meet your practitioner: Sheila Jackson
It isn’t the first time my body yelled, “STOP, get off the merry go round girl.” 2017 is the first time I truly listened to it.
I have had my fair share of medical practitioners tell me, “You look too healthy to be sick.” To see me, I am fit. To know me I am driven by fiery energy. An energy that has fueled my physical capacity for decades of parenting, professional consulting, entrepreneurship, teaching 5 am group fitness classes, and partnering at home and the office. An energy and stamina that was validated physical after physical, decade after decade, when the doctors would report their findings and tell me that I presented well above average health.
Then, in 2012, my otherwise healthy body rebelled and I was hospitalized with a rare hepatic portal vein thrombosis (PVT). Several days later I was sent home with a three-month supply of coumadin to inject into my stomach. The medical professionals I’d seen could not dismiss my physical body’s very real condition until I was out of harm’s way. For this, I am fortunate.
Why fortunate? While true that conventional allopathic medicine did not look far for the root cause, what it did offer at that time was a medical approach that relieved an extremely dangerous blood clot in the portal vein of my liver. One of only two portal veins in the whole body, this one allows blood to flow from the intestines to the liver.
While the battery of ongoing standardized diagnostics continued to come back inconclusive, it is an important distinction to make that without the coumadin injections to dissolve the emergent blood clot; my situation could have turned deadly. Acute conditions like this one are where our western medical system shines.
After my three-month round of daily injections and doctor visits, I had hoped to get my question answered – “WHY, if I am so “fit” and “healthy,” did this happen to me?” Welp, that’s the part of the story where I would be dismissed with a medical explanation that went like this, “PVT’s are an uncommon condition. We rarely see this happen and we don’t ever see it in cases such as yours (healthy female, no diagnosed chronic liver disease) and since we have determined that you don’t have a blood clotting disorder, we have no identifiable cause as to WHY.” I was dismissed without it being said in so many words. I left feeling disempowered but still trusting the experts to know my body better than I know it myself. I returned to my daily routine.
Then it happened, metabolic chaos struck hard. Even after having studied vegan nutrition through Cornell University, eating the healthiest of foods, and decades of regular physical exercise 4-5 times a week, in October 2017, my body hit an all-time low when I experienced a second severe medical episode – an acute adrenal crisis, a life-threatening endocrine emergency caused by a lack of cortisol.
This time, I could not afford to be so dismissive, calling it a rare occurrence and jump right back into my go, go, go, high-functioning lifestyle. This left me chronically weak, exhausted, dizzy, nauseous, vomiting, and experiencing severe abdominal pain. In time, I would discover that I’d developed an autoimmune condition called Addison’s disease.
Déjà vu but a fresh perspective
Again, I began seeing one specialist after another. This difference this time was with me. I left every doctor appointment knowing these few things:
- There was more to it than what they saw on the paper and reported in their findings.
- The medication was not going to solve this.
- The conventional medical mindset of following doctor’s orders – well, the doctors, they didn’t have to live in my body – I did.
My body seemed to me to be pointing the way for further investigation. I wanted to know WHY, and then I wanted to know HOW to stop my deteriorating health. To do so, I would have to take a much more assertive role as my own healthcare provider if my real aim was to emerge from this condition well.
Reversing my autoimmune condition became a beautiful byproduct of my original goal to restore my energy and find a sustainable way to embody the energetic, high-functioning female frame I’d known for so long.
How I found healing and emerged well
Along my 3-year health building journey with Functional Medicine, my soul purpose revealed itself – healing. To do that, I’d have to expose the hidden, unseen conditions contributing to the physical chaos that disempower women and facilitate a proven process where high-functioning women feel secure, informed, and well-guided along their health-building journey, effectively reversing chronic health complaints while restoring energy, highest function, and drive back into one’s female operating system to do with all that we please.
emergewell + co (ECo) is the space that emerged from my travels into the world’s Blue Zone regions, my Functional Medicine education, and years of entrepreneurial experience. It is an environment of urgent need that I could not find in one place, offering the most modern medical diagnostic tools rooted in science, clinical expertise and education, plus the human dimension that the conventional western model lacks.
ECo is a proven health building practice and a kind tribe committed to achieving human wholeness through optimal metabolic body-brain function. It is a space built by women for women’s health plus the highest function of humanity.
I welcome you to ECo and am passionate about helping you, the high-functioning woman that you are, restore your energy, balance, happiness and overall health. Join me at an upcoming Tea & Talk or schedule a 1:1 consultation so you too can emerge well.