A :: No single event had more influence on my decision to pursue a career in naturopathic medicine than when a close friend, with the help of her naturopath, discovered the root of years of chronic and acute health issues.
When my friend was a child, she regularly saw specialists due to ‘failure to thrive’ and being underweight. After living most of her life with anemia, diarrhea and fatigue (which she had come to regard as normal), in her 30’s she began having constant stomach pain. In response, her PCP advised her to take an antacid.
Several months later, and still dealing with chronic stomach pain, she discovered a bulge in her lower abdomen. Her chiropractor diagnosed a ruptured rectus abdominus but, as she was not in any pain (and suspecting a hernia), she visited her MD for a second opinion, who agreed with her chiropractor.
A few weeks later, at her annual gynecological exam, a grapefruit-sized fibroid tumor was diagnosed instead. Since my friend had been considering pregnancy, her OBGYN advised her at that time to, “Try and get pregnant and see if it works.” This advice seemed questionable at best. Frustration with the previous year of pain and little help from her doctors led my friend to seek help elsewhere. Someone then recommended a naturopathic doctor, a graduate of the naturopathic university in Portland, Oregon.
On seeing her naturopathic doctor, my friend experienced an immediate sense of relief, as she had feared she was a hypochondriac or merely failing to manage her stress. The doctor affirmed that yes, something was amiss and should be addressed. She informed my friend that total cholesterol in the low 120s could indicate a problem (rather than congratulating her, as her MD had), possibly causing, along with low ferritin levels, her lethargy and depression.
After testing liver function, hormone levels, heavy metals, and for parasites and food allergies, the pieces slowly came together. My friend finally felt she had an ally in health and what was eventually uncovered was severe gluten intolerance. She immediately made her household gluten free. She began gaining weight and feeling better, little by little.
After watching my friend’s healing unfold and witnessing the life-changing influence of her naturopathic doctor’s training, I contacted her doctor for an interview at her office to learn more.
I was inspired by her articulation of the integration of naturopathic modalities, botanical medicine and clinical nutrition. I then moved to Portland, Oregon, so that I could get started on working toward matriculating into and training at NCNM, now NUNM.