My passion for health and wellness began when my mother was diagnosed with stage III brain cancer. After a life saving operation, she began daily radiation treatments. I accompanied her every day to her radiation treatments, and it was in the radiation waiting room where I had the incredible opportunity to listen to many people's health stories. Sitting in the same room every day with the same people enables you to develop relationships like no other. I was overwhelmed by the fact that the majority of these people who were undergoing treatment to regain their health were actually experiencing declines in their health. So many times I heard this medication lead to this side effect which caused the need for this other medication that then caused this side effect--what a vicious cycle. The number of doctors’ visits, hospital stays, prescriptions, and medical bills seemed to increase instead of decrease over time for my new friends and even for my mother. Symptoms of chronic illnesses were hardly being managed, much less treated or cured, and I knew that there had to be a different path to achieving optimal health.
I became a Registered Nurse in 2013 with the goal of becoming an Intensive Care Unit nurse, helping to heal the sickest of the sick. I thought that if I could understand how to help heal ICU patients, I could, without a doubt, help to heal my own family. However, the more I learned, the more I began to understand that what caused the need for the acute hospital stays and the increased need for medication was actually poor every day management of chronic illnesses. Very rarely did I hear a physician ask a patient about lifestyle habits or give nutritional advice. Everything revolved solely around prescription medication and invasive treatment plans to suppress whatever symptom a patient presented with. No one seemed to really be addressing the root cause of the symptom. Upon this realization, my nursing career goals shifted. I knew I wanted to make a lasting impact on my family’s health and the health of my community before they fell victim to interventions only a hospital could provide. I fell in love with preventative care, getting to the root of the problem and educating others on just how vital everyday life choices are to overall health.
As my eyes opened to the world of preventative health care, I became aware of how much
the general population settles for a doctor’s inconclusive results, and statements such as there’s nothing we can do but manage symptoms with this drug.
I heard these words not only during follow up appointments for my mother’s cancer treatments, but also after endoscopies and GI appointments for my husband, cardiac follow ups with my grandfather, and after endocrine appointments for a couple of my family members suffering from autoimmune disorders. My family’s chronic illness management was getting a band-aid where it really needed a full-blown debridement. NO ONE was looking to the root cause of what was causing these disease processes. The doctors were prescribing medications, but never asking questions related to diet, exercise, environment, stressors, you know, the daily grind stuff that effects our every day life! I couldn’t help but think that there had to be a different way.
I started diving into the world of Functional Medicine. Influential health care professionals such as Dr. Mark Hyman, Dr. Dhru Purohit, and Dr. Stephen Cabral began to show me that
Everything that happens in our bodies MUST have a root cause, and if we are able to deduce the root cause, replace what is deficient and remove the toxins, we can bring balance back to the body and restore health.
These doctors preach food as medicine, and advocate for a healthy lifestyle with emphasis on things like daily movement and a strong sense of community. I was in love. This was the answer to chronic disease management and education I had been searching for. I decided to become a Certified Integrative Health Practitioner, under the direction of Dr. Stephen Cabral, in order to educate not only my family, but also my community that attaining sustainable health is possible, and we do not have to settle for a pill for every ill approach to healthcare if we really want to dig deeper and get to the root cause of what ails us.
I found that as an Integrative Health Practitioner I am able to combine my nursing background in acute medicine with my passion for preventative health care in order to educate my community how to make the daily decisions that will optimize their health and wellness goals.
I want to be very clear that I am NOT treating, diagnosing, or curing disease. That is the clearly defined role of a medical doctor. I offer preventative education that goes above the standard of care. I am able to offer bio-individualized protocols based on the most up to date research, and if clients choose, individualized lab testing.
For me and my family, Functional Medicine and Integrative health offers a renewed sense of hope. Dr. Steve Gundry (heart surgeon and best selling author) quotes:
Our genes only play a 6 percent into our fate. 94 percent is actually controlled by lifestyle factors; the environment, the food we eat, and our microbiome.
How encouraging is it that there is another answer besides suffering the same health histories as our parents, grandparents, etc? By addressing our lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, stress (emotional, physical and mental), we regain so much of the control over our health. I won’t ever say that the journey to regaining and maintaining health will be easy—it very well may be the toughest thing you ever do. But take heart, because you are TOUGHER.
I can’t think of a better way to end this message than with a quote I read recently.
“Learn about your health, do not wait for a disease to teach you.”
Prevention is everything.
Do not underestimate the power of your daily decisions- your life depends on them.
NOW BRING ON THE HEALING!