It’s a brand new year and I’m so excited to continue attending health & wellness conferences that inspire and motivate me and so many others. Today I am sharing pearls of wisdom from BlogHer18 Health, which empowered and celebrated female health, wellness, influence and entrepreneurship.
I had the pleasure of attending many conferences last year including Foundermade, WELL Summit and Expo East that bring together the health & wellness community to educate and inspire all of those in attendance. I love the topics of each of these events and how different they all are, but still have one mission to celebrate the strength, bravery and courage of people who are doing amazing things in the industry.
This was my first time attending BlogHer18 and I can honestly say that it was one of the best events I have attended in the past year. It was the first time I could really relate to the panelists not just in a business sense, but on an entirely personal level. It was the first time that I set aside my desire to grow my business and learn from others on how to do that, but instead wanted to learn from others on how to be the best person I can be while helping others and battling my own health issues. BlogHer18 was an all inclusive event that combined business and personal topics to celebrate the women in the health & wellness industry.
The day began with a beautiful breakfast, eaten with a view at Tribeca 360 and allowed for brief mingling before the days panelists began. I was so excited to see so many of my friends that I mostly met online this past year but have been a huge part of my journey and growth as a business woman the past year. There’s always so many events and workouts and conferences to go to and as small as the industry is, it’s so hard to coordinate all of our schedules to be at the same places at the same time. So my heart was filled with so much joy when 15 of my closest online friends packed ourselves around a table in the front row at BlogHer18!
My personal health story
This is a story I tell in person a lot because I want it to motivate and inspire others to take their health into their own hands. I got married on March 1, 2013 and by April 2013 I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism/Graves Disease. I went to see an endocrinologist after suffering from symptoms ranging from lack of energy, blurred vision, low libido, achy joints, insomnia, chronic fatigue, weight gain, irregular bowel movements and increased anxiety.
After one blood test, the doctor told me the only way to treat my symptoms would be to remove my thyroid and go from there in figuring out how to treat this illness. At the age of 25 I knew that this couldn’t be my only option to feel better. And I couldn’t believe that a doctor would jump to such a drastic form of treatment but barely listened to my concerns about the way I felt and how these symptoms were effecting my every day life. This doctor also told me that my low libido was due to me no longer being attracted to my husband; she had no idea that I had just been married a month prior to my appointment, and I found this comment completely disrespectful. I felt no compassion from a person I was seeking for help and an authority and expert in their field.
I walked out of that appointment, blood tests in hand, and sought the advice of many other doctors including an osteopath. We performed a new set of tests and although the blood work did show Graves Disease, a spit test confirmed adrenal fatigue (an increase in the hormone cortisol) and mercury poisoning. This doctor wanted to work with me to make lifestyle changes to decrease the severity of my symptoms before jumping straight to surgery and hormone replacement drugs that I would have to be on for the rest of my life. So with a list of supplements, I left that appointment with a renewed sense of trust in the process of healing my body.
During this time I felt very alone. I felt like no one could relate to what was happening to me, not just with my illness but with the struggle I was experiencing in finding treatment. I felt like I was losing myself to my diagnosis and I was only being seen by the words on the paper and not the words I was expressing in person. Doctors didn’t want to look beyond the test results to the person sitting in their office crying and begging for help.
I also felt very different from the people around me. I was making lifestyle changes, using food as medicine and seeking alternative treatments like meditation, yoga, and acupuncture to help with my symptoms. My coworkers told me that if I just took drugs like a normal person to treat my illness that I wouldn’t be feeling so sick all the time. The fact that taking drugs and having surgery was considered normal made me so mad because it’s the fact that this form of treatment is considered normal and we’re not willing to look beyond that to try something new is the problem with our healthcare system. I was feeling isolated and I was losing energy to keep fighting my battle.
Now it’s been 5 years and I still have not had surgery to remove my thyroid, I have not taken any drug treatments, and I have made significant lifestyle changes to reduce my stress and anxiety which in turn has reduced my cortisol levels. When my cortisol was so elevated, estrogen was not being cleared from my body and my thyroid levels were increased. The first doctor I went to did not trust me enough when I said I knew my body and knew that the symptoms I was experiencing weren’t normal, but didn’t want to listen to my concerns about surgery and using medication to treat my illness. It took a lot of trial and error and many doctors to finally find a form of treatment that worked for me.
I feel blessed to have gotten sick because it has given me a voice and a story to share with others that I hope will motivate others to stand up for themselves. My illness has given me the opportunity to make a living helping others on their own health & wellness journey as a sonotherapist, reiki practitioner and health coach. I have used this blog and social media to grow a community of incredible human beings all looking for someone to hear their story when no one else would!
It is why I felt so passionate about writing the Rooted With Love ebook to provide insight into so many different tools for personal healing like food, journaling, affirmations, crystals, sound, and movement. I hope to one day be sitting on a stage like BlogHer18 telling this story and helping so many other people become advocates for themselves.
The panelists at BlogHer18 all had a similar story to mine and it was so inspiring to hear their dedication to their own health to get to the root of their illness beyond just the blood tests performed by doctors. I’ve always known that by sharing my personal story I was empowering others to take their life into their own hands and this event reached so many more people to take action.
So here are the pearls of wisdom from BlogHer18 that I hope inspire all of you that read this. Whether you are effected by a chronic illness or have a friend/family member that is, we can all benefit from the act of storytelling. There will always be motivational words that someone we know can relate to and this will create change in the way we view our own health and the health of others.
There were amazing panelists chatting about growing your business and being an influencer, but for me, the most amazing conversations were centered around personal health. Because it is when we share our stories that the business and influence come more naturally than trying to force an ad on social media on someone to take action. Our stories will naturally flow and reach the people who need it the most and it’s through this that we can create the most change and grow a business that is naturally created from our own personal strengths, struggles and growth. That was what I found most inspiring and empowering about BlogHer18!
Pearls of Wisdom from BlogHer18
Learn From Her – Julianne Hough
This is our body and it’s the most important thing we have!
Have a doctor you trust and have open communication with them.
Community starts at home. You don’t have to go through this alone.
You don’t have to be perfect and a tough cookie all the time.
It’s a gift to educate others.
Social For Good – Eva Martino, Kendall Rayburn, Phoebe Lapine
Just because someone else comes first, doesn’t mean we have to come last. // Eva Martino
Connection is a powerful way to get through illness. // Eva Martino
There are feelings of isolation that comes with chronic illness and mental illness // Phoebe Lapine
Being in a constant state of pain can be a fight every day to just do normal things. It can suck you down in a really dark place. // Kendall Rayburn
The doctors are good at the what, but not the how. We’re the ones in the real world trying to get it done. // Phoebe Lapine
Our health is important. How we feel about ourselves is important. There’s been too much normalization of that status quo and women feeling that they don’t deserve to feel better. // Eva Martino
It’s possible to feel better than you feel today. // Eva Martino
Opening up and sharing your story is so important and will bring you places you can’t even imagine. // Kendall Rayburn
Spotlight Talk – Amy Ziering
Not only do we women doubt ourselves, but doctors also doubt us.
It’s a critical time for women to speak up and trust our voices.
Don’t ever doubt your power. Don’t ever doubt your intuition. Never doubt your importance.
We are each others stories. We have a responsibility to share them.
Own Your Health – Dr. Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe, Elly Mayday, Kerrie Smyres, Dr. Aviva Romm
I’m the director of my own healthcare! I’m the only one in charge. // Kerrie Smyres
Before you go to your doctors appointment write a script of everything that you want answered. Bring an advocate with you and don’t be afraid to switch doctors. // Dr. Aviva Romm
You’re a client, not a patient! // Dr. Aviva Romm
Share women’s stories and empower others! // Elly Mayday
#WinningWomen – Jillian Michaels
When we feel empowered it transcends every facet of our lives.
We fall into the shoulds of life and forget about what we really want.
What breeds longevity is authenticity.
You have to take a stand and you won’t please everyone!
We can’t make anyone change. We can only lead by example.
If we have a why, we can work with purpose and deal with the how.
Hollywood on Health – Kate Walsh, Sara Vilkomerson, & Kaja Perina
There is a danger to glamorizing mental illness. // Sara Vilkomerson
There’s never a comfortable way to bring the conversation to the public, but it has to happen! // Kate Walsh