Life Beyond Illness and Discovering Your Purpose Despite Tragedy with Dr. Jill Carnaham


Today on the Girlfriend Doctor, I uncover the beauty of suffering with Dr. Jill Carnaham, a board certified integrative medicine specialist and author of Unexpected. As a patient, Dr. Carnaham survived breast cancer, crohn’s disease, leaky gut syndrome and despite facing her own mortality now seeks to help those suffering from a similar fate. Known as the Sherlock Holmes of medicine, she instills compassion and an investigative approach to medicine, to find the root cause of her patients' illnesses. 

Growing up on a farm using the toxic herbicide Atrazine, triggered Dr.Carnaham’s lifelong battle with breast cancer. What was once an uncommon diagnosis for a woman her age is now prevalent in even younger patients; as our culture accepts the use of dangerous chemicals, destructive diets and obsessive work habits that destroy your immune system. Although it is agonizing to witness this increased suffering from sickness, it is possible to forge a new path to health for yourself and society.

Amidst the steady suffering of disease, fatigue and burnout, Dr. Carnaham remains dedicated to compassion for herself and for others. Within her pain, she found that patients, like herself, are in desperate need of hope. Pain can be a profound teacher to those willing to seek meaning amidst their suffering. When facing death, you instinctually recognize the beauty of life and it is this lesson that Dr. Carnaham imparts to you.


[4:50] How genuine connection can inspire hope and healing for patients 

[6:00] Balancing the scientific masculine with the intuitive feminine 

[8:30] The average baby is born with over 200 chemicals in their blood 

[9:50] Atrazine, a cancer causing herbicide, is still used today by many farmers in the US

[12:50] When you embrace gratitude unexpected miracles unfold

[15:00] Workaholism is unfortunately a dangerous but socially acceptable form of addiction

[20:00] Poor diet,on top of chemotherapy, leading to leaky gut syndrome and crohn's disease

[24:40] Discovering mold exposure after experiencing shortness of breath and brain fog

[26:10] The gift of the suffering: facing your own mortality to find your purpose in life

[28:00] Sometimes,all a patient needs is the blessing of someone acknowledging their light

[34:00] Doctor Patient Documentary: Jill’s journey alongside environmental medicine 

[36:00] Everyone has suffering at times but it does not diminish your purpose or your joy

[38:00] Compassion begins with yourself and then it can be spread outward to the world


Book: Unexpected

Free Chapter




“It’s taught basically don’t share your emotions, certainly don’t cry in front of patients, don’t share too much but it’s taking off that mask and becoming human and real to our patients that is so important to the connection and so important to giving them hope and healing.” [4:56]

“We were both in this culture that was not kind and what happens in that culture is you suppress your needs. You literally go into dissociation at some points and all of that physiology in your body has to come out somewhere so often it comes out in illness.”  [17:40]

“The truth is, if we can look and we can find those pearls in the midst of the suffering, they turn out to be the most beautiful things in our life.” [29:16]

“There is a powerful healing in that kindness and compassion and it starts with us and then we can share it with the world.”[38:20]


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Dr. Anna Cabeca

Dr. Anna Cabeca

Certified OB/GYN, Anti-Aging and Integrative Medicine expert and founder of The Girlfriend Doctor. During Dr. Anna’s health journey, she turned to research to create products to help thousands of women through menopause, hormones, and sexual health. She is the author of best-selling The Hormone Fix, and Keto-Green 16 and MenuPause.

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