Tag: asthma

My Journey Through Health and Healing: Finding a Naturopath

In spite of the new challenges my allergies and the onset of asthma (that I covered last week) presented, summer came, the tests and doctors visits slowed down and it felt good to get outside. I was still having a lot of GI problems and was growing frustrated with the symptomatic treatment I was receiving from doctors. No one seemed to think that my sudden outbreak of symptoms and issues were related. To me it was a no-brainer. I was being treated and medicated for each symptom on its own but what about the cause??

Per the recommendation of the allergist, I bought a HEPA air filter and some allergen proof mattress and pillow covers that spring… I was doing my best to cover my bases!

Summer time meant warm weather up here in the Mid-West and ICE CREAM. Like ice cream every day. At least, multiple times a week. I might have an ice cream addiction, okay? Well, it’s not that bad but it’s a personal favorite and finding little enjoyment in much else during that period, I indulged in it.

Around this time, my mother told me about a conversation she had had with a doctor who had recently partnered with a business that my parents co-founded, called Bonvera. She had told him about myself and everything I had been dealing with. He had started a revolutionary clinic in Wichita, Kansas called Prairie Health and Wellness that offers a monthly membership and takes a multi-faceted approach to health and healing. It was too bad I didn’t live closer to his clinic, he had told my mom, there were a number of tests he would have run right off the bat that a typical doctor most likely wouldn’t.

One of the doctors in his practice is a licensed naturopath, something I hadn’t even considered up until that point. After deciding that moving to Kansas for a short time was just not practical, I decided to look into the possibility of seeing a naturopath. I honestly didn’t know much about them and had certainly never been to one before; I didn’t even know if there were any remotely close to where I live.

Lo and behold a quick Google search revealed not one but many naturopath’s in the state of Ohio and several with-in a 90 mile radius. I quickly educated myself as I narrowed down the results to one who I hoped would be a good fit for my situation. Not all self proclaimed naturopath’s have actually had formal training, I learned. There are only 7 accredited naturopathic medical programs in the United States and only 22 states currently recognize licensed naturopaths. I noticed that Ohio was not yet one of them.

What does this mean? It simply means that even if your ND (Naturopathic Doctor) has had formal training (which was important to me), if they are practicing in a state that does not recognize that training, they have some restrictions placed on them. They are more than qualified to practice medicine but they will not be able to accept insurance and they will also not be able to write prescriptions, if they are needed. They can however, still order a large variety of home based test kits depending on what your situation calls for. Overall, I’ve come to think of it more along the lines of a consultation.

Initially, I was a little taken back by the fact that my visits would all be out of pocket and the initial consultation costs were around $250. But honestly, what did I have to lose? I had already spent thousands of dollars (after insurance) on doctors and tests that, in the long run, did not seem to be doing anything for me. I felt like if anything, I was being pushed along on a sideways trajectory. I wanted up and out. I wanted answers. I wanted to feel better again, and if this had any potential to be the answer to my prayers, I wasn’t going to let another couple hundred dollars deter me. What is your health, sanity and quality of life worth? I couldn’t put a price on it.

I began taking more notice of the foods I was eating. I felt like crap already and didn’t need junk food to drag me down further. I found comfort and enjoyment in healthy, nourishing snacks that not only tasted good but didn’t make my body feel worse.

I finally settled on Dr. Maleigha Watts of Toledo Naturopathic. Dr. Watts has a very professional website that clearly states her views on medicine and her belief in the use of both traditional and non traditional methods depending on what the situation calls for. She isn’t against using medications if they are necessary. She also offers free 20 minute phone consultations with potential patients so you can both get a feel and assess if you’d be a good fit for each other. Many of the other naturopath’s that I looked into offered something similar. After my initial consultation with Dr. Watts I had no doubt.

I scheduled my first appointment with Dr. Watts and was amazed when she spent an hour and a half during my first visit asking various questions about my physical and mental health history, dating back to childhood. She is usually scheduled out a month or more in advance for the initial consultations – it’s worth the wait, trust me. The best part? She listened. I mean truly, sincerely listened to what I had to say and to the concerns that I had. Dr. Watts has a beautiful way of making you feel at ease and in every appointment since the first, I walk away feeling refreshed and reinvigorated with a renewed sense of direction and understanding. I left that very first appointment on a high, both physically and emotionally, already so very grateful for what would become a game changer on my journey towards health and healing.

