disease affects everybody in a family, because during the crisis everybody gets affected, one way or the other. That’s why I dare to say to everyone watching this interview, and having someone in his family with this disease, not to wait that long to make the decision to do this procedure. Thank You.
(Can you tell me how your daily life is now?)
Well, I am adapting myself to the changes easily, right now, after the earthquake we had here in Pedernales Ecuador, we have family there, we were a little afraid, but besides that I want to continue studying, I finished the career of Psychology in Education, and I would like to study Medicine, I have been recompiling books, and a lot of things related to Medicine. I do sales every day, since I was in College one of my classmates told me I had a gift to do it, I think so it is, my dad and some other relatives had do it for a living, so maybe it’s in my blood. My sister here, prepares pizza or meals, and I go out to sell these, it’s a little complicated nowadays due to the delinquency; people trust me, you know, and they buy from me, for now that’s what I do, I sell from house to house to hospitals, to malls, close to my house, because I don’t like to take public transportation alone, I don’t like to be among too many people by myself, so, every day, I get ready, get out, make my sales , come back home and give my sisters the money.
(Do you have any message for young people with Schizophrenia in the US?)
It’s hard!, it’s very hard!. Because I felt that I was born again. My life started at the age of 40 years old, because, before that I was very bad, very bad, and even though all this I finished College, got my degree, I wasn’t a burden for my family, but I wasn’t ok. Now it’s a 360 degrees change, a change for good.
(Do you any message for the families of young people with Schizophrenia?)
Sister – Angel:
My message for anybody watching this video, as I said before, don’t wait too long to embrace this solution, a solution of life, because this solution saves not just the patient’s life, but his entire family’s life, this disease affects not just the patient, or the family, the friends also. So I hope that this solution, not so far from now, can be performed in many Hospitals around the world, and that young men being prepared to become psychiatrists, analyze this procedure, its pros and cons, and that they realize it is the best solution, we have checked it with my sister, after 25 years with Schizophrenia, a case diagnosed as hopeless by two prominent doctors, and now she has said in her own words, she has been born again. We can give this gift to that someone that we love, so he can live also, not just lying there in a bed, taking a medicine that just keep him sleeping almost 100% of the time, like a living dead. No, after this surgery, they live again, they have dreams again, projects, like my sister and I, we have projects together, I can count on her, and she has her own personal projects. So yes, there’s a way, there’s an after, there’s life for them.