Opportunity was knocking.
Weeks earlier, my Executive Director, Tom, had caught me at the annual Leadership Summit and asked me if I would be interested in advancement within the non-profit retirement company that we both worked at. He wanted to sign me up for two leadership programs, one organized by our corporate office and one by an outside agency.
My kids were marching through grade school needing me a little less with each passing day and my husband’s job was secure. Visions of education and promotion danced through my imagination. The timing was impeccable and not wanting to miss the opportunity, with my family’s support, I leaped at the chance.
It felt like a leap. You know that feeling, when the ground gives way beneath you and your stomach bottoms out, heart pounding inside your chest, exhilarated in one breath and terrified in the next. I was exhilarated because someone had noticed little old me. Someone saw leadership potential in me. Someone wanted to invest in my growth. But I was also terrified because I knew the truth.
The truth was that I was still me.
After my first child was born in 1997, I was hospitalized with an E-Coli infection. It would have killed me if it weren’t for the bags and bags of antibiotics that were drip fed into my blood stream over the course of the following week. Shortly after that health crisis, the anxiety set in.
It started out slowly, with sudden onsets of mild panic that centered on our new baby’s well-being. I was constantly fatigued and went back to the doctor on numerous occasions trying to figure out what was wrong but was constantly told that I was just a new mom and that new moms are exhausted. I came to my own conclusion that something with my hormones must be out of whack, chalked it up to the new parent thing and tried to carry on with life.
When our little one turned 6 months old, we were shocked to find out that we were expecting again, this time with twins. They were born at 32 weeks in July of 1998. My weight crashed as I spent the first 9 months of their life breastfeeding and needless to say, my body was more or less drained.
Over the following years, my health began to decline further. I had Epstein Barr, Endometriosis, Hemorrhoids, Weight Gain, Depression, Anxiety, Ulcerative Colitis, Chronic Fatigue and symptoms of Fibromyalgia.
Numerous trips to the doctors had resulted in key-hole surgeries to cauterize the Endometriosis, Depo-Provera shots, numerous colonoscopies, Asacol, and an Anti-Depressant. I was frequently in so much pain that I couldn’t move with any fluidity. I was characterized by a weariness that ate at my bones and crippled my ability to exercise.
Despite all of those things, I decided that since the kids were in school and we needed a financial boost, I should seek out gainful employment. I took on a little job at a landscaping company. It was just a few hours a week doing admin, but just that little bit of extra responsibility was enough to send my anxiety haywire.
Less than four months later, after a trip to the hospital for a panic attack, I handed in my notice, packed my belongings into a box and headed home.
I was completely defeated and dejected.
Over the course of the following months, the anxiety escalated. I couldn’t work out without triggering it, I couldn’t sleep at night, and my days were plagued with multiple attacks that often lasted over an hour. And while I wasn’t suicidal, I spent most of my day in bed, curled up in a ball, praying that it would end, waiting for the sweet relief of sleep, and begging God to restore peace to my ragged mind.
A short while later, maybe only a week, my mum flew in from the UK to help out with our littles and to help her little. She stayed for a couple of weeks, got the house back in order, fed, cleaned, and loved on us. She asked the elders of our church to come and pray over me, which they did and while she was still staying with us, a friend introduced me to Naturopathic Medicine. A Naturopath is a doctor that specializes in using herbs and plants to treat disease.
Under the skillful expertise of my new Naturopath, I gradually began to see progress in my healing. Within 6 months I was more stable and began to wean off my Xanax. Within a year, I was standing on my own two feet again, a little wobbly, but standing none-the-less.
Over the following years, I continued to progress. I took a new part-time administrative job at a tiny Presbyterian church and took full advantage of the free counsel offered by the pastor. He even let me take a nap half way through my short shift so I could make it through the day. I ended up having a total hysterectomy and appendectomy for my 30th birthday after getting cysts the size of oranges in both of my ovaries. At the end of 2007, he moved on and I took a role at the retirement community in January 2008 as a receptionist and then as part of the marketing team.
I still had a lot of the problems that I had before, but the anxiety was more under control. I knew how to manage it. I would sometimes go and spend time sitting in the car waiting for an anxiety attack to pass so I could go back to work. I would bottle up experiences and deal with them later, and I would go home, often spent, and fall asleep reading to the kids.
I developed pain in my right side that went undiagnosed for a while but didn’t go away. I figured that this was normal. I saw the people on the TV commercials. They all had a list of ailments a mile long and a medicine offered for everything. I understood the biblical principle that this world is a broken place and people get sick. This was obviously my lot in life, after all, I’d prayed about it and it hadn’t been removed.
And so I found myself at my “new” job, being offered the opportunity for growth, and not really sure if I had the resources inside me to make it happen. I filled out my caliper test and met with our CFO who was running the leadership program. He had studied my results in detail and commented that he had never seen anyone who had such a low energy score in his entire career.
I wasn’t surprised. I knew the truth. I was exhausted.
In another one of those catalyst moments, at a women’s bible study, we were all sitting around chatting one night about food. I made a comment that as a community we eat everywhere we go. Every church event had food associated with it. We eat when we are happy, we eat when we are sad, we eat when we celebrate and when we commiserate. Every holiday is centered around a meal. She got one of those funny looks across her face that made me realize that I was probably alone in my thinking. I remember sitting there, confronted for the first time with the idea that I was really over-indulging and feeling quite alone.
That week, she recommended the book “Made To Crave” by Lysa Terkeurst, in which Lisa explores our false dependency on food to meet our emotional needs. I didn’t even finish the first chapter before I hit my knees and confessed to God that I was using food as an emotional crutch instead of leaning on him for all my needs.
Two weeks later, in my pursuit to find answers for my right side hurting, I turned to my Chiropractor to see if he had any insight. Numerous scans and ultrasounds had found nothing, (although later it turned out to be my gallbladder) so he suggested that I might try going gluten free, wondering if the issue might be digestive. My grandfather and his brother are both Celiac, so it dawned on me that there might be something to his suggestion.
It took me two weeks to decide to do it. I was overwhelmed by how much food I might have to cut out and I didn’t know anything about food replacement.
It took one week of gluten free living for my life to radically change. The panic attacks which happened most nights virtually disappeared. The hemorrhoids stopped bleeding. The IBS symptoms began to clear up. The brain fog began to clear. The pain began to ease. My energy started to recover and within a short while, a checkup at the gastro office showed that the Ulcerative Colitis was in remission.
I began to wonder. If I was seeing this many results with one food type, what else was causing me issues? I talked to my Naturopath who suggested a delayed food allergy panel.
A delayed food allergy is one where your body decides that the food is a foreign object and mounts an immune response. The response can show up within a couple of hours and last for up to twenty-eight days. The tests came back. I had delayed food allergies to dairy, eggs, beef, and Brazil nuts. I took those foods out and gained a little more ground in the arena of health and well-being. The rashes and eczema that I had had since I was a little girl disappeared. I rarely had headaches anymore, and I noticed that winters were coming and going without me getting sick.
Meanwhile, as I progressed through my year with the Leadership Academy I was beginning to blossom and grow. I had momentous moments of revelation as I tried new things and didn’t die in the process. We were skillfully guided by Syl LeDuc of Sage Leaders who helped us get to the heart of who we were.
As one of our exercises, we worked through the book True North by Bill George. Have you ever read something that profoundly impacted your life, changing the course of your career, and starting a fire in your belly that just won’t quit? This was that book for me. I devoured it. Each page fueled a newfound realization that this health journey I had been through was not for just for me. It is not just my story. It is for every other person out there who is trying to lead, but is failing to meet their potential; tripped up and hampered by everyday ailments that they feel are normal, or their lot in life.
I began a support group at the retirement community where I worked called FANGS: Food Allergy and Nutrition Group for Seniors. I would teach them something from my basic knowledge and understanding, and we supported one another as we navigated some of their ailments.
Fire is a funny thing, though, and without fuel, it fails to burn.
My knowledge was limited and I needed to understand this topic better if I was going to lead people to wellness.
The corporate leadership program asked that we find an educational program that we could take on. So after much searching and deliberation, I picked the Energetic Health Institute’s Certificate in Holistic Nutrition. The kids were now into high school, but I was still working full-time so I needed a program that wouldn’t overwhelm or exhaust me. It fit the bill.
Three years later I am on the cusp of graduation.
It’s taken me longer than most, but I wanted to maintain balance in my life, so there were times that I moved more slowly than others through the material. Just remember – the turtle won the race!
If you hold my picture from 2010 up next to my picture from 2014, it’s hard to believe that it’s the same person.
I’m considerably lighter. I’m free from most of my ailments, having figured out what the root cause was: delayed food allergies, reactive hypoglycemia, and leaky gut. I am off all pharmaceuticals except Zyrtec. I use stress management techniques to instill calm in my day. I use supplements to help manage my well-being. I have avoided gallbladder surgery. But most importantly –
I HAVE ENERGY!
As a family, in the last three years, we taught three kids to drive, we graduated three teenagers, attended church, worked 90 hours a week between us, (the kids have worked an additional 70), and sent me to school. Are we ready for a break? Absolutely! But none of it would have been possible without mastering and applying the techniques that I learned at the Energetic Healing Institute.
And now I’m equipped to take you on the same journey.
Opportunity is knocking.
Are you on the edge? Are you ready to leap? Are you ready to take your life to a new level? Are you ready to restore your health? Are you ready to reduce your stress? Are you ready to rediscover your joy?
Then what are you waiting for?
Contact us today to find out how you can rewrite your story!