Four years ