Don’t read this article if you believe the human body is basically flawed and needs help just crawling from the cradle to the grave.
Do dive in, however, if you fly in the face of current medical and pharmaceutical wisdom and insist on healing chronic health issues that may arise.
That’s the plucky attitude Michelle Corey advises in her first book, “The Thyroid Cure — The Functional Mind-Body Approach to Reversing Your Autoimmune Condition and Reclaiming Your Health” (Vibrant Way Press, 2014).
Corey is a medical advocate, a functional medical nutrition consultant, and former autoimmune patient who lives here in Taos.
Functional medicine is a newish term that treats the whole person – the body, mind and spirit – while employing cutting-edge scientific testing to gauge how well treatment is working.
So instead of just the typical medical plan of “reduce stress, exercise more, eat less – and call me when you’re fat, sick and nearly dead,” (to borrow from a popular film of the same name), functional medicine treats the causes of disease, not just the symptoms, or so functional medicine practitioners proclaim.
You’d never know by looking at this calm, 5-foot-7-inch 134-pound young woman that 10 years ago she was 35 pounds heavier and diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and, as she found out later, impending lupus.
“My face looked like someone had blown it up with a bicycle pump,” she says in the prologue to her book, “and I had an unsightly freckle mustache due to a condition called melasma. It wasn’t pretty.”
Despite daily cardio workouts, “hot” yoga and a 1,500-calorie organic vegetarian diet, the weight stayed on and she was further plagued by chronic sinusitis, foggy thinking, mood swings, carb and alcohol cravings, skin rashes, swollen joints, hay fever and insomnia.
In short, she was a mess, and typically the kind of patient you throw some thyroid pills at and call incurable.
Had she taken that physician’s diagnosis at face value, the lupus would no doubt have progressed and inflamed her joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart, lungs, and very likely have killed her – yet another unfathomable casualty of autoimmune disease.
Rebel with a cause
The wake up call came when she got this “incurable” diagnosis in 2004 and it made her mad enough to ask herself, “Who says this is incurable? What do they mean when they say, ‘We don’t understand the mechanism of this illness?’ and “If they can’t answer these questions, why should I put my health in their hands?”
Happily, so began Corey’s odyssey to cure herself – even though common practice said it could not be done.
Her personal healing journey is inspiring and guides us to take responsibility for our health.
“I cover what is available in health care today and discuss how functional and integrative medical doctors are successfully treating and reversing autoimmune conditions,” Corey says in an email.
“In Part One I ask the reader to become conscious of the stress in their life by going through a workbook and uncovering the ‘splinters’ in their autoimmune condition.
“In Part Two, I discuss how to remove the ‘splinters’ and heal. In each chapter of Part Two, I have outlined what a person can do on their own and when they might need a practitioner and how to find one.
“Part Three is a bonus section entitled, Connecting Emotions and Your Health, where I review the links between adverse childhood experiences, toxic shame and chronic illness.
“In Part Four, I've included interviews with functional medical doctors who are reversing autoimmune conditions; Susan Blum M.D., one of Dr. Oz's medical detectives is one of the doctors. She cured her own autoimmune condition and wrote a book entitled, 'The Immune System Recovery Plan,’ Scribner, 2013.”
Corey’s national campaign asks health care providers to open to the possibility that all autoimmune conditions are the result of “splinters”: chronic emotional stress, GI imbalances, malnutrition/deficiencies, adrenal fatigue, hormonal imbalances, overloaded detox pathways i.e., toxins, chemicals, heavy metals, infections and so on. "If a person eliminates these ‘splinters’ the immune system calms down and the condition can be permanently reversed. I’ve done this in my own body and have helped hundreds of people to do the same.”
Ten percent of book sales profits will be split between the Institute for Functional Medicine, The Academy of Functional Medicine and Genomics, ACE’s Too High, and the Institute for Forgiveness.
As of the book launch April 22, Earth Day, the book is available on Amazon and in bookstores everywhere.