Hi, I’m Vanessa.
Most of my close friends and family call me Ness. This is my well Ness journey…
In my personal life, I am a wife (for the 3rd time – Hey! I’m obviously the eternal optimist), a mother and step-mother (not sure about wicked, you’d have to ask the girls), a singer in a cover band or two (singing really lets me get my wild side out), and I love to write; songs, poems, stories, anything really – so far it has only been for fun, but I would definitely like to do more with that in the future.
In my professional life I am a Personal Trainer, Pilates instructor, Nutritional Medicine Student, dōTERRA Essential Oils Wellness Advocate (1593450), Makeup Artist (I love to teach women how to look & feel great) and Speaker. I am also supremely passionate (some would say obsessive) about spreading the message of the incredible benefits of Real Food and Low Tox living.
I own and operate a boutique Wellness, PT & Pilates Studio in the tiny township of Tyabb on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, Australia called Transformations Beyond Beauty Wellness Studio where we have a beautiful, supportive community of TBB Wellness Embracers dedicated to living and aging well!
Amongst all that crazy-Ness, I am living well with Hashimotos Autoimmune Thyroiditis, Fibromyalgia and Degenerative Disc Disease (the long term effect of damaged discs from a water-skiing accident when I was 16). I am a domestic violence survivor and I struggle with feelings of anxiety most days. I have battled many other illnesses/diagnoses throughout my life so far, including NASH (Non-Alcoholic Stateo-hepatitis) and Narcolepsy.
A few years ago, after a couple of years of becoming increasingly unwell and gaining a ridiculous amount of weight (I topped out at about 107kg, although I did eventually stop weighing myself because it was so depressing), I was finally diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Thyroiditis. In all honesty I was relieved to finally have a diagnosis in the beginning, as I had endured so many tests and been to so many specialists (some of which dismissed my plethora of symptoms as depression!) that it was just good to know that I wasn’t going out of my mind!
I was promptly sent to an Endocrinologist who informed me that I had an autoimmune disease that was attacking my thyroid and eventually it (my thyroid gland) would be rendered useless, so I would need to take thyroid hormone medication for the rest of my life and have regular blood tests to ensure the correct dosage. That was it! I thought “Cool, that sounds easy”…and to start with it was. I had some improvements on the medication; I lost some weight, got some energy back and began to function a little more like a regular person again (there were some other treatments going on for my back condition too, but that’s a whole other story!)
Fast forward about 18 months and still following the standard medical protocols for Hashimoto’s, I began feeling worse everyday along with gaining weight AGAIN. My symptoms were flaring badly and my doctor decided to increase my medication…and things got worse. Then I made a decision… I had to take responsibility for my own health and wellness. I had been relinquishing responsibility for my health to medical practitioners for too long and it wasn’t working for me.
I began to research and look for answers because I didn’t want to believe that this was how I would feel for the rest of my life. That’s when a whole new world opened up to me; a world of options…I discovered many things about my illnesses that no one had ever told me, and it all began to make sense. I realised that technically there was nothing wrong with my thyroid; I had an immune system disorder and if I could calm the immune system attack, my thyroid would be free to function normally and I would feel better. I also discovered that although being on the medication in the beginning was helpful, it was now actually exacerbating the problem and accelerating my symptoms. So, I made an informed decision to stop taking the thyroid medications I had been told I would be on for the rest of my life and began to incorporate many lifestyle and dietary modifications. My doctor was not happy with the decision as he was concerned about the consequences based on what he knew about my condition, so I promised to have regular blood tests and, if necessary, I would recommence taking the medication. Each month my blood test results improved and three years on, my Hashimoto’s is mostly in remission. Does it take some effort? Sure it does! Is it worth it?
It all starts with Food, closely followed by Mood and Movement! All three are important, and you can do something about improving how you go about all of them on a daily basis. I want to share my experience of what it’s like to live with and manage chronic illness each day and hopefully help you feel that you are not alone. It is my goal to provide you with as much great information to sink your teeth into and help you find what works for YOU! Not somebody else, but you!
I hope you will enjoy it here. My greatest desire is that this place will inspire you to Pursue Wellness with a Passion! It’s your life, your body and totally your responsibility. You will sometimes have to make decisions that piss other people off. You may even make decisions for yourself that really upset your doctor (they do not generally like to be questioned). Be smart about it, do your research, there is so much information out there; some of it good, some of it not so good and some of it downright terrible. But, nonetheless, you get to choose and you get to live with the consequences, so whatever you decide to do, OWN IT!
If, like me, you live with chronic illness, you will realise that this is a journey that doesn’t really have a destination. So that means that the journey is all we have. Live each day, one at a time. Sure, plan for the future and have goals, but you really only have today… What are you going to do with it?
This is my Then & Now photo. I don’t like to call it a Before & After because before I became ill I looked completely different and my journey will continue so there technically is no after. The ‘then photo’ is from 2008, just before I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Thyroiditis, I was very unwell. The ‘now photo’ is more recent, I am managing my health & wellness a lot better these days!
*If you would like to get in touch or work with me shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org