To learn more about naturopathic medicine and find a licensed naturopath near you, click here.

Next week: My Journey Through Health and Healing: Candida Overgrowth

My Journey Through Health and Healing: Allergies and Asthma

Last week I talked about the beginning stages of my bout with mono. I don’t remember much from the weeks following my ER visit, except that I rested a lot and wasn’t well enough to make my evening trip to the barn to see my horse, who lives a mile down the road, for over 6 weeks. The fact that I was living with the family I work for was an incredible blessing. Most of my work being conducted on the computer, I was able to still keep up with some of the business I had been doing before I got sick. In reality though, even sitting at my desk was tiring and more time was spent on the office couch with my laptop nearby, resting and working in increments. A kind and understanding employer is not a luxury everyone has and I’m grateful, as I would have almost certainly lost my job in any other circumstance.

After weeks on the couch, a “new do” and some makeup goes a long way towards making one feel normal… on the outside at least. (February 2017)

Time passed in a haze. I remember going back to the barn at some point and trying to spend some time with my horse. As I groomed him and his hair landed on my arms I broke out in a rash. This was unexpected. I knew I was allergic to many animals and it had gotten a bit worse with age, but in the past, so long as I kept the hair out of my eyes and away from my face, I was okay. I have always loved animals and have surrounded myself with them throughout my life. Cats, dogs, horses, rabbits, even a painted turtle. This reaction was different, I had never broken out upon simple contact before. My body was clearly on high alert.

Around this time (spring 2017) I realized I was having a hard time breathing. Actually, when I started to think about it, I had started having shortness of breath and other asthma like symptoms not long after my ER visit in January. I had asthma as a very young child but it had not been an issue for years. To compound things, I was still dealing with fatigue and my heart palpitations were persisting as were the GI symptoms that had been plaguing me since Christmas time. It was frightening. I was experiencing so many unfamiliar sensations and I was overwhelmed.

By this time I had had a number of doctors visits. One visit in particular set my blood on fire. The doctor was an older gentleman who has been practicing in the small town I live for a very long time. He took a brief look at the litany of tests I had undergone as I tried to explain all of the things I had already been through that year as well as the symptoms I was still experiencing, including the palpitations. I had written down some questions and as I started on the first one, he took the paper out of my hand, scanning it quickly while muttering under his breath.

Hypochondriac,” he mumbled as he looked up at me. Embarrassed, I tried to explain my situation again, this time flustered and without my paper of questions he continued to withhold. He proceeded to flip over the paper I had brought along and drew out a diagram to illustrate what anxiety looked like and offered his opinion on why “most girls my age had it”. By this time I was mortified. If you’d have experienced what I have in the past few months you’d have anxiety too, I thought. I didn’t want pills and I realized very quickly that nothing I could say or do would help him understand.

I went home upset and not long after, received a $230 bill from his office, which I unsuccessfully tried my best to reverse. I resigned myself to the fact that this one would have to be chalked up to experience… after I wrote a very honest review on Google! My point in telling this story: There is always a way to make your voice heard. Keep searching.

Along with those doctors visits came a slew of tests. I think I had 5 complete blood work ups total during 2017 for various reasons. I underwent a chest x-ray, an EKG and an echo-cardiogram which showed some unexplained irregular heart beats and minor regurgitation in one of my heart valves, an apparently common occurrence but not the cause of the palpitations I was experiencing. I also had allergy testing done which confirmed I was highly allergic to many of the things I love most (animals and outdoors). Around this time I underwent a pulmonary functioning test which showed some obstruction in my lungs. I was initially put on a low dose of Flovent which was soon raised to a higher dosage of 110mcg 2 puffs twice a day along with 10mg of Singular and an Allegra, both taken once a day. It was costing me $250 a month for the inhalers alone. (I did finally learn of a way to order them through a Canadian pharmacy, which brought the price down significantly to a more reasonable $65/month.)

With new diagnoses and new medications I entered summer, feeling unsettled and anxious despite all of the “answers” I had been give.

Next week: My Journey Through Health and Healing: Finding a Naturopath