How I Solved My Autoimmune Puzzle and Emerged Well
Saturday morning, October 17th, 2017, the plan was for me and my husband Joe to take our kids to see the movie Geostorm, starring Gerard Butler. In the minutes that followed, as I walked from my kitchen into the master bedroom, I collapsed into a seizure.
Dizzy, my thoughts were scrambled like the eggs I’d just made for breakfast. I found myself on the floor, unable to lift my head or my body. Knife-like pain shot through my abdomen. I felt so nauseous that any attempts to make my way into the bathroom only exacerbated the situation, and then came the gross gastrointestinal symptoms – sudden vomiting.
I pulled myself across the floor, curled up into the fetal position on a dog bed that sits at foot of our bed, and for a moment I could not see. I passed out again. I’m not sure how long I lay there before Joe found me. He managed to help me clean up and make it into our bed, where I stayed for the next 72 hours as my body continued to express itself in painful and grotesque ways. Suffice to say, we never made it to the movie.
Little did I know at the time that I’d gone so long chronically stressing my endocrine system that my body had steadily been losing its ability to function optimally and produce enough of the hormone cortisol – the hormone responsible for the body’s stress response, regulating blood sugar, controlling blood pressure, breaking down fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and affecting how one’s immune system works.
To give you a little background, I was the woman running marathons, operating a full-time business, raising money to fund cutting edge cancer research and hosting live leadership events. Then, without warning, I collapsed in my own home – unaware of what was brewing beneath the surface – until I experienced this acute adrenal crisis called adrenal insufficiency or Addison’s Disease. It is one of more than 140 chronic autoimmune conditions – many of which disproportionately strike women.
On that fateful day in October, I nearly lost the most precious asset each of us possesses – my ability to function. That was my wakeup call. In time I’d realize just how fortunate I was that this high mortality health crisis was not the moment I’d take my final exhale. Instead, it was the call that led me on a three-year journey of healing and self-reclamation that resulted in me reversing my own chronic health condition, shutting down a profitable (but deadeningly stressful) business partnership, and re-prioritizing everything in my life to heal.
Even after spending 30 years as an entrepreneurial woman and national practice management consultant who intimately understood the inner workings of allopathic medicine (the treatment of disease by conventional means – read pharmaceutical drugs), insurance as a primary driver of healthcare protocols, and the best practices for growing a health care business, I was utterly unaware of how highly underserved women’s health is.
Let’s put it in context, shall we?
What if I told you that up to this point, whatever you’ve done to diet, exercise or treat your health complaints has been funded, research, and informed to optimize men’s bodies, men’s health? Would that be a surprise to you? Could it begin to explain WHY your body, your female operating system may not be functioning so well?
Does any of the following sound familiar to YOU?
- You’re weight loss resistant
- You’re exhausted when you wake up despite sleeping eight hours
- Your are struggling with brain fog, cloudy thinking, or an overactive mind that won’t let you rest (your wired but tired)
- You’re regularly moody, depressed, anxious or overwhelmed
- Your libido left you somewhere along the way, and despite wanting it back, your body is just not feeling it
- You are medicating symptoms either with prescription drugs or self-medicating with whatever new pill or potion promises to relieve “the thing” you want to rid yourself of most
- You’re chronically stressed
- You’re burned out
- You’re numb
- You’re sick, suffering, or symptomatic in ways no one has been able to get to the root of
- Despite your best efforts to eat right, exercise, sleep, experience pleasure, fulfillment, passion, and peace, its’ just not working for you
Women deserve more for their bodies.
Eradicating the epidemic of unseen conditions that are robbing them of their vitality (time and resources), helping high-functioning women just like you rebuild health is the “why” of my company.
Today, as Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner and Founder of emergewell+co, I spend a good portion of my time and energy uncovering the hidden causal factors that have been robbing women of radiant living and writing the individual, biologically based protocols that help each woman put an end to the circumstances that have led to her deteriorating health and happiness.
When you remove the fancy acronyms from behind my name, I’m a health detective, a woman trained in the science of functional medicine, positive psychology, and the behavioral aspects of lasting lifestyle change.
In a world flooded with fad food rules and misinformation, my protocols draw on science and sound wellness principles that date back 5,000 thousand years. I have built an online wellness movement and kind community from scratch to empower women to befriend their bodies, make peace with past events, and quit the habitual lifestyle patterns negatively influencing the way we eat, love, work, move forward, and manifest in the world.
Sheila Jackson, FDN-P, FMCHC, NBC-HWC, is a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner, a Board Certified Functional Medicine Health Coach, and an accomplished entrepreneur