My health challenges started when I was one month old and hospitalized with viral meningitis and subsequently received IV antibiotics. As a child I appeared healthy, however the effects of consuming a Standard American Diet consisting of highly processed and inflammatory food-like substances contributed to an eventual decline in my physical and mental health into my adolescence.
At the age of 18, I developed chronic migraines while living in Panama as an exchange student. I averaged 25 migraine days per month while on daily preventatives and acute abortive medications. I have a genetic predisposition for migraines. My paternal grandmother, father, and younger brother had migraines, as well as family on my mother’s side. Over the next 10 years, doctors tried every possible migraine medication on me, eventually resorting to Botox injections, which involved a series of injections in the face and neck. All of these options were a dead end. In fact, the various medications and treatments only dampened the migraine frequency and led to a myriad of other symptoms and health problems. During this time, I completed a BA in Journalism and worked as a radio and television journalist and producer for NPR & PBS.
At the age of 25, I attempted to end my life. The physical and emotional toll of chronic migraines coupled with doctors giving up on me ever getting well left me in a very dark place. Our family has a history of suicide; tragically both my maternal grandmother and aunt took their own lives. There are some underlying genetic imbalances in our family that may have been worsened by dietary and lifestyle choices, along with environmental factors.
In 2011, I started researching Functional Medicine and nutrition and slowly began putting the puzzle pieces together regarding why I was sick. After six years of experimentation and trial and error, I ended up utilizing both the Gerson Therapy and Functional Medicine to successfully heal my migraines and other health problems.
I no longer experience the disabling pain of migraines and I am on a mission to partner with other migraineurs in their own personal healing journey. I feel compelled to offer you hope. Don’t give up.
This journey has led me to dedicate myself to helping other migraineurs. As a result, I co-founded The Herdell Migraine Institute LLC, which is dedicated to sharing our family’s story of healing and helping guide migraineurs on the path to healing. Additionally, my private practice, Functional Wellness for Migraines, provides functional nutrition, lifestyle and nutrigenetic counseling for clients. I hold a Master of Science in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine from the University of Western States, am a Licensed Dietetic Nutritionist in Maryland, am a Certified Nutrition Specialist by the BCNS, and am a National Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coach by the ICHWC. My clinical training includes a residency with Dr. Kara Fitzgerald, mentorship training with Marcy Kirschenbaum of Enhance Nutrition, and professional contribution to the Methylation, Dietary, and Lifestyle Study.
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