“Today I am living my dreams, pursuing my passions and finding joy and adventure in every day. I now have the ability to say “yes” to all that life has to offer. I want to help you achieve the same!”
-Katie, Nutrify for Life Founder
A Journey to Wellness
My journey into the world of natural healing has been a long and bumpy ride which started in college. Picture a typical 20-year old student with mid-terms and boys being my biggest worries, when literally overnight, my care-free life came to a screeching halt.
One evening I was suddenly struck with a crippling spinning sensation (think teacup ride at the amusement park) that had me curled up around the toilet, hoping the world would slow down. This was just the first of these unpredictable episodes.
After months with doctors—and lots of theories by my small-town specialists—I was diagnosed with bi-lateral Meniere’s disease. I was told that these spells could strike at any time, without warning, leaving me debilitated.
Over the next few years I received treatments for Meniere’s that were mostly experimental and included multiple rounds of prednisone and harsh diuretics. I did my best to live with the condition, and the harsh side-effects, but things got worse.
Eventually the doctors recommended two separate surgeries which left me completely deaf in my left ear and with only about half of my hearing in the right. It seemed a fair price to pay to end the crippling effects of my vertigo.
At 23, I felt lucky to have my not-so-typical-anymore life back, and tried to moved forward, taking a lot less for granted. A few years later, in the height of my own roaring 20’s, I began having frequent abdominal pain followed by an acute attack that landed me back in the emergency room.
After many tests, it was revealed that I had gall-stones, a result of a genetic blood disorder called Thalassemia Minor. My surgeon assured me that the gall-bladder wasn’t a “necessary” organ, and I believed him. I mean, he was the doctor for goodness sake! Bim-bam-boom, I was back on the operating table and it was gone in a flash.
By the time I reached 30, I had a few more scars than I had hoped for, but regardless, life was good. I had just gotten married, and as we began to talk of having a family, it was discovered that I had even more troublesome issues—fibroids and endometriosis.
In the years that followed, there seemed to be a very slow and steady decline in my health. I had several uncharacteristic bouts with kidney and lung infections, all of which were severe enough to require anti-biotics. I wasn’t sure what to make of it all so I simply did what any good Irish girl would do…I turned to denial.
I began pulling off a smoke-and-mirrors show by faking “normalcy”. So much so, that I didn’t fully acknowledge what was happening. I knew that I always felt tired, that my body ached, and that I was struggling with insomnia, but according to all of the pharmaceutical ads on TV everyone else had these ailments as well. So who was I to complain?
Then I began having terrible pain – constant flu-like aches mixed with intense pain that ran down my legs. True to form, my denial filter kicked in and simply added these new hardships to the “getting older” file. Granted, I was only 35, not exactly the age to consider myself washed up, but I sure felt as though my best days were behind me.
So, I did what most people in this day and age do, I scheduled an appointment with my favorite doctor…WebMD. He always had a bounty of answers and information, all with phonetic pronunciations of every disease and syndrome that exists. The only problem was, my symptoms were common for everything from depression and anorexia to cancer and multiple sclerosis. Not only was I confused, but I was getting scared. Unfortunately, my pal WebMD wasn’t getting me any closer to the truth.
I decided to go in search of answers, old-school style. And just like that, I was on the doctor-visit circuit, which consumed all of my time. Unfortunately, even after oodles of doctors, there were still no answers.
The level of fear and frustration was unbearable. I would arrive at doctors appointments armed with information, my test results and even lists of possible ailments. I was so determined to find out what was going on, that I would spend hours and hours researching and documenting symptoms, just to prepare for my 15 minute visit.
I’m quite sure my desperation was obvious, but I just wanted help! I must have gone to two dozen appointments in the course of that year. Most of them being carbon copies of the first one—lots of tests, a few experimental meds, but no relief, and no answers!
They would throw around some ideas, mostly pertaining to depression, and it always ended the same way, “Let’s watch and wait”. And as we all waited, I watched myself get sicker by the day, with new symptoms like cysts that formed on my eyeballs (eww), painful sores in my mouth, fevers that would come and go, and yet – still no diagnosis.
I became a life-sized lab rat and a professional pin cushion. I had more needles stuck in me than I could count. The results of these initial tests were inconclusive enough to warrant exploratory surgery, endoscopy, cat scans, MRI’s and even a bone marrow aspiration. The results, once again, led to more questions than answers.
Only now, I was fighting to recover from all of these invasive procedures. For the first time, I honestly wasn’t sure what my life was going to look like in a year, I was terrified. I struggled just to get my body out of bed most days, and the world felt heavy. Even my down comforter felt like it was made of cement. “Fatigue” wasn’t a big enough word, I felt like I was always wearing one of those lead X-ray aprons. My joints and muscles hurt day and night, and my skin hurt too much to even be touched.
