My nightmare began on a peaceful Sunday afternoon at home after church with family and friends. Nothing about the day indicated my life was moments away from changing forever.
I went into the bathroom for a few minutes, and after I came out, I could not find my 18-month-old son, Garrett, who rarely left my side.
I panicked, looked everywhere, and then a horrifying thought hit me - the swimming pool. I dashed to the back of the house to the pool and there he was, my beautiful little boy, face down in the water. He was rushed to the hospital. They tried everything they could to bring him back, but it was too late.
The experience was soul-destroying and the pain simply unimaginable. Despondency descended on me. In its aftermath, so did something else: post-traumatic stress syndrome, or PTSD.
This condition is triggered by a traumatic event that provokes fear, helplessness, horror, feelings of detachment from others, fragmented concentration, and more. It can affect anyone, especially women. Women are more susceptible to depression and anxiety than men, and twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression and PTSD.
The emotional turmoil associated with PTSD sharply raises or lowers secretions of stress hormones like cortisol and alters the normal functioning of other key hormones. PTSD can lead to increased abdominal fat. It whittles away parts of our chromosomes, accelerating aging. It complicates our pregnancies. PTSD kicked me into premature menopause, with crippling symptoms. Weight gain. Hair loss. Joint pain. And worst of all, infertility.
I would go on to heal my infertility and premature menopause naturally – and even conceive my beautiful little girl, Ava – that I was told would be impossible. I share this story in my new book The Hormone Fix. But my healing didn’t end there.
PTSD continued to stalk me like a predator I could not shake. My fluctuating hormones mounted another attack on me. Weight gain. Unrelenting fatigue. Emotional volatility. Stress that made me feel like jumper cables were attached to my heart.
My personal life was a mess. I had relationship issues. My marriage dissolved four years after my son’s death. Then my ex-husband suffered a traumatic brain injury, which left me struggling as a single mom, sole provider, and caregiver to my rebellious teenage girls and my youngest daughter. I concluded I could no longer deliver babies, go to the hospital, or continue my successful gynecology practice. I decided to close my practice – a poorly thought out, knee-jerk decision coming from my foggy brain. All of this forced me into near-bankruptcy and mountains of debt. It was a time of real devastation.
Now … allow me to spoil the suspense by sharing how the rest of my story unfolded.
Today, I am healthy again, physically and emotionally. I have a closer, more loving relationship with my daughters than before. I am running a hugely successful business, growing at explosive rates beyond my dreams. I am debt free.
Those dark days are now in my rearview mirror.
But, how exactly did I get from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to what I’m now calling post traumatic GROWTH (PT-Growth!)? It certainly didn’t happen overnight. There was a lot of trial and error, a lot of giant steps forward, and huge leaps backward. But I made it – thanks to four areas of healing that restored me to physical, emotional, and spiritual health. I want to share them with you, because I don’t want you to ever give up on yourself, no matter what you’re going through. They were essential in getting my life back together – and they can do the same for you.
I have always been a multi-tasker, proud of my ability to keep a lot of balls in the air. After I opened my ob-gyn practice in MacIntosh County, Georgia many years ago, I was on call 24/7 – which tethered me to my pager and phone and caused me to lose years with my children. Then I stayed crazy-busy because I wanted to push my tragedy and troubles out of my head, hoping that I’d forget about them. But I never forgot.
This frenetic pace did nothing to resolve my PTSD. My body was churning out the stress hormone, cortisol, constantly, and preventing oxytocin, the calming hormone, from keeping me emotionally balanced. The whirlwind of self-imposed activity in my life robbed me of much-needed rest and sleep, further throwing my hormones out of whack.
So, I slowed down or, put another way, I paused. I paused to renew my personal relationships and find greater happiness with family and friends. I paused from trying to be superhuman.
My advice? Walk out the door each day and give yourself a moment to pause. Notice the beauty of God’s creation. Sip on your coffee. Gaze out a window at your beautiful surroundings. At mealtime, put away cell phones and truly connect with your family. Choose to take a break.
After my son’s death, I was mad at God. But I would later find my faith buried underneath my constant on-the-go lifestyle. Once I learned to pause and I became drawn back to daily prayer, my mind became clearer. Through prayerful reflection, I would ask myself:
Do this for yourself. It is very powerful. Simply sit in a quiet place, without interruption, and become aware of God’s presence. Open yourself to the feeling of love and then ask yourself these important questions. Reflect on your day with gratitude and look optimistically toward tomorrow. After all, tomorrow doesn’t have any mistakes in it yet!
As a doctor and a mom, I’ve always taken care of everyone else. For a long time, my own needs took a back seat. In order to feel whole again, I needed to change course. I started by modifying my diet.
I pursued ketogenic dieting, but felt worse. I went keto crazy, meaning I got cranky and miserable. I knew something was off, so I researched intensely and discovered the missing link: the alkaline factor. Keto dieting alone can make us acidic — and we need to balance that with alkaline foods and lifestyle habits — to offset the keto crazies. Armed with this knowledge, I developed my Keto-Green Diet, outlined in great detail in The Hormone Fix. It was like flipping a switch. Suddenly, I had boundless energy. I dropped weight faster than I ever had before. My menopause symptoms vanished. My brain fog lifted. I was able to make better decisions. Even my PTSD improved. My life was turning around right before my eyes. I knew I was onto something BIG. I am the ultimate case study for the Keto-Green program.
This lifestyle has the power to fix your hormones, help you stay slim and sexy, feel more energetic, revive your libido, and transform your life — and I am proof that it really works!
Prioritize your health now, and you will cement habits that will serve you well into your golden years.
I originally created the program in The Hormone Fix to heal myself. But it was so powerful, that I had to pour it out to others. I did so by creating online interactive programs for women, e-books, blogs, and now, my book, The Hormone Fix. I figured that if I could touch just one person’s life, it was worth my time.
Ever since, I’ve been on a mission to help women restore their health and lead long, healthy, loving, and fulfilling lives. My greatest reward is seeing my program allow women who were once limited by their health begin to enjoy life again.
Studies show that giving back gives you greater psychological well-being and personal satisfaction. Research even indicates that pouring into others has many health benefits and could lead to a longer life. Bottom line — there is healing power in doing good and having gratitude. I encourage you to pour out your own lessons, experience, wisdom, time and talents to others.
You don’t have to have or give a lot to be able to pour into someone else. Even small things can make a huge difference – like making a cup of coffee for someone you love, sharing a big bear hug, or texting a friend to say you’re thinking of them. No matter where you are in your journey, you have something to give to others! And it’s just as important to pour into yourself. You know how much I speak about the importance of self-care -- mentally, physically and spiritually. It will make all the difference in the world.
You are destined to live the life that you deserve – with happiness, health, love, attractiveness, and more.
Now is the time to go for it, because there’s nothing that can stop you from achieving a fulfilled life.