I know, those who know me well know that I am rarely silent! LOL! However, I fell silent with my blog and newsletter because I was struggling with my direction.
May I share my story.
I was always a sickly child. I had multiple allergies, chronic constipation and was hospitalized when I was 5 years old with a severe bronchitis.
After having my tonsils removed, I seemed to get better, but I always struggled with allergies, constipation and digestion issues.
You see, autoimmune and inflammation run in my mother’s side of the family and I, like my mother, have problems with my immune system.
Growing up you would have never guessed there was anything wrong with me. I played and worked hard, was fit, and quick to figure things out. That is the problem, with inflammation, it is silent. Sure, there are some symptoms but they are “common,” like colds, allergies and not something that sends up a red flag for you or your doctor.
My mother was just like me, you would have never known she had a terrible autoimmune disorder brewing, but she did.
She was diagnosed in her early 50’s with Rheumatoid Arthritis and ended up going to an alternative doctor in Whiteville NC who put her in the hospital for several weeks. He took her off of all foods and reintroduced them to see which foods caused a reaction.
My mother went in to the hospital barely able to walk and left in complete remission!
After some time, her symptoms returned and she was seeing another alternative doctor in Winston Salem.
This doctor would change my life.
I was 24 when my symptoms screamed so loud they could not be ignored. Suddenly I could not walk across a store without losing my breath. My legs hurt all the time and swelled.
I went to my primary care doctor who could not find any reason for my symptoms.
I went to 3 different doctors and all 3 told me I should see a psychiatrist! They did not believe my symptoms were real!
My mother took me to Winston Salem and the doctor did further testing and told me that I had Lupus.
I remember clear as day as he told me that Lupus was diagnosed by a group of symptoms, and elevated labs, and most doctors thought there was no cure.
I had never heard of Lupus so I just trusted him. He sent me home with a list of things to do, to eat, and to throw away!
It was extreme, but it worked.
Within 3 months all my symptoms were gone. It was like it never happened, but I kept following the guidelines he had given me.
I would love to tell you that my labs and symptoms never returned, but that would not be the truth. You see, I am in remission and things like stress, chemicals, certain foods, etc., can activate my immune system and then cause inflammation.
I believe if my mother had not taken me to see this doctor, I would not be alive today. However, here I am 60 years old, in great health, fit, and the simple methods are still working.
You see this was my dilemma.
I knew I had a story. I was trying to avoid not only telling my story, but talking to people about the changes they can make to reverse, or improve, their symptoms. That autoimmune is just that, your immune system on steroids!
I made the decision to enroll in a Functional Medicine Health Coach Certification program for health care practitioners.
How will this change my practice?
It really will not change very much.
The difference will be I will openly offer services for the client that “knows something is wrong,” has recently been diagnosed, or is suffering from autoimmune/inflammatory disease. They may suffer from allergies, bloating, flatulence, fatigue, constipation, etc.
Together, I will work with clients to clean up the chemicals from their life, find the foods that may be causing an immune reaction, manage stress, learn mindfulness practice that will help with healing and work on healing their gut.
Clients who have worked with me have experienced a reduction in their symptoms. One person, Angie, she followed my suggestions and her pain from fibromyalgia has lifted and she has become more active, sleeping better and is able to play with her grandchildren. She is currently working with her provider to try to reduce the immune suppressants she is taking.
Why was I afraid?
As a nurse, I have a lot of responsibility to work within the boundaries of my scope of practice. I must be careful regarding the perception of clients and always point them back to a doctor.
I was also afraid to enter this area of medicine because I did not want to appear as if I did not trust doctors. We have great doctors and if I ever have any acute illness, or injury, his is exactly where I want to be.
However, our system is set up for sick care, not proactive preventative care. This means we often end up getting medications instead of diet and lifestyle coaching. Also, not every doctor stays up to date on the newest research findings.
I believe that Health Coaching is the missing piece and I believe adding the Functional Medicine portion will make me much more effective in getting people great results.
So, I am not here to diagnose anyone. I am here to help you discover what may be causing your inflammation, to discover foods that may be causing problems, to help you clean out the chemicals in your life, to help you manage stress, and to help you find the perfect balance your body is seeking so it can give you its best!
So, what has changed? Not much really!
I am just open about my story and how we can rewrite your story together.
Together we will review your labs, help you understand them, find trends that may explain the symptoms you are having, help you become your best healthcare advocate and arm you with the knowledge you need to intelligently talk with your doctor.
If this story resonates with you, if you, or someone you love, have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, or if you are tired even though you do everything right, suffer from digestive issues, or just “know something feels off,” I have several openings for new clients. Respond below and I will get in touch with you.
Thank you for listening to my story.