By Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD
Female Hormone, Autoimmune and Chronic Pain Specialist
Many people do not know that I was bedridden for years from a very painful autoimmune condition that caused me a severe case of fibromyalgia. While I still battle chronic pain I truly owe my life to Naturopathy and would not have been able to recover without the healing power of nature and my own experience balancing and perfecting hormones is critical in understanding the causes of pain which are generally multifactorial for many of us "Fibro Warriors" challenged by a life of frustrating fibro and chronic pain.
Fifteen years ago I lost the ability to do my favorite sport…mountain biking. Back then, my muscles felt like jello, and all I could do was sit in bed.
My legs felt as though I had just finished the STP, (Seattle to Portland) 200 mile bike ride, every single day.
I could not ride, or run, I couldn’t even play my piano because of the inflexiblity and stiffness in my hands. I found myself exhausted walking up just 8 stairs, when before I could run 8 miles a day.
I went from racing in triathlons, to feeling a simple trip to the grocery store was like an Ironman. Today I feel victorious for conquering this mountain. While I am still not able to bike for eight hours straight, I’m proud of myself and it feels good to be able to ride for 1-2 hours again.
I am so grateful to Naturopathic Medicine for my recovery. While the road has been bumpy and brutal, the blessings I have received as a doctor are Empathy and Wisdom.
My perception of Fibromyalgia and Autoimmunity have been shifted by my own personal experience and I will never view my patients the same.
I refuse to silently think my patients are “lazy or crazy” as many doctors have done to me. I’ve come to know, the lack of understanding from others can be more hurtful than the physical frustrations.
Fortunately I understand firsthand my patient’s “Silent world of hell.”
When patients in my office get tearful, it’s because they finally feel HEARD and UNDERSTOOD. It gives me goosebumps, I’m grateful for surviving my own harsh life lesson. I now have a firm understanding of how diet, nutrition, hormones and herbs can impact chronic inflammation.
If you would like to learn the simple 3 Step Naturopathic process I have used successfully on hundreds of patients to combat inflammation you are invited to my latest webinar: “Hormones, Inflammation & Metabolism” located on the Free Naturopathic Class page. It is critical to me as your Naturopathic Doctor that you understand what Naturopathy and Hormone Balancing will require of you before you sign up for my care. While I LOVE to help women in pain feel better I never want to waste anyone's precious time or money if I am unable to help them. Patients that are willing to trust my time tested process with investigating autoimmune conditions, hormone imbalances, nutrition and nutrient deficiencies always tend to improve if not completely resolve. While many patients that refuse to change their diet, cannot remember to take vitamins, herbs and supplements or do not have insurance to pay for their hormone labs and cannot afford the detective process required for me to find the source of the fibromyalgia....simply do not improve.
I never want to enroll a patient in to my practice that I cannot help so please watch my video on Hormones and Chronic Pain so you understand what I will need you to do on your end to help you. If you struggle to make dietary changes I promise you are not alone and I struggle myself but I am also a living breathing example of someone that was once bedridden and unable to work at all that can now work and function. While I am technically physically disabled and always will be I refuse to allow that to stop me from living my life. I refuse to not be healthy enough as a Mom to make amazing memories with my daughter. I refuse not to show up to work and try to help someone else in pain every day and offer my kindness and compassion. If you also refuse to give up on yourself please consider Naturopathy! I don't know how I would have gotten my quality of life back if I did not know what I know as a Naturopathic Doctor. In order to recover from my autoimmune condition I had to rely on my skills in BOTH Traditional Prescription Family Medicine (8 years) and over 14 years working as a Naturopathic Doctor. Not to mention my 27 years working as an Herbalist.
You can make the decision to be a VICTOR of your pain every day or a VICTIM. I cannot help you if you want to wallow in VICTIM. The work you do in the beginning will be the most difficult as you already are in pain and don't feel good and have no energy from the simple exhaustion of chronic pain. But I need you to decide if you want to fight for yourself. If you do want to fight for yourself to find freedom from your Fibromyalgia or Autoimmune condition I promise I will be right by your side helping you fight the fight. I promise to not judge you or think you are crazy or lazy. I promise to see any such signs as symptoms of a miserable battle with chronic pain.
Unfortunately I know it too well. But the best Naturopathic service I provide for many women in pain is to run them through the battery of chronic pain tests that I know how to do as a Female Hormone Specialist that has learned a lot about autoimmunity from her own battle. Having balanced hormones for pain patients is imperative. Why do more women have fibromyalgia than men? In my opinion it is because a lot of female hormone imbalance naturally contributes to inflammation which simply makes any inflammatory disease such as an Autoimmune Condition: Lupus, Sjogren's, Hashimotos, Scleroderma, MCTD and so forth much worse. So when you are working with me we may need to rely on other specialists to provide advanced testing options for your condition but I at least am capable of conducting the majority of the work so that the exhausted miserable achy tired Fibro patient has to bounce around from the least amount of doctors possible. At one point I was seeing multiple specialists: 1) Rheumatology 2) Pain Management 3) Endocrinology 4) OBgyn 5) Psychiatry 6) Infectious Disease 7) Orthopedics 8) Physical Therapy 9) Neurology. I know quite a bit about medications, hormone tests, pain tests, and treatment options for all of these specialties as they relate to chronic pain, autoimmune and fibromyalgia patients.
For those looking for a caring Naturopathic Doctor that understands Chronic Pain very well and promises to always believe you, never to judge you and always support you…I would be delighted to help! The last thing you need when you are in pain is someone that does not believe you or is judging you. The emotional hurt of that can truly feel worse at times than walking around as if, "Someone has beat me head to toe with a baseball bat," which is how many of my Fibro Warrior patients describe their pain.
Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD
Dr. Sundene is a Naturopathic Doctor in Scottsdale, Arizona, and is considered a Female Hormone Expert in Women's Health and Bioidentical Hormones. She specializes in Holistic Women's Health for Menopause, Thyroid, Hashimotos, PMS, Perimenopause, Autoimmune, Postpartum, Chronic Fatigue, Depression, Anxiety, Food Allergies, Digestion, Dermatology , Acne, Psoriasis, Eczema and Adrenal Hormonal Conditions. In 1999 she began working for a Hormone Doctor prior to starting Naturopathic Medical School. With over 22 years of experience in both Prescription and Natural women's health and hormones she presents to women the best integrated health solutions for their Chronic Disease. She has been an Herbalist for over 27 years and enjoys teaching women how to use herbs to balance their hormones, nutrition and optimize their health. Dr. Sundene relies on blood testing for her hormone metrics. The hormone testing is covered per the patient's insurance plan and conducted at certain points in the woman's menstrual cycle. To learn more about Hormone Testing for Women Visit: Bioidentical Hormones. Follow Dr. Sundene on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for more tips on Women's Health, Female Hormones and Naturopathy!