I grew up in small town Minnesota and graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in Nursing. I have worked as a Registered Nurse in the ICU, surgical recovery room, and orthopedic clinic. Throughout my career, I have realized some of the gaps in healthcare and see that patients need someone to listen to them and educate on the importance of nutrition, movement, and stress management. Patients also need consistent follow-up to ensure success. Too often, patients are rushed through their appointments and given medications, rather than getting to the root of the problem. People need to know that "when given half a chance, the body can heal itself." - Joshua Rosenthal, founder of IIN. I have a passion for wellness and educating patients on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
When I was 14, I was the passenger in a motor vehicle accident and suffered numerous broken bones and went through several surgeries. My brother sustained a traumatic brain injury and has lifelong disabilities as a result. My parents were not educated on the potential effects of brain injury, and a few weeks after my brother was discharged from the hospital, he began having grand mal seizures and was life flighted back to the hospital. Although our care teams were wonderful, we did not get proper physical therapy or counseling after that traumatic experience, which led to life-long pain and limitations.
Then in my late 20s, I started having back pain and saw doctors and therapists who could not really determine the source of my pain. After years of massage, chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, yoga/strength training, and injections; I
saw an orthopedic PA who quickly put the dots together. Labs and MRI's confirmed his suspicions and in 2019, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition "ankylosing spondylitis." This is a condition when the immune system attacks your hips, spine, and shoulders and creates stiffness, inflammation, and pain. I was then referred to a rheumatologist, who prescribed biologics (injections to suppress the immune system) and NSAIDS (non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs). I desperately wanted to feel better, but knew immediately that I did not want to rely on medications to put a band-aid on the problem. Because of my nursing background, I also knew about the serious complications and side effects of the prescriptions I was given to "manage" my disease. I wanted to figure out what was CAUSING my disease, so I set about on a journey of research to get REAL answers.
I have learned from that experience how important it is for our healthcare providers to pay attention to the details, and educate and support patients and families. I love to educate and empower patients, as well as listen to their stories and concerns.
As a mother of 2 toddlers, I did not want pain to interfere with my daily life, and furthermore - did not want my kids to display characteristics of this gene they could possibly be carrying. Through my journey and collaborations, I found functional medicine. I discovered I had food sensitivities and gut imbalances that could be "triggering" my autoimmune condition. I have found the "autoimmune diet" to be extremely helpful. After reducing sugar intake and eliminating food sensitivities, dairy, and gluten; I have noticed a significant reduction in inflammation and pain. I have observed that daily movement and strength training have been key to managing my symptoms. Foundation Training, created by Dr. Eric Goodman, which is a set of exercises designed to improve strength and posture and decrease pain; has also been elemental to my well-being. I use an infrared sauna, foam roller, and massage chair on a daily basis. I cannot stress enough the importance of self-care!
I would love to work with other people to help them to achieve the results that lifestyle changes can bring. So, in 2021 I found the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and after seeing how much their values aligned with mine, I completed the certification for Health Coaching. The program has taught me how integral all aspects of our life are to our well-being.
My husband and I moved to Spearfish in 2015. We love the outdoors - hiking, kayaking, camping, swimming, biking, snowshoeing, and enjoying the vast beauty the Black Hills has to offer. I love to cook for my family and incorporate whole foods into our daily routine. In addition to outdoor activities, I incorporate strength training, yoga, and Pilates into my fitness regimen. I notice a huge difference in my physical and mental well-being when I move my body on a daily basis. I love a good romance or mystery book, as well as reading to my children. I like to travel to new places and try new foods! My husband also works in healthcare and enjoys hunting and fishing. We have an Alaskan malamute, a Bernese mountain dog, and two cats. My goal is to educate and motivate the community at large and turn the current healthcare model from "disease-driven to "prevention-focused." I am passionate about helping others to discover their potential and helping them to achieve the healthiest version of themselves!