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  • Health Coaching with Jess

    Like many people who live with chronic illness, the road to a diagnosis was long, disheartening, and lonely. It wasn’t until I was 30 that I was properly diagnosed with a degenerative genetic disorder that greatly affects almost every aspect of my body. I spent my entire life knowing something was wrong, but with little information and no label for it, I was continually plagued with self-doubt. In addition to questioning myself, I was fearful of going to the doctor and hesitant to share with my friends when I was feeling down. Afraid everyone would think I was just craving attention or being sensitive.

    When I finally received answers, I was both relieved and overwhelmed. Relieved that my condition wasn’t imaginary and that there was a reason for the increasing list of issues going on with my body – I finally had a name for it! Then reality hit. I was faced with a diagnosis that demanded I change so much of the life I knew, and the future I had dreamed of. The doctor handed me multiple new prescriptions, a list of dietary restrictions, a printout of lifestyle changes, and a list of specialists I needed to follow up with. Each subsequent specialist proceeded to give me a similar bundle of life changing instructions, and then sent me on my way.

    To say I felt overwhelmed and lost would be an understatement. It seemed as though my entire life needed to be adjusted, and I had no idea where to begin. At that point in my journey, I had two small children, my partner was making a career change that involved going back to school, and I was almost completely bedridden. I knew changes had to be made, but I had no clue where to begin.

    I spent months teetering between grief and hope, while mainly just feeling alone. It was difficult to talk to people about my new reality because they would try to find the silver lining, and there were days I just wanted to wallow. Other times I would feel hopeful, but without an action plan those feelings would fade quickly. My friends didn’t quite know how to support me; I felt misunderstood. During those months, I mourned the life I had, the food I loved, and the experiences I could no longer dream of. All the while I had to adjust to my new reality, life on meds and braces for my joints.

    It was necessary for me to mourn, but I also needed to reframe my perspective. I had to do the work of figuring out what I truly value, what I now wanted in my life, and the kind of partner and parent I wanted to be. After my viewpoint shifted, I was able to create a plan to manage my illness in a way that allowed for the life I desired. Now years later, my life looks very different than it did before. Often, it feels as if it revolves around my medication schedule, how much energy a shower will steal from me, if I am going to have access to foods I can eat, and where the nearest chair or bench is. But it is also a fulfilling life, one that I (surprisingly) feel in control of. These shifts, my perspective, my accommodations, and my contentment didn’t happen overnight – it was quite a journey.

    My journey was longer and more difficult than it had to be, but I was mostly alone. This is why I am honored to provide health coach services. Health Coaches walk beside you through that journey. There is no need to feel overwhelmed, lost, and alone!

    Health Coaching is a personalized approach that bridges the gap between being handed that intrusive and disruptive treatment plan and living your life to its fullest potential. I can assist you in developing strategies to make lasting lifestyle changes that bolster overall wellness. I have had the privilege of supporting clients in managing symptoms, improving quality of life, and achieving health care goals that provide an avenue for a fulfilling life.

    Health Coaching provides a comprehensive four-step approach to guide you on your wellness journey. First, we engage in cognitive reframing to help you identify, challenge, and change your perspective and thought processes. Next, we create a personalized plan of action based on your individual needs, outlining the necessary changes for your overall health. Then, we focus on implementation, practically working through the steps of your action plan, navigating setbacks, and making adjustments to ensure realistic application of your treatment. Finally, I provide accountability and support, helping you stay on track, make tweaks to optimize your approach, and ultimately empowering you to manage your health independently.