I began my wellness journey 20 years ago.
I was living in NYC, dealing with seemingly unrelated physical issues that left me feeling tired, uncomfortable, ill, depleted. I saw a host of different specialists, went on a number of different medications. Some things got better, but other issues popped up.
I was told that much of what I was experiencing was related to stress or was “psychosomatic.” At first I listened, which led me down a road of mindfulness. I discovered yoga, meditation and Deepak Chopra books. This helped with my anxiety and to keep me centered.
But it didn’t solve all my maladies. One single practice never does.
When I met Dr. Andrew Weil, a pioneer in the field of Integrative Medicine, at a seminar he was giving in NYC, things began to change. I realized that the doctors I’d been seeing were treating my symptoms. They weren’t treating me, the whole person.
I went to a Naturopath and started treatment for allergies and food sensitivities. I began to pay closer attention to what I ate and how it made me feel. Some things got better.
Yet, I still suffered. Success was not a straight road. There were many curves, ailments, pains and frustrations along the way…diagnoses and even “un”-diagnoses.
Here are some of the things I dealt with. No doubt some will sound familiar to you.
Thanks to determination, exhaustive study, and trial and error, I started to feel like I had control over my symptoms, and my life!
My own personal experience readied me for what was to come next.
In August of 2013, my 5-year-old daughter, Ava, had a sudden onset of anxiety, night terrors, sleepwalking, hot/cold sensitivity, severe headaches, nausea, irritability, emotional instability, digestive issues, excessive sweating, rapid heartbeat, diarrhea and panic attacks.
Doctors and educators told me this was all a normal part of entering kindergarten and that it would get better. For six months I felt completely helpless, totally overwhelmed and out of control of my own emotions. When you have a child with severe anxiety, it affects the entire household. It dominates all family member interactions and activities. We were all suffering along with Ava.
My motherly instincts overrode those of the professionals and I went after answers and solutions with a vengeance. This is what my own health journey, my passion for education, and nutritional sleuthing had prepared me for. I had to become an advocate for my daughter.
Since my daughter was acting hormonal, I took her to an Endocrinologist. We got a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. The recommended treatment was that she see a therapist because her anxiety and emotional instability had nothing to do with her diagnosis.
I didn’t buy it. This was systemic. It wasn’t psychological. It was autoimmune. Her body was taking up arms against itself. And there were things we could do to help her.
We discovered that Ava is a Highly Sensitive Child, likely prone to anxiety. However, I knew that this was a symptom and there was a root to what was going on inside of her.
I started digging in, reading everything I could about Hashimoto’s and autoimmune diseases.
I retraced our steps from the time Ava was born via C-section 4.5 weeks prematurely and was formula-fed. Her early days were marked by colic and she received a diagnosis of milk protein allergy. At 12 months old, she “outgrew” it.
I just knew that somehow all of these things mattered and were related, despite being told by doctors that they were not. I began connecting the dots. Soon I found evidence that, indeed, these were all pieces of the big puzzle. In fact, her fraternal twin sister also tested positive for Hashimoto’s, having shared, of course, all of those same early experiences and diagnoses. Ava was suffering from intestinal permeability. Likely her intestines never matured properly in the first year of life because of her circumstances, and her intestinal flora was not in balance. When this happens to any of us, problems start to arise and often lead to autoimmune disease.
Three doctors, a psychotherapist, and a 9-month gut healing plan and Ava was finally out of the woods. The plan consisted of daily supplementation with bone broth, collagen, probiotics, epsom salt soaks and vitamin D3. Additionally, we removed gluten, most processed foods and dairy from her diet. Within 30 days we saw a noticeable difference. Within 3 months she was calmer, had more confidence and was sleeping well through the night again. Within 6 months my daughter was finally starting to feel and act like her old self again. By the time she entered 2nd grade, Ava began to thrive.
I can’t imagine the suffering my poor little girl would still be enduring had I listened to the doctors and educators at any point along the way. Things turned around only when they started listening to me.
My own personal health journey prepared me to parent my sick child and bring her back to health. It also empowered me to help friends and family manage autoimmune, anxiety and inflammatory disorders, and ultimately, inspired me to become a Certified Holistic Health Coach.
Compassion, sensitivity, intuition and tenacity drive me to go after answers — for myself, on behalf of my daughter, and in service of every one of my clients.
If any of this sounds familiar or if you’re inspired to become the educated advocate in your family, please reach out. If you’re interested in partnering with me to bring a new healthier lifestyle into your daily routine, let’s get started.