Integrative nutrition & lifestyle coaching for the management of mood disorders, chronic pain conditions, migraines, weight loss, children's nutrition, nutrition for him, nutrition for her as well as for general health & well-being.
Chronic pain knocked on my door for the first almost a decade ago. Of course, at that time it appeared as just 'pain' due to a workplace injury. I was physically at my peak & working in visual merchandising. I loved it.
Sure, it was MORE physically demanding than I had anticipated. Yes, we were pushed beyond our limits working 14 hours a day & discouraged from taking meal breaks. Yes, bullying was part of company culture.
But I was young & you think you're invincible when you're young. And you take more crap than you should, when you're younger. Would I allow myself to be pushed to those limits again? No. Absolutely not.
What started for me as a slight popping sensation in my lower back & sudden inability to move one morning at work turned into a slightly nervous afternoon in a doctor's office surrounded by workplace injury management consultants & reassurance that I'd be fine after rest & anti-inflammatories.
I was driven home by a manager, lying prostrate in the back seat of his car as I couldn't move nor bend an inch & I was dropped off at my door.
I honestly thought I'd be fine the next day. I laughed it off.
But oh my, when I woke up the next morning...
The pain. The utter, indescribable pain. The only way I could describe it was that it felt as if I had been hit by a truck, And that wasn't enough to describe the pain. I was stuck (still), unable to bend or move. And the pain. Oh my god, the pain...
Everything after that felt like a blur. A very long, painful, exhausting, isolating, soul destroying blur.
From multiple visits back to the same doctor's office (with reassurance & still no change), to indescribable pain, lack of empathy or understanding from an employer who shortly thereafter told me "If you can't bend or lift, don't bother coming back."
I was made to feel like I was less than a dog in a third world country. I was made to feel as if I was a THING that had broken & was no longer of any use nor value to the world. And I was made to feel as if I was a useless financial burden on my employer's insurance schedule.
And the blur continued with bullying from the workplace injury management specialist. I was ostracized from my work colleagues. I was ridiculed by doctors who told me it was 'all in my head' because months later, I still couldn't bend.
"Hang!" She'd yell, "Hang!" As she forced my body to bend, sending me almost flying to the roof in pain that shot into my leg & foot like a bolt of electricity. And the look of shock on her face once she realized the pain was real. I really couldn't move. And she'd probably just FURTHER damaged my ALREADY damaged nerve.
But it didn't matter, their treatment of my painful condition didn't improve. They just grew tired of me because nothing was helping. And my mood sunk further.
'Emotional lability' they called it. Because I was crying. In pain.
Of course I was crying. I was young. And fit. And I had lost my livelihood. And daily pain tore through me. And I couldn't drive for so long. And I couldn't put my socks on. And I couldn't cook & clean & maintain my daily living. And then eventually I was officially terminated. Fired.
Because it had been too long & I was 'no longer required'.
So there I was unemployed. Disabled. Depressed. Isolated. FINANCIALLY shot. EMOTIONALLY, barely hanging on. PHYSICALLY, like the Tin Man. Unable to move. And living in daily, disabling, chronic pain.
Welcome, the chronic-ness of the pain.
I was barely surviving. I wasn't living at all, I wasn't alive.
I was living on daily anti-inflammatories because the doctor's said they would help. They didn't.
I was deemed 'unemployable'.
My days were spent going to physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, exercise physiology, orthopedic surgeons, pain specialists, osteopaths, acupuncturists etc. None of it helped.
Life was a blur. My big, dead blur of a life.
I can't even remember WHAT spurred me to keep going. And I can't even remember what spurred me to realize that the ONLY person that could help me, was ME.
Because as I sat there disabled (invisibly disabled) while everybody around me continued on with life. Working, holidaying interstate or internationally, socializing, exercising, partying, meeting people, forming relationships, having families, laughing, living etc. I sat there dead. I might have looked alive on the outside, but on the inside I had died. I had honestly died.
And yes, it is possible to die on the inside. You don't need to tie a noose around your neck & hang in order to be dead in the world. Despite the amount of times I did think to myself, what is my life for? I could just end this & be done with the pain. Did I think about it, yes, of course I did.
The level of my daily pain was almost insufferable.
So when was my turning point? I can't remember. I honestly can't remember.
I know that I had ALWAYS studied & researched natural health since I was probably 13 years old. I know that in me was ALREADY the knowledge that there WERE alternatives to prescription medications (which weren't helping anyway).
