LENOIR CITY (WATE) - A young Lenoir City man thought he was going to die and wrote a daily journal during his struggles. Little did he or anyone else know the enormous impact it would later have on so many people.
Nathan Wells, 19, enjoys his job as a lab assistant at Parkwest Hospital. It's a stepping stone to his plans for a career in medicine. Helping others is his passion.
But one day three years ago, Wells began a journey to help himself as he tried to find relief from a sudden and unrelenting series of headaches.
"The pain just starts getting more excruciating and one minute it will be throbbing, then the next it felt like I was being stabbed," Wells recalled. "Sometimes it felt like my scalp was being ripped off my head. "
Nathan endured the misery every day for 189 days. He underwent the painful process of being scanned, poked, prodded, and tested at twelve different hospitals throughout the South.
Finally, when all hope was almost gone, a local nurse practitioner found the answer - mercury toxicity, blamed on the H1N1 vaccine.
"It was a long process, because I was so toxic," Nathan explained. "I finally got better and one day, I wake up, and it's gone."
During his quest for answers, Wells found comfort in keeping a journal about his medical mystery.
"If you are reading these journals, it is a good chance that I am dead," Wells wrote. "I don't figure if I live that I will ever share this journal with a single soul. If you are reading this and I am gone, know that I don't want you to feel worse by reading this. I want you to feel a sense of security to know that I know exactly what I am facing, and that I fought with all my might."
When the puzzle was finally solved, Wells wanted to help others so he took his savings for college, and self-published his journal as a book called "Am I the Enemy." He sold a thousand copies and was thrilled.
But when he offered it as an electronic book, sales really began to skyrocket.
"We have over-exceeded 200,000 just within the last few months. It's unreal. And to me it's a blessing," Wells said. "I'm helping people now in a way I never expected."
He's helping in a substantial way. Wells could've kept his big earnings for himself, but true to his nature, he decided to give a big chunk of it to Hurricane Sandy victims.
He says he'll never forget watching the devastation play out on television.
"I just couldn't get Sandy off my mind," he said.
Nathan donated $140,000 worth of supplies, from blankets and trucks to food and baby supplies, all with the help of volunteers who'd never met him, but heard about his mission.
"Now, I'm able to help people in completely different areas of the world and our country," Wells said, smiling "And to me, that's the biggest blessing."
"Am I the Enemy" is available in print; as an e-book through iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Noble; and as an audio book via Audible.
For more information about Nathan Wells, go to the official website for the book as well as his personal website.