M Y S T O R Y
I began my career in the mid 1990’s in visual communications. I worked in the marketing departments of two global investment banking firms, as well as design and advertising agencies. I worked insane hours and for a season, barely saw my family. I also coached and mentored women on the side and volunteered my time in various church music departments on weekends.
After a while, I started to long for more…. That “more” led to me leaving my formal career and back in school for music ministry. I then spent the next decade in ministry full time – and I loved it. Risky move, but totally worth it. I was more alive than ever, and deeply satisfied.
In mid 2014, things in my life were going pretty darn awesome: Happily married, enjoying being a Mom to the cutest little boy in the world, continuing with coaching and mentoring women, working with people I adored while on staff at a church and my band was getting ready to launch a huge project we had been working on for over a year and a half.
I had just signed contracts for the launch of the project and SSSSSURPRISE !!!! I found out I was pregnant.
Didn’t see that one coming. You see, my husband and I struggled with years of infertility and both my pregnancies were “au natural” and literal miracles. According to “science,” it was a real slim chance for us otherwise. My husband and I were beyond excited to have another child together.
I remember the day I had to tell our band manager that I was expecting a baby and being asked in return if I wanted to put the project launch on hold so I could just take it easy. After all, I was in rehearsals 8 hours a day, several days out of the week, had a job at the church AND I had a 2-year-old to chase after and another on the way. I looked at her and said, “No way. What am I suppose to do for the next 9 months of my life? Sit and do nothing?!!!!” (Photo to the right: Night #2 of our launch weekend in Wynwood, FL. I was 18 weeks pregnant, nauseas as heck and somehow managing not to puke on stage mid set.)
Needless to say, from start to finish, the pregnancy was hard. Morning sickness was more like “shoot me I just want to die unless you give me a Zofran NOW” sickness. Two weeks before our launch, I found out that the baby may have Down Syndrome. I was beside myself with this news and just barely making it through the days until three days before the launch we found out it was a false alarm (Phew. Exhale deeply and breathe again). But, THAT only lasted so long because three days after the launch I find out I had Placenta Previa and just about everything fun in my life was no longer allowed for fear of either myself or my baby being at risk of death….and if you think it couldn't get any worse, it did. Seven family members passed away over the remaining few months. Yeah, it was a pretty crappy (more like $%&**!) season.
Due to the Placenta Previa, my doctor ordered a scheduled C-Section, but, my son decided he was going to come into this world on his own terms. Thankfully, the doctor ordered one last ultrasounds and MIRACLE, my placenta moved and I was able to labor naturally (“with drugs, please!”).
All was going well until the nurses start to yell out that I was Group B Strep positive.
Next thing I know I'm hearing, “sorry, this is gonna hurt,” and Ms Nursey-Poo begins squeezing a bag of Penicillin into my IV line (burned like a %&*#!!!)…. Well, my son decided he was going to come out and wasn’t going to wait for Penicillin bag #2 to get into my veins. “Oh well. She has to start pushing”
said the doctor.
The next few days were a blur because of the lack of sleep. My new baby was being watched like a hawk for any signs of Group B Strep being passed to him via the birth canal. Thankfully, he was fine. But I wasn’t…. Nobody knew that Group B Strep was brewing inside of my kidneys and about to make me go septic.
Four days after coming home from the hospital, I woke up feeling like I was going to die. My body was shaking uncontrollably, I was dry heaving and my fever was 104.5. I was rushed into the ER, and every possible test was done on me; blood, urine, ultrasounds, etc. I was delirious and had zero control over my bowels. I didn’t even care. At first, they thought I had a breast infection. Then Meningitis. Then they wondered if the epidural needle had broken off in my spine. The truth is, nobody knew what the hell was wrong with me and I was scared to death. I was in pain, not able to be with my newborn son and I was desperate to know what was wrong.
