I didn’t grow up dreaming of being a doctor. It was actually quite the opposite, I wanted to be an advertising executive and I did just that.
I worked in New York City at OMD and Grey Worldwide as an account manager for 3M, and then assisted with media on NY radio and Boston TV. This was my dream job. That is, until washing down four to five cups of coffee per day and suffering from severe acid reflux became a normal occurrence.
By 2010, I was sick and hated my job. I was an anxious wreck, and I needed out.
Finding a Holistic Lifestyle
A co-worker who was facing a similar scenario had joined a holistic nutrition program in NYC called Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). Holistic health had long since been an interest of mine, and the thought of being a health coach called to me. So I followed this calling and completed the program — it was truly amazing.
During a meditation led by Deepak Chopra, I knew I was in the right place. I could feel it in every cell of my body– that day in Lincoln Center was a day I would never forget.
During this time, I provided health coaching and helped women in group settings, as well as one-on-one to help get their health in order. This included help with their diet, lifestyle, detox, and weight loss. It was fulfilling, until I realized I wanted to do more.
I learned about naturopathic medicine and care through the program. After struggling with my health for such a long time, I knew I had to seek naturopathic care to determine what was happening and a course of action so that I could get back to feeling like a human again.
I got the rare opportunity to shadow Dr. James Sensenig, a renowned naturopathic doctor (ND) in Connecticut. I watched healing happen in front of my eyes in that quaint Hamden, CT office. This opportunity helped me to realize this was the path to follow.
During our time together, he found I had parasites. This was after several doctors told me that my symptoms were “in my head” and continued to prescribe anti-anxiety medications. I am forever grateful for not only learning one of the things that was wrong with me, but also that I knew I had to become an ND.
Receiving a Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine
I moved across the country to Tempe, Arizona to attend Sonoran University of Health Sciences (formerly known as Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Sciences) where I had the chance to complete my doctorate. Changing careers, obtaining another degree, and following a new path in your thirties isn’t impossible, and sometimes it’s absolutely necessary.
But throughout the years, I continued to struggle with my health— migraines, extreme fatigue, dizziness, body pain, GI issues, and debilitating anxiety. I discovered that I was living with undiagnosed Lyme disease for more than two decades, and underwent intense treatment in 2016 at NYCIM. Hearing this diagnosis was bittersweet: I had an answer for what was causing many issues for me and something to finally fix.
However, this was going to be a very long, intense road. Dr. Szulc at NYCIM recommended I see a shaman as he said a large missing piece of improving my health was addressing something spiritual and emotional. After taking this advice, I saw a shaman and unearthed an abundance of childhood trauma. At the time, I was 32 and didn’t have childhood memories because my body was protecting me from the trauma. This was the hardest time of my life.
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This path inspired me to talk about mental and emotional health, including how it relates to symptoms and disease. Helping patients recognize this connection has helped them in so many incredible ways. I had lost myself through the years of sickness, overwork, burnout, and doing things to please others. This is why helping patients feel like themselves again is my passion.
Becoming a naturopathic doctor was not easy, but it has been worthwhile.
It was against the grain, most people don’t know we exist, and to add, we face licensing challenges in certain states. We are not part of an insurance system and people who don’t understand naturopathic care and medicine tend to belittle our knowledge. While these challenges have made me feel very defeated at times, it hasn’t stopped my team and I from providing the care that so many people find necessary to better their lives.
I am so honored for you to be here and learn about my journey.
If this story hits home for you, contact Naturally Sue Wellness today so that we can help.