Okay so the title of this article is a misnomer, because it’s been shortened. It should really read: I created a team that created a tool that changed my life.
Here we go!
You may have read my story of how I’ve struggled with chronic health issues since I was 13. It started as IBS for me, and in my early 20s also became diagnosed with a form of PCOS, and how I was told by many well-meaning docs that I would just have to live with my symptoms. Read more on that story here.
I began learning all I could about Integrative care- a model focused on symptom reversal and relief, deeply rooted in lifestyle changes. I went to a Naturopathic Doctor, and she wanted me to write down all of my symptoms, sleep, meals, periods- you name it- in my terrible handwriting. I learned why she was doing it- taking notes had an incredible impact on accountability- but me being young and annoying said “I have all this info on 8+ different apps on my phone- “ and “there must be a better way!” I wanted to get her this info remotely, faster, to speed up the feedback loop and just make for a better holistic patient practitioner experience.
Lifestyle coaching is hard, but it’s easier when you are not in the dark! So I set out to create a tool to help us figure out how. But first I had to build a team. This took time, especially when you know very little. I remember just meeting people I’d find in my parent’s basement over skype (yes Skype) searching and searching to meet the right people. At many points it seemed impossible.
While I didn’t know exactly what form a solution would take, I was committed to the problem. I wanted to create a product to solve my own problem which is- I am headed in the right direction, I am healing but not fully healed, to fully heal I think I need a better way, or better system to help me get deep help.
And that’s really what happened, it’s hard to believe it looking back. After we built the initial concept, and of course the team, and got the support of some amazing humans- I dove straight in and enrolled myself, with a practitioner committed to going deep- which is why she was attracted to Flöka. I did her program and after reviewing all of my symptoms, notes, family history, all of the data possible to give her- she did something extraordinary. She called me an “endo babe”.
She said to me, based on all of your data and symptoms, we can assume you have it. Now, knowing that you can only know for sure that you have endometriosis based on a laparoscopy - I was surprised. So I got a referral to an OB. As of 2 weeks ago, I now know that I had it all over my bowels and bladder - two areas causing my symptoms. And it is all removed!
Clinically, such a fascinating case right? I’m about to share all the endo facts I want you to know, but first- it’s such a beautiful example of how it’s not conventional health care or alternative health care we need- the answer is both.
Endometriosis can come back. Lifestyle changes decrease that chance. We need talented conventional care docs like surgeons AND we need talented lifestyle coaches that are willing to go deep with you on your lifestyle habits, ask you the tough questions, and who want to know as much as possible about you before making a recommendation.
Yes, I am feeling so much better today. I have the energy I last had as a teenager, before the inflammation and chronic illness became a major part of my life. I would like to thank every single supporter of our mission here at flöka- you have made my health today possible. And especially, I’d like to thank the coaches and practitioners. You make a HUGE difference real lives. I can’t say thank you enough.
Now for facts!
We are here on this mission to empower patients to advocate for themselves, document their symptoms to be empowered with notes and history when approaching their coach, doctor or anyone in their care team. If you suspect you have endometriosis please speak to you doctor about seeing an OB. If you do have surgery and find out you have it, please speak with a certified coach or integrative practitioner to work with you on lifestyle changes that can prevent the chance of its return.
Managing a chronic condition is a lifelong commitment, but the quality of life is so worth it, if you can live without pain and get back to thriving.