Crohn’s Disease is a chronic autoimmune disorder classified by frequent diarrhea, debilitating stomach pains and malnutrition. Symptoms are caused by the inflammation of the inner and outer walls of the intestines. Crohn’s can strike anyone, at any time in their life, stopping it’s victims in their tracks and derailing their life. It knows no social or demographic bias, it’s symptoms can afflict anyone without warning. I know the course this disease takes all too well, as this is exactly what happened to me a mere few months before my wedding day in 2005. This disease has radically and completely changed my life. I experienced the lowest of lows during my walk with Crohn’s but eventually these experiences were the driving force that propelled me to achieve the greatest of human blessings, health. Similarly to the blades of a propellor, Crohn’s Disease has the same overwhelming power to do catastrophic damage. In the same respect, the propellor blades are the same driving force that astonishingly puts a plane in the air. Crohn’s was and still is, my propellor in relation to achieving wellness.
I spent an agonizingly long time crippled by the effects of Crohn’s. I can all too vividly remember writing good bye letters to my family as I truly thought that I was going to die. My weight dropped to under 90 pounds and I was chronically weak and fatigued. Afflicted by unbearable stomach pains, malnutrition got the best of me. I didn’t think my body would be able to sustain life without nutrition much longer. After a long journey my doctors finally found a medication that eventually got me to a state of being functional. Daily pain, diarrhea and fatigue still plagued my life. With medication, the symptoms came in waves instead of the perpetual agony that previously afflicted me. In addition to the vicious course my disease was taking on my body I was taken off my feet by paralyzing effects of anxiety. Not just the type of anxiety that makes you worry or stress every day. I’m talking about the type of anxiety that paralyzes your life after going through a traumatic experience. After going through long term intense pain and life altering humiliating symptoms, it changed me to the very core of my being. My thoughts were consumed with an endless number of “what if” scenarios. My thoughts were like wrecking balls inside my mind. Contrary to many people’s anxiety and negative thought patterns that have no identifiable cause, mine was rooted in true probability. What if, I am on my way to work and urgently need a bathroom? What if, while I am at work I need to quickly excuse myself, will I get fired? What are people going to think of my endless trips to the bathroom? Am I going to be a cancer victim one day? The list of fears was seemingly infinite. One of my fears became a reality when I lost my job because my symptoms kept me from preforming efficiently. I felt completely defeated. Leaving the safety of my home became a true phobia, I couldn’t bear the thought of being trapped in a public with a true Crohn’s flare. Anxiety has so many physiological symptoms, and guess which one plagued me the worst? That’s right, diarrhea! The one fearful symptom that caused my anxiety was the immediate symptom of my anxiety. Add to that episodes of passing out during panic attacks, and you’ll understand that my health was a disaster on multiple levels. At the time I was taking over 25 pills per day to suppress inflammation and my immune system, although I never achieved clinical remission. I felt completely hopeless and doomed to have my cabinets look like the stock room of a pharmacy forever. When I lost my job I didn’t realize how damaging the consequences would prove to be. I discovered what it was like to be categorized as a “pre-existing condition” after having to switch to my husbands insurance policy. My medication cost $1200 per month in out of pocket expenses. My life was at an all time low and my hopes and dreams were crushed under the weight of my disease. As a Christian woman, I have always been shaken about my struggle with anxiety. I felt as if my anxiety was an expression of some sort of sub-conscience lack of trust in God. I knew it wasn’t true but it always brought me to my knees in guilt. I desperately needed to take my life back.
A year later I was finally ready to take the biggest leap of faith I ever had. I decided to naturopathically treat my Crohn’s. I had immersed myself during the first year of diagnosis in studying nutrition, cooking with whole foods, holistic medicine and the importance of nutrient density. I happily announced to my gastroenterologist that I wanted him to continue monitoring my Crohn’s while I tried something new. My doctor advised me, that if I were to refuse medication, he would no longer treat me as a patient. I had no safety net in the medical community. I was terrified of the consequences, however I had a strange sense of peace and trust in my decision. The losses I had encountered the year before nearly killed me. I felt I had nothing more to lose, so I may as well give it to God and trust my instincts. I experienced life changing deteriorating health, crippling anxiety, a devastating miscarriage and massive financial loss. Crohn’s was my rival and I was finally ready for my match! Although I felt small in comparison to my opponent, I reminded myself that even a small boat in the middle of an ocean can make a big wave. I wanted to derive benefit from my illness and achieve wellness from unrefined natural sources. Until that point, Crohn’s and Anxiety defined me. Realizing that sad truth, was the very pinnacle of what propelled me to take back my life. I was done being held captive by my struggles. Paracelsus said, “The art of healing comes from nature…therefore we must start from nature, with an open mind.” Feeling confidently prepared in knowledge, I was ready for that big step. I stopped taking all of my prescription drugs and to my surprise, day after day passed by, and I was feeling healthy and empowered! It wasn’t faultless, but it was imperfect progress. I found a holistic and nutritionally therapeutic way to stop inflammation and start healing my flawed intestines. This was the start of my new life, intensive nutritional therapy was what I used to take my life back! I continued for years to study and analyze nutrition and holistic medicine. I have not always been symptom and anxiety free, but neither one is the definition of my life anymore. For the past 11 years I have been free of conventional medication. Wellness unrefined, has been the one most liberating and rewarding experiences of my life. I founded a nutritional consulting business driven by my passion to help others take hope from dream to a reality. Using nature in its unrefined form to heal my own illness was my vision, so I honored that by naming my business Nature uNreFiNed.
If you or someone you know has been afflicted with illness or simply have an interest in living life naturally, I would be honored to be a part of your journey towards healing. Clean, nutrient dense eating is critically important to restoration. Your body is unique and your healing plan will be too. Each person is a unique individual with specific nutritional requirements. Personal differences in genetic backgrounds, personal tastes and lifestyles, metabolic rates and cell structure all influence your overall health and which foods make you thrive. “For every drug that benefits a patient, there is a natural substance that can achieve the same effect.” ~ Dr. Carl C. Pfeiffer, M.D., Ph.D. I can offer you an alternative Whole-Food regimen, contrary to the processed grain-based Standard American Diet that contributes to many of the rampant health issues that plagues modern society. Integrative treatments cultivated from nature is directly therapeutic to our body. The results from making the necessary nutrition and lifestyle changes prove to have remarkable results. Hippocrates once said, “A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessing, and learn how by his own thought to derive benefit from his illness.” This quote beautifully summarizes the vision of my business, I am passionate about bringing benefit and blessings to my clients. Out of the darkness of my illness I found hope in healing. Let me join you in your journey towards healing.