There are times when people enter you life that you either know then, or later find out, were meant to be profound instruments of change and soul growth for all parties involved. Valerie was one such individual. I was first introduced to Valerie almost 25 years ago when she was assigned to my client case load at a Community Mental Health facility in Norfolk, Virginia. I treated her for Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD), later to be classified as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). She had well over 100 different alters and fragment personalities due to severe sexual, emotional, and physical abuse by multi-generational family members since infancy. Back then those who had this condition called themselves “multiples”. Their case files were usually huge, with many diagnoses from countless therapists. All too often they were misdiagnosed and lost in the mental health system for years without proper treatment. Valerie was no exception.
What I learned from Valerie in the nine years I helped her to integrate her multiple parts, was more than I had ever learned in any masters or doctorate psychology degree program. She made me a better therapist. She stretched my belief system about the mind and healing, and she is still doing so today, even though I have not seen her in 15 years.
Due to a host of already existing health problems, I was sure Valerie had died during the years we lost contact. Imagine my surprise to get a call from her granddaughter several months ago (after she tracked me down via the internet) that Valerie was alive and wanted to speak to me. She was very ill, with a rare cancer disease that attacked blood, bone marrow, and destroyed the immune system. Only five cases existed like it and specialists had been called in from around the world to study it. Valerie told me that even though she was doing better, she knew she would not make it to Christmas.
Her rare cancer disease was only one of five inoperable terminal illnesses she had, yet she continued to defy all medical odds. Last year she was placed in an experimental drug treatment program, but although every other participant in the study was long dead, Valerie lived on. The doctors couldn’t explain it, which was one reason why a battery of doctors, from as far away as Asia, and two military doctors from the U.S. came to be on her medical team. (The latter makes me question whether she had somehow been exposed to biological weapons having lived near a Naval Base.) Consequently, her organs were repeatedly failing from the large doses of steroids and antibiotics she had been given, which would eventually also give her diabetes. But each time Valerie came close to death, she prayed her way out of it. Perhaps she is the penultimate spiritual prayer warrior, but the truth is—I think Valerie is an Angel. Her work here on Earth is simply not done yet.
Before I tell you what recently happened, let me back up and tell you a little something about Valerie that might stretch or challenge your own beliefs. About 20 years ago, Valerie also had cervical cancer. The doctors would conduct tests, and the cancer was there as clear as could be, but when another alter personality was out and they ran the same tests, all the cancer was gone. The doctors re-ran the tests several times thinking it was a mistake, but the results always came out the same. Sometimes Valerie showed all the signs of cancer, and sometimes she did not. But eventually, it would always be gone. I can’t tell you how many of her doctors scratched their heads in disbelief, or got frustrated and angry because they felt helpless to understand or treat something this changeable. The wise ones learned from it. Valerie became their unofficial teacher on the complexities of the mind on healing.
When I say Valerie is an earth angel, it’s because every one she prayed for, or ministered to in her spiritual, non-dogmatic way, always healed. She could look at a person and knew what was wrong inside them both physically and spiritually. She was always praying for people or helping to take away their burdensome pain. And in a moment of perfect clarity, I saw that she was a highly evolved angelic being who chose to be born into the worst possible scenario of a family, to not only help them learn, grow and stop the cycle of abuse, but to accelerate her own soul growth in the process.
I’ll never forget the day about 16 years ago when an alter personality I had never seen before emerged during one of our therapy sessions. The personality talked in biblical sounding “Thees” and “Thous” and identified itself as an “angel” from outside Valerie’s personality system. It then proceeded to tell me private things about myself, which Valerie had no access to, as well as tell me about three gifts awaiting me in the future (only one have I received thus far).
This Being also told me to start preparing Valerie for my departure from Virginia in six months time. At the time, I had no plans to leave Virginia. I was married, had a thriving therapy practice and a home. But without getting into personal details, exactly six months later a series of events happened that caused me to leave Virginia for California. The prophecy was dead accurate.
Before I left for California, I tried to find a competent therapist to refer Valerie to. Much of her integration work had come together over the years, but she still needed help. She thanked me for all the help I had given her, but I knew deep down I owed her an even greater debt of gratitude for all she had taught me.
Fast forward to present time. This past week Valerie, now 63, was rushed to the hospital with deadly pneumonia and what appeared to be rapidly spreading cancer in her lungs. She had a history of seizures, but it looked like she may have also suffered a left-sided stroke as well, which left her slurring words and experiencing some loss of motor coordination on the right side of her body. Her potassium levels were depleted and her white blood cell count was extremely low. She was in so much pain, morphine was administered.
By now the doctors on her team, having worked with this medical oddity for awhile, listened to whatever Valerie told them she needed. Mainly, because she had always proven to be right. Before they took CT scans she told them she felt the masses suddenly develop in her chest, told them her potassium was low, along with other instructions. She professed that she wasn’t a “know it all” but she did “know enough.”
As soon as they could stabilize her, they scheduled a biopsy surgery. On the way to the operating room, her heart stopped and they had to resuscitate her. (Later they would find out a respiratory technician had administered high levels of oxygen leading to saturation and carbon-monoxide poisoning—an almost lethal dose. This technician is now under hospital investigation.) When they were finally able to resuscitate Valerie, she told the doctors an incredible story.
Valerie was no novice to near-death experiences, having had several over her lifetime. But this time, when she lost consciousness and her heart stopped, she told the doctors that several angels were there to enfold her in their arms. “Just hold on,” they told her. “We will put you back in when the door opens.” She had no idea what “door” they were talking about. She looked back at her body and saw it open, like a door, showing a growing light within. “I had no idea I was filled with such a light,” she would later tell them.
Valerie told the angels she was too weak, too tired to go back into her body. As they continued to cradle her, the angels assured her: “We will help you.” Several moments later she found herself back in her physical body, much to the relief of the doctor who was applying shock paddles to jump start her heart.
Within hours after returning to her physical body, she started coughing up bloody tissue masses. She got the doctors to promise that they would not take her back to surgery until they ran another CT scan, for she told them she was certain the cancer would now be gone. The next morning they ran the CT scan and sure enough, just like Valerie told them, it was all gone.
I asked Valerie what she had done to heal the cancer. She told me she had prayed with the angels. Later I learned that not only nurses (from other floors), but doctors as well, had come to her room to see this “miracle” patient that had the entire hospital talking. A few of the nurses took an hour out of their day to help her shower and bathe, dress her, comb and do her hair, and ask her for a healing blessing. She sang to them, one of her favorites being Rachel Platten’s, “Fight Song” with her own made up lyrics. They, too, recognized there was something special about this women. You felt good around her. She beamed with love and light. One of her doctors said, “Valerie, whenever something weird happens in this hospital, I know you will be at the center of it. But from it, I always manage to learn something.” How true, indeed.
A day later Valerie was released from the hospital. But, I know that her time here on Earth is short. I had a vision a few weeks ago that I needed to go see her in August, despite the cross-country trek and scheduling. Before I made my flight reservations, I asked her if it was alright that I come visit her. She told me her angels had already shown her I would be coming several months ago, but she didn’t want to say anything. I asked her to promise to stay alive long enough to make this visit and she readily agreed. So far she has kept her promise, even though she was so close to death’s door this very week.
I have the feeling that something profound will occur when I see her again after this 15 year separation. It’s just a gut feeling. The journey, or reunion, is destined to be. I know she will stay alive long enough to make it possible. I am once again the humble student returning to the teacher. Until I write the final ending to this story, Valerie will always be a living testament that miraculous healing can happen at any time. There are angels that walk this earth. I am grateful to have met one and be a part of her journey.