A Personal Story by Heather Hanson:
I’ve been there and know the struggle. I know how frustrating it can be to go from doctor to doctor and still not have any answers on how you are going to feel better. Fatigue, headaches, indigestion, constipation, gas, bloating, hormone imbalance, heavy periods, brain fog, anxiousness, racing heart, joint pain, weight gain, auto-immunity… the list goes on and on.
After having a hysterectomy in my mid 20’s, due to endometriosis and a dermoid cyst, which was supposed to “fix” my symptoms, I continued to have abdominal pain, constipation, bloating, etc. The only symptom I no longer had was heavy periods.
I had more and more appointments with more testing; Colonoscopies, endoscopies, barium enemas, x-rays, ultrasounds… you get the picture. It took my stubborn, redheaded nature to finally tell myself that I needed to be the one to find answers.
One thing was for certain, I knew that I felt better if I did not eat. I struggled with binge eating and restrictive eating from the age of 15-mid 30’s. Sometimes I would go 2-3 days without food, then eat a whole cake, pan of cinnamon rolls, six donuts, a bag of chips, you name it, I shoved it in. More than likely I downed those foods with a 2-liter bottle of Diet Coke.
I started a food elimination diet, as a last resort. I started feeling better, but cheated often, just to make sure that I still reacted to wheat, dairy, and corn. As luck would have it, every time I had dairy, my tongue, throat, and abdomen would swell; wheat would cause me to feel irritable, anxious, and brain foggy for days, plus, I would get a migraine and joint pain. On top of that I would get constipated. One time I even went 14 days without a bowel movement. Talk about being miserable. I eventually decided that cheating was not worth the sacrifice and became committed to myself. After all,
If I was not kind and loving to myself, who would be?
Giving myself permission to get well, was a game changer for my career. I have been in the medical field for over 22 years, 13 of those years were spent in a traditional setting in internal medicine and family practice. There, I did thousands of patient screenings, EKG’s, x-rays, drew blood, ran lab tests, assisted with procedures, performed other nursing duties, medical billing, answered phone, called in prescriptions, you get the idea.
Time and time again, I would hear young people tell me how tired they were and watch person after person get on blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes medications. Year after year, another medication would be added. This concept was difficult to fathom. I thought to myself, “this pharmaceutical parade needs to stop. I am going to teach people how to eat and exercise”.
So, that is what I did. I worked with the same doctor for over nine years, when I started a 12-week Cardiometabolic Therapeutic Lifestyle program, focusing on blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol and weight. Of course, he was skeptical at first, but embraced the program when he began decreasing or taking people off meds with in the first few weeks.
This change in my career gave new meaning to nurturing and health care. I was ecstatic! I was helping facilitate change, empowering people to be in charge or their health and I got to celebrate their victories with them.
As I worked with more and people, I realized that some people had amazing results, yet others still struggled. This required some deep investigation, where I took more and more classes dealing with digestion, absorption, probiotics, adrenals and hormone balance.
It has taken me years to embrace this, and be able to share my struggles. Here are couple of photos of me as a teenager, when I had undiagnosed auto-immune thyroid. Ignore the 80’s hair, please!
See the thyroid goiter? This first picture was taken before my doctor told me that I was overweight and just needed to stop eating so much.
This second picture was taken about 3-4 months, after I started my journey with restrictive and binge eating.
Today, I am in my mid 40’s and feel more vibrant than I ever. I am in control and it feels amazing!
You do not need to struggle with fatigue, digestive problems, poor sleep, pain, hormone imbalance or auto-immunity.