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Severely disabled by POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) and ME/CFS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and having breast cancer twice, I prayed daily for God to teach me what I needed to know to manage and improve my illnesses. I promised I would teach others what I learned if he would grant me my prayer.
I had done it all and made it to the CEO/Director level at multiple organizations. I came to understand the long-term intense stress involved with these professional positions as well as in my personal life was a significant contributing factor to my declining health. It began to deteriorate my sleep quantity and quality. I didn't prioritize nutrition as I should and ate out 75% of the time.
One thing led to the other and I began to notice that I was experiencing pain all over night and day. My muscles were hard as rocks. I'd go to a massage therapist and she would work on one side and get the muscles broken loose and when she moved to the other side they'd already be freezing back up before she could finish. I noticed my eye sight got worse as the day progressed. I actually had two different levels of readers so I could increase the power as the day progressed. I was extremely sensitive to bright lights and loud noises. I was getting extremely tired. I'd come home from work and pass out until the next morning when it was time to start all over again.
A few years passed and my heart rate started getting really unpredictable. I wore a Garmin Vivosmart 3 and it showed my heart rate zones were getting two or more hours a day at the two highest zones and I wasn't exercising. I went to a cardiologist and wore a Holter monitor for a couple of days and it came back with no significant problems just tachycardia. It would take two years and about 8 doctors later before I found a doctor who could diagnose me with POTS.
I have had breast cancer twice. It came back in my chest and lungs. I received treatment for two an half years and have been free of signs of cancer for two years. At my worst, I spent all day in a lazy boy. I'd eat once a day and bathe twice a week. Eating and bathing were the two most stressful events on my body. I'd get less than 1000 steps a day.
I have gradually learned over time how to improve my sleep, lower my stress, increase my recovery, and increase physical activity to improve my health and well being. I am not a medical doctor and I can not give medical advise. I am an educator and instructional designer. My specialty is working with subject matter experts to design effective instruction. I especially enjoying consuming massive amounts of research and incorporating it into instruction to help individuals apply it to their daily lives. There is a mountain of research I'd love to share with folks who would like to learn about how making lifestyle changes can impact their overall health and well being.
I can't remember the first time I heard it explained that disease is actually a state of "dis" "ease" in the body. The goal is to establish a state of "ease". That allows you to shift the focus away from diagnosing and treating disease. You can focus instead on changing your every day lifestyle choices and gradually adding best practices into your daily routine to maintain and improve the state of "ease" you experience in your body.
The major aha moment came when I learned this state of "ease" is measurable. Firstbeat developed the technology to convert HRV (heart rate variability) data into measures of 24-hour stress and recovery. The balance between the two results in a body battery score that tells you at any given time how charged or drained your battery is. You can use this form of biofeedback to inform your choices to rest more, push harder, or make other lifestyle choices to support your battery level. In a perfect world, you can get your body battery up to 100% at least once a day. Maintaining this level of body resources as well as getting adequate physical exercise is a cornerstone of maintaining a state of "ease" in the body.
I can't wait to share this knowledge with the world. I hope in our lifetime 24-hour HRV will become the fifth vital statistic all doctors require for a standard office visit. It will be as common as temperature, respiration rate, heart rate and blood pressure readings. Until then, my goal is to share the technology and education necessary to implement 24-hour HRV readings and supportive lifestyle changes into your life.
I was able to resolve all of my issues associated with POTS by rebalancing my Autonomic Nervous System. However, I still suffered from digestive issues. I was able to rachieve a parasympathetic state at night and during the day until I ate and then I was in a sympathetic state until I waited about 6 hours after eating. I turned to functional medicine to address this issue and learned that the Autonomic Nervous System actually has three branches. The Enteric Nervous System is where the gut interacts with the brain. I also learned that their are HIDDEN stressors that can wreak havoc with your gut and raise your stress and resulting in sympathetic nervous system activation. I have partnered with Evexia Diagnostics to provide functional lab assessments that uncover the root cause of these HIDDEN stressors. Functional doctors charge $4,000 or more to see a patient initially and it is not covered by insurance. I can provide the same information for a fraction of the cost due to the partnership with the doctors at Evexia.
I am a Certified First Beat Life provider and have completed coursework in HRV Biofeedback through BCIA and EliteHRV. I have also completed the coursework with Functional Diagnostic Nutrition and will be certified as a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner in May of 2022 after I complete my practicals. Learn more about my professional experience and skill set on my resume.
I look forward to learning with you in the future!
Stephanie Walton White
CEO, Measurable Resilience
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