2021 · health

natural sh*t

It’s entirely possible that I’m eating my own words as I say this: I’ve been seeing a Naturopath.

Now, let me preface this by explaining something quite simple: I believe that every person and every patient needs to find and follow the path that best suits them, their healthcare needs, and their wellness goals. For a long time, I personally didn’t feel that seeing a naturopath or homeopathic care provider was the right fit for me. But now I do. I’ll also note, this is not a sponsored post.

My path to my first appointment was, as I suspect many people’s paths are, not straight. It began years ago when my aunt, who has Crohn’s Disease, recommended a homoeopath or naturopath to help me overcome the often debilitating symptoms of IBS with which I suffered. At the time, I had neither the health insurance nor the conviction to believe that it was worth my while. “Snake oil,” I decided, would not be what cured what ailed me.

But, of course, that was a vast oversimplification of things.

In January 2021, my general practitioner weighed me, reviewed my medications, took some other vitals, listened to my concerns and goals, and promptly told me to gain weight. “You’re underweight,” she declared, and then she sent me on my way. No suggestions. No overarching rationale. Just… gain weight.

But, in reality, I was not (and am not) underweight. While I don’t have extra weight to lose, I also didn’t believe (nor do I believe now) that I needed to gain weight. So, for the first time in my life, I reached out to a naturopath.

I selected Dr Nikole McLellan (aka Dr Kokes) for two reasons:

  1. She specialises in female athletes and, while I might not be a pro, I train a LOT and wanted to work with someone who truly understands the needs of active female bodies, and;
  2. She practices at the clinic I already visit for physiotherapy and my PT referred me, with the assurance that she is “brilliant” (he’s right).

In March 2020, I began thyroid medication to treat my under-active thyroid. In November, I had my IUD removed because I had concerns about the continued use of artificial hormones on my body. For as long as I can remember, I’ve suffered through my IBS symptoms and “flare-ups”, flying by the seat of my pants to reactively treat how I feel and doing my best to avoid the things that might make me feel unwell.

While I believe my GP brings a lot of value to my health and wellness, I also believe that health is diverse and complicated and that I’m really heckin’ lucky to have access to other healthcare professionals.

Bringing Dr Kokes into my circle of care and opening myself up to different perspectives has led me to some pretty incredible successes. For the first time I can remember, my IBS is under control. I no longer have regular, inflammatory episodes of acne, eczema, etc. My thyroid meds were adjusted to be a LOWER dose after three months of working with Dr Kokes. I’m sleeping better, feeling stronger, and some big dreams have come true.

Perhaps the most important part of this chapter of my healthcare and wellness has been this: I feel heard. I feel seen. I no longer feel like we’re treating one symptom to simply create another – Dr Kokes takes a holistic approach to her practice, coaching me in a variety of areas. With her support, I’ve begun meditating and mindfulness practices and learnt to pay better attention to my body’s cues in telling me when to move, when to eat, and when to recover.

In short, I’m really glad I made that first appointment.

Naturopathic medicine isn’t necessarily the right path for everyone and I know that. But if you think it might be for you, or you’re just curious about my experience, feel free to ping me on my social channels any time. I’d be more than happy to chat.

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