The story of how I came to be a Functional Medicine Health Coach
I am a Health Coach, Massage Therapist, Artist, Caregiver, Mentor, Lover of Nature, and Entrepreneur, yet I also require mentoring and advice in my journey to better health. “If you keep looking, eventually you will find something,” my father told me. This is true for just about anything in life. This is my story.
It's hard to say where the journey began, but all my experiences have been woven into the fabric of my story. It may have started at age 5 when my mother started teaching me about natural food vs fast food, or when I was 13 and my father experienced his first heart attack, or following my mother’s diagnosis of fibromyalgia when I was 17.
The chain of events that was the final push for me to realize I needed support, and others do too, began on June 28, 2015 when I awoke unable to see out of my right eye. This was definitely not normal.
My eye doctor tested again and again before distraughtly telling me, “You have Optic Neuritis… This is often one of the first signs of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). You need to see an Ophthalmologist.”
Immediately the pit in my stomach consumed me. My mind raced to all that I knew about MS. I complied and went to the Ophthalmologist on July 3rd. After numerous nauseating eye tests I found my overwhelmed, claustrophobic self in an MRI for the first time. I was scared to death. The MRI would show if I had lesions in my brain and spinal cord. This journey continued for years of testing, seeing specialty doctors, bloodwork, MRIs, spinal tap and eye exams. I was exhausted. I had to confront that I had been in denial of my chronic pain and fatigue for years leading up to the diagnosis of Optic Neuritis. I was feeling totally alone and terrified not knowing what to think or how to prepare for my future. After two years of this with little more information than on day one, It was clear to me I needed something more.
I felt that I had lost authority over myself and my body. I was too tired to fight or make hard decisions. I had lost trust in my ability to make the right decisions for what I needed and when. It did not help that I became close friends with the infamous Dr. Google (earning a fictional PhD…NOT recommended!).
The creativity of my fearful artist mind was impressive. The stories I dreamed up were as real as a Hollywood movie replaying over and over in my mind. I remember being thankful knowing if I became blind, I could still do massage and I was working on painting hundreds of circles to memorize the movement. What about all the other things? I realized I may have to make friends with this creativity to imagine what the sky looks like.
I knew in my bones that I did not believe that the only prescription for healing was Western medicine. I believe there are many pathways to healing with alternative medicine, massage, diet, Eastern medicine, Western medicine, mindset, emotional healing, spiritual healing and much more. This belief was challenged at the deepest levels during this time. Yet, I was driven by experience and my career as a massage therapist to walk the talk. I felt grateful to have many tools to help myself. Tools that I had then shared with my clients for over 15 years witnessing their results from alternative medicine and lifestyle changes.
Little by little I made changes to sleep better, improve diet, increase hydration, get bodywork, connect spiritually, face my feelings and increase exercise. All these changes were helping but I needed more support. I was on the search for answers. After two years, continuous tests only led to additional questions.
Thus began my search for support. I knew the moment I heard Cynthia’s story I was not alone anymore. My support had arrived! It still brings me tears thinking about that time. To remember the incredible resilience I needed to get through each day. Wondering if the pain in my legs meant I would not be walking my beloved dog soon, or if my eyesight would come back or go away completely. How long could I fight for my health? How would I continue to run my business? I was so tired!
I initially decided to work with my health coach Cynthia for 6 months. My time spent with her coaching was hard, so hard sometimes. She never doubted my ability to heal, supported and believed in me every step of the way. She listened for my inner wisdom to find solutions and answers to reflect back to me. I learned how to trust myself, becoming the authority over my life and body again. I no longer have chronic pain and fatigue. I still consult a heath coach. My eyesight mostly returned.
In 2019 after 20 years of coaching my massage clients through their wellness challenges, I decided to attend the Functional Medicine Health Coaching Academy. I completed this certification in March of 2021. During the program and presently I have continued coaching my massage clients and offering online coaching session packages.
I am deeply grateful to continue supporting others as they embark upon their healing journeys!