Woman overcomes adversities with compassion
As a young girl, Star Schweitzer dreamed of a home filled with love and laughter, instead of standing between her mother and father when they were fighting. ?"Dad would never physically abuse me, but he'd go after my mom, so I would stand between them," she said. "One time, he grabbed my brother by the arm and told my mom sh?could have me, but not my brother. I didn't let go. I figured we could pull my brother's arm out of the socket, but he wouldn't get to take my brother because he was drunk and I knew that they could crash and die."?Schweitzer shared that fighting was always a part of her family.?"My dad was raised in a very hard lifestyle and my mom was raised in a very strict home," she said. "My dad dealt drugs and was in and out of prison, and my mom worked a lot to support us and to stay away from my dad."?Through time spent with her aunt Sandi and uncle Vern, Schweitzer saw the life she imagined having.?"They worked together, didn't yell, scream and fight and had compassion and love for one another," she said.
When she was 5 years old, Schweitzer was diagnosed with epilepsy and suffered numerous seizures. During her teenage years, her seizures occurred less frequently, but she would get migraines?
Her childhood dream was to be a mom, but from the age of 7, doctors told her parents that she would never be able to have children due to her epilepsy and the associated medications.
"More than anything, I wanted to stay at home, bake cookies and be there for my kids," she said.
While in college, she got pregnant.?"This was scary because I had it in my mind I could never get pregnant," she said. "I was concerned for the child's health and I was not mentally or financially prepared."
She married her high school sweetheart, who was not the father, and had a healthy pregnancy and delivery. ?After the birth of her second child, she began working for the post office seven days a week. She dealt with constant migraines and seizures. Unable to get out of bed, stand or walk, her aunt Annie moved in with her to take care of her kids. During this time, they discovered that the dose of seizure medication she had been prescribed was double the dose of what it should have been.
For the next year, she conferred with neurologists, surgeons, and an acupuncturist, massage therapist, osteopath and a counselor.
Desperate to help her niece feel better, Schweitzer's aunt Sandi sent her a box of Eicosanoyl-5-Hydroxy Tryptamide (EHT) supplements, after she heard a Princeton doctor discussing its benefits.
"It uses a mix of bioactive molecules isolated from coffee to optimize the function of a key protein that helps keep neuronal connections in the brain strong and healthy," Schweitzer said.
Schweitzer began taking the EHT this past June, seeing her doctor two weeks later who told her she had very little inflammation in her body?
Today, Schweitzer has osteoarthritis in her spine, thinning of her spine in the neck area and an extra rib that is fused to her spine. She has had surgery on her right shoulder, a partial hysterectomy, complete reconstruction and knee surgery, and was diagnosed with an inoperable mass in the left cerebellum area of her brain. ?She is grateful for her second husband, Ashlee, who she married in 2011.?"When I'm having a down day, he works, comes home, takes care of the kids and gets them to bed, so I have some time to myself," she said. ?The couple moved to Homer with their blended family this past August, at the encouragement of Ashlee's friend, Tracy Gallios.
Despite the obstacles in her life, Schweitzer remains positive.
Last year, Schweitzer's father went into hospice care and she was with him nearly every day.?"We got very close," she said. "He told me that he didn't understand why I'd come and visit him, and I told him that it's because of who I am, that I was there to support him and be there for him and that he was the dad that God gave me," she said.?
She was with her father, stroking his head when he passed away.
She and her mom have become close as well.
"Because of the way my dad treated my mom, I didn't respect her either," she said. "I didn't see how extremely strong she is until I grew up."
Schweitzer is active in her children's schools, likes to draw and paint acrylics and owns Shooting Star Fotography. She also works from home, selling products by Nerium International, including EHT.
"Once I saw the difference it made in me, I wanted to try and help others," she said. "This job allows me to stay home full time and dream again about my life and the life I want to show our children."
Schweitzer shared that through her years of suffering, she has learned to be strong, compassionate and understanding?
"I learned that you can choose anger or love or just skate through life," she said. "When something happens to me, I try to look at why it happened, what I can do so that it doesn't happen again and what I can learn from it in order to help others. I've worked to overcome my adversities with love and to not be hardened by them."