So Dee enrolled herself (broken, dead woman on the couch) in a Nutritional Medicine course. And Dee studied, (broken/dead) on her couch. And she slept. And she studied. And insert another life blur moment here. And Dee succeeded (sounds so easy, but it wasn't). And Dee took her new knowledge. And Dee took all of the knowledge she had learned since 13 years of age. And she said to herself,
"Mate, you gotta fix this cos no one else is helping you".
And so I started small, applying anti-inflammatory dietary changes. And yes it was hard because I was bread & pastry ADDICTED. I REDUCED my gluten intake.. And bit by bit, I felt a bit better...
I said ok, I'll ELIMINATE gluten & hmmm.... 🤔 I felt a bit better.
And so on & so forth I went, minimizing inflammatory foods & LO & BEHOLD.. Dee started to get better.
And Dee started to be able to move more. So Dee started to walk more. Walk FURTHER than I could have for years. But yes, it was a slow road. But the better I ate, the better I felt & the road opened up for me in leaps & bounds.
I began socializing again. Driving longer than 20 minutes at a time. Walking longer than 20 minutes. I bought a bike & I started to cycle. There were STILL BAD days. VERY bad days. Days where I couldn't walk or put any weight on one leg. I'd hobble. But I was told to 'focus on what you CAN do'.
So Dee bought a bike. And on those days when she couldn't walk, she found that she could ride her bike.
And the cycle of life (pun was completely unintended) began to turn for Dee. My walking turned to hiking & my driving turned to road trips. And my new friends would join me in my quest for a new adventure to the week because in all these years (and yes, it had been years) I had actually LOST a quarter of my life to chronic pain.
A QUARTER of my LIFE to CHRONIC PAIN.
Can you imagine what it is like to have lost a quarter of your life to chronic pain?
I didn't ever get my life back, because (remember) I had died.
I had a NEW life given to me. This life I had fought hard for. This NEW life I fought VERY hard for.
And I'll be damned nowadays, if anyone is going to stand in my way. And I'll be damned now if I'll let anyone tread so carelessly on the peace I have created for myself. I'll be damned now if I'll WAIT now for anyone (don't be so impatient, Dee). And I'll be damned now if I compromise my health in any way.
Because I LOST A QUARTER OF MY LIFE waiting already.
When the mood strikes, I go. I drive, I adventure. Because I CAN.
Thanks to me. Thanks to Dee. I am alive.
And testament to my NEW life can be found here on insta:@flora_deee
*Chronic pain affects more than 20% of Australians. This means that for every 100 facebook friends you have, at least 20 of them are living with disabling, daily pain affecting every aspect of their lives including their ability to work, sleep, care for themselves & engage socially. Chronic pain is a very isolating, extremely depressing & expensive illness which may be effectively managed through dietary & lifestyle changes. Changes that I had reluctantly made some years ago, which ultimately changed my life. READ MORE ABOUT DEE'S STORY HERE
With dietary & lifestyle adjustment you can successfully reduce inflammation within the body which is proven to not only manage mood disorders but a host of other chronic & acute conditions affecting the vast majority of the population.
If we can accept that age old inflammatory conditions such as gout can be successfully managed through the reduction of inflammatory foods, & we are of the understanding that pain conditions AND mood disorders such as depression & anxiety are marked by increased inflammation within the body (and brain), then there is no disputing the evidence to support that following an anti-inflammatory diet can help to reduce pain flares associated with chronic pain syndromes AS WELL AS to reduce depressive episodes.
Many other modern illnesses with evidence of increased inflammatory signaling include cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and dementia.
Does this mean that these conditions may be prevented as well? Perhaps, we cannot say for sure. But if we look at cause & effect, then let's take the 'cause' out of the equation & see what happens.
And what is the cause here? Inflammation.
Using a simple & traditional philosophy tailored to your needs because every person is different, but the ultimate goal is to restore health & bring you back to a more acceptable level of functioning. To have your life back again is absolutely possible. I know this, because I have been there on my journey.
I believe that some of us have to go through a lot in this life, so that we can help lift others up through the same.
Options also include phone or zoom consults & in person when you take a walk with Dee on the sunny GC (Gold Coast only).
The food you eat can either be the safest & most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.
Nutritionist & Lifestyle Counsellor.
Dee, is a qualified Nutritional Therapist with over 15 years of research in natural health & wellness. Dee has overcome many personal obstacles & set-backs to achieve a qualification in the field of Nutritional Medicine & bases her philosophy on bringing life back to basics, keeping things simple & setting goals which are achievable.
With the belief that each person has the ability to make positive changes, large or small, each little change in effect is the basis by which we reach our ultimate goal.
As well as holding qualifications in business & management, Dee is also a qualified trainer, mentor & counsellor, & is happiest when helping others.