One Doctor's Journey
Physician heal thyself. That’s a proverb I’ve heard my entire working life and yet, I never truly understood its meaning until I put it into practice.
My personal journey with Functional Medicine started with a single realization. It was the realization that the way I was practicing medicine, with both feet planted firmly in the traditional, hadn't and was never going to work for me. This is something that I would have never understood until I, the physician, became the patient.
This is a story of how I got my health back and how I found the courage to start Lynne Murfin MD. My aim has, and will continue to be, the disruption of the status quo by stepping away from the realm of tradition and introducing people like you to the possibilities of a new kind of preventative health care.
Born and raised in South Africa, I earned my medical degree at The University of Cape Town in 1988. Like most new MDs, I threw myself into my practice with youthful zeal. Those first years as a doctor, practicing family and emergency medicine in one of the most dangerous hospital environments in the world (Johannesburg & Soweto in 1989-1992), was baptism by fire.
Four years in, something had to give. The stress and the ever-present danger that came with a volatile political climate had taken a toll. I made the decision to accept a six-month assignment in northern Saskatchewan. I needed to take a break from South Africa and to practice medicine in a new country, with the opportunity to fulfill a childhood dream of visiting the Arctic.
My new home delivered everything I’d hoped for and provided early insight into my future self. I often felt I was treating the symptoms of a disease but not the underlying cause. Soon after, I met my future husband and moved to Saskatoon where I practiced family medicine, focusing on gynaecology and maternity at the respected Queen Street Medical Group. In 2000, I moved with my new husband, an oil and gas executive, to the Middle East where I worked as a specialist physician as part of the advanced team at the state-of-the-art American Hospital in Dubai.
After four years, we returned to Canada and settled in Calgary where I happily opened a family practice.
It had to go wrong before it could go right
And then, it happened.
One evening in March 2008, I was stopped in my tracks: crushing chest pain, shortness of breath, and absolute panic. My fatigue had been accelerating for years. Anxiety appeared upon waking and only settled when I laid down to sleep. My body couldn’t handle it silently anymore.
At the age of 40, by most expectations, I should have been the picture of health. However, my achievements couldn’t outweigh the strain I had put on my body and mind over the years. My memory began to resemble one far beyond its years. Recalling details started to become a challenge.
After a string of appointments with my GP, a cardiologist, and a psychiatrist, my blood work was evaluated, my brain was scanned, and my IQ was tested. Yet, I still didn’t have answers. What was wrong with me? The question lingered, filling my mind with worry.
At that point, I did something I’d never done before.
I closed my Family Practice, dropped the emergency room night shifts, and stopped delivering precious babies. I simply retreated from the outside world.
Yet, I wasn’t ready to give up. My body was failing me and I knew there had to be a reason. I was determined to find out exactly what that reason was. Over the next three years, I left no stone unturned in the quest to find the answers that I hoped would heal my brain, my heart, my energy, and my body. It wasn’t easy. As with any challenging journey, there were more than a few false starts along the way. During the ordeal, I found something that would heal not only myself, but also my patients, in a far more meaningful and life-impacting way than I’d ever dreamed of while in medical school.
That life changing 'something' was Functional Medicine and the 7 Core Nodes of Healing.
It has healed me and it will heal you.
Let the healing begin
It soon became clear to me that two things had impacted my brain health: 1) Heavy metal toxicity brought on by poor food choices (tuna), seven home renovations in 15 years (lead exposure), and amalgam fillings (mercury), and 2) Neurotransmitter changes due to the night shifts in the ER affecting my circadian rhythm (leading to poor quality sleep and recovery), high stress leading to hormone disruption (loss of physical and emotional resiliency), and my heart health changed.
Add migraines and gluten sensitivity to the mix and I had the recipe for disaster.
How I healed
I began making changes immediately. Within only six months, these changes brought me back to the woman I was when I graduated from Medical School a decade ago. After starting my anti-inflammatory eating plan and the “6-R Gut Healing Program”, I saw visible improvement.
A nutrient dense, whole real foods eating plan not only provided my cells with the nutrients they needed to make energy, but they also contained good chemical messages for my genes. You see, your food tells your genes what to do – either to create vitality or illness.
While I healed my gut, I fast-tracked my recovery by using customized intravenous nutrient infusions that delivered the nutrients that I needed directly to the cells of my body. Despite how complex it sounds, it was really quite easy. The first R of the 6-R Gut Healing Program is REMOVE – remove the offending foods, chemicals, toxicants, overwork, social isolation, and stressors.
From there, I moved on to the second R – REPLACE what is missing – healthy sleep, exercise, nutrient dense real food, calming rituals, connection with friends and family and breath work to strengthen the healing tone of the vagus nerve.
And, it worked. Once my hormones were balanced, my energy and sleep improved. Plus, I reinvigorated the energy powerhouses that I had depleted for so long (CoQ10 and Magnesium). Once I optimized my neurotransmitters, the chest pain vanished - and those migraines? Gone.
I found a renewed sense of vitality and passion for life.
Once again, I became my true unstoppable self, and you can too!