I was – thankfully – admitted to the hospital after being in the ER for over 8 hours and quarantined from my children. I hadn’t eaten in 48 hours and could barely keep my eyes open from the delirium. I was put on a broad spectrum IV antibiotic and blood was being drawn every few hours to grow cultures. It wasn’t until day 3 that my blood work began showing that the Group B Strep bacteria had infected my kidneys and then my entire blood supply. They then switched my IV antibiotic to something even stronger. That’s when I started to feel better (Photo to the left: That's me feeling better because I could actually get out of bed to go to the bathroom by myself) .....buuuuut.... my stool began to get loose.
The Infectious Disease doctor assigned to me warned me of something called “C. Difficile” and told me to keep an eye on my stool. The nurse told me to continue to take my probiotics but I could barely eat let alone even think to keep up with supplements. 5 days later, I went home with a nurse, an IV line and another antibiotic cocktail.
All the while, I keep hearing the words “watch your stool” ringing in my ears…..
My last day of IV antibiotics comes and goes and then, IT happened. Just 4 short days after having my IV line removed, I wake up feeling like death…. Again. My fever was 104. My body was shaking uncontrollably and I had 20 bouts of watery diarrhea in one hour. Yes, we had to keep count.
My husband called the Infectious Disease doctor and between the time I woke up and the time the nurse put me on the scale in his office, I had lost 6lbs. They put an IV line in my arm so they could administer fluids and I begged the doctor not send me back to the hospital. Had I been a fraction worse, I would have been sent right back. He told me that I had to be quarantined again from my children – esp. my newborn, because I had C. Difficile and it was extremely contagious. THAT’S how sick I was.
(photo above: My nurse and I on the last day of IV antibiotics for GBS. I was finally allowed to hold my newborn son.)
I was once again put on medication. This time, the strongest medication that could possibly be given to kill the C. Difficile bacteria, and for double the amount of time. I was terrified. I had read the stories and heard about what C. Difficile could do, how many people do not survive it and if you did, how long the recovery can be…. And the possible re-occurrences if one ever took an antibiotic again, even years later.
I didn’t want to poop and vomit myself to death, nor be unable to be with my children anymore.
The months that followed were horrible. I went from being a competitive athlete my entire life to suddenly bed and couch ridden. I am already petite, and I lost every bit of pregnancy weight that I had wanted
to keep (poor me).
My goal for about a month was to get up off the couch, walk outside to my mailbox and back to the couch. I would be down for the count the rest of the day.
My sweet mother-in-love was also admitted to the hospital the same day that I was, and sadly, was diagnosed with lung cancer. She only lived a few weeks after that. Once my diarrhea stopped, both her Infectious Disease doctor and mine allowed me to fly to VA to say goodbye. I could be with her for one hour, as long as I wore a mask and had no physical contact at all. That was the last time I saw her. (Photo to the right: Me on the plane after getting clearance to fly. I felt like poop. But at least my mohawk looked good, LOL!)
The next year was filled with the after-effects of having had two horrible, back-to-back infections that we thought were going to kill me. I was emotionally and physically shot.
I began suffering from horrible anxiety and also, as a result of having all of my Serotonin in my gut wiped out from the C. Difficile, had horrible nausea and panic attacks EVERY time I went to have a bowel movement. The gut-brain connection was frizzed out and not working.
I had constant, terrible bloating, nausea that would come out of nowhere and just about everything I ate made me feel so sick that I was afraid to leave the house. I was popping my leftover morning sickness medication like candy so I could suffer a little bit less and take care of my children. I avoided going to any social situation where food was involved (which is like, EVERYTHING). I never knew when I would be “hit” and didn’t want to cause a scene or be the center of unwanted attention for such an embarrassing and humiliating thing. Needless to say, I thought that I was going crazy. And I suffered in silence.
Aside from my husband, nobody REALLY knew the emotional toll I was going through from all of this. I felt like I had PTSD and I felt very, very alone. I limited the amount of people I spoke with because I knew how emotionally draining I had become and I didn’t want to burden anyone else with my “stuff.” I saw what it did when that happened, and I couldn’t take one more loss in my life.
