My WHY and Story Behind Functional Medicine
How did I get started in this wonderful field?!
Well, I have been practicing both medical and cosmetic dermatology for 20 years. During that time I became aggravated with just putting the “band aid” on my patients by ways of prescribing medications. We never went after the cause of chronic conditions. This is how conventional medicine teaches us to treat: we diagnose the disease, we prescribe the drug, and we follow them up. Now, dont get me wrong- for acute conditions like a full body poison ivy rash, this is great medicine! But when I am seeing chronic conditions month in and month out, with no real forward motion in healing, I got testy.
Around this time my then 13 year old daughter began expressing that she was having digestive complaints. Nothing serious for me to schedule an appointment with the pediatrician, so I just sat and waited….to see if it would go away. I was very patient–I waited 6 months. She did not stop complaining. I KNEW in my heart that there was nothing structurally wrong with her, and if I took her to her Dr. they would prescribe medications (that may or may not have worked), scheduled her for multiple imaging studies, and even potentially done an endoscopy/colonoscopy. I wasnt feeling it and I began looking for more education.
Then, I stumbled upon the Institute for Functional Medicine, a large organization that offered practitioners a framework of education and even certification once their program was complete. The IFM focuses on the body as a whole and includes mental, emotional and spiritual factors influencing the body and its ability to heal . They had a deep focus on lifestyle factors including: nutrition, sleep, exercise, stress management and relationships and how all of these interplay along with genetics to express disease.
THIS is exactly what I was looking for!!!
I found a functional medicine practitioner in my area and made the first appointment available for my daughter….
The next week in clinic at my last appointment of the day, I sat across a 16 year old girl who brought her mom and aunt along to the appointment. She was very articulate and asked me immediately after I introduced myself – “I was just diagnosed with Lupus. My mom and grandmother both have it. I need to know and understand how my diet affects my disease”. I just sat there for a moment and tried to keep myself collected.
I felt like the universe was SCREAMING at me by this point. As if I wasnt listening well enough to my own feelings of inadequacy in my ability to truly heal my patients or to my daughters complaints, here sat this beautiful young girl asking me questions that I was never taught the answer to. I sat there and spoke to her honestly- “You know, thats a great question that I do not have the answer to right now. BUT, I promise you that I will find out”. I continued on with the visit as I had been trained to do and got into my car and cried the entire drive home.
That was the beginning of of the journey……
And next, I signed up with the IFM and began my education in Functional Medicine. I am proud to say that I have completed this course, sat for AND PASSED the certification exam. I am now an IFMCP, Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner. One of 1300 GLOBALLY.
If you or your family or friends are dealing with a chronic health challenge, please do not hesitate to reach out to see if Whisper Health is a good fit to partner with you in your walk towards wellness!