Dr. Alex's Story
Once Confused and Struggling With Her Own Health and That of Her Son's, Dr. Alex is Now A Leading Expert...
When I was 12 years old, I got very sick. In the midst of doctors visits, tests, missing 45 days of school in one year and having more questions than answers, I had to part with my cat when the answer to my sudden illness turned out to be a random onset of allergies to all things furry, dusty or growing in the ground. I spent my youth needing an inhaler every time I wanted to go for a run, play soccer or ski. Every spring I downed Allegra like it was candy for my allergies. And without a constant application of steroid creams on my hands, I had a patch of pussy oozing eczema that would coat hands and fingers.
I spent my adolescence and early 20’s trying to prove I was strong, despite my dependence on medications and being plagued by illness and poor health the majority of the time. At age 20, I wandered into a chiropractors office after spending months in excruciating pain after suffering from a whiplash injury playing soccer several months before. In my first visit with them, I get a glimpse of what my life could be. Of a life free from pain, illness and suffering. And I start to think maybe i could have all that. I see my health start to improve—my daily headaches go away, my neck pain, my asthma, my allergies. And in addition to getting adjusted I start eating better, learning about nutrition and am able to start exercising without needing an inhaler. I lose weight, my eczema starts to clear up, and thinking I've just found the answer to the world's health problems, I enroll in chemistry classes over the summer to complete my chiropractic school requirements in addition to my BA in Comparative Literature.
At 23, I headed off to chiropractic school, ready to change the world. While my health is much improved and I'm able to do things like run a marathon without an inhaler, and my allergies no longer require medication, I find I still get sick and injured often.
I graduate, get married a few months later and my husband and I make a five year plan to start my practice first, and then have kids. Instead, I find myself sitting in a Walmart bathroom six weeks after my wedding, staring at a positive pregnancy test and feeling anything but excited. I’m terrified. My husband is terrified. And being an alcoholic who is three years sober at that point he falls into a depression, falls off the wagon and I find myself facing my worst fears: I’m pregnant, feeling trapped in a lonely marriage with dwindling trust and no support, desperately wanting someone to hold me and tell me it’s going to be okay, and everyday watching my body change as I grow a little being inside of me. We're in Alaska, thousands of miles from our friends and family. I have a job, but we have no money. I’m a doctor who qualifies for food stamps through WIC, and everything about the situation feels horrible and wrong. Wrong time, wrong place. I gradually warm to the idea of motherhood about six months in to my pregnancy, but just as I adjust to being pregnant, I find myself in full blown labor five weeks early.
I have a beautiful labor and delivery. I’m strong and empowered and watch my body do amazing things as I give birth without any drugs or interventions. And I’m gazing down at the face of this beautiful baby boy who has my eyes, and nose and mouth, I’m drinking in his features, oblivious to the world around me. And the pediatrician comes and says, “Ok your two minutes are up” and whisks my little miracle out of the room to the NICU, along with all the nurses and my husband. I’m left sitting on a hospital bed, my legs still in stirrups, my placenta not yet delivered, feeling dazed and confused after 36 hours of labor, and wondering what the heck just happened.
The next morning, I woke up with a start and it was like something shifted in me. At first I thought it was all a dream. And then I became aware of the hollow empty feeling I had, like something was missing. I made my way down to the NICU and it was like mommy instinct kicked into overdrive. There was no question about whether or not I could do this. Being a mom just became who I was. But after getting myself into gear, starting to ask questions of doctors and nurses, pushing to breastfeed in a NICU that was not breastfeeding friendly, arguing with hospital administrators on the fear based rules and lack of informed consent of the hospital system, and all the while trying to sleep, eat and pump, I completely crashed. i slept through multiple alarms after four days of waking every 3 hours for feedings. I was pushing myself to the point of exhaustion. I was stressed, my milk wouldn’t come in and I finally stubbornly recognized that I needed to focus on myself enough to be strong enough to care for my son.
We made it out of NICU and settled into life, but as my husband's struggle with alcohol continued to spiral out of control, I found I was getting sick a lot again. And so was my son, Fritz. We had constant rounds of colds and flus. We spent lots of time in bed, trying to hide from the tension and lack of safety at home. A year after bringing Fritz home from the hospital, I was driving home and found I couldn't get a full breath of air into my lungs. I pulled over in the midst of a full blown panic attack, and as I stood looking at the sky trying calm my breathing and slow my terror, I remember thinking to myself "this is going to kill us, I have to do something!"
You would think that would have taught me my lesson. But a year and a half years later, I found myself sitting on the bathroom floor curled up in a ball, trying to sob quietly while my parents and son played in the living room down the hall.
I had spent the last three years trying to save a marriage that was doomed from the start, losing myself in my business and work, and trying to care for a little boy who was scared and stressed with me in an emotionally abusive and unsafe home, and now that I’d found the strength to remove us from that situation permanently, he was doing much better, but I had crashed.
Throughout it all, I’d been searching from someone or something to help me feel strong enough to handle life, because I didn’t feel that strong myself. And in that moment, curled on the bathroom floor I didn’t know where I was going to get the strength to get back up. But then I heard the laughter of my sweet little boy, who had been failed by his parents on multiple levels, and in that moment, I knew I was going to go back to my life, pick up the pieces, and pull myself together, for him. And I knew that he needed me to figure out how to not just be strong, but how to maintain balance, and take care of me too. Because if I wasn’t happy and healthy, he wasn’t going to be happy and healthy either.
That was the moment that everything changed in our lives, and I finally completed the process I'd started 12 years before, that completely transformed my health, and my life.
I slowly started making steps to take care of myself and heal. I started eating well again. I started exercising. I went to counselors and worked on forgiving myself. Then my ex husband. I improved my relationship with God, and discovered I was a new kind of mom: I had energy to play with my son. I was able to make time for me and for him. We got sick less. He became more settled and I started to see a life I had only dreamed of: having a work life balance, being a confident and vibrant mom, and feeling secure in myself as mom and doctor.
Then I started working towards my two year post doctoral pediatric certification, and during my studies I learned a lot, and in other cases relearned things I'd known in a new light. I learned about the effects toxic stress can have on pregnancy by causing preterm labor. I learned the root cause of immune system dysfunction, how it was tied to our gut, and the evolution that had caused all my own health problems, as well as my son's. And more importantly, I started to put all of my decades of knowledge together into a plan that actually allowed us to heal.
Today, my transformation has extended even farther into my personal relationships. I am very happily remarried. I have a practice and business that I love. I am able to spend quality time with my son, husband and three step sons when I want to, and now I’m teaching other mom’s, kid's and family's how to truly heal from the inside out and find the balance, energy, joy and vibrancy that is possible when we are happy, healthy and thriving, rather than just barely surviving.
Now, I am expanding my teaching full fledge to the public. We hold local educational seminars multiple times a month and are expanding our teachings internationally online.
If there’s any one thing to take away from my story, it’s this; there is another way. I was once sick, beaten and confused by my health and life. I am now a leading expert in getting your health, family and life back. Every individual's journey is different, but there is a similar process we all go through to take control of our health and life back. There is another way.