Because life doesn't end with an autoimmune diagnosis

Remember when you were an effervescent woman who had energy and goals and lived life out loud?

You were sexy and vibrant, and somewhat irreverent.

You wore your passion for life and a sense of adventure like your favorite jeans.

Your smile lit up a room.

Now some days being successful means just getting out of bed.  Bonus points for a shower.  Double bonus points for putting on some makeup to cover those dark circles under your eyes.  (Where the hell did they come from?)

 

When you look in the mirror, you see a dim shadow of your former self, barely recognizable, and you wonder what everyone else sees.  Has your spark gone out for good?  (No, it hasn’t, but more on that later.)

 

You want desperately for someone to understand how you feel, but you don’t want to “complain.”  God, you are sick of hearing yourself complain!  About the sleepless nights, the pain, another doctor’s visit, a new medication….  You sound like you’re 80.  Hell, you feel like you’re 80.

There is so much more you want to do – if you just had the energy.

 

Your deepest desire is to feel excited about life again.

 

 

And I want that too.  I want you to feel your best, so you can share your gifts with the world.

 

 

I’m Meredith, and I am here to help you fall in love with life again.

 

 

I work with you on a holistic level, addressing all the many parts of you – because you are so much more than the sum of your parts.  Together we can have you feeling unstoppable!

 

Why do I care? Because I have been in your shoes.

 

 

I’m a mother, wife, daughter, sister, homeschooling parent, friend, yoga teacher, life coach, and more. I also have chronic pain, rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue, lyme disease and co-infections, and possibly some other autoimmune diseases, if the doctors could agree on the diagnosis.

 

 

 

 

I’ve got a cabinet full of supplements and a long list of specialists.  Rock bottom is a place I know well.  It’s a scary, dark place, at the corner of Feeling Sorry for Myself and Losing Hope.

 

Here’s how it happened…

 

My health had been on a steady decline since I was pregnant with my third child, thirteen years ago.  At that time, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism.  I took the meds because I had to for the baby.  I also did some prenatal yoga, which really helped with what had become a rather stressful pregnancy.

 

Then my baby, Ruby, was born with Down Syndrome and a whole host of related medical problems. I shifted immediately into crisis mode and remained there for several years.  Keeping her alive and well was my first priority – and for the first year at least, a 24/7 job. My own health took a backseat, where it remained until Ruby was five.  You see, when Ruby was four, she had another extremely serious health problem arise.  We spent few months back in “crisis mode,” in and out of the hospital a few hours from our home.

 

Then my health took another nosedive.  I wasn’t exercising or eating or sleeping well.  There were days and days when I didn’t leave the hospital at all, not even for a few minutes of fresh air.

 

When this latest crisis was over, I just kept chugging along, doing what needed to be done on a daily basis to care for my family.  A year later, Ruby had another scary episode. It turned out not to be serious, but it triggered all the anxiety and stress that I had been stuffing down for years.

 

Well, let me tell you, the shit hit the proverbial fan!  Anxiety overwhelmed me, culminating in a full-blown panic attack one day while I was driving in the car with all three kids.

 

 

I realized that day that if I didn’t take care of myself first, I wouldn’t be able to take care of my family at all.

 

 

I began a regular yoga and meditation practice and soon after enrolled in a yoga teacher training program.  I felt so much better, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally, too.  When I began teaching, I loved sharing my newfound insights with my students.

 

A couple of years later, I enrolled in a lifestyle design coaching program, so that I could further my skills and help more women like myself. I was blown away by everything I was learning, especially in the areas of mindset and self-care.  Oh, how I wished I had known all this before!

 

Things were looking up – until suddenly they weren’t.

 

I began having terrible pain and inflammation in my elbow.  I tried everything (“alternative” and allopathic) to get rid of the pain.  Suddenly I went from being a person who hated to take any medicine or even vitamins, to being one with a whole cabinet full of them, and a growing list of specialists, too.  None of whom really addressed me as a whole person, or could actually solve the problem of my pain and increasing fatigue.

 

After two years of this, I felt like I was straying away from the progress I had made using the tools and techniques learned in my coaching and yoga practices.  I even started to feel like a fraud. How could I help other women when I couldn’t even help myself?  I stopped teaching yoga (which had gotten almost impossible anyway, due to the restriction in my arm) and took a hiatus from coaching.  My pain got worse, sleep eluded me, and my depression was growing.

 

Finally I had surgery – supposedly as a last ditch effort – in the hope of getting a definitive diagnosis from the biopsy, since none of my doctors were really sure what was causing the inflammation.

 

My surgeon also led me to believe that I would have a temporary, or maybe permanent, reprieve from the pain.  Well, no such luck on either front.  Surgery brought me to rock bottom.  (Not to mention, my biopsy results came back “unspecified inflammation.”)  I now had new specialists.  Although they still weren’t really sure of the root cause of my problems, they were more than willing to prescribe some pretty harsh pharmaceuticals.

 

I finally said “enough.”  I knew I wasn’t going to find my answer in some pills whose side effects could make me feel even worse.  And I didn’t want to be the person I had become.

 

My daughter Ruby isn’t very verbal, but one night she sat on the sofa with her feet up, all wrapped in blanket, with her arm propped up on a pillow, and looking absolutely despondent – and I realized she was pretending to be me!

 

The realization that THIS was how my child sees me devastated me.  I didn’t want to be THAT person any longer!  I missed the “old me” who was enthusiastic about life, always hopeful, always up for an adventure, ready with a laugh.  God, when was the last time I really laughed?!

 

So, I decided to crawl out of the hole I had dug and put on my big girl pants.  I got back to practicing extreme self-care and started trusting my intuition again.  I took control of my life.  No, I wasn’t going to ignore my health issues (as if THAT was possible now), but I wasn’t going to let them ruin my life, either.

 

I searched for experts and searched my soul and chose the path I would follow to resolve my health problems.  It’s a long term plan, not a quick fix, and I can’t say I am 100% cured yet, but I am okay with staying on this path until I am (and I am doing so much better now!)

 

In the meantime, I am utilizing all the strategies and knowledge that I have garnered in the areas of holistic health, yoga, mindset and lifestyle design, to put my life back on track – not like it was before, though.  I am aiming much higher now.  (smile.) 

 

I can’t put into words how it feels to make a commitment to myself, to creating the life I want.  To feel every day (whether I got any sleep the night before or if the pain is particularly bad) that I am right where I belong. I am excited about life again – and that is priceless!

 

 

I love my life again, and you can, too.

 

 

It is truly my purpose in life to help others.  I have spent over twenty years of my adult life in helping and teaching careers.  I have decided to see my pain and health struggles as a gift.  A gift that has led me to help other women who are struggling with similar issues.  (I’m looking at you, beautiful.)

 

No, it isn’t as easy as taking a pill.  It’s not a magic wand you can wave once and have everything be perfect.  But the strategies I have honed are simple, holistic, FUN, effective, and gratifying!  And you are oh-so-worth-it.

 

So, grab a cup of coffee/herbal tea, and explore the site.  Make sure to subscribe below to get my FREE 9-Day Course in Overcoming Self-Sabotage, and so you don’t miss my any of my holistic wellness tips right in your inbox. It’ll rock your world!

My initial coaching session with Meredith focused on clarifying my goals and taking steps towards reaching the balanced lifestyle I envisioned for myself and my family. At that time, my energy was scattered and I felt overwhelmed. I needed to focus but did not know how to move out of the exhausting cycle I’d found myself stuck within. Meredith provided just what I needed to move into a more productive, creative, and peaceful place. Her voice as a coach pushed me forward into the direction I desired to go.

Brianne Phillips

Artist/Writer

Certified Lifestyle Design Coach

Yoga Tune Up® Certified Teacher

Experienced Certified Yoga Teacher with advanced training in Yoga Therapy, Restorative Yoga, and Yoga for the Special Child.

Master’s of Intercultural Management with Specializations in Training & Development, The School for International Training, World Learning, Brattleboro, VT

B.A. in International Business, Simmons College, Boston, MA