Integrative Medicine Comes Naturally
Kate's natural beginnings primed her for a health journey in integrative medicine. She was born and raised on a third-generation organic dairy farm in Ontario, Canada.
Our primary food consumption came directly from the food we grew and livestock we raised. Three generations lived together in one house and all helped on the farm. My grandmother baked our bread and made homemade butter and cheese.
Health and wellness were always a major part of my life. As a teenager, I cared for the sick farm animals and later worked for our local veterinary clinic. I was fascinated by animal medicine and became even more inspired by its overlap with human medicine. My first vision was to become a large animal veterinarian. However, travelling outside of Canada gave me the opportunity to envision humanitarian efforts. Those experiences opened my eyes to the struggles and challenges people face in accessing equitable health care.
“To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise we shall not be able to keep the mind strong and clear”
Kate's Story Continues
Kate's story continues with her return to Canada. She pursues a degree in nursing with the intention to apply to medical school.
During the last couple of years of nursing school, our daughters Elle and Amelia were born. It was a very busy time requiring much work and very little sleep. This lifestyle caused quite a few health issues to surface. Conventional medicine was not able to offer answers about these imbalances in my body and my health conditions continued to progress.
Fast forward 10 exhausting years. I'm a tired mom working as an RN in a Peds emergency department and coordinator for a rural educational multidisciplinary outreach program. Issues with my menstrual cycle began to surface as well as neurological symptoms and debilitating headaches. I receive a diagnosis of Chiari Malformation four years after the birth of my second daughter. Chiari Malformation is the herniation of the lower cerebellum into the cervical spine and causes an increase in pressure in the brain. Because this condition is generally a genetic disorder present at birth, why is this only negatively affecting me now?
Kate's Health Begins to Fail
Kate couldn't function and her health begins to fail drastically. Consequently, she had to take a year off work. Endless visits to Neurologists, Neurosurgeons and pain clinics only offered her symptom treatment and worse, the suggestion to surgically remove her cerebellum.
Not one of my healthcare practitioners were interested in getting to the root cause and the lack of answers mainstream medicine offered became most distressing. Thus, I spend all my free time researching alternative medicine and find Functional and Integrative Medicine or “root cause medicine,” made complete sense.
Learning About Integrative Medicine
My next steps were learning everything there was to know about integrative medicine. I found out that even though I grew up eating close to the earth, it only took several courses of IV antibiotics, years of shift work and sleep deprivation to unravel my healthy body. This information gave me the tools to give me back my wellness.
Integrative Medicine Asks 3 Crucial Questions
- Why is this happening to the body?
- What are the underlying root causes that lead to the conditions of disease in the body?
- How do we go about restoring balance?
It was time to learn more about functional medicine.
My Health Journey
My health journey finally began with healing my gut. I started measuring my blood sugar and eliminating caffeine, alcohol, sugar, gluten and processed food from my diet. Wonderfully, my pain started to fade and I soon returned to work and participating in activities, such as hiking and biking.
Curious friends and colleagues begin to notice and ask what I did to improve my health. Sharing my lifestyle changes with them didn't feel like enough. Using the tools to share with the world became a passion. Kate's passion for integrative medicine led her to a part time position as an RN in the IV nutritional, vitamin and ozone therapy clinic for Lynne Murfin, MD.
Nurse Practitioner In Training
I begin training as a Family Nurse Practitioner and receive certification in Functional Medicine from The Institute for Functional Medicine. Functional or Integrative Medicine is a systems approach to diagnosis and treatment. There is a true disconnect in conventional medicine. Modern medicine for the most part, has forgotten a very crucial idea that health does not just encompass the absence of physical disease.
On the other hand, true wellness involves healthy thoughts, habits, coping mechanisms and calm ways of relating to others and our environment. There is a happy ending to disease.
A Happy Ending
I feel like I’ve come full circle. Learning to become a Family Nurse Practitioner gives me a deep appreciation for scientific research and knowledge as well as respect for everyone's health story and healing potential. As an Nurse Practitioner, I aspire to help people tap into their body’s unique ability to find wellness and balance.
Each person is unique and so too should be the approach to each individual’s journey to wellness. I have a special interest in women and children’s health as well as pelvic floor dysfunction and sexual health. It is my great privilege to be able to share in a person’s wellness journey and I look forward to working with you to explore yours.
In my spare time, I like whipping up gluten free, dairy free and sugar free culinary delights. I consider it a huge success when my family reports that they LOVE a new recipe. I love spending time with my husband and our two daughters on our acreage outside of Calgary. We have 2 dogs, 4 cats, 4 ducks, many chickens, a horse, and a donkey named Willie Nelson. I still love my animals!