40 Stories of Thanks: Andrea’s Success Story

by Simla on November 19, 2010

Most of us have an interesting relationship with our health. When we feel good, we don’t think much about it. But when something goes wrong, like a flu or worse, it’s a big wake-up call. Suddenly, we think about all those bad habits that might have contributed to the breakdown.

I’m thankful for my health. While I have a vibrant life now, I was not always so fortunate. During my own health crisis four years ago, I literally had to count my steps because I was in so much pain. I knew the number of steps to the bus stop and to my doctor’s office. Sometimes, I would have to stop only a few blocks from my house and either hail a cab or wait until I was strong enough to continue walking. Now that I am better, my active life includes taking a boot camp class and hiking the urban hills of San Francisco. With each step, I say thank you to my body.

So this month, in honor of giving thanks, I want to share a client success story. Andrea is an inspiration to me. She experienced losing her steps and re-gaining them with grace and love. I call her “Sunshine,” and I hope her story inspires you.

Andrea “Sunshine” Garcia:  A Success Story

Andrea was a successful, busy professional in her mid-twenties. She had an active lifestyle and social life. In the summer of 2008, she started experiencing major health issues, which was eventually diagnosed as an autoimmune disease called Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (A.D.E.M.). The disease attacked her spinal cord leaving her paralyzed in her left arm and left leg. Her road to recovery was deeply challenging on many levels, including physically, psychologically, and emotionally. She had to re-learn fine motor skills and how to walk. But she was determined to lead a healthy life again.

Andrea came to see me some time after a five-month hospital stay. She was on her way to recovery, but was still experiencing intermittent spasms on her left side and was wiped out. She lacked energy to get through the day and relied on caffeine to make it through. She was still feeling quite weak and heavy in her body and wasn’t sure what to eat to help aid her healing process.

We worked on three major components of her diet. We:

This process included assessing foods she was eating and the foods she was missing, how to incorporate more soothing and anti-inflammatory foods, and, over time, helping her build a more intuitive relationship with food. We found the foods that would trigger spasms on her left side and she developed a new habit: cooking for herself!

“Simla opened my eyes about so many things and she made cooking, eating, and learning about my health fun,” Andrea says. “It’s amazing how good one can feel just by eating better.”

We also looked at ways to reduce all the other different stressors in her life, since stress is a major aggravator when it comes to autoimmune conditions. Our explorations led us to modify her boundaries with work, rebuild her hope and her spirit, explore different types of movement she could incorporate into her day, and tap into her relationships as a source of strength.

While her body recovered and got stronger, her moods also began to improve. Most of our work was on diet and lifestyle, but we also worked on her bruised spirit and what inspired her about getting better.

“Working with Simla was exactly what I needed to start my journey to natural healing and really start living my life—not allowing my disease to run my life,” she says.

After about nine months of working together, Andrea learned to identify and neutralize her triggers. Her energy increased and remained steady throughout the day, her spasms decreased, and she shed a few extra pounds. At one regular checkup, her doctor was pleasantly shocked to see that the brain lesions left behind by A.D.E.M. were shrinking – something he had never seen before. And the best part—her spark came back.

“Through the right nutrition, taking care of my body, and staying active, I am living proof that you don’t have to let a chronic illness keep you down and that there is hope out there for all those with any sort of illness,” Andrea says.

In September, Andrea leant her sunshine to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s CF Climb for Life event in downtown San Francisco. She climbed 40 stories of stairs to raise money for this organization. She finished her climb in 25 minutes and 41 seconds and her team took home a big trophy as top fundraisers! I know it was an incredible day for her.

How about you? What struggles have you overcome? What steps (literally or figuratively) are you most thankful for taking? During this month of giving thanks, don’t forget to share with others what you are most thankful for. Keep inspiring yourself and the people in your life!


WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You may, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: “Simla Somturk Wickless, MBA, CHC, CNE, is an integrative health, nutrition, and lifestyle coach whose mission is to transform busy bodies into healthy, balanced beings TM. To learn how to zing your energy, tame your stress, and take back control of your health, register for your complimentary monthly eZine at www.enjoydelicioushealth.com.”

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Sal Garcia November 20, 2010 at 11:22 pm

Thank you Simla for taking the time to share with others the trials and tribulations that my beautiful daughter Andrea went through and for recognizing that she truly is a remarkably strong young Lady, not only in a spiritual sense but also in the physical sense. Thank you again for all you have done for and with Andrea, my miracle child.
Sal Garcia

Simla November 21, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Hello Sal!

Thank you for your lovely note. Meeting, working with, and getting to know Andrea was such a pleasure for me. She is an inspiration to me. Andrea is a special gift to this world… =)


Sandra Keros March 17, 2011 at 11:43 am

What an inspiring story! Thank you for sharing this on your website and congratulations to Andrea for all her hard work and dedication! Sandra

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