I’ve always thought of myself as a healthy person, but it wasn’t until I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in December 2011 that I started learning what really works to make me well. A diagnosis can do harm while trying to do good because it can permanently change your life’s trajectory. The mental strain of the prospect of a life plagued by disability and loss is a difficult stress to bounce back from. That stress seems to cause an initial dip into even worse health. The sooner you bounce back from the diagnosis, the sooner you can start the healing. Believing you will heal, and that you will take necessary steps to get better, has to happen pretty soon, but it takes support. It’s easy to let the constant focus on the problem and visits to the doctor become ingrained in your identity. There must be a way to break the cycle. Realizing your power over your condition is the way.
I decided to be a health coach because I believe I can be a source of support for others who are dealing with similar circumstances. I am a health partner for people who wish to achieve greater wellness through mindful living and nutrition. I was spending hours researching and learning as much as I could on my own, but when I began school with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition my dedication turned into a purpose-driven, intentional path toward building a business around coaching.
My Health Philosophy
I began conventional treatment using intramuscular injections of immune-modulating Avonex, and also entered a study for a new drug that originated from organ transplant treatment. I did very well on those drugs, to the extent that my MS symptoms and MRI scans were very uneventful. My doctors were amazed and pleased, but I wasn’t happy upsetting my body’s natural processes. I felt disturbed by the night sweats and severe, body-shaking chills. When I began researching how to maintain good health using holistic, lifestyle methods I came across a great wealth of information online. Similar to a real doctor, Dr. Google was there to scare the living daylights out of me from the time I was experiencing my first symptoms and learning I might have MS, but Dr. Google also allowed me to take a firm hold on my own mind and body. Positive expectations of positive outcomes are necessary and underestimated. Expectations for positive outcomes must be accompanied by some pointed effort.
I am not MS. I was just diagnosed. I don’t think I’m exceptional. I’m like you. I believe I’ll continue to beat it. I believe in you, too. If I’ve defied the odds then it’s because I don’t accept the status quo. Give yourself a better chance. Take hold. Don’t let your suffering or disease define you.
Denial is dangerous, though. Accept the problem and then accept your power over your very own body. Your body was made to heal itself, so find ways to trigger the healing and rebalancing inherent to your biology.
It takes willpower and a good plan to change your diet. That’s what has changed my life. I was unaware of the level of willpower I possessed and would develop in subsequent years. Nutrition led me to the wider world of self-experimentation where I learned about functional medicine and naturally healing.
Mother Nature creates beautiful, nourishing foods and compounds that can provide everything you need with proper preparation. There are some harmful items found in nature, but it’s up to each individual to determine what works best for them. Everyone can develop a lifestyle based on their own research and development phase. Pick sustainable, healthy behaviors from the R&D that will give you a long, healthy, joyful life. As you build up your repertoire and things become second nature you can come back to this over time to continuously strengthen your foundation.
It feels good to have a goal and watch your progress, especially when it’s so successful that you take back an aspect of your life that you lost. Sometimes you didn’t even know you missed it, but sometimes it’s the ability to walk to the end of your driveway.
It is easy to get bogged down in knowledge gathering, but “wisdom is the ability to follow your own advice.” I don’t know who said that, but I’ve been caught hundreds of times with my head swimming in research with no way to catch a breath, or make sense of how to apply it to myself. It’s cool to discover, but it’s even cooler to watch that discovery in action as you reach your goals.
“The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.” Move.
People who inspire me:
Dr. Terry Wahls - When I saw her Ted Talk it completely shifted my thinking about Multiple Sclerosis. She has created a scientifically-based and tested protocol for MS that allowed her to leave her wheelchair behind and take back her active lifestyle. Read about it online or check out her book. Thanks to Dr. Wahls, many people know that healing and growing stronger is possible.
Tim Ferriss - His podcast interviews, books and blog posts have enriched my life and inspired me to become a better learner, and to seek out knowledge in general.
Rhonda Patrick - Her podcast and website have fueled so much of my recent brain-expansion in health. Her posts and interviews are densely packed with information straight from scientific literature and first-hand experience. She's raising money, and I believe she's more than earned a donation.