Empathy and compassion for helping people, a love of science and a love for living life to its fullest are the foundations I’ve always held essential to my being. But putting those things together in a way that I could contribute my gifts to the world didn’t ever come easy.And as a reformed cheese and ice cream addict, I know sometimes health changes are as much of a challenge as life changes.
I’ve spent my professional life in health care; initially beginning my career as a Medical Laboratory Technologist.
Then, there I was; called on to assist at the bedside, for a bone marrow biopsy. The frail, elderly lady looked, to my 22 year old eyes, to be 110.
This day would forever change my life.
The pathologist thrusted a blunt-ended needle into her sternum (bone) and I cringed, averting my eyes. The blood-curdling screams seemed to suck all the energy from the room; seemed to suck any compassion he had from his heart as he maneuvered & manipulated that needle inside her sternum to obtain that sample.
Finally, after what seemed hours, the screaming stopped, he handed the sample to me, where-upon I made the requisite microscope slides and brought them & the remaining sample back to the lab. As I handed the sample to the technologist, I told her the story. She looked back at me with sad eyes, “But, Leslie, they don’t even treat leukemia in people that age.”
I was appalled and devastated! Here I was, technically still a student, just weeks from graduating after 5 long and grueling years. I instantly understood that in my then current position I was helpless to effect change in her life or in the system that put she and I in these positions. I knew, in that instant that I needed to be outside of that system in order to effect change and to truly help people heal.
A short year later; after graduating and procuring what others thought of as a dream job, I quit that job at a famous Boston hospital and embarked on the adventure of a lifetime. My 3 month; 3000 mile bicycle trip from Billings, Montana to San Diego taught me much: . . . . . . about myself. . . . . . . . . . about life . . . . . . . about the difference between survival and thriving. . . . . . . . . about self reliance. . . . . . . . . about the intersection between self-reliance and interdependence. . . . . . . . . . and so much more.
Eventually, I settled on the Central Coast of California to live on a coast without New England winters and to work out the next step in my path.
I started exploring healing philosophies. Then I accompanied a friend to her chiropractic appointment and her chiropractor explained the basic tenets of chiropractic care; tenants that would guide my healing philosophy for life:
- The body is a self-healing entity.
- Interference in the body’s ability to detect and correct stressors are the basis for dis-ease, which leads to dysfunction and ultimately, disease.
- Alleviating that interference allows the body to heal.
Instantly I saw a way to assist people in getting well and staying well rather than prolonging life at the expense of real health which was what I had found in the allopathic (medical) model. I enrolled in Western States Chiropractic College and moved to Portland, Oregon to attend. Six years later, I had received my Doctorate of Chiropractic, had my first child, sat for my California license (while I was 8 months pregnant; waiting outdoors between sections of the exam for up to 2 hours each in the East Bay summer heat!) and relocated back to the Central Coast with my family to start my practice in 1991.
I maintained a private family-oriented chiropractic practice for about 25 years.
It was during this time that I first experienced some of my own personal health challenges. Experiencing some severe peri-menopausal symptoms, I took a common ‘natural approach’ and went on bio-identical hormones. Twenty pounds heavier in less than 3 months, I quit and started doing more in-depth research! It was then that I realized the value of in depth research; not just believing headlines or even summaries (abstracts) of journal articles. I learned how to create the balance needed for my own personal health, lost the weight and regained the vibrant health I’d lost.
I continued exploring the needs of my patients; keeping up with the ever-evolving understanding of health & wholism through continuously studing nutrition, wellness and vitality; taking numerous courses and reading everything I could get my hands on. As I learned, I incorporated changes into my life, recommended changes for my patients and we all experienced a renewed level of health & vitality.
My science background allowed me to quickly separate the chaff from the grain & see what made sense & had real scientific support and what didn’t, regardless of who published it.
Fast forward to the fall of 2018, I left Community Health Centers (where I had taken a position to serve mostly those with limited access to healthcare), went on a Fall Foliage Bicycle trip thru New England, reuniting, for part of it with 2 of the cyclists that accompanied me on the trip nearly 40 years earlier. That trip helped me reaffirm that we can still do whatever we want, regardless of age and circumstance if we have the inspiration to put the pieces of the puzzle together . So on my return to the Central Coast, I recommitted myself to helping women, families and seniors find simple natural answers to common health problems.
I help debunk the myths surrounding diet, exercise, genetics and lifestyle.
I’ll help you find balance so you can holistically manage your health and move forward with clarity at a pace that’s comfortable yet challenging.
I even help my clients navigate the thorny confrontations of telling their physicians that they are choosing a drug-free path and wanting to elicit cooperation. (more details about my bio & approach here.)