Why do I practice holistic medicine?
My earliest memory is crying in a hospital bed - which was more like a cage, which is what they put the toddlers in back in the day. As a child I was always sick - some serious and acute problems, but mostly chronic and recurring bouts of illnesses ranging from colitis to sinus infections, tonsillitis, pneumonia, etc. In fact, two years in a row my parents tried to have my tonsils removed, but each time I went to the hospital, I was too sick to have them removed! I was always the kid who would get sick over and over again, even if it was stuff that you weren't "supposed" to get twice.
When I had my wisdom teeth removed, I woke up with a sore throat and mono (for the second time). I was 19 and a sophmore at Manatee Community College (now State College of Florida). My MD gave me an antibiotic, erythmoycin, which couldn't treat the mono virus but did cause my throat to swell and give me a rash that covered my body. She finally put me in the hosptial, and when I came out, I was too weak to go back to school or work full time, or even dance. Up until then, I had been a dancer - tap, jazz, ballet, pointe, and had also been on the high school dance line. My doctor told me there was nothing she could do and that I now had chronic fatigue. She told me to take a multi vitamin and not to drink out of public water fountains from now on.
I had to figure out for myself how to make myself better. This was before public Internet even existed (yes, I am that old!). I got married, and had two kids, so being "chronically fatigued" wasn't really an option. I learned to work around it. But it still took me ten years to earn my "two year" degree at Manatee Community College. In the meantime, I started learning more about holistic health.
I started with Reiki, which is a gentle, hands-on energetic healing modality, and became a Reiki master in 1998. Then I went to Sarasota School of Massage in 2001 and become a licensed massage therapist so I could share those forms of healing with other people who needed it, too. The first certification I earned as a massage therapist was for Thai Massage in 2002. From the get-go I was always drawn to the Asian therapies more than anything. And I still wanted to "finish" college. By then I had found a college that actually had a degree in Alternative Medicine.
While attending the Sarasota campus of Everglades University, I sat on the advanced Massage Therapy Advisory Board of Sanford Brown Institute from 2004-05 and was a substitute massage teacher under Nancy Yonker at Keiser College. With the completion of my capstone thesis, “Complementary Medical Modalities as an Adjunct to Pharmacological and Psychiatric Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder,” I became the first person to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Alternative Medicine at the Sarasota campus.
I attended East West College of Natural Medicine from 2008 to 2011, earning a concurrent Bachelor’s in Professional Health Sciences and a Master’s in Traditional Chinese Medicine. During my Clinical Nutrition class, I continued my research on BPD with my most recent paper, “Nutritional and Alternative Therapies For Borderline Personality Disorder.” During my senior year, I completed an externship under Dr. Benner A.P. at HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital in Sarasota. Each week I had an opportunity to treat patients experiencing problems from stroke, auto accidents, falls, Parkinson’s, COPD and other disorders.
During this time, I have also worked for the local newspaper. I worked my way up from a part-time editorial assistant to editor of the North Port Herald, a weekly insert highlighting community activities. I coordinated the photography, wrote and edited copy as well as designed the pages of the section each week. I earned a first place award for photo feature essay from the Florida Press Club in 2006, and several other staff members have earned awards for their work in the North Port Herald. In February 2009, I transferred to the Port Charlotte Herald, my hometown, to edit that weekly publication for the Charlotte Sun. In August 2009, I left that position to focus on finishing my degrees. I returned to that job as editor of PCH, overseeing a redesign of the product and representing the newspaper on the board of Team Parkside, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to guide the revitalization of the town's Parkside district. I chaired the Communications and Fundraising committees, and was involved with the Parkside Business Association subcommittee. I also edited the 2013 Parkside tab. In conjunction with my community service work for Team Parkside, I also volunteered at a veterans' group home in Port Charlotte for two months during the summer of 2013, offering free acupuncture and massage therapy services every Wednesday to the people who served our country. The board of team Parkside also elected me President for 2014.
In 2015, the newspaper folded the Port Charlotte Herald and I left Team Parkside as well. I continue to work in various departments at the newspaper with editorial and design responsibilities around my acupuncture practice and also volunteer my time as Media Chair for the League of Women Voters of Charlotte County.
I am currently licensed in both massage and acupuncture, and am a certified NCCAOM Diplomate of Acupuncure. I do a lot more than the average person with chronic fatigue can, because I chose not to believe I would be stuck with poor health the rest of my life. I went looking for answers, and I love helping people find the answers they need for better health. Holistic health doesn't promise any "cures," but it can help you live a better life.
Chinese Medicine, homeopathy and holistic health care has helped turn my life around. It could help you too. And I look forward to educating and treating you with the compassion of someone who has been there.