We probably all agree that our current healthcare system could use some improvements, but I would go so far as to say that its approach to healing is fundamentally flawed. Why do I care so much about this? Well, about 6 months ago, I felt hopeless about my health. My doctor was well-meaning but had never provided me with any effective solutions to my growing health issues. I had some serious concerns, but she had not addressed the cause. She told me what medicine would help ease my pain and help with allergies, but these were only temporary solutions. In a nutshell, I was becoming allergic to everything around me. I couldn't be around animals that I loved, and any exposure to dust or mold sent me into a spiral of sneezing and coughing that lasted for hours. I was taking Zyrtec almost daily just to function. I was also developing odd rashes after eating many foods, not sleeping through the night and constantly feeling stressed because of my lack of energy at work. I was experiencing daily pain in my joints, and couldn't lose weight even with exercise and diet, which made me feel like a huge failure. I've been active in volleyball and other sports for the majority of my adult life, but suddenly my "athletic" body had reached 40% body fat and I was terrified. I knew 40% was far above the safe and healthy range and put me at risk for many health problems, but I had no idea what was wrong with my body or how to fix it.
My feelings on life when I was sickPhoto Credit: Pexels
I knew the time had come to pursue other options since allopathic care had not helped me and my own efforts to lose weight were not working. I was already a Chiropractic patient at a holistic health center in my area (Triad Health Center), but hadn't explored the Functional Medicine services they offered. I had heard of Functional Medicine but wasn't entirely sure what it entailed. After doing some research and reading many positive testimonials, my husband and I agreed that I needed to schedule a consultation to see if they could help me. My first consultation was so unlike any other doctor visit I'd ever had. Dr. David Schwartz (Dr. Dave) took a deep dive into my health history, family history, any possible prior toxic exposures (including when I was in utero), and discussed in depth all of my symptoms and the date of onset, trying to determine how the symptoms were connected. I had a full food allergy panel done along with many other functional tests. These tests (and the analysis that was explained to me in-depth) were so much more comprehensive than the default preventive tests most of us have at our annual physical. Those default tests seem to provide snapshots of the health of various systems in our body, but they don't show how everything is connected, which is so key to enabling optimal healing. I had also had genetic testing done previously due to some mutation concerns, so Dr. Dave reviewed those, along with hormonal tests, my full blood panel, and health history to develop a completely personalized nutrition and supplement plan for me. I knew the path to healing was not going to be easy, but I felt confident Dr. Dave and his team would be able to help me.
Supplements, snacks and essential oils. One stop shop!Photo Credit: Emily Adams
My functional medicine journey started with a 90-day gut-healing program. I worked closely with both Dr. Dave and his wife Elise, who is a nutrition and detox coach. She created an incredibly helpful website that provides healing nutrition advice, among many other things, called Healing Cuisine by Elise. Both Elise and Dr. Dave were both always available to answer my questions and concerns via email and several follow up visits throughout the program. They provided me with recommendations as to what would get me on the track to healing the fastest but were never pushy or judgmental. They instilled a confidence in me that they knew I would make good choices, which in turn DID make me want to do what was best for my body. Following a nutrition plan that involved no grains, sugar or dairy seemed daunting at first, but now that I've seen the benefits of eating this way, I honestly don't want to go back to how I ate (and how I felt) before. I am thrilled to say that after 90 days, I was able to lose 20 pounds and more importantly decreased my body fat by 7%. I didn't add any new exercise protocols during that time, so seeing that significant improvement in my numbers (along with the results from several other follow-up tests) assured me that I had accomplished some major healing progress in reducing inflammation in my body, regulating my hormones, and healing my leaky gut. I still have several areas to work on, but the improvement in how I'm feeling and functioning on a daily basis has been phenomenal.
Calendar of Events at Triad Health CenterEmily Adams
For those who may not be familiar with it, Functional Medicine involves far more than just helping those with leaky gut issues or hormones issues like I've experienced. As part of the Functional Medicine program, Dr. Schwartz also specializes in treating those with New Millennial diseases, which he describes below. With so many people being affected by these conditions, I hope it will bring you hope to know that there are solutions to be found in functional medicine!
As I mentioned, I first became a patient at Triad Health Center due to severe headaches which they have helped me overcome through Chiropractic adjustments. Dr. Everett Tucker performs most of my adjustments and has been a huge blessing in my life, so I was grateful to be able to interview him (see video below) to learn about what inspired him to get into the field of Chiropractic Medicine. I look forward to my adjustments and the encouragement (and education) I always receive at their office. It's truly an uplifting place of healing. They greet you by name when you come in the door (Impressive, right?!) and always make me feel appreciated.
I hope through learning a little about Functional Medicine and Chiropractic Care, you will feel empowered to seek out a practitioner who will help you dig deeper and stop accepting band-aid solutions for your healthcare. Remember, there IS a root cause, you just need someone dedicated to helping you find out what it is.