Author: Connie Kelly
My thyroid started to become a problem when I was still in high school. I was tired by 7pm and wanted to go to bed. And cold. Everyone else was swimming in the lake and I had a sweatshirt on. The doctor checked my bloodwork and told me that because it was borderline, she didn’t want to put me on a medication. I know now what borderline means. The range should be from 0.2-2 on the TSH, not 5.0. Two is perfect. When it gets up to 5, I’m not feeling so great. So nothing was done about it. I went off to UofM to study music and I was a mess. I was so tired, I was falling asleep after dinner in the practice room. I wasn’t getting my work done in the evenings and struggling at UofM because of it. I was so brain-foggy that I wasn’t thinking straight, so it didn’t occur to me that I should go to the doctor. I was in a vicious cycle. Couldn’t think straight, so didn’t get checked out, and getting more and more tired and brain-foggy because I wasn’t fixing it.
I ended up transferring to EMU for Biochemistry and decided to see a doctor at the student clinic because I had taken a Psych 101 class and read about Generalized Anxiety Disorder and was convinced that sounded like me. I was so excited that I could take something for it. The doctor also checked my bloodwork and put me on a thyroid medication as well as an anti-depressant for anxiety. She told me this would be the best Christmas present I would ever receive as she placed the samples in my hand. With that combo, I felt like I was normal for the first time in my life. I felt like I found the answers to my problems.
After about a year on the anti-depressants, I began feeling depressed. I thought it was due to the fact that I was in a dysfunctional marriage. And I also thought that because I had anxiety my whole life…well…this was just one more thing wrong with my brain. So I was given another anti-depressant to help the first one work better. And then I was put on a third to help those first two. Oy! I began not really caring about what I ate or exercise, which was not at all like me. I was becoming someone I didn’t recognize. I didn’t really care about music anymore either which was my first love. I didn’t realize it was the anti-depressant making me depressed.
Over the next few years, I began to have other health issues. Digestive distress, asthma (I already had allergies), cystic acne, and ovary pain. One day every month I was doubled over in pain from ovulation. I would crawl down the hallway to the bedroom and someone would have to help me up into bed. I had diarrhea for two years straight. I knew enough about the body to know I wasn’t absorbing the nutrients from my food. And with the acne and gaining weight (a LOT), I didn’t feel pretty.
It hit me, as I was sitting in class studying to take the MCATs to get into Medical School, and I’m running to the bathroom every 30 minutes. What if I get in to Med School? And I’m this sick? How’s that gonna go? I decided then and there that I was going to figure my health out first, then figure out what I wanted to do with Med School. So I took a year off and saw multiple specialists. Three different OBGYNs. Each one couldn’t find the cause. One OB put me on Metformin, not because my blood sugars were off, but just to see if that would help me to lose weight (insert eye roll). I saw a GI doctor who did a scope and couldn’t find anything wrong. He told me I probably just had IBS, and there was nothing he could do for that. He suggested I do the elimination diet. But I HAD done that already, and I HAD already eliminated wheat and dairy.
I decided to go back to my regular doctor for blood work. The only thing she found was that I was possibly anemic and I should take 950 mg of Iron. After 2-3 days on that high of a dose, I had wrenching pains in my abdomen. I got online and found that the dose should be between 50-75mg of iron, not 975 mg. I went back in to the doctor to see why she would recommend that much, and she apologized, saying “I’m sorry. Those are the doctor’s units I gave you, not laymen’s units. That was way too much.” And when I was leaving the office, the medical assistant laughed when I told her I over-dosed on iron. She said “You can’t over-dose on iron!” Well, I fired that doctor and got myself a new one. My new doctor told me “Oh yes you can over-dose on iron, and you did. And this is what happens when you take too much iron. You’d damaged your gut and this is going to take a long time to recover from.” He also told me I was not anemic. And I didn’t need to be taking iron.
I was so frustrated with the medical community by this point. I was venting to my therapist about all that had happened. You see, I was seeing a therapist because I was suicidal on the anti-depressants I was taking and didn’t know they were causing that symptom. My therapist recommended I see Dr. Darren Schmidt in Ann Arbor. She told me he was all natural and used natural supplements and worked with the diet to see what I should be eating. That seems to be just what I needed at the time, because I was already trying to figure my diet out, but I knew what I was doing wasn’t working.
I scheduled my first visit with Darren Schmidt, and he pushed on my arm and gave me a supplement. I had never been muscle tested before, had no idea what he was doing, but I figured by this point, what have I got to lose? I’ve tried everything else. And he told me I had parasite, which I specifically asked the GI doctor about, and he told me I did not have a parasite. Within a couple weeks of taking a special salt tablet called Cal-Amo, my diarrhea had much improved. So much so, that I sat up and took notice. I kept going back to see Dr. Schmidt because he kept fixing things that I thought could never be fixed. Like my allergies. The next summer I only took a Zyrtec 3-4 times during ragweed season. Usually I was miserable with puffy swollen, leaking eyes, itchy throat, sneezing, even with my allergy meds. The following spring I didn’t have an asthma attack. And I’ve not had one since. I actually saw the pulmonologist 2 years after I saw Dr. Schmidt and he did all the tests and told me I didn’t have asthma anymore and took me off the inhalers and the Advair. Wow. I was told I would have these things the rest of my life! This was mind blowing to me. My skin looked better. I no longer had acne, or if I did, it was rare.
I sat Dr. Schmidt down and asked him how I could learn what he was doing. He told me where to go to school. And then I asked him for a job. I started shadowing the doctors there at his office and learning everything I possibly could. I began seeing clients in Ann Arbor in 2012. And I opened my doors here in Holland in 2016. I basically did a 180 from medicine to Naturopathy. Now I am completing my doctorate in Naturopathy. It’s been an amazing journey of realization and phenomenal strides with my health. I very much enjoy what I do. And I love helping others figure out why they are struggling with their health or mental issues.
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