When I was a 19-year-old pre-med sophomore at the College of William and Mary, I was already taking 3 long-term prescription medicines. I had struggled with sleep problems, anxiety, depression, acne, and digestive troubles since middle school and these symptoms still bothered me, in spite of my medications.
After experimenting with some changes to how I ate and adding stress management practices like yoga and meditation, all of my symptoms got much better. I began to notice over time that the more careful I was about taking good care of myself through my diet and lifestyle, the better I felt and the better I looked.
Self-care worked better than my medicines and I began to doubt my plan to become a doctor.
When the time came to apply to medical school, I didn’t have the heart to do it. Deep inside I knew it wasn’t the right path. I graduated college with no job and no plan and I moved to Maui. (Rough, I know!)
While I was living in paradise and working as a waitress, I learned about the field of naturopathic medicine. I was amazed and thrilled to learn that there was a field of medicine focused on treating the whole person, treating the underlying root cause of symptoms, and supporting the body’s innate ability to heal.
It was exactly what I had been looking for.
A year and a half later I moved to Seattle and enrolled in the naturopathic medicine program at Bastyr University. It was a perfect blend of science and spirit in healthcare.
As a student, I didn’t just learn anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and other medical sciences. I learned how to problem-solve and find the root causes of my patients’ health problems. I learned to view my patients holistically and to use a host of different treatment tools to help them including nutrition, lifestyle coaching, herbal medicine, homeopathy, nutritional supplements, and prescription medications.
After graduating in 2008, I started my first practice in Annapolis, Maryland. I couldn’t stay away from school for long though. In 2010 I enrolled in the acupuncture program at Tai Sophia Institute (now called Maryland University of Integrative Health). For two years, I studied Chinese medicine and acupuncture and ran my naturopathic practice part-time. Then my husband was offered a great job in Cambridge, Massachusetts and off we went to New England.
We moved to Newburyport, Massachusetts and I started my second practice in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 2012. All the while I kept studying and learning and practicing.
And then life had some very tough lessons for me. Lessons that have made me a better doctor by deepening my compassion for my patients’ struggles.
I became a new mom and a bereaved mom at the same time when one of my twin daughters was stillborn in 2015. I was a NICU mom as my surviving daughter, born 8 weeks early, was hospitalized for the first 30 days of her life.
I learned how disempowering and scary it can be to be a patient in the conventional healthcare system, and to have a child who is a patient. I learned what it’s like to grieve and to be more vulnerable than I ever wanted to. It was the worst thing that’s ever happened to me, by far, and it’s given me a much deeper appreciation for the struggles and challenges of the patients I serve.
It also set the stage for my own healing crisis.
One night, after putting my infant daughter to bed. I collapsed on the couch feeling so exhausted I didn’t feel that I could do anything else, ever. A deep fatigue had been worsening since I became a mom and it was finally coming to a head. Even though I’ve felt tired and run down during busy or stressful times of life, this fatigue was not like anything I had never experienced before. It didn’t feel normal and I thought something had to be wrong with me.
Not only was I exhausted, but my old digestive symptoms had been creeping back up, my sleep and my mood were terrible, and I couldn’t lose the last 20 pounds of the weight I had gained during my pregnancy. I ran some bloodwork on myself. And guess what? It all came back totally normal, even by functional medicine standards.
If you’ve gone to your doctor with fatigue, weight gain, sleep problems, poor digestion, or anxiety and been told there’s nothing wrong with you, I feel your pain and your frustration.
Fortunately, I knew how to dig deeper, and after some additional testing, I found the reasons for my symptoms.
I decided to create a treatment plan for myself just like I would if I were my own patient. I found an amazing grief counselor and I put myself on a treatment plan of dietary changes, stress management, more sleep, and strategic supplements. Within a few months I’d regained my energy, my mood had evened out, and my digestive symptoms had resolved. I’d also happily lost my last 20 pounds of baby weight.
If you’re not feeling like yourself anymore and you’ve been told there’s nothing wrong with you but you still don’t feel well, I can help.
I’ve been there. And even if I haven’t been in your particular situation, I will always have compassion and listen to you. You know yourself and your body better than anyone. Between your intuition and my clinical experience, we can get you where you want to go.
Schedule a complimentary introductory consult to get started.