For as long as I can remember, I struggled with personal health issues: bouts of severe “phantom” intestinal pain; chronic and debilitating allergies (we’re talking itchy eyes, nose, ears, throat, post-nasal drip and nose blowing that called for a family-sized box of tissues everyday — 24/7, 365 days per year); chronic bronchitis October through April every year; frequent colds and infections such as strep throat, asthma, acne and other skin disruptions starting in college and continuing well into my late thirties; anxiety; inflammation and weight gain despite “eating right” and exercising; chronic muscle and joint aches and frequent running injuries; lack of energy; irritability; brain fog; and an inability to concentrate on simple tasks.
The list goes on.
I’m not gonna lie. Life was a bit of a suck-fest. As a young mom I pushed through the symptoms and tried to DO IT ALL (and perfectly)…I worked full-time as a classroom teacher, cooked, cleaned, organized play dates, shuttled the kids to all their extracurricular activities, planned perfect holidays, and trained for and ran marathons to stay “fit”. I was exhausted, angry, overwhelmed and irritable pretty much all the time. Being sick makes you cranky, and when you’re sick and stressed-out ALL THE TIME…well, you know because you can probably identify if you are reading this.
As a child, my parents just chalked my weird health complaints up to my being a hypochondriac, and the doctors said I was “fine”. In college, I was a frequent flyer at the infirmary, where the doctors either prescribed more antibiotics for my frequent infections or told me I was “fine” (there’s that word again) behind their polite eye rolls which betrayed their real feelings (“She’s such a hypochondriac!”). The symptoms progressively got worse throughout my twenties and thirties, and the doctor visits continued. Something was wrong in my body, and I needed help, but no doctor seemed to be able to help me, aside from prescribing more pharmaceuticals. The blood work, the CT scans, the ultrasounds all came back with the same result … you guessed it: I was “fine.”
But I was not fine. In fact, I was miserable. By the time my thirties rolled around I was taking several long-term pharmaceuticals for allergies, asthma, and anxiety along with frequent rounds of antibiotics for chronic infections. My allergic response to dust mites from testing through an immunologist showed a response 50x higher than what they even record. My face was covered with humiliating acne (Oh, the thousands of dollars I wish I had back for the lotions, potions, and treatments for that!). To add insult to injury, I was STRESSED to the max with two small children, working full-time as a teacher, and living each and every day in misery.
The icing on the cake was a severe, 20-month health crisis from 2009 – 2011, during which I nearly lost all hope. I went through the cycle of trial and error, from practitioner to practitioner, ranging from conventional medicine which included multiple surgeries, 21 rounds of hefty gut-busting antibiotics (in 14 months), MRSA treatment, and anti-inflammatory steroids, as well as non-conventional treatments and therapies which focused on treating my symptoms with a more natural approach. I was even sent to a world renowned hospital in Boston to see the “world authority” on my condition. He merely offered more antibiotics, more surgery and a very cold bedside manner.
The common thread between the various treatments I tried, both conventional and non-conventional is that they all focused on treating symptoms rather than investigating and addressing the underlying CAUSES of my problems. As a result, none of these therapies led to healing. I had to figure that out on my own.
All this was happening, by the way, despite the fact that I was living a “healthy lifestyle” by conventional wisdom.
By the end, I was clinically depressed and felt completely ravaged and hopeless. It seemed that I had tried everything, and ironically, throughout this process I had been working toward a Master’s degree in Human Nutrition from a well-respected university, where I was learning (and continuing to follow) the flawed approach to nutrition that has been making Americans fat and sick since the seventies. It was here that one of my professors guided me down the pathway in which I finally discovered the solutions which ultimately empowered me to take charge of MY OWN health and heal my body from the inside out.
Throughout my health crisis, I had promised myself that if I got through it, I would turn my misery into something positive for the world. And so my quest began – a quest to bring empowerment to other human beings — to guide them to improve the quality of their lives so that they can enjoy each and every day of their limited and precious time on this planet. Today, I enjoy my life symptom-free. I wake up looking forward to the magic of each day with boundless energy. I feel joyful. I look forward to making special memories with my family. I participate in athletic endeavors that I enjoy. Doesn’t that sound amazing?
I THRIVE, and I want you to THRIVE, too! Because, you know, just surviving is no way to live!
Today, my quest continues. I am always a student, continually seeking new knowledge and understanding in the areas of health and wellness, nutrition, mindset, personal growth, and neuroscience. I read and research, attend conferences, take educational courses, and listen to approximately 7-10 hours of podcasts per week so that I can stay actively abreast of the best that can be offered to my family and my clients.