By Breana S., Cambridge
Since a young age I have learned the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and the impact it has on our mental and physical well-being. At the age of two my parents enrolled me in gymnastics where I thrived and excelled quickly. At the age of seven I was asked to join the elite competitive team and found myself training thirty hours a week alongside Olympians. As a competitive gymnast proper nutrition was a key aspect of our performance and recovery. We learned from a young age that how we ate affected how we trained and performed. We also learned that taking care of our bodies by refraining from highly processed foods and treating injuries with ice and rest instead of excessive medications helped us grow stronger and healthier as an athlete. For me, this was where my passion for natural health began – I saw the benefits from a young age and knew the difference in how I felt when I fed my body with organic foods and natural medications and supplements when necessary. It was the beginning of what I think will be a lifelong journey of learning.
As I entered high school my life changed drastically as a fracture to my lower back ended my career in gymnastics. Since I was no longer training as vigorously I stopped taking care of myself the way I was used to and I certainly felt the effects. When I was sixteen my aunt passed away after a ten year battle with cancer. My aunt and I were very close and my family was by her side every moment of her battle. Only two weeks before my aunt passed away my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer; the same form of cancer that originally plagued my aunt. Watching my aunt suffer for years and then seeing it again as my Mom suffered through chemotherapy and radiation really motivated me to pursue a more natural and healthy life-style. Although I know even the healthiest and organic people still get cancer I felt I needed to make a change in my life to make me the strongest and healthiest person I could be. We were extremely lucky that my Mom survived but the side effects were horrendous. I often wonder if we had been more educated on the benefits of natural medicine if she would have suffered less, my aunt too.
In 2011 I went back to gymnastics but this time as a coach. This gave me a great opportunity to give back some of what I had been taught and learned in my own career as a gymnast. I took a lot of time to educate my athletes and their parents about proper nutrition, rest and recovery. It was here that I met my current Naturopathic Doctor who happened to be the Mother of one of the athletes I coached. I started seeing her as my ND in the winter of 2013 after battling with an infection in my lungs. Although I had always tried to live an organic and natural lifestyle, homeopathy and natural medicine was not something I had much understanding of. I was intrigued by everything my ND told me and I loved the time she took during our first appointment to get to know me on a personal level and not just treat my obvious symptoms as an MD might have. I left with some drops and a homeopathic remedy which I really knew nothing of. I followed the directions my ND had given me and immediately started feeling the results. What I found interesting was that aside from my symptoms quickly subsiding, I felt better as a whole. It seemed that taking these natural remedies instead of weeks of cough syrups and over the counter medications made my infection go away and truly made me feel like my health as a whole had been restored. After my initial visit to my ND I stopped seeing my MD almost completely. I saw my ND several times after that for various reasons and always saw amazing improvements in both my mental and physical health.
In August of 2014 there was cancer in my life once again. This time it had taken over my six year old Siberian husky named Alaska (Ally) who meant the world to me. Ally’s cancer progressed very quickly. We found a small tumor on her stomach which we had removed the next day. Unfortunately, it had spread so fast that just four days later we had to put her down. In her last few days my fiancé and I did everything we could to ease her pain and keep her calm. My ND was kind enough to come to our home with several homeopathic remedies for Ally in an effort to keep her as comfortable as possible. We noticed small improvements but her condition was dire and we knew we could not expect miracles. Our last night with Ally was very memorable for me. As painful as it was, I think I will always pinpoint it as the night I realized a career in homeopathy was what I had always been looking for. On her last night Ally was in extreme pain. In the middle of the night she was lying beside me pawing at me, whining and crying and asking for help I didn’t know how to give. It was truly heartbreaking for me. I finally called the emergency vet to ask for pain medication but they wouldn’t give me any without seeing Ally and I refused to transport her anywhere. She was too fragile and our vet had agreed to come to our home to put her down and I wanted to give Ally that comfort. I woke my fiancé and we gave her the homeopathic remedies my ND had left for us. I can’t remember exactly what they were now but we administered the ones she had suggested and literally within minutes Ally was looking relaxed and comfortable and not long after she was fast asleep until morning. Although it might not seem like much on paper, it meant the world to me that night. I wanted her to spend her last moments in the comfort of her home but I didn’t want her to spend that last night in excruciating pain either. Those homeopathic remedies allowed Ally (and Jake and I) to say goodbye in our own home and without any pain and we couldn’t have been more thankful. We truly owed that night to the amazing effects of homeopathy.
The same week Ally died I wrote my last exams and graduated from the University of Waterloo with a degree in Psychology. I always had a passion for helping people and a gift for talking to those in need but by the time I graduated I no longer felt like a career in psychology was what I was truly passionate about, I wanted something more. After Ally died I buried myself in books and research on homeopathy and was fascinated by what I was learning. I started testing different remedies on myself, family members and our pets and saw remarkable results. I realized that if I could combine my education in psychology and mental health with a degree in homeopathy and holistic nutrition I could truly help people change their whole lifestyle. I also couldn’t imagine an education more valuable than one that would not only provide me with a fulfilling career but with the knowledge and tools I need to raise a family rooted in natural health. It is from the experiences of my past and the dreams I have of my future that I believe a career as a homeopathic practitioner is exactly what I’ve been seeking all these years.