My Story


I spent my early years growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. At age 5, I was diagnosed with allergies and severe asthma. The brutal winters and very pollinated summers of the Midwest triggered lots of allergy issues, which then often triggered asthmatic episodes. I spent many hours away from school at doctor’s offices and in emergency rooms.


When I was 8, I was rushed to the emergency room for a severe asthmatic flare-up. My asthma was so bad that doctors had to give me an adrenaline shot to the heart to save my life. It was terrifying for my parents. At that point, they started researching alternative medicine; they wanted to be be able to control my asthma so that I was never in a life-threatening situation again.


After much research and luck, they found acupuncture, and that finding changed the course of my life. Over time, my symptoms lessened and became more controllable. I was able to stop the majority of the steroid medications and my parents were able to manage my asthma attacks at home with less medicine in general. I still spent hours in steam showers to open my lungs, but my family and I became more aware of asthmatic triggers and our household shifted. No dairy, no sugar, and we moved to the West Coast where the air was easier to breathe. This was the beginning of my understanding of how to keep my body well. I still carry an emergency inhaler for those moments we cannot control, but that’s part of self-care awareness. Sometimes, just knowing it’s with me makes the difference.


In my teens, I suffered worsening period cramps. My cycle became irregular but doctors said that sometimes that happens and it wasn’t significant. After a long journey of pain and exhaustion, I saw many gynecologists, gastrointestinal doctors, specialists, and reproductive endocrinologists. More than one told my parents I was faking, and they didn’t believe anything was wrong. The vulnerability of that time and the worry of not being seen scarred me and caused me to question my mind and body.


Eventually, we found a doctor who listened, and after a laparoscopy, I was diagnosed with Endometriosis. I felt validated and was so relieved to know there was a reason behind my painful cycles. Utilizing only western medicine, I ended up having numerous gynecological surgeries from age 15 to 19.


In my early 20s, my cycle again became irregular, and then stopped altogether for 9 months. Doctors tried numerous drugs over many months to encourage my period to start. When nothing changed, my mom reminded me of acupuncture. 3 days after my first treatment, my period began. 3 months later, my cycle regulated and the pain disappeared. I was amazed and inspired. 6 months after that, I began my graduate program in Traditional Chinese Medicine.


While I am grateful for all the medicine in my life, I know that acupuncture saved my life. Twice.