In my mid 30’s, I gained 35 pounds — 30 of them in one month...
I had a suspicion it was a thyroid problem, but when I went to my doctor and suggested it, he shrugged it off with, ‘Don't be silly, thyroid problems are for women. It's December... how many parties did you go to? And how many cookies and bottles of wine did you drink?’
To prove me wrong, he went ahead and tested me. A few days later he called and said, ‘You made a liar out of me, you've got hypothyroidism... you need to go on thyroid medication.’
I did, but it didn’t help me feel any better. The following year I was fatigued, depressed, struggling to lose weight and coping with all the symptoms of hypothyroidism.
The pill he gave me didn’t make me feel better, so I kept looking for the solution.
I tried therapy and counseling. I tried a personal trainer, diet fads, etc. I’d have moderate success in bits and pieces, but couldn’t get it working all together at any one time to produce overall health.
During this period when I was trying to get on top of my health, my parents were aging and the only ‘answer’ to their issues the medical doctors could provide were pharmaceuticals, which seemed to add quantity of life, but definitely not quality That was still diminishing.
All of this factored into my decision to leave a successful corporate career and pursue a new path as a Naturopathic Physician. So at the age of 45, I entered medical school at the National University of Health Sciences in Chicago, one of only 5 accredited schools in U.S. and Canada. (More on this later but it’s never too late to follow a dream - at ANY age — I know, I did it!)
And just in time...
My mother, who’d been a surgical nurse and was very western medicine oriented, didn’t question the fact that she was given one drug after another to keep her going until about a year before she died when she came to me and said,
'I need your help'
Her ankles measured 9 ½ inches around and she didn't have the strength to walk. Although she’d never smoked, she had COPD — an outcome of pneumonia when she was 3. She was on oxygen and had trouble breathing, with a lot of phlegm in her lungs.
I was still in school so I referred her to a Naturopathic colleague of mine. Within 2 weeks her ankles shrank 2 1/2 inches — just by changing her diet (getting her more protein and eliminating citrus fruits and other inflammation/phlegm-generating foods like dairy and grains).
Along with changing her diet, her Naturopathic Physician added a couple of supplements and some water therapies. For the first time, she was able to return to the pool for her arthritis exercises… and at the age of 87 reduced her 10 medications a day to 4 in a matter of 6 months.
Unfortunately, my mother died just 20 days before I graduated from medical school. She had fallen, broken her hip, and then succumbed to pulmonary failure. Mortality is not good for that type of injury given her age.
From a health perspective, the last year of her life had been the best year of her life in a very long time. She felt really good, was happy and couldn’t believe how well she was doing from making some very simple dietary changes. I miss my mother, but I know she lived well and I know that Naturopathic medicine decreased her suffering... and isn’t that the point?
I saw firsthand that, even at the age of 87, people respond to the Naturopathic approach to health. Naturopathic medicine has been practiced for hundreds of years because it works. Sometimes people think it’s not “scientific” but in fact, science is proving more and more everyday that naturopathic medicine not only ‘works’, it leads to improved outcomes and a higher quality of life.
How long we live is important,
but what’s most important is the quality of our lives while we’re here.
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