I grew up on a small, family-owned dairy farm in North Dakota where I learned the value of God, family and hard work. However, I remember always having a stomach ache. I remember making sure there was a bucket or container near my bed in case I threw up. I do not ever remember feeling well. I had many colds and flus throughout my growing years. Nothing was “wrong” but I didn’t feel “right.”
As a young adult, I continued to have digestive problems, as well as, hormonal issues... PMS and difficult menstrual cycles. I really thought that how I felt was normal. As my symptoms continued to worsen, and as I would go to my annual physical, I would have tests done in hopes of figuring out why I just did not feel well. All testing showed no health issues. My test results were always within normal ranges. I was not obese, but could lose a 10 or 15 pounds. My blood pressure and cholesterol levels were all good. Even my thyroid was considered normal. Yet, no one could explain my stomach issues, nor my very difficult monthly cycles. I was told there was nothing they could do. I started thinking it was all in my head.
After my second son, I had 4 miscarriages, three of which were in my second trimester. Testing was done, but all markers were normal. I was told their hearts just stopped. Something was wrong, but again, I was told everything was normal. I continued to struggle through the days with brain fog, no energy, stomach aches unless I was eating something, and a feeling like I was aging fast.
In my early 40s, I started feeling something stuck in my throat. After trying many different things I went to a specialist to have a scope completed. Finally, in 2011 I was diagnosed with GERD (severe, and consistent heartburn) and Barrett's Esophagus (a condition where intestinal lining replaces the lining in the esophagus--great chances of esophageal cancer). Via a letter from the physician, I was told to go on proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) for the rest of my life and continue to monitor. That was it.
What? Wait, I have to be on drugs forever? My esophagus was damaged? Since my Dad had died due to colon cancer, and the colon and esophagus are all part of the same system, it just didn't seem like a good answer. I felt overwhelmed and didn't know where to begin. I did go on PPIs.
Over the course of the last 5+ years I spent my spare time learning, reading books, listening to podcasts, and trying out different changes to improve my health. There were many starts and stops to the diet, exercise and lifestyle changes I made. Many times because of conflicting information, but also because of lack of motivation and support, I found it difficult to incorporate these lifestyle changes in my life. However, over the course of years, I was able to implement many habits that have drastically changed my life.
I am now longer on PPIs, although that took time to wean myself off. I no longer have Barrett's Esophagus (a disease that once you have conventional medicine states it can NOT be reverse), and my acid reflux or heartburn is at an occasional minimum. My hormonal issues have improved dramatically. I feel better than I can ever remember feeling in my life. I have more energy and have a vibrant life.
I am still on a journey to continue to improve my health because health and wellness is not a destination it is journey, but I am thrilled with my new-found energy, my improving health, and my outlook on life.
All of this stoked a fire within…no one should have to wade through the conflicting information on health, figure out what is best for their bodies, and create the habits needed to live a healthy life on their own. As I reflected on my passions I knew I wanted to do something to help others. One of my skills is working with and counseling people that I learned as a Human Resources professional. Health and Wellness Coaching is a perfect merging of my passion and my skill.
I studied health coaching at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition where I learned over 100 different dietary theories, as well as, learned about the effects of Primary Food, such as exercise, stress, career, relationships and spirituality have on our health. I also studied at Functional Diagnostic Nutrition where I learned to help you run functional lab work on hormones, digestion, immune functions, detoxification systems, energy systems, and pathogens to help you target protocols just for you.