Nicole, can you please share your most recent moment of ‘gratitude’ with us?
This past week, I was able to take my favorite hot yoga class that I have not been able to do the past year due to my illness. On my walk home I had a moment of gratitude for my body and not only its ability to crush a workout that I love, but also just function. Having working legs, arms, eyes, and ears is something I now am grateful for each and every day. It’s the little things!
What helps you get out of bed every day, and what do you look forward to?
My desire to continue to better myself helps me get out of bed every single day. That may sound cheesy but it’s the truth! I’m in this huge transformational point in my life where all I want to do is learn and experience all I can. Whether that’s through my healing protocol of saunas and IVs or growing my knowledge on a new health topic, I look forward to working on myself and all the fun that comes with it.
You were recently diagnosed with Lyme Disease. What was that first experience like for you?
It was truly the scariest feeling in the world! I was having some serious symptoms come up: losing feeling in my legs and face, crippling vertigo, noise and light sensitivity, and vision loss. It took over 10 doctors to diagnose me and take my illness seriously. The feeling of sitting on a doctor’s table and him telling you he isn’t sure what is wrong is unbearable. The people who you were taught all of your life were the ones who always had the answer for you in the hardest moments then don’t. It’s terrifying.
Were you familiar with the disease, and if so, how much did you know about it?
My dad had Lyme when I was only 5, so the most I knew about it was that it came from a tick bite and that it made my dad very ill. But being so young, I was really hidden from how sick he truly was. He had a less severe version and was able to fight it quickly. Long story short I definitely didn’t know the severity of it and I definitely didn’t know it affects every single person differently.
What was the biggest challenge for you at the time, and how did you turn your life around?
My life was completely turned upside down. Everything from my job, to my extremely active life socially and physically, just hit a huge halt. The first few months in treatment I was severely depressed trying to navigate my new reality, while simultaneously mourning the loss of my old self. One morning I woke up, long into treatment, feeling sicker than ever, I hit the biggest breaking point. I was on my hands and knees, crying, shaking, and praying to God to help me. It’s like something snapped in me and I stopped, sat up and I said to myself ‘you need to fix this mindset or it will destroy you.’ The second I did that, everything really changed. Changing that mindset allowed my body to heal without the unnecessary stress I was giving it- your body hears what your mind says!
You’ve recently become a health coach. Can you please share your vision with us?
It’s been something I’ve dreamed of doing for so long, but my illness really showed me how precious life is and showed me how I was wasting my time being miserable in my career. It gave me the courage to take the plunge and combine my passion with my work. I am completely committed to helping anyone dealing with any of the health issues I so desperately had to navigate on my own (and a little help from Google.) My vision is for doctors, however, they may practice, to help patients find the root cause of their health issue, instead of just putting a Band-Aid on the symptom like many Western medical doctors do today. If I can help just one person do so, my vision will be fulfilled.
What does your diet a lifestyle look like now you have Lyme disease and has it helped?
The second I got my diagnosis, over a year ago, I cold turkey cut out gluten, dairy, and grains and haven’t had one bite since. I truly know and believe that diet is the ultimate healer of so many health issues and I also believe it has been a driving force in my recovery. Allowing the body to heal without the inflammation of food only catalyzes the process and gives the body the tools it needs.
How do you feel as though you can help others who are suffering from chronic illness, and if you had the chance to empower them what would you say?
Chronic illness is so much more than physical pain. The emotional pain like the inability to find a doctor who validates you, the complete ambiguity of how to treat and when you will be better, and the loneliness of no one understanding how you feel, that is what I believe people need even more help with. Through my Instagram platform, I am constantly messaging people in my same situation, validating their symptoms and letting them know they are heard. If I had the chance to empower them I would say this is a small, tiny segment of your long beautiful life ahead. Instilling a positive mindset in others in their fight is the best help I could give.
You’ve been trialing a few alternative treatments for Lyme disease lately, can you share one of the experiences with us, and what the results were like?
Tons! My friends and family think I’m crazy, but boy am I a believer. I am currently still in treatment, doing ozone therapy. It is an absolutely incredible non-invasive intravenous treatment in which they extract a bag of your blood, mix it with ozone (oxygen) and reinject the mixed blood. It oxygenates the body and organs to support cellular regeneration and one’s overall immune function. It has been proven to work miracles in eradicating viruses, bacterial infections, and so much more. Being in such an intense treatment definitely puts me out of commission for a few days, but long term it is essential in my health journey!
What are 3 tips that you could give to anyone who wants to be more proactive about their digestive health, yet don’t know where to start?
Digestive health is everything! I could preach it till I’m blue in the face. One tip is to start taking notes (literally journal it) of things like how you feel after you eat certain meals, how regularly are you going to the bathroom, and what doesn’t feel right about your digestive process. My second tip would be to get tested! Whether that’s through a stool analysis through Viome or through a doctor, figure out what is happening inside if something is off. My last tip would be to supplement! Supplements have been pivotal in rebalancing my gut, as they gave my body a helping hand in what it was lacking or needed at the time. There are so many amazing tools out there, use them!
Lyme disease is an autoimmune condition (an overreactive immunity). Can you explain the challenges people like yourself face with the coronavirus? This is a scary time for those with Lyme and essentially any autoimmune condition. It can be really challenging to distinguish what symptom is coming from my autoimmune issues or this virus.
It’s important for us to be incredibly in tune with our bodies to be able to figure out what is going on and when to worry. Also, naturally, our immune systems are in a weakened state so its even more important for us to stay quarantined and precocious during this time.
What was your immediate reaction to the coronavirus when you found out that it was circulating around the states?
I was immediately fearful and scared when I heard of the quick spread of the virus. But unfortunately, this feeling of unpredictability is nothing new to me. Those without autoimmune conditions are finally understanding how chaotic life can be when health is no longer a guarantee. Living with no “cure” and no definitive outcome is not a feeling I wish upon anyone, but this is the reality for us with Lyme and autoimmune conditions every single day.
How are you managing a balance between your immunity is too low, and immunity is too high (which could cause a flare-up? And what recommendations do you have for others in this situation?
It’s definitely a fine line, but I’m at the point where I would rather have my immunity too high and deal with a flare than the risk of it being too low. I think diet and sleep are absolute keys, making sure to get 8 hours of sleep minimum and eating whole non-inflammatory foods will give your body the tools it needs to fight anything thrown it’s way.
I recommend supplementing with vitamin D, vitamin C, Echinacea, colloidal silver, pre and probiotics, and any gut aid. Keeping your gut in a good place is KEY to keep immune function high.
Okay, now for the fun stuff…
Tell us something cool/unique that you’ve learned about yourself since you’ve been diagnosed with Lyme Disease?
I have learned that I have some SERIOUS self-control! I haven’t had any alcohol, chocolate, peanut butter or French fries in over a year. My body doesn’t tolerate any of my favorite things just quite yet. Is a tequila on the rocks with some HU kitchen chocolate so much to ask for? But seriously, the mind is incredibly powerful; when you need to get over any illness your body and brain are willing to do anything, we get primitive.
What’s an interesting fact that you’ve learned about health that not many people might know about?
I have learned about the power of raw garlic! It may sound a little crazy but raw garlic has so many anti-bacterial properties through multiple antioxidant components but specifically allicin, which is released when the garlic is crushed up. Eating raw garlic can seriously improve immune function and helps the body fight off infections. I have somehow convinced my whole family to be popping a clove of raw garlic in their mouths weekly. You may ward people off with your breathe but whatever so worth it!