Throughout my life I have had several health challenges and have spent years and years trying different types of diets and lifestyle changes to heal my body. When I was 6 years old I had developed migraines. I saw top Neurologists in NYC, had an MRI, did elimination diets and was ultimately told, its genetic, here is some medication. Thus I began my love affair with Tylenol, but then broke up with him when it was…… “no longer working.” Then me and Advil began a new relationship and we stuck together for many, many years, unknowingly creating significant damage to my gut. In late elementary, early middle school years I had developed seasonal allergies. Those seasonal allergies became so severe I would chronically end up on antibiotics for repeated sinus infections; the antibiotics continued an assault on my gut. However, in 2003, at the age of 24, I had a severe health crisis that changed the course of my life. During my first pregnancy, at 16 weeks, I started developing severe GI symptoms and was ultimately diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, an autoimmune disorder. I had not known at the time but ultimately found out that there were several people in my family that also had ulcerative colitis. My pregnancy continued and I was placed on several medications, including steroids. Despite interventions, I became sicker and sicker, developing gestational diabetes and ultimately was diagnosed with Preeclampsia. The Preeclampsia was so severe that all my organs were shutting down and my first born son was delivered at 32 weeks of pregnancy. I saw the best of the best doctors at the Brigham and Women’s hospital in Boston where I was living at the time, as well as the best of the best in NYC when I moved back home. Everyone told me the same thing, “diet and stress do not cause or have any effect on this disease. It runs in your family and you need to accept that you will be on medication for the rest of your life.” To be honest, I was just happy to be alive and thankful that after my son was delivered, the medication did begin to work. To this day I thank G-d that modern medicine was so advanced, that not only was my life saved, the life of my newborn son was saved as he required emergency surgery 5 days after he was born due to necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a complication that can happen in preemies.
For many, many years I continued to get up every morning take my medicine and just accepted that I had a chronic autoimmune disorder and required medication. Whenever I stopped taking the medicine my symptoms of ulcerative colitis came back. In addition, I continued to suffer from allergies and migraines. The migraines progressed to a point where I had visual disturbances (an aura) including blind spots and flashing lights to warn me that a severe “stay in bed for 24 hours headache” was coming in 20 minutes.
Fast forward to today, 14 years after reading many books, experimenting with food, working with a health coach and completely transforming my diet and my lifestyle, I no longer have symptoms of ulcerative colitis as long as I stick to my self-care plan. In addition, I was shocked to find that I no longer have seasonal allergies and have significantly less migraines. Everyone is an individual and there is no question that the exact changes that I made to transform my health, are not the same changes that would transform another’s health. A year from now, 5 years from now etc. my self-care plan may be different as we are all always changing, aging and learning new things as we travel on our own individual health journeys.
I have always worked in the health and wellness field as a physical therapist with a special focus on treating people with stroke, Parkinson’s disease, MS and all gait and balance disorders. In addition, I am also board certified in Tai Chi for Health. Several months ago, I sustained a significant injury while working with a patient. This made me question where I would be with my physical health years from now if I continued on this career path. This was not the first time I sustained an injury while with a patient. Working as a physical therapist in the neurological population can take its toll on the body. For years, I had been wanting to find a way to share the successes I experienced in transforming my health and this recent injury was my “ah ha moment”. I made a life changing decision to go back to school to further educate myself in the health and wellness field. As a result, my goal is to combine my background as a physical therapist and Tai Chi with my new education in the field of health and wellness and begin a new journey. Stay tuned for further updates in this area as I will be picking up health coaching clients in the near future.
Thank you all so much for reading my very first blog! I hope by putting myself out there I can inspire, educate and create self-reflection in others toward achieving greater health. Health and wellness is NOT an impossible goal, but the impossible CANNOT be done without having our health. The power is within YOU! By putting yourself first and making small health changes in your own life, you will have the opportunity to transform yourself, and with G-ds help, you can then fully give of yourself to those around you.
Now Go and Love You,