I had to quit my job at the church because I just didn’t have the energy for it, and my band had to put our tour on hold. All that mattered was me getting healthy and getting my life back.
I began to get counseling to deal with the grief of all the deaths in my family during my pregnancy,
the “death” of the dreams I had to lay down in order to get well again and all of the emotional issues that came up in this season.
It’s amazing how things get put into perspective when you get sick.
I remember laying in the hospital bed, crying my heart out, asking God, “WHY!? How are You going to turn this for my good?”
(Little did I know that a few years later, I would see how it DID turn out for my good – but most importantly, for the good of so many others!!!)
I honestly do not think I would have made it through that season without my faith, family and my closest, closest of friends. I won’t lie, I am normally the most optimistic, joyful, happy person you’ve ever met…. But with this? I became a shadow of the person I had known. And there were days I just didn’t want to wake up and live another day. I had turned from a very confident, secure woman, into the exact opposite. I really didn’t know who I was anymore.
In the back of my head, I was also thinking a lot about how I was told that I could no longer take antibiotics because it could cause the C.Difficile to return and if my kids got sick with say, strep throat, what would be an easy fix for them could be catastrophic for me. As a parent, I knew I needed to start thinking several steps ahead of the game because of my situation. I knew that SOMETHING needed to be done. I couldn’t live in constant fear of getting sick or my kids getting sick. Life happens. So, what did I do? I began to search out holistic practitioners and means of getting – and staying – well.
It turns out that the bloating, stomach pain and constant nausea were due to food allergies. I had three different practitioners test me and all came back with the same result: “Get gluten out of your diet immediately. It’s making you sick.” 72 hours after eliminating gluten from my diet, the bloat that made me look pregnant was gone, the stomach pain disappeared and the nausea went away. I suddenly was able to start venturing out of my house again like a normal person. I felt my life coming back. I found out from a Functional Medicine doctor that sometimes we have underlying issues lying dormant in our system… and all it takes is one really bad illness to occur to spark it to life. That is what happened to me.
I then began working with other holistic practitioners to bring my body back into balance. Sure enough, my body responded beautifully.
It wasn’t an overnight thing, but over time,
I began to see ME again!
I also began using Certified Therapeutic Grade (doTERRA) essential oils on my kids and husband to reduce illness and/or to help support their bodies healing faster when they did come down with a bug. I also used them on myself to help aide in healing my body and reduce anxiety. And guess what? It worked.
All of these things worked so well that just about everyone and their entire extended families would call me any time someone was sick to find out what they could do to treat themselves or their kids, naturally. So, between essential oils and all of the other tricks I had learned along the way, I was dispensing guidance like a kid popping candy in her mouth when her Momma wasn’t looking!
Then the day came when I decided that I wanted to go back to work. But I wanted to do something that would make an even greater impact EVERY DAY and not just on weekends. Something that would allow me to continue coaching and would use all the skills I had learned so far on my journey.
And after the hell I went through, I wanted to help other women go-getters to be – and stay – well. Physically, emotionally and spiritually.
That’s when I found out about Integrative Health Coaching, and the rest is history. I went back to school (AGAIN) – TWO SCHOOLS this time– (one for Integrative Health Coaching, and one for Essential Oil Coaching) – and now have the honor of walking the journey with women who are sick and tired of being sick and tired. Women who are ready to make a change and take their lives back from the unpredictable and unwanted anxiety and overwhelm minions that have become squatters on the property of their health, emotions and life.
I help women who are shattering the glass ceiling but feel like they are being shattered in the process.
Women who have it allllllll together on the outside, but on the inside? They feel like the walking dead. Women who are struggling with some of the very giants that I have learned how to defeat - and still on occasion, have to defeat again. It’s about progress, not perfection.
If this sounds like you, don’t hesitate for a moment reach out to me and ask for a 15-minute chat.
I’d love to breathe some life into you, and if we decide to work together, I’ll show you how to kick the squatters out and bring balance back to the hustle for good.