It all started when...
From the moment I could remember, we always referred to my Dad as the health nut. He was a daily jogger, always reading health magazines and journals, always taking a ton of vitamins, and always making us eat crazy foods like bran and flax in oatmeal and a grapefruit every morning. He was also a voracious learner. Although his vocation was a speech therapist, he was always learning about alternative medicine and meditation and nutrition and spirituality. He received his PhD in Native American Spirituality & he didn’t do it to further himself in his career in any way, he just did it because he wanted to learn more about the subject.
My mother was a labor and delivery nurse for 40 years. I remember her always coming home with sweet notes and presents and boxes of See’s candies from her patients as tokens of appreciation during such a vulnerable and exciting time in their lives. For these families, it was her in her role as a nurse and the primary person who spent hours upon hours calmly guiding them as they labored that they will always remember. She always knew how to take care of everyone in a special way, and it was always a little bit fun to be home sick and have her taking care of me. When I was sick, she would give me some of her infamous home elixirs to make me feel better, like the one she named Betty's Brew, and they always worked.
When people ask me why I decided to go into Eastern and Functional Medicine, it is from this foundation that a love and curiosity of unconventional medicine was seeded.
It was my first year of a very demanding 4-year Master’s degree program in Chinese Medicine and my sister was diagnosed with a terminal cancer. The year following her diagnosis was gut wrenching to witness. Her oncologist pulled out all of the big guns to try and eradicate the cancer. Unfortunately, those big guns were the things that made her last year of life (which was the exact amount of time from her diagnosis to her death) completely miserable. The conventional model of using these big guns was a barrage of treatments and medications with unintended and horrible side effects, knocking my sister's body into a weaker and weaker state. Her doctors only had eyes on if they were eradicating the cancer itself, not on what these treatments were doing to her. In the end, that was what killed her before the cancer ever did.
As I witnessed the tragedy of my sister's last year of life, a resolve grew within myself to learn as much as I could to offer a different model of healing to people. A model that was inclusive of looking at the body in a holistic manner. I truly believe that had my sister's medical team (who had the best intentions) embraced a more holistic viewpoint in their treatment, most of my sister's suffering would not have happened.
My own health began to take a turn for the worse as I tried to balance school, work, and family. My hormones began to go out of whack. My previously predictable periods became erratic in every way. I was constantly tired, constipated, unable to focus, unable to sleep, depressed, gaining weight, had severe bloating, and had facial acne for the first time in my life. I was miserable.
And so began my ten year personal journey into getting my health back again.
I sought out ways to heal myself with herbs, acupuncture, exercise, and meditation. My hormones regulated, mood and sleep stabilized, and I felt better and better. I finished my Master’s degree. I was so fascinated with how Chinese medicine had quickly balanced my hormones that I then went back to school to get my doctorate in Chinese medicine, this time with a specialization in women’s health. From there, I continued learning more about hormones, reproductive medicine and fertility, going on to receive my board specialty in reproductive medicine.
During these years, I went to China twice for extended periods of time to learn and work in integrative medicine hospitals. I continued to raise the bar with my health, running several marathons. On top of it all, I had a very busy and rewarding private practice. But guess what? I still had acne and I still had severe abdominal bloating.
Then, I discovered functional medicine.
Functional medicine drew me in with its similarity to Chinese medicine in many ways. Both look at the underlying causes of why illness or disease might occur and both look at the body in a holistic manner. Most importantly, both identify imbalances and treat each person at an individual level.
I was hooked, and have spent the last ten years learning all I could, including taking a year-long functional medicine certification course with Functional Medicine University.
And what happened with my bloating and acne? Eventually through some testing, I found out that I had antibodies present which indicated Celiac Disease. When I received the results of that test, I discontinued gluten immediately and within two months my acne and bloating were gone.
In my current practice, I use a combination of what I have found over the last fifteen years in practice to be the most effective way to get to the root of why a person is not feeling their best. This combination incorporates Chinese medicine and functional medicine principles to treat each person individually - combining herbs, nutrition, lifestyle changes, supplements, and lab testing/evaluations.
If you are a woman whose hormones become out of balance, or you do not feel your best, I would love to help you revitalize and re-balance your health. If you’d like to delve deeper and get results, I invite you to schedule a 15-minute consultation here.
I look forward to using all of the knowledge I have obtained on my journey to helping you feel your best!