There were times when my husband would come home to find me curled up on the kitchen floor, too weak to move another inch. In the mornings, I would often have to crawl to the bathroom because my legs hurt too much to straighten them. It was torture being in so much pain and still having doctors doubt what I was going through.
Finally, I got a referral to a rheumatologist, and after many months and more tests, he diagnosed with me with Lupus and Fibromyalgia (as well as the common tag-along syndromes of Raynaud’s and Sjogrens).
At long last, the arduous years filled with anticipation and frustration were validated with a diagnosis. Having a name to call this “thing” offered a fleeting moment of relief—which was quickly followed by utter sadness and despair. I was heartbroken.
I did the only thing I knew to do, which was to follow every order my doctor prescribed. I took all the pills he gave me and never missed an appointment, yet I wasn’t seeing any progress. In fact, I began having even more symptoms like hives, migraines and such severe brain fog that I actually got lost coming home one day.
I was terrified that even with a diagnosis, this would be my life from now on. The truth was, I couldn’t tell which was which anymore; symptoms and side effects now co-mingled in my body. I needed some clarity, and frankly, it didn’t seem I had much to lose at the time.
It was then that I really began contemplating the idea of natural remedies. First, I decided to eliminate all of my medications. Initially, I was relieved that my original symptoms didn’t get any worse, but I was further inspired when the hives and headaches went away. Now I just had to figure out what to do. I was on my own now, but I was motivated to blaze my own trail back to health.
I began learning as much as I could about natural healing, and the bodies innate ability to heal itself. I spent hours scouring through books and articles and absorbed all the information I came across. It was pretty clear from everything I had read, that my first order of business was to do a complete overhaul of my diet; which can feel like an overwhelming task when you are dealing with chronic pain and fatigue.
So, I did something I had never done before…I gave my signature type-A personality a big fat break!, and just took it slowly, making small sustainable changes. As I began to feel better, I became more inspired to continue improving my diet. That’s when I really began seeing results.
In the beginning, not every day was good, but the bad days were less bad and there were a few more good days to add up at the end of the month. I was eager to learn more about how certain foods and herbs could help my condition. I kept tweaking my diet and experimenting with new recipes to incorporate those items. After only a few months, I was greatly improved, there was no denying that what I was doing, was working.
I was beyond thrilled to be having less pain, fewer flares, and more energy. I started to have hope that maybe I could live a “normal” life, where naps are optional and brain-fog wasn’t part of my weekly vocabulary. One where I could finally say “yes” more than “no”.
One day, I came across an article regarding the role our digestive system plays in our immunity and wondered about the possible connection to autoimmune disease. It was a fascinating theory, and it made perfect sense that the two could be related.
The article pointed out how damaging medications like prednisone, antibiotics and even NSAID’s can be to our digestive system. I flashed back to all those rounds of prescriptions I had taken over the past 20 years. I cringed knowing they had likely done some major damage on my gut— and my immune system!
So, I decided to test this theory and follow a specific protocol to heal my gut and re-build my immune system from the inside out. I certainly didn’t have anything to lose by trying it.
The results were life-changing. Within a few weeks I was feeling more energy and less brain fog. As I continued with my protocol I gained enough energy to enjoy long brisk walks 3-4 times a week. I couldn’t believe the changes that were happening.
As things continued to improve, I was feeling better than I had in a decade. I was sleeping well, thinking clearly and I no longer needed a nap everyday. I was pain-free and exercising! It was nothing short of remarkable!
In addition to the improvement of autoimmune symptoms, my digestion was the best it had ever been in my life, my skin glowed and my hair was growing back. My body was healing itself and over time I was able to completely recover!
The success of this diet and holistic therapy protocol led me to develop Nutrify for Life. I’ve worked hard to create a program that will eliminate all the guesswork and trial and error I went through. I can now share with you tools that will give you the same results I had, but in a shorter time frame.
Today I am living my dreams, pursuing my passions and finding joy and adventure in every day. I now have the ability to say “yes” to all that life has to offer! I want to help you achieve the same!
My favorite activities these days are stand-up paddle boarding, hanging with my dogs, and cherishing lots of fresh home-grown fruits and veggies. I can even enjoy the sun again!
Now let’s get you living YOUR dreams.
For more information on how you can start your healing today, check out the Retreat Program.
For in depth information on the connection between diet and autoimmune disease, check out why Food Sensitivities = Autoimmune Disease