With my pregnancy in full swing (I’m about 17 weeks along now), I thought I’d take the opportunity to introduce you to a part of my business I’ve never really shared before. In other words, meet Kate Anderson, my close friend and behind the scenes business “associate”—or something like that. We’ve been working together since May of 2012 and I figured it’s time to let you take a peek into how the business runs on a more personal level. I think the best way to do it is to just let Kate do the “talking”…
Hello everyone! I’ll be very honest; talking about myself is one of my least favorite things to do. On the other hand, I wanted to share my personal story because I believe it will help you understand how and why the two of us began working together. Fair warning—it’s not exactly a short one. However, it does have a very happy ending.
As far as Tracie and I are concerned, we met about 4 years ago through a mutual friend and have been best friends ever since. On a personal level, I come from a rather “random” background as far as how I got into nutrition, health and wellness. I have been in the nursing field since 2002. Specifically, I worked in Radiation Oncology and the Cardiac ICU before settling into clinic life as an Ob/Gyn RN where I stayed for about 7 years.
My story is like many of yours, in that it involves the loss of my health. It goes back to my last year of nursing school, when the stress and pressure of trying to maintain a 4.0 GPA took a major toll on my body. During that time, I was diagnosed with IBS and after graduation, it only seemed to worsen. My husband and I opened up a business about 8 years ago and shortly thereafter had our daughter. The stress of running a business, working as an RN and trying to figure out how to be a first-time parent pushed my body over the edge. Suddenly, the health I had once enjoyed and taken for granted, seemed to disappear. I had surgery to remove my gallbladder when my daughter was 8 months old and from there on out, things went swiftly downhill, just before I turned 30.
About a year after that surgery, I began to experience chronic itching from head to toe, although the worst of it was on my legs. I then developed full-blown hives, muscle twitching and my stomach problems heightened to a new level. The hives and the itching were terrible, to the point that I couldn’t sleep and was literally “scratching myself silly.” I had open sores on my legs that were draining and couldn’t shave for over a year.
There were times the itching was so bad that all I could do was sit and scratch and cry while my daughter sat and played nearby. I went through bottles of hydrogen peroxide to try and avoid getting an infection and boxes of gauze and bandaids. I tried every over-the-counter remedy known to man, including any and every “natural” version I could find. Nothing helped. My periods also became very irregular for several years and I spotted for weeks at a time. As if things weren’t already bad enough, my stomach issues decided to give me a run for my money. I tried taking various supplements, including little yellow “pebbles” that were supposed to be the magic cure. Needless to say, they didn’t do a lick of good and to this day, Tracie and I chuckle at the fact that I was at one point “eating rocks.”
During this time, I bounced between several different physicians from Family Practice to Allergy to Dermatology to Neurology to Endocrinology. Not one of them could give me a solid answer as to what was going on. Based on what would be considered “borderline numbers,” I was placed on thyroid medication because doing something was better than nothing. The best anyone could really say was that since my dad had an autoimmune disease (he was diagnosed with Crohn’s when I was around 14), it was probably something along those lines and we’d have to just wait and see what happened over the next few years. Not a great answer for a nurse who was already overdone, working full-time and completely miserable.
Prior to meeting Tracie, I had worked with her mentor out in California and had learned everything and anything there was to know about nutrition. Between the two of us, Tracie and I experimented with what I was eating, when I was eating it and where I was getting it from. While changing my diet and eating real food did help with my stomach problems, I was still dealing with most of my other health issues. No matter what I did nutrition-wise, I couldn’t seem to fix the many parts of me that still felt “broken.” I hid my misery the best I could because I was embarrassed. I basically suffered in silence through much of this and pretended like everything was fine. And it worked; everyone around me assumed life was peachy. We had a successful business, a beautiful daughter and I had a job I really enjoyed. The truth however, was that I was totally miserable. Inside and out, I honestly felt like I was dying.
In the midst of all of this, I became very passionate about figuring out how to find health again and became certified as a Holistic Lifestyle Coach. I knew in my heart of hearts that while the nutrition component was undoubtedly important and did help with some of my stomach problems, something still seemed to be missing. Tracie and I spent hours (and I mean hours) pouring over books and attending seminar after seminar.
Together, we began to learn about the mind-body connection and how past hurts, emotions and how we think directly impacts our health. Trust me; I tried to figure out how to be well in every other way I could think of from supplements to synthetic and natural hormones to learning everything I could about nutrition. While some of it did help along the way, the real answers came when I began to realize that I had been holding onto anger, bitterness, irritation and resentment for years. I had become a master at hiding how I really felt, but the damage had already been done. Sooner or later these feelings have no choice but to work themselves out through the body with symptoms, and sooner or later, they will catch up with you.
I learned the hard way that remedies in the short term do have their place in medicine, however I honestly believe that true health really comes from the inside out. Like I said before, the thoughts and feelings we internalize DO affect us, far more than most of us realize.
I won’t lie—learning to let go of the past, forgiving those I needed to and changing my thinking—did take me a while to figure out. BUT, it was so well worth it and my health is finally back on track. There is a balance between eating well and taking care of your body, but Tracie and I now know that it extends far beyond this as well. The battlefield really is in the mind; what and how you think affects your entire body and science is now finally starting to support this. Just like Tracie, I too am passionate about helping people become healthy from the inside out. In fact, she and I are so like-minded that we decided to start working together and have been since last spring.
I help Tracie with well, anything and everything she tells me to! No joke, but I mean that in a good way. I have so far helped rewrite and edit the nutritional manual she uses in her 8 week seminar series and DVD set; I helped edit and test recipes for the cookbook (can I get an “Amen”—that was a lot of work!); and together we write the blog articles, come up with new recipes and send out these emails you all enjoy reading. We are also just wrapping up another huge project…but you’ll have to wait for our 4th announcement coming early next month in order to hear more about that one!
The point of sharing my personal saga is to convey my heart for people that do not feel well. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to be absolutely miserable and to feel like you’re at a complete dead end. And just like Tracie, I found the way out, and do not ever want to go back. We both firmly believe that eating well is very important, but have also come to discover that it’s not all about food. I suppose you could say we’re on a mission now to teach people what we’ve learned with all the compassion and care that we possibly can. I look forward to what’s to come as Tracie and I serve you together on this life journey! Thanks for reading.
Yours for better health,
PS Stay tuned for more next month! We have one big announcement still to come plus more details on our working relationship…what life is like for me on the farm (we moved to MN last year) AND plenty of pictures…since we’re BOTH expecting!