After writing this bio a few times and finding each to be stuffy and unapproachable, I decided that perhaps I should just write one from the heart. It’s not an easy business trying to sum myself up in a short document that won’t leave out things I want to say.
First off, for those who don’t really want to wade through the details of who I am, but just want to make sure I know what I’m doing:
I started my postgraduate education with a four-year undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto in the Microbiology Specialist program, which was later merged with the Molecular Genetics program (the departments merged). I graduated with distinction, and earned an Honours Bachelor of Science degree (HBSc) with a Specialist in Microbiology. What does that even mean? It means I studied and experimented with various viruses and bacteria. I worked in the Infection, Immunity, Injury and Repair (IIIR) lab at The Hospital for Sick Children (Sick Kid’s) in Toronto during my final year of study. Because bacteria are studied as pathogens (bugs that cause infections), and as the means of examining gene expression (DNA), my degree also gave me a firm understanding of infection and genetics. In particular I came to see how our genes can contribute to our health, and how our environment affects our gene expression.
Next, I enrolled in the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM), where I completed another 4-year program and became a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND). After graduation I successfully completed the board and licensing examinations and am currently a Licensed Naturopathic Doctor in Ontario. During my last 2 years of study at CCNM, I also worked in a naturopathic clinic in Toronto (Insight Naturopathic) focusing in cancer care and intravenous vitamin C, giving me a far deeper understanding of the power of natural medicine.
So, hopefully that gives you a better understanding of the letters behind my name. But if knowing that I’ve been rigorously educated and tested isn’t what you came here for, please read on.
I was born and raised in Toronto by a family with strong values and a diligent work ethic. I have always been an overachiever and pushed myself hard to achieve my goals. Unfortunately, with the strain of medical school and trying to keep a part-time job to make ends meet, I began to push myself too hard. My life was completely out of balance, and eventually I got very sick. We all get a “tap on the shoulder” as warning to make us change our ways when we are out of balance. For most people, this is enough to scare them into change. I guess I’m a stubborn person. I ignored the taps and required a metaphorical punch in the face to get me to slow down. Just before Christmas vacation in my final internship year of naturopathic college, I became deathly ill and had to be hospitalized for nearly eight months.
Prior to that time I had a very narrow view of allopathic medicine (the kind practiced by MD’s), and wouldn’t even take Tylenol for a headache. This illness was my lesson in humility, and gave me invaluable insight into the experience of hospitalization, surgery, loss of independence and then recovery. In addition to all of the help I was given in the hospital, I was also very fortunate to have naturopathic medicine up my sleeve as well. My recovery astounded my surgical team and specialists alike. Once the root of my problem was discovered and solved, my recovery progressed relatively quickly. I went from bedridden and near death, through relearning to walk, and all the way to normal life in 6 months. I have a massive support network of healthcare professionals, and unbelievable family and friends to thank for that.
Once I had recovered enough to be able to help others, I was able to finish my schooling and get my license. I am grateful for all that I learned from my experience and I hope that I can pay it forward by being a member of your support and healthcare team.
Who I am
I am a fun-loving and frank person who really loves interacting with others. This is one of the reasons working in a lab didn’t become my career. I have an inner need to help others, and I find nothing more fulfilling than having someone tell me that I helped change their life for the better. It’s a high that I can’t get enough of!
If you are thinking of coming to see me, you should know that I become invested in my patients and their wellbeing. I believe in giving you a safe space to discuss anything that you need to bring up, and I will never judge what you say. I do have a tough-love style from how I was raised. I will always give you my frank opinion, and will only sugar coat it if you ask me to. I also love to laugh and am often joking around – so a sense of humour will greatly benefit you as my patient. From my experience, I have come to believe that laughter is the best medicine, although sometimes tears are more powerful. Both have a role in healing.
Moving and Exploring
As soon as I finished my schooling in Toronto in 2011, my husband and I moved up to Orillia. At first, we owned a home in downtown Orillia and I started the original clinic just down the street! At that time I was working as a freelance writer for National Nutrition in the south end of Orillia, providing many of the health and supplement articles available on their website. In the summer of 2015 we moved out to Fairgrounds Road and combined our home and clinic so we could leave the city and have a huge yard for the dogs. Eventually, over time, our desire to live on the water led us to move out to Trent Lakes, so I could live on a river and get time away from work, and so we moved the clinic back downtown in Orillia. We love to travel and will usually be found on a road trip or vacation somewhere new at least every other year!
But enough about me…What about you?
What am I looking for in a patient? This was a tricky question for me when I first thought it over. I didn’t want to alienate anyone from coming to see me. Then I realized that it is actually very important for me to set my intention here. There are things that I expect from someone coming to see me, and I don’t want to waste your time or money if I can’t help you.
I cannot magically heal someone who won’t do any work. Because of that, I want a patient who is motivated to get well. This doesn’t mean that I won’t help you to find reasons to be motivated. I’ll be there beside you every step of the way, but I can’t do the work for you. Or as my father loves to say “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”. I can only help others who will help themselves.
There is no magic pill to cure all, or likely even one of your problems (although sometimes homeopathy comes close)! Finding better health is often a matter of work and changing habits…which leads me to my next expectation:
Flexibility in Mind and Lifestyle
I don’t expect you to be able to change everything in your life all at once, nor do I expect you to change your long-held beliefs. But I do need you to have an open mind and be willing to try new things, even if it’s just by changing your perspective.
If these sounds like characteristics in you, or ones that you’re working on obtaining, then I really look forward to meeting you!!