It’s my pleasure to now be working with Great Plains as a consultant and I look forward to speaking with some of you in the future. I am particularly excited about the fact that I will also be contributing blog posts on a regular basis. My journey to becoming an N.D. started many years ago as I struggled with my own health issues.
Year after year of waking with random oozing scrapes on my arms and legs due to intense pruritus and the persistent urge to scratch even in my sleep, I always wondered what made me so prone to having dry itchy skin. Since infancy I have been plagued with eczema. Constantly fighting the urge to scratch my arms, legs, face, and hands has always been a part of my life journey. Even through my 13-year career as a national and world class trampolinist and power tumbler, I struggled to find relief. I had an unfortunate incident of almost falling off the trampoline due to a random intense itching sensation coming over me in the middle of my routine due to the clinginess of my leotard. With topical and internal medications, I found relief, but with their removal I found a swift return of my pruritic rash that came back with a vengeance, as if it was angry with me for trying to get rid of it. Never would I have thought or imagined this would be the key to me finding my path to integrative medicine.
After I graduated Suma Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and a minor in Biology, I was on my way to the northeast for naturopathic medical school. I set sail to learn the ways of natural healing. For four years I immersed myself into learning the principles of integrative medicine, how the body works, and how we as practitioners can support the body’s natural function. My focus in school was in pediatric and dermatologic medicine. It is my mission to support parents in the health of their children and for everyone to feel good in the skin they’re in. My path also led to me to my own healing and understanding of what was happening in my own body. Nutrition and botanical medicine are where my passion lies, and in understanding how they work with our bodies. Biochemistry was one of my favorite courses as it allowed me to really see all the chemical reactions happening in our bodies every day and how they can be supported in disease states.
Once I graduated with a doctorate in naturopathic medicine and a master’s in human nutrition, life took me to Florida. There I had the opportunity to conduct nutrition counseling with collegiate and professional football and baseball players. It was my pleasure to support these fine athletes in their journey to and in the world of professional sports. Supporting them through their training by assisting them and educating them on good nutrition for their professional goals was an experience I’d never thought I’d have, and one I’m grateful to have been a part of. Through this experience I was able to get my Florida state nutrition license. With this I accepted a government position in the WIC department as a senior public health nutritionist. This experience was so much different from the type of counseling and client demographic I was used to. I had to be very creative in how I gave my recommendations. At WIC, people of a lower socioeconomic class are deemed eligible for monthly food benefits for pregnant, post-partum, and breastfeeding women. Also, infants and children age 1-5 were screened for being under/overweight and for anemia. Bi-yearly, and sometimes more depending on their health concerns, nutritional counseling was provided to be sure this population has proper nutrition for growth. Nutrition, breastfeeding support, and overall health were the focus. There I got to see children every day with conditions ranging from chronic ear infections and ADHD to autism and cancer. I had the privilege of helping families support themselves, their unborn babies, and their children nutritionally. This helped me further realize that all people, even those that cannot afford it, need functional medicine and the support of the functional medicine community.
Later I moved back to my hometown of Kansas City, MO to be close to family again. Not long after I had the privilege of joining the great team at The Great Plains Laboratory. Working with Dr. Shaw was only something I had imagined in school while I learned about and utilized the Organic Acids Test (OAT), which is part of the curriculum at University of Bridgeport. I found it to be one of my most valuable assets as a Naturopathic Doctor, especially with cases that traditional labs just couldn’t explain. Working with the GPL team as a consultant is so rewarding. “Doctor as teacher” is one of the naturopathic tenants I hold in the highest regard as our patients/clients and our fellow practitioners deserve to understand what we are looking at and what’s happening in the body.
IT GIVES ME GREAT JOY TO BE ABLE TO BE A GUIDE IN THE WORLD OF BIOCHEMISTRY AS IT RELATES TO PATIENT HEALTH AND WELL-BEING.
I look forward to connecting with all of you with my future blog posts and I hope the topics I write about are of interest and benefit to you as practitioners and patients. Until next time, stay safe and healthy.