My name is Katherine.I am a registered nurse, health coach,
and autoimmune disease patient.
About My History with Autoimmune Disease
I come from a family of health-conscious medical professionals and was rarely sick as a child. Imagine my surprise when I woke up one morning as a teenager with severe abdominal pain and gastrointestinal bleeding. A quick trip to urgent care confirmed that I needed to see a specialist. He performed a routine colonoscopy with a biopsy and diagnosed me with ulcerative colitis.
My diagnosis was fairly cut and dry in a system where many patients wait five to seven years before they receive a definitive conclusion of autoimmune disease. While having a name for what I experienced was comforting in some ways, the life-changing diagnosis also brought with it a long list of questions.
Like most patients, I thought that doctors were supposed to have all the answers.
Along with the pathology results that showed inflamed tissue in my colon, I was sent home with a prescription for pills. The idea of taking something three times a day for the rest of my life wasn’t satisfying. I felt confused and paralyzed and financially stressed. I had just graduated high school at the time of my diagnosis and wasn’t sure how to navigate my new reality.
Travel plans to Europe were canceled, I deferred nursing school for a year, and friends slowly stopped calling as I was confined to home by symptoms that were not controlled by medication and exacerbated by the stress of my new circumstances. My doctor kept telling me to give the medication time to work, but I was growing increasingly impatient.
I knew that there had to be a better way.
With my parents’ support, I decided to take some time off to learn how to manage my symptoms. The result was a five-year journey of countless medications, multiple hospitalizations, and the threat of surgery before I finally made some major lifestyle changes. I finally learned how to get to the root causes of my pain, fatigue, and digestive symptoms in order to heal. This is the process of nursing yourself back to heath that I share with my clients today.
About My Life Today
Now my life in Sacramento, California, is very different from those first five years living with autoimmune disease. While the road hasn’t been perfect and I don’t consider myself cured, my quality of life is more than I thought was possible (and something I never take for granted). It took a LOT of practice, but learning to slow down, budget my energy, eat nourishing foods, move my body, and make time for the more important things has been the key to my healing. It wasn’t always easy with a busy nursing career and I experienced setbacks along the way.
Each time I learned how to move forward with new skills and a greater awareness of my body’s signals.
I became particularly sensitive to the struggles of other women who find it hard to listen to their bodies, which is how I entered the field of nurse coaching. I trained at the Wisdom of the Whole Coaching Academy and Maryland University of Integrative Health. I also had the privilege of working on a coaching research project at the University of California.
These opportunities taught me how to listen to my clients on a deep level and to facilitate their own lifestyle changes for healing.
If you are like many of the women I coach, then you are no doubt busy caring for the needs of your friends, family, and loved ones. I can relate as well and often find myself pushed to the limit in my work as a Hospice nurse, caring for patients and their families during one of the most vulnerable times in your lives. Health problems develop, however, when we neglect our body’s own cries for help. My passion is empowering you to take back control of your own health, to stop symptoms before they spiral into a full-blown flare-up, and to live an authentic life even in the face of chronic illness.