My path to opening Long Life Wellness began almost 30 years ago after the discovery of a multinodular thyroid goiter and the diagnosis of an eventual autoimmune disease. My first thought was, “Okay, let’s fix this!” But the top specialists in the medical field said my condition was due to my genetics, and was incurable.
As my options were laid out, I felt defeated. My choices were, I could either remove my thyroid to be “safe” or I could “wait and see”. Eventually I would have Hashimoto’s Disease, which would precipitate the removal of my thyroid and a lifetime of a synthetic medication.
WHAT? THOSE were my choices?! I opted to keep my thyroid intact and continued to search for another way. Every 6 months for years, I endured fine needle biopsies (FNB) that would pierce several nodules looking for the dreaded “C” word.
Not until years later did I realize the emotional impact this all had on me. I had this uneasy sense of urgency that I was losing the life I dreamt of. I lived in a state of panic and anxiety.
I relentlessly continued my search for answers to why my thyroid was failing me. With not a lot of good options, I decided to start living the cleanest and healthiest life possible. I dove headfirst into learning everything I could about nutrition and exercise. I grew a rewarding career in personal training (National Academy of Sport’s Medicine Certified) and nutritional counseling.
In my early 50’s during a very challenging time in my personal life, I turned my focus to my own body transformation and stepped onto the stage to compete in women’s physique bodybuilding competition. Relentlessly, I put my heart and soul into competing, and in my second competition, I won the coveted IFBB Pro Card (International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness) at a highly competitive show in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, called the NPC Teen, Collegiate and Masters National Championship.
From all outward appearances I looked healthy. In fact, I looked like I was in the best shape of my life. But that was just a façade. I was suffering from debilitating joint pain especially in my hands and feet. The pain was unbearable. The doctor called it Erosive Osteoarthritis (EO), a genetic disease with no cure, only pain management.
Looking back, I now understand that my “toxic load” was building up. This is when genetics does matter. My “epigenetics”, thyroid disease and arthritis, were expressing themselves. Systemic inflammation was now affecting my ability to button my shirt, shake someone’s hand, hold a glass of water and even hold weights while training. My hands and feet were freezing cold. My hair continued to thin and break. I was exhausted upon waking but unable to fall asleep at night. When I did finally fall asleep, hot flashes would yet again lead to sleepless nights.
Who was that person looking back at me in the mirror? I looked so much older. I felt disconnected from my body. Were they right and this was a natural progression of aging? I decided it was time to dive in deeper and search for answers.
Being a skeptic by nature, functional medicine was a perfect fit because it did not rely on conjecture or anecdotal reasoning. This was unlike conventional medicine which waits till you are sick and then treats your symptoms. Conventional medicine only provided me with pharmaceuticals to mask my symptoms. Once the medicine stops, the symptoms come right back.
I jumped into learning all I could about Functional Medicine, Ayurvedic Medicine, Traditional Naturopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Herbalism, Orthomolecular Medicine, Bioregulatory Medicine and Eastern Philosophy.
I was the Guinea pig; I ran all the at-home functional labs on myself. Test and retests. I put myself through all the detoxes, healing and rebalancing protocols. Then I tested again and again.
Be still my heart. Low and behold, THIS was the answer that I searched for.
My mission is to tell everyone that there is a better way to healthcare. It is not sick-care.
Now, I am back to being Ellen. I have the energy to help you fight your battle. I have done the work for both of us. I am paying it forward.
I ask that you come to the table with an open mind and a willing heart. I am completely confident in Long Life Wellness’ practices and the body’s ability to heal at a foundational level given the proper environment.