I had always considered myself pretty healthy in spite of a few extra pounds. My early 20’s found me in a stressful job along with chronic stomach pain and a combination of painful and embarrassing skin problems like rosacea, cystic acne and eczema on my face and body. I was desperate to look and feel better. After a couple years and several rounds of steroid creams, acid-blocking drugs and antibiotics, my skin improved a little, but my stomach pain was worse than ever. With each new prescription, I was hopeful that my problems would be solved. Unfortunately, I continued to feel worse and became increasingly hopeless about my future.
On the recommendation of a family member, I decided to see a doctor that practiced integrative medicine. The experience was very eye-opening, and I learned that my stomach problems were directly linked with my skin issues. Changing my diet and following the recommendations were one of the most difficult things I had ever done, but the results were worth it! After struggling with chronic stomach pain and skin problems for years, I regained my health and was medication-free.
My desire to help others combined with my newfound passion for building health inspired me to pursue a degree as a naturopathic doctor.
The stress of naturopathic medical school combined with gluten sneaking its way back into my diet led to a major setback. I suffered from a return of the skin rash and stomach pain, plus fatigue, hormone imbalance, weight gain and poor exercise endurance (despite having exercised regularly for years). I was eventually diagnosed with a complex thyroid issue that was suspected to be autoimmune. Genetic testing also revealed several problematic variants including the common MTHFR SNP. And looking back, I now know that toxic mold exposure throughout my childhood and teen years was a key factor in my health struggles.
Through my setback, I was further inspired to understand the complexities of chronic health issues and autoimmunity. Each person is dealing with their own unique set of genetic susceptibilities combined with diet, lifestyle, environmental exposures, and traumas. Health is a continuum and I view each health challenge as an opportunity to grow and learn so that I can connect with others and help them.
Class Valedictorian, Summa Cum Laude
National University of Health Sciences | Lombard, Illinois
Northern Illinois University | DeKalb, Illinois
Naturopathic Doctor (ND) | Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies
Colorado Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CoAND)