I never set out to become a doctor, in fact, in school that career path never even crossed my radar. The doctor part only happened because of the naturopathy part, not the other way around. The natural health interest I could trace back to my entire upbringing, where Mum always surrounded us with healthy food, made sure we were active, and kept us in a generally healthy lifestyle. It is not hard to do in Australia, of course, but she definitely espoused the typical healthy Aussie girl (and still does!) and that carried on to me.
The story starts when I was in my late teens back in Australia, although if someone had told me then what I would ultimately end up doing, I wouldn’t have believed them. I was doing a Bachelor of Arts degree at Sydney University, and was working in a gym part time, teaching aerobics and personal training. It was all good fun, but I found myself getting more interested in the nutrition aspect, and then going further into naturopathy. I studied for my Diploma of Naturopathy, and converted it to a Bachelor of Health Sciences with an additional year of study.
As many young Aussies do, I got restless, and at age 23 sold my car, packed my backpack and took off for a year. I stayed along with way with my cousins Ken and Regina in Manhattan, and my love affair with New York began. I took any opportunity to go back there – including nannying for them when their first child was born. In 1998, I discovered an internship program that sent young Aussies and Brits to New York, providing a job posting, accommodation, health insurance and a visa – all the hard things to procure on one’s own. Having just finished my studies I thought that I would have to put starting my career on hold to do this, but figured I might as well get the New York bug worked out while I had the chance, then I’d come back to Sydney and settle into working as a traditional naturopath.
Of course, God had a hand in it all, and I ended up getting the only medical posting in the whole Mountbatten Internship program. I was the assistant to a neurologist and researcher at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. I was surrounded by prominent doctors and researchers every day, and just loved the environment. About half way through that year, a family friend met with my Dad for lunch and they called me up, put me on speaker phone, and told me that they both thought that I should go to Bastyr University and do a Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine. Bastyr what? Where? Seattle? Four years? Ha ha no way.
Fast forward four years, I graduated from Bastyr University in Seattle with my doctorate, and moved to San Diego in 2003. I started in private practice, teaming up with BioHealth Centers and working under medical director Kurt Woeller. Kurt is an autism doc, and he very graciously trained me in that work. For the next few years I worked as a DAN! Doctor (Defeat Autism Now). I traveled the country doing autism clinics for Great Plains Lab, reaching families that might not have had access to that kind of biomedical care for their children. It was very rewarding and I still love working with autism spectrum kids. I will always be grateful to Kurt for mentoring me in the way he did.
During that time I started working with some of the mums of the autistic kids. These women were in their 30’s and experiencing chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, complete exhaustion and neurological issues. It just didn’t seem right. I tested them for adrenal fatigue, heavy metal toxicity, mold toxicity and Lyme disease, amongst other things. The Lyme kept turning up positive, time and time again. And so I started treating it, at first just naturopathically, and after a couple of years, incorporating antibiotic protocols to be able to provide a fully integrative approach. That really has now taken over my practice, and over 90% of my patients are Lyme disease patients. It is very rewarding and also very challenging, as Lyme is an ugly disease that is quite difficult to overcome. The political environment surrounding it makes it very hard to get adequate treatment and even recognition of the diagnosis in the regular medical community. I love to write and have three books to date published on Lyme, and I’m in the middle of a fourth.
I also work with preconception health care and infertility, men’s and women’s hormone balance, detoxification, heavy metal toxicity, weight loss and a range of other issues.
My work is very rewarding, but sometimes I have to dig deep to find the energy and capacity to be everything I need to be especially for my very sick, chronically ill patients. Part of my journey is trying how to balance that, and some of that will be reflected in my blog. If you’d like to learn more about my practice, you can visit our website at www.restormedicine.com.