Nauropathic medicine requires a commitment on the part of the patient. Over the years I have found it helpful for patients to understand the journey I have been on. I know what chronic pain feels like. I know what total down-and-out fatigue feels like. I know what it feels like to experience your body failing you. I get it. And I understand how difficult it can be to justify the time and expense involved in naturopathic medicine. Please read my personal story below: I understand where you are, in some sense. And I know how overwhelming it can be. But here I stand on the other side of it and I can honestly say that every step of the way and every sacrifice was worth it. Every single one. Thanks for reading.
At age 19, I was suffering from chronic hairline fractures in the metatarsals of my feet. As a lifelong athlete, this was a problem! Furthermore, I was 35 lbs overweight, but I barely ate. Most of the day I felt as if my stomach was full even if I had only eaten black beans and broccoli. I woke up for my 8am chemistry class and returned home for naps by 10am. I was depressed, anxious, exhausted, and confused. I felt horrible during the years when I should have been able to stay up late and enjoy University life!
Fast forward to my first appointment with a Naturopathic doctor: Dr. L said he thought I was having an issue with gluten and advised I eliminate it fully for 10 days, and then return to him for further evaluation and testing. After 48 hours I felt the first layer of haze lifting, my energy starting to return, and the sense of fullness settling down. By the end of the 10 days I was a new convert to the gluten-free diet. Bear in mind, this was 1999 and eating a gluten-free diet essentially meant not eating bread or pasta and converting fully to a whole foods diet. But it was so worth it! The discovery of celiac disease was the first major feat in the recovery of my own health. I lost the 35 lbs (and then some), my bones healed, my energy returned, and my mood evened out over the next year.
I started to train as a Naturopathic doctor in 2003. By the time I got into my second year, where we literally had a test every single day, we were in class for 5-10 hours/ day, and keeping up with the basic academic requirements was enough to wear anyone down. However by my second year, I was missing 1-2 days of class every month because I was curled up in pain, usually on my bathroom floor. I had menstrual cramps so severe that I also experienced cold sweats, nausea, and vomiting. My uterus was not cramping; my entire body was cramping. The pain was a 20 on a scale of 1-10. Endometriosis was the suspected diagnosis.
I refused hormones and surgery at age 25. I refused to "induce artificial menopause" at that age. I refused to jeopardize my chances of having children, even though people told me the disease itself jeopardizes fertility. "There must be another way," I promised myself. I sought the help of Dr. Dick Thom, an instructor and academic and clinical advisor in my program. Having no idea how he worked, but having heard miracle stories about his work, I signed up to follow his guidance.
The journey was slow with Dr. Thom, but I knew deep in my bones that we were truly getting to the root cause of my ailments. On top of probable endometriosis, I also had all the clinical signs of IBS. In spite of my 5 years off of gluten at that point, my body still had a lot of healing to do. So I dutifullysaw Dr. Thom or one of his interns every month for years and left every appointment with a new round of Unda numbers (a type of remedy entirely new to me at the time). Slowly I saw an improvement. Slowly, rather than chewing 3 Advil every 4 hours to hasten its entry into my blood stream, or considering a trip to the hospital for pain management, I began to take 2 Advil at the start of my period and and could trust that this would keep the nausea and vomiting away. Slowly, my bowel movements normalized. Slowly, slowly, the deepest layers were being unearthed. I will never forget the menstrual cycle I had where I felt, for the first time ever, actual uterine cramps, rather than pain throughout my entire body. "This is a uterine cramp?!" I thought to myself. "Well, I can handle this any day after what I have been through."
By 2010 I had periods that merely required me to rest because of low energy, and I required maybe 2 Advil on the very first day for cramping. Along the way, I had uncovered some deep and very interesting stories of my early life that I had all but forgotten. During the healing process I learned more about my body and the texture of my life up until that point than I ever thought possible. I gained a profound appreciation for the body's tremendous capacity to store memories and emotions in our tissues, but also for it's remarkable capacity to heal. In 2010, I conceived my son naturally, during the first month of trying. By 2012 I no longer had ANY menstrual cramps. To this day, my cycles are regular and easy, and most importantly, pain free.
I am not only deeply grateful to Naturopathic medicine for my own healing process, but I am so honored to be able to facilitate this process for other people who desire deep, transformative medicine.