From the time I was 13 years old, I've struggled with hormone imbalances, muscle and joint pain, inconsistent weight gain, food cravings, acne, overeating, migraines, and fatigue! I went from doctors to specialists and had all the tests run on a regular basis. All to be told that I was 'normal'. I certainly didn't feel 'normal'. I had no energy, was catching colds all the time, had mood swings that were damaging the relationships with my loved ones, would binge eat, had painful periods equivalent to childbirth (actually), and painful abdominal pain between my periods. The (numerous) doctors I saw all put me on oral contraceptives to manage the symptoms. Each pill played more havoc with my hormones and as I aged, would only satisfy a small number of my debilitating symptoms for a short period of time, before becoming ineffective. So the doctors would change the pill in hopes that a different hormone level would provide me with some relief. They would - temporarily easing some symptoms while amplifying others (acne, depression, weight gain, menstrual flow, etc). Eventually, I stopped mentioning it to doctors, it didn't get me anywhere. The next time that I mentioned it, I was 24.5 years old and thinking about starting a family. By now, my mother had already had an ovarian-hysterectomy due to PCOS, Endometriosis, and Adenomyosis, while my younger sister was being treated for PCOS. When I approached my new family doctor with my concerns, she took me seriously and ran the tests again. My condition had worsened over the years and my ovaries were now filled with cysts and I was told I, too, had PCOS. My doctor anticipated possible fertility issues due to my family history and the extent of damage to my ovaries. However, I was fortunate enough to conceive naturally and carry a healthy pregnancy to term!
After the birth of my daughter, my hormones changed again - and I no longer had high testosterone levels, just an estrogen dominance causing, what was later diagnosed as Endometriosis. I spent 2 years in and out of the hospital because I was anemic every time I'd get my period and in severe pain. I had to anticipate when I would get my period and plan to be home with a fully stocked pantry of medication and hygiene supplies, plus stay close to a hospital. Every month. I couldn't enjoy my life. Ovulation day was so painful that I thought my ovaries were busting open. But still, according to the doctors, I was 'normal'. I truly felt that this would be the rest of my life. Battling the medical field, trying to prove to them that something was wrong, and all while being told to take more medication instead of searching for the root cause and treating it.
By now, I was already a nutritionist and living a plant-based lifestyle. I was already learning how to address my concerns from a place of internal healing and prevention.
The final straw for me was arriving at the hospital in the middle of the night by ambulance and the doctor telling me to go home and take a Tylenol. I stood in the crowded hallway, in my pj's and slippers, feeling totally powerless.
I'd had enough! Enough of the bandaid approaches! I decided that if no one was going to help me, I would do it myself! I would TAKE BACK CONTROL!
As I learned more about our food and how it affects our body, I learned that there are a time and a place for traditional medicine, but that we also have a responsibility to PREVENT illness and disease through our lifestyle choices.
I learned everything I could about hormones and began to make changes in my life. The more changes I made, the better I felt and the fewer symptoms I experienced!
In fact, I'm now symptom-free and my family doctor and specialist are amazed! I run my life and control my hormones, not the other way around! I feel so much relief and can actually enjoy my life, every day of my cycle.
I feel empowered!
My personal health journey has sparked a passion in me to help other women feel the same sense of empowerment (and of course, symptomatic relief)!!