TEXT BY LENORA OANNELKE - PHOTOGRAPHY BY PHILIP STEIN
Several weeks ago, friends of Wanda Sochanski gathered at her Allentown home for a surprise birthday party. As she celebrated 51 years of life, the most fervent
wish made by Sochanski was to live in the house once again - a place she was visiting for only a few brief hours before returning to the Berks County rehabilitation hospital where she currently resides. Most people, however, would consider it a miracle that Sochanski was even alive and able to aspire to that goal.
A fateful moment
Sochanski's existence was forever altered in June 2002, when a fall from a front-porch roof she was propping to paint, resulted in disastrous
injuries: The impact fractured several vertebrae in her neck and broke every bone in her face. When the healthy, active woman, who bicycled and practiced yoga, arrived by ambulance at Lehigh Valley Hospital, it was estimated that she had 48 hours to live.
Leaving work the day before the accident, I hadn't been feeling well," the
IT management professional and former associate professor at Lehigh University
recalls. "Neighbors heard only the 'thump' of me landing on my head. When
John Rice, who lives next door, found me, he thought I was dead."
As Sochanski's brain began to swell, a doctor sawed open her skull to relieve the pressure, thus saving her life. But she slipped into a coma that lasted for
a month. "I flatlined three times, and they managed to pull me through each
time my heart stopped," Sochanski says. "Friends said they couldn't
recognize me with a swollen, bruised face and a half-shaved head. It was assumed
I'd need extensive plastic surgery."
Amazingly, Sochanski's face healed with no disfigurement, but the outlook remained grim.
Upon coming out of me coma, Sochanski was paralyzed
from the voice box down - even though her spinal cord remained intact. Visiting
friend Patti Snyder, co-owner of Adam n' Eve Boutique in Allentown, saw Sochanski forming unspoken words with her mouth. "I could understand that Wanda was saying 'Indigo,' 'Edgar Cayce' and 'Cosmic Rose,' but it didn't make any sense," Snyder explains.
A mystery unravels
Indigo, it turned out, was a former yoga instructor of Sochanski
and friend of Rose* - a woman whose husband was told he would never walk again
after being paralyzed in a bicycle accident. After using a wet-cell device, Rose's husband
made a full recovery. Built by Phil Thomas, of Florida, who markets a range
of natural products through his web site, www.cayceconcepts.com, the unusual
alternative wet-cell therapy was originally described by early 20th-century psychic Edgar
Many individuals have examined the copious "readings" left by
Cayce, including Thomas, who studied the teachings for three decades. "I've dedicated
a good deal of my life to this because I want the truth to get out there. Other
people didn't follow his instructions (on the wet cell) thoroughly - it took
ten years for me to figure it out," Thomas reports.
" Cayce's approach to health was holistic. What he was talking about made sense, but no one bothered to test his theories," notes Thomas. "The paradigm
doesn't fit mainstream practices, the work is ignored by the mainstream medical
The beginning of recovery
Snyder was eventually able to get in touch with Thomas,
and she arranged for Sochanski to purchase a wet-cell device. "After being sent to rehab, I was told there was only a five percent chance of regaining any feeling in my body.
They told me to accept my condition - and buy a $25,000 wheel' chair," Sochanski
Refusing to give up hope, the determined patient was
eager to explore alternative modalities. Techniques to stimulate nerve regeneration
include sound resonance therapy, a cellular vibration device developed by a registered nurse, and the
wet-cell device. This appliance, according to Thomas, is a "tool used to
address all forms of degeneration in the body by rebuilding damaged nerve tissue,
principally the interface between the cerebral/ spinal nerve cords and the sympathetic
levels." The theory is that certain vibrations can be introduced into
the body via liquid solutions containing silver and gold.
Sochanski also receives
reflex-ology treatments and therapeutic massage to maintain muscle tone. Already
familiar with traditional Chinese medicine, she plans on
adding acupuncture to her therapy routine.
Years ago, I had beaten a precancerous condition and avoided a hysterectomy by
changing to a macrobiotic diet - I wasn't going to be defeated by this," she
recalls. "One therapist told me to stop saying I was going to walk again.
'People think you're crazy,' he commented. I know I'm going to walk, yet I've
been treated as if my spinal cord was severed."
One step at a time
The wet-cell device, which resembles a battery but
carries no electrical charge, had to be affixed to Sochanski's body-a task
not accomplish alone. "Patti
was wonderful about driving out here to help," Sochanski explains, referring
to how Snyder dutifully assisted in giving her the treatments for many months,
even after the patient was transferred to the rehab center.
While facing a daunting physical recovery process, Sochansk also became embroiled in a battle with her insurance company.
There were a lot of complications concerning my coverage and I appealed for help
in filing grievances," Sochanski states U.S. Senator Arlen Spector, Pennsylvania
Senator Michael O'Paki and Mayor Roy Afflerbach were approached for assistance. "My
employer was shocked by the inadequacy of the insurance am wound up changing
the whole company to a different provider.'
To date, improvements in Sochanski's
physical condition have been considerable: AI though still confined to a wheel
chair, she is able to speak and ha regained
nearly full use of her hands. Progress has been made in regaining feeling in
A miracle in the making
Last summer, Sochanski was thrilled when Thomas was
able visit her in person. "Her
recovery has been remarkable. 1 consider Wanda a miracle," Thomas comments. "Attitude has a lot to d with it. Physical, mental and spiritual energies need to be
working in the right direction at the same time. Although it's easy to be come
depressed, you have to al low yourself to believe - an Wanda is highly motivated."
Although Sochanski's dramatic recovery, thus far, may be a medical anomaly, it is not an isolated occurrence. "Medicine is an inexact science. Everyone
who has been practicing the medical arts for some length of time has seen an
unexpected, positive outcome," Dr. John Bruno, vice president for medical
affairs at St. Luke's Hospital, Bethlehem, observes. "The physician must
know the patient and the condition and determine a balance of reality and hope
for each individual and case."
Sochanski remains imbued with hope. In order
to be close to friends, she is attempting to be transferred to a nursing facility
in the Lehigh Valley. "They have to understand, though, that my stay will be temporary," she explains. "I
plan on being able to walk and go home by the end of the year." Clearly,
Sochanski is a woman who believes in taking a pro-active approach in making miracles happen.
*Name changed for privacy.