Updated: Jun 23, 2021
"In truly getting to know me, Dr. McRae was able to give me a more individualized care plan. She listened to me and saw me as a whole person, not just a case"
I’ve always been into fitness and health. I played sports in high school and got into weightlifting and CrossFit in college. During nursing school, and my first year in my career, I developed bad eating and sleeping habits. I felt terrible and I was unhappy with my body. I knew something was wrong, and my stress levels only seemed to enhance my symptoms. My doctor diagnosed me with Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disorder that affects your thyroid. I began taking medication right away, but I quickly grew frustrated with how often my dosage was increased.
I’m only 23 years old. I didn’t want to be taking so much medicine. I worried about what my future might look like if I continued down that path. A few of my CrossFit friends recommended that I make an appointment at Vitality.
As a nurse, I’d already been reading about functional medicine on my own so I was excited to see what Dr. McRae would suggest for me. My mom, who is also a nurse, came with me to my first consultation. We were blown away by Dr. McRae’s knowledge and how kind she was. She not only took the time to go over my blood work with us, but she also spent a lot of time asking questions about my lifestyle. She even asked my mom about my childhood experiences, like whether or not I’d taken a lot of antibiotics growing up. I was amazed at how many things you experience, even as a kid, can affect your health for the rest of your life.
Every other doctor I’d gone to only spent about ten minutes with me, and in that time they only focused on how we’d adjust my medication. I felt like doctors saw only my symptoms, and thought of me as a standard Hashimoto’s case, so the treatment was limited to that. In truly getting to know me, Dr. McRae was able to give me a more individualized care plan. She listened to me and saw me as a whole person, not just a case of Hashimoto’s. For example, she taught me how my gut-health was connected to my autoimmune disorder and helped me figure out which inflammatory foods to remove from my diet. Once I adjusted my diet and got started on supplements, I noticed improvements quickly. My skin began to clear up, my brain function improved, and I began to feel better overall.
I work in a hospital setting, so I know firsthand that the health industry can sometimes complicate things. There’s definitely a place for traditional medicine, but I don’t think it's the only thing we should consider in treatment. Sometimes the best solutions are simple—like focusing on healthy diet, exercise, and proper sleep. You won’t get better if you don’t address the root cause of a health issue, and it’s amazing how much stems from taking care of simple needs.
When I first started coming to Vitality, I was at a low point mentally, too. I’d just gone through a breakup, I was unhappy in my career, and frustrated with my health. I was experiencing some anxiety and depression, though I didn’t fully realize it. Dr. McRae reminded me how important it is to take time to de-stress and relax. For me, this can mean having silence in the car instead of blaring music, or taking time to stretch. I’ve also started journaling before bed to release anxiety—it’s helped me sleep better.
I post a lot on Instagram about my fitness journey and people often message me asking about what I eat, what I don’t eat. I always tell them that there is no one way to be healthy, what works for me might not work for someone else. It took me a while to figure this out, and Dr. McRae helped open my eyes.
I’ve also had a lot of my friends ask me if Vitality is worth it. I tell them it is—without a doubt. I know I’m young, but learning to properly take care of my body isn’t just important for how I feel in the moment, it’s helping ensure lifelong health. Once you start feeling good, it’s almost addicting. Knowing how good I’ve felt, from physical wellness to mental wellness, motivates me to keep caring for myself. I can’t ever go back to how things used to be.