Updated: Oct 26, 2022
This is a question I've been asked by many of my friends, family and contacts, over the past few months, so, it seems like a good time to share my own experiences in the hope it will enlighten others, and inspire them to take health in to their own hands.
Back in 2018, I was so ill, I picked up infection after infection. Nasty infections too - a stye on my eye that wouldn't clear, tonsilitis that wouldn't clear, sore throat several times over, tummy bug after tummy bug, the list is endless. No matter what I did, I could not lose weight and I was exhausted. I was picking these things up every few months, barely recovering from one before the next one hit me, like a ton of bricks. I was so miserable.
Like most, I put it down to age, after all I was 44, my job - I had a high pressure job in a rapidly growing ecommerce PLC business - and our "spirited" 4 year old. Lets just say he's an explorer. I felt as though I was literally scraping through the days, and, after a day in the office, I was done, no energy to put in to my relationship or my little boy who really needed me. Weekends came and I was shattered, there was no quality of life. It was work, chores, stress and exhaustion only. This wasn't just me being tired for a week or so, it was constant, something wasn't right.
Eventually, I took a trip to my GP and explained the symptoms and problems. The GP ran some tests. All the results came back "normal", there was nothing they could do for me. I told a friend how sick (literally) and tired I was and how unhappy I was. I knew there was something wrong but I didn't know what. I was in despair.
My friend explained that she had been working with a Naturopathic Practitioner (what's one of them was the first thing that went through my mind) and suggested I give her a call, to see if she could help me. I made the call, and I've never looked back. I will always engage with her and seek her help regarding my own and my family's health matters. Why? Well, because she's good and she makes a difference.
Before I go on, one thing I need to mention, I suffered 4 miscarriages before carrying our dearest darling, full term. It was such a tough time for us but we got what we had always wanted, eventually, a gorgeous little baby boy. We were (still are) so lucky. I digress; during the multiple mis-carriages stage, there was a medical trial called TABLET Our local hospital asked if I would participate. All they needed was a blood test. To keep a long story short - I will do a full blog post on this subject - the blood tests revealed that I have raised levels of Thyroid Antibodies. This concerned me so I contacted my GP and we discussed it, they ran some tests and confirmed the test results were normal. I left the GP surgery feeling that something wasn't quite right. I started my own research but then our gorgeous baby came along in 2016 and this "thing" got pushed to the back of the pile of things to fix.
Between 2016 and 2018, my priority was learning how to be a mum and then, after 9 months of mat leave, returning to work, full time, and settling in to the new routine. Time passed by, and it was only when I was at my lowest point in 2018, when I did the best thing I've ever done regarding my health goals and contacted my Naturopathic Practitioner (NP)
My NP guided me through a series of changes to make to my own and my families lifestyle, she recommended the right supplements for me to take, the right foods for our family to eat. She also requested some additional blood tests from my GP (she wrote a letter that I passed on to my GP). The additional blood tests that were requested, revealed some deficiencies, and some were worse than others. I could not understand why, when I'd literally crawled in to my GP surgery on my hands and knees, asking for help, those tests were not done. I guess I'll never know. As soon as I started on the protocol to address for the deficiencies, I saw some big improvements, I was gob smacked. I was on the mend! Awesome!
In December 2019, I decided I needed further investigation in to my raised levels of Thyroid Antibodies and general gut health. I'd noticed some changes to my stools. First port of call, my NP. She ran some tests for me and boy was I shocked to find 2 key things; 1) I actually have some really healthy gut functions and a good range of healthy bacteria, I can't be certain but this is probably down to the investment I'd made since first seeing her in 2018 - the right supplements, the right nutrition and some lifestyle changes, 2) I have parasites - yes parasites, yuk - and some nasty gut bacteria that needs dealing with. Needless to say, she defined a new protocol to help clear the nasties and to address the thyroid antibodies. This is work in progress as I write this post.
I'm on week 4 of a new 12 week protocol, I've lost 4kg in weight since starting it, and I'm starting to feel much better. I'm noticing many improvements and changes. The protocol involves supplements that I've never even heard of, and would never have found even after hours of research, lifestyle changes and changes to my diet. I'm enjoying it and I'm enjoying the results so far. I'm a third of the way there and excited to get to the end of the protocol and look back to where I was before I started it. All in all my experiences have been very positive.
Back to the original intent of this blog ....Why bother? Well, I dread to think what state I would be in, right now, if I hadn't bothered seeking help from my NP. I tried the GP route but they couldn't help me. Yes, the service comes at a price, like all services do, but I don't think you can put a price on your own health. I would rather make savings elsewhere and prioritise my health. In addition, I was spending hours and hours of my own time researching Thyroid Antibodies and Hashimotos disease; going down rabbit holes and getting stuck in dead ends. I felt so frustrated by it all. So, for me, there certainly is a point and the point is prioritising and addressing your own health challenges. Nobody else will do this, it's down to you.
I conducted a survey on 50 friends and family. 11% of those I surveyed said they will only seek the help of a NP if there was no other alternative OR they didn't see the point of seeking help from a NP. Based on my positive experience, I have switched this around now, I will go NP route first, and, if collaboratively, we think a referral to GP is required, then this is what I will do. It made me realise that a lot more needs to be done in the UK to raise the profile of NPs and the benefits, objectives and expectations.
The whole experience, combined with my own results, inspired me to invest heavily in my own education, to enable me to work and build a career in the NP space. I'm doing a Health Coach Diploma! I will be fully qualified as a Health Coach via the College of Naturopathic Medicine in London. I'm moving on from the tech industry where I spent 22 years, to pursue a new career path and to launch my own business at www.healthsteps.co.uk. I'm super excited to be able to build up my own client base and to help them to achieve their own health goals.