Around the age of 10, I started experiencing health issues that disrupted my every day life—enough for my parents to take me to the doctor. I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, given medication, and was told I would “outgrow” it.
SPOILER ALERT: I didn’t.
In fact, the medication made it worse. My dosage was overestimated and sent my hyperthyroidism into hypothyroidism and ultimately the negative side effects I experienced from it outweighed the reason I went to the doctor in the first place. Because of this, my parents decided to take me off the medication and held on to the hope this was a phase that would soon pass. What started as severe insomnia worsened over the years into other symptoms like fibrocystic breasts, abnormal cells in my cervix that were high risk to become cancerous, chronic fatigue, depression with bouts of anxiety, hot flashes, and crippling abdominal pains that often left me crying in fetal position. I quickly became a medical mystery and was handed off from specialist to specialist when all my blood work came back normal. I was repeatedly told things like,
“You’re the healthiest person I’ve ever met!”
“Are you sure this isn’t all in your head?”
“Surely you’re exaggerating things or are just crazy.”
“You must be lazy!”
and my personal favorite, “You’re probably just pregnant.” (I was a virgin.)
When some of the top professionals in the healthcare industry couldn’t find a diagnosis, words like endometriosis, premature menopause, and even cancer were thrown around and I was sent on my way. Crazy, right? Well, it wasn’t all in my head, I wasn’t exaggerating the symptoms or pain, and I definitely wasn’t pregnant, so I began looking for answers on my own. All my personal research and intuition led me back to functional medicine. Functional medicine, by definition, is a systems biology–based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease. For me, that started with addressing my nutrition and truly learning what it meant to refuel my body with healthy food.
I adopted an anti inflammatory lifestyle (no industrial seed oils, gluten, dairy, caffeine, alcohol, or refined sugars) and within 2 weeks, my symptoms were almost non-existent…after 6 weeks? No trace of them at all.
But could it really be that simple? The short answer is yes. The concept of healing your body and reversing disease is simple. The lifestyle changes that come with it are where the difficulties lie.
Turns out for years I was able to eat my symptoms into submission, but the root cause of what was causing those symptoms in the first place still lingered. So two babies and several life altering traumas later, those symptoms began to rear their ugly heads. This time it presented itself as uncontrollable anger one moment then depression the next. I was consumed by a constant state of overwhelm and it often felt like I was drowning. So I decided to get help, but this time I skipped traditional, Western medicine and hired a functional medicine doctor instead.
He asked me questions about my past traumas dating back to 7 years of age when my dad got diagnosed with cancer. He was genuinely interested in my lifestyle habits and for the first time as a patient I felt loved and listened to. Right after my consultation he was able to confirm a diagnosis that 20 years of medical professionals and specialists couldn’t find: HPA Axis Dysfunction, a condition caused by long term stress and trauma.
I can’t even begin to describe the relief and sense of empowerment I felt to have a name to something that had been controlling my life for so many years. For me, identifying the condition didn’t give it power, it lessened it. Knowing what had caused all my symptoms dating back to 10 years old confirmed that it was real, I wasn’t crazy, and there were things I could improve on to reverse it for good. Refueling my body with healthy food by maintaining an anti inflammatory lifestyle was a pivotal part in my journey, but now my healing includes a lot more stress management techniques.
I would love to end this by saying how my hormone panel came back normal, and I reversed the effects of my diagnosis naturally, but that is not yet my reality. What I will say is that if nothing else, this entire process has just confirmed my belief that there is always a cure within God’s creation. The pain of losing my father and my own personal health scares led me to pursue my higher calling. I believe everyone has a purpose, but you cannot reach your greatest potential if you are unwell. And because of everything I’ve gone through, I can confidently say that a huge part of my purpose is to help you find healing so you can discover yours.