So, who am I?
This is really a deep topic to consider when I really sit and think about it. I am a child of God. I am a daughter. I have wonderful parents who taught me what it is to love and gifted me the name Gina Lynn. I am blessed to be a sister to two of my best friends. I am a mother, to two beautiful daughters (Emma & Tessa), something I count as my biggest blessing. I am a friend. I am a co-worker. I am a neighbor. I am a friendly face. I am a kindred spirit. The list could go on and on.
There are so many “hats” we all wear. These hats shape who we are but they don’t necessarily define us.
Of course my story started when I was born. I lived in a small town in rural Wisconsin and loved growing up in that small town. My journey lead me to UW-Madison, School of Pharmacy. This is where I feel my “own” journey started. The time when I ventured out into the world, maybe still sheltered a bit, but making the transition to adulthood nonetheless.
Pharmacy school was a great adventure, I met wonderful friends and learned more than I ever thought possible. It was a struggle at times, it was lonely at times, and it was so fun at times. Just like life, a journey that ebbs and flows; you have to learn to flow with the tide and work to overcome obstacles.
I have been practicing pharmacy for 26+ years. I was drawn to this life path because I am drawn to helping people. I have learned so much along this career path; I am still learning and grateful for all of my experiences.
Now, I feel I am being led to help people in a different way! I know there is so much healing we can do when we nurture our bodies, our minds and our spirits. We need all three to be in balance in order to thrive.
I have been blessed with health my whole life and then, a few years ago, just like that, I began to feel less than vibrant. I was tired all of the time, my hair was thinning, my body was swelling, my joints were achy, my mood was depressed and I was impatient. I knew I had to figure this out and began to really research health. I learned so much about nutrition, inflammation, meditation, yoga, deep breathing and supplements. I was going to figure this out and get back to being me!! This was a promise I made to myself.
My path led to IIN (Institute for Integrative Nutrition) where I learned about so may different dietary and healing modalities and completed my first health coach certification. This was a spring board to my learning. I continued to read so many books and continued to research health.
I was making progress with my diet, lifestyle and supplement changes, but the fatigue and swelling was still there. I figured out how to order labs for myself and nothing came back that was concerning. I finally reached a point where my work, the work of my family doctor and the work of my naturopathic doctor weren’t giving me the all the results I was hoping for. Then came the referral to rheumatology and the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis and a secondary diagnosis of Hashimoto’s. There was no time for denial. All of the symptoms were there but the blood work did not point to anything being wrong seriously. Inflammatory markers were not elevated, the RA Factor was negative, Thyroid levels were low, TSH was elevated and the Thyroid Antibodies were present but not at a critical level. My rheumatologist said “if we wait for the blood work to prove what we already know, there will be irreversible damage to the joints”. Through tears and fears, I agreed to take steroids to help with the inflammation and methotrexate to modulate the attack my immune system was waging on my joints. Some people will say that I am lucky because I know so much about these medications, but honestly, I think this knowledge made me even more afraid. These 2 medications helped but I was not reaching my goal of remission. Hydroxychloroquine was added to further modulate the immune attack on my body. I had tolerated both of the other medications, but this one made me nauseous and gave me headaches. Finally, came the discussion of the biologics. I was terrified but determined to get back to my vibrant self!! It was a long process with cost, insurance, mail order, etc. I pushed thru and injected my first dose. I consider myself very fortunate; 4 days after my first injection, my swelling decreased!! I could bend my fingers again, my joint pain subsided and I could wear shoes other than slippers and Birkenstocks.
My next step was to use this victory to dive deeper into the repair of by body, to get completely into remission and to be able to drop the medications that I know were helping me temporarily but also adding to the toxic burden on my body.
I did extensive work to heal my gut. I supported my mental health. I dug deeper into my hormones. I continue to improve my diet. The steroids were no longer needed, the methotrexate was slowly decreased.
My journey then lead me to HMI (Health Mastery Institute) which is proving to be the source that ties everything together into a beautiful, abundant, actionable information package. HMI has shone a bright light on my life path to vibrant health.
In the midst of my learning through HMI, I received call from my rheumatologist when this coronavirus was released into our world. He was calling to express his concern for me being on medication that decreased my immune function, while working as a pharmacist with an increased risk of exposure to the virus. He suggested I stay on the medication until there was a confirmed case in my co-workers or in my family. Because of the progress I had made with healing my body, I made the decision to stop injecting because of my interaction with so many people over the course of a single work day. With so few tests available, I decided to treat my situation as if I had been exposed. My last injection was February 28, 2020. I choose to view this as a blessing and the push/permission I was looking for to stop all medications.
I am concentrating on putting only what can help me into my body. I am not perfect but this opportunity to be medication free has given me more resolve to support my body and my immune function to the best of my ability.
Sharing my story with you has been therapeutic; thank you for indulging me!! My hope is that my story will resonate with you on a personal level or because of someone you know; and the information shared here will help on your journey.
I believe that we’re are all here, on this life journey, to help one another. Originally I was called to help people through my role as a pharmacist. There have been so many changes over the past 3 decades in the field of medicine and I feel my calling has evolved. I now know that by concentrating on physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing, the vibrance of true health can be realized. My true calling is to Guide, Empower and Teach any one who finds themselves seeking this vibrancy on their life journey.
G.E.T happy G.E.T. healthy G.E.T. whole