Rediscovering joy in life

“I’m not crazy. I finally know I’m not crazy. What I have is real, and someone is helping me,” beamed Nancy Hector.

For years Nancy suffered with rheumatoid arthritis. Often called the “silent disease” because it, and other autoimmune diseases, isn’t visible to others, but causes internal turmoil for those who have it.

For Nancy, that meant unbearable pain and weight gain, often leading to depression.

“I thought I would be popping pills and dreading every day for the rest of my life,” admitted Nancy. “But then I learned about CentraCare Weight Management and Functional Medicine at Lifestyle Health.” Functional medicine is a medical specialty that works to identify the underlying cause of a chronic illness.

Turning 60, a new granddaughter and her daughter’s upcoming wedding prompted Nancy to seek help. Through the CentraCare Weight Management Program, Nancy lost 45 pounds, which helped her avoid a possible knee replacement. Functional Medicine uncovered that Nancy was sensitive to gluten, dairy and processed sugar. The weight loss and altered diet allowed Nancy to wean herself off three medications, two for high blood pressure and one for rheumatoid arthritis, with hopes of getting off another by this summer.

“You have to make up your mind for you. No one else can do it. It may seem hard, but just do it – that’s what I had to tell myself,” Nancy emphasized. “I feel so good now. I never want to go back to how it was before. I was in so much pain; I could barely get through a day.” Now Nancy can swim, ride bike and walk several miles. She looks forward to dancing and “wearing a cute dress” at her daughter’s wedding.

Those who find most success with Functional Medicine are those who are ready to put their health first and make tough life changes. “That’s self-efficacy and empowerment. Nancy is driving her own boat, and I’m just here to navigate,” stated Functional Medicine provider Kathleen Mahon, NP.

Having lived in Minneapolis, Nancy wondered about health care in greater Minnesota, but has been incredibly impressed with the doctors, nurses and other caregivers at CentraCare Health. “They know what they are doing, they listen and want me to achieve my goals. You don’t find a functional medicine clinic everywhere and having one in St. Cloud is so wonderful.”