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Dr. Julie George aims to provide you with knowledge to take control of your life.  Our blog provides information for you to become informed, aware, and able to make confident decisions.  

 

Life Changes

DrJulie George

 

As an expecting mother I envisioned the way I wanted to raise my children and have a professional career.  I wanted to instill some of the same family traditions that I had taken part in as well as start new traditions.  I thought about having themed birthday parties, trying healthy recipes and traveling the world.  I contemplated childcare situations and future education for my precious kids.  I envisioned taking 3 months off, then gently going back part time and building up to full time after the second birthday.  I really thought all of this was a perfect game plan.  

Then there was the birth of our third baby.  Everything went smoothly and she was a healthy 9lb 2oz baby girl born at home.  My envisioned game plan was still in place.  At 2 months old she started having horrible eczema and really bad reflux symptoms which were not improving.  As a mother, especially a naturopath, I felt like I was failing at discovering the underlining issue.  She had imaging and was being seen by a fantastic pediatrician, with no answers.  When she was 4 months old, we decided to give her an excellent product for eczema and reflux.  She immediately had anaphylaxis to the product.  We rushed her to the local hospital and onto being transported to the Children's hospital.  At the first hospital her blood work came back extremely abnormal.  We were in the hospital for 8 days before being released without a definite diagnosis.  Months later she was given the diagnoses of Hereditary Spherocytosis and Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EOE). 

During these months leading up to the proper diagnoses, our family's world was unraveling.  My naturopathic office was having to be put on hold, my life evolved around driving to the children's hospital multiple times per week for testing and treatment.  My husband and I spent countless hours researching the diseases as well as natural treatments.  The medical doctors did not always agree or understand our approaches.  It was extremely exhausting fighting for my rights to breastfeed my child, and not to do the harsh medications and feeding tubes.  My husband changed careers and relocated during this exhausting time, which left me tending to the stress of an ill child.  I managed working limited hours for months.  Some patients were understanding, but not all.  After a scary allergic reaction that required airlift to the Children's hospital due to respiratory distress, our flight nurses and ER doctors advised that we needed to move closer to the hospital.  This expedited our relocation to Spokane, WA. 

Life as we once knew it changed.  Everything changed.  We can not be careless anymore or free spirited about where we go.  With the Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EOE) she has anaphylaxis to most foods, along with severe environmental allergies.  Planning a trip requires knowing where the EpiPen is located and how close the nearest hospital is to us.  Childcare is extremely difficult to come by due to the possibility of another child dropping a crumb on the floor and she picking it up.  Things that most people never think about are now in our awareness each day. 

All of those plans I had years ago are just reminders that life doesn't always go as expected.  I am now having to be extremely creative with birthday celebrations and holidays.  We live life to the fullest and are grateful for our little girl.  She is doing amazing and I will write on that in the future.  My daughter's health conditions are definitely influencing the way I practice medicine and my appreciation for caregivers.  Life has changed and we now embrace our new life.   

Defining Health

DrJulie George

Photo by IJdema/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by IJdema/iStock / Getty Images

What does being healthy mean to you?  A few weeks ago I had a man tell me that everyone shares the same philosophy on being healthy.  I couldn't help it but disagree.  I witness people posting "healthy" recipes on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook and I cringe because it isn't healthy to me.  I see people practicing so called healthy hygiene with antibacterial soap/hand sanitizers and my skin crawls as I know those chemicals are culprits to causing disease.  I may be a little critical but I want you to achieve optimum wellness.    

Merriam-Webster defines Health as

"The condition of being well or free from disease; the overall condition of someone's body or mind; the condition or state of something"

The World Health Organization defines it as 

"Health is the state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

I have this discussion with a lot of patients, friends, strangers, and colleagues.  Each person has a slightly different idea.  For a lot of people being healthy is a goal: losing weight, running a marathon, increasing energy, walking a flight of stairs, beating cancer, kicking the caffeine addiction, walking a daughter down the aisle, being their for the birth of a grandchild...  Others believe being healthy is not getting sick (they are dumbfounded when I tell them differently).  Some live and breathe being healthy each day.  On rare occurrences, I talk with people that view being healthy as going to the doctor or hospital.  Many define health as living a long life.  I am here to validate all of these definitions.  

The beauty of having a naturopathic physician is we get to spend a lengthy amount of time with our patients.  We are here to assist with each individual's journey to achieving a healthier lifestyle.  For some people we have to start with the fundamentals: you must drink water to survive, pooping is a daily occurrence, fat is essential for brain power, the body requires identifiable foods, and sleep is not for the weak.  Once one masters the fundamentals then we can advance to: why you are freezing when its 110, why your feet itch, why you haven't pooped today, why you have no energy to deal with your todos, why you don't sweat in the desert....  Once we have eliminated a few of these issues we can proceed on to finding the cause, preventing future ailments, promoting a healthier you.  How do I do this?  I look at your genetics, toxic exposures, and use advanced medical testing to help you optimize your health.  Some people may be pleased knowing that they really needed to drink water, and  others may be praising Jesus that they finally have regular toilet time.  However, the vast majority of people are so excited that they want to know more.  

My own definition of being healthy for myself is eating organic foods, supplementing my biochemical pathways, empowering my cells to function optimally, relaxing, loving, compassion, and being faithful.  Guess what?  I'm always altering the subcategories to each of these as I learn more about my body and with new research.  I can't simply define my health definition concretely because my cells are constantly changing.  However, I strive to be the healthiest I can be each and every day.  

I hope you define your own health.  I wish you well on your journey.