My journey to health began in 2008, though I didn’t realize it at the time. We lived in a suburb southwest of Denver. I worked as a pharmacist for a national chain.  I had chronic pain, never specifically diagnosed, but referred to as possible fibromyalgia or DVD (degenerative joint disease).  Over the years I took medication for painful muscles, wore knee braces to keep them aligned, and my hands had painful flares. I sought treatment for pain from several family practice doctors, and was referred to specialists in rheumatology. None of them could provide more than temporary symptomatic relief.

 We moved to Montrose, CO September 2008.  I had accepted a position working for the same pharmacy chain I had worked for in Denver. We thoroughly enjoy the new community. Montrose is surrounded by incredible out door beauty and opportunity.  It is only a short drive be in the midst of nature.  It became our practice to spend at least part each day off work outside.

 At work I felt tremendous stress.  My position in the pharmacy was due to the sudden death of a very young, very admired pharmacist.  The staff was grieving, and I was in the midst of it.  I took his place in the schedule, but was never totally accepted as part of “the team”.  My chronic pain returned, magnified by the stress. I was exhausted, and the pain in my hands became almost unbearable. I was now taking NSAID medication for my hands and medication for chronic pain, again.

 I attended a chocolate eating lesson offered at the local hospital in March 2010. This was advertised at the health fair and I love chocolate.  It was a promo for a “Mediterranean Lifestyle” class they were offering.  I learned about the “French paradox” and decided to eliminate all processed food based on this information.  I was diagnosed with a hypo-thyroid later that month. 

 These two details were my first steps to feeling well in over 15 years. I began to read everything I could about nutrition. I started thyroid medication, and some of the pain decreased. I finally started losing weight and feeling better.  I lost 15 pounds during the next year, without changing my pattern of very little exercise.  I had surgery on both hands in 2010 to repair the damage caused by 30 years of opening child-proof caps, yet my hands would often become quite painful.  It was the same pain I’d had on and off for >25 years, but my thumbs were much better.

 March  2011 I decided it was time to try a gluten free diet.  Everything I had read indicated to fully detoxify I needed to eliminate gluten.  After 8 weeks I was feeling better, but improvement had been gradual.  My husband wanted to test my system by going out for pizza on a Saturday; I made waffles, from scratch, Sunday morning.  Monday at work my hands were very tender and my back felt like it had for >20 years. The pain was intense.  This was an unexpected discovery, I had eliminated gluten to detoxify my body never realizing that my chronic pain was due to a food intolerance.  Now if I have anything containing gluten I will feel pain in a joint here or there.  Cheating is just not worth it. And eating gluten free I have lost another 10 pounds. 

 Now I am on a journey to become a holistic health coach, so I can help others find the healing that occurs when your feed your body the food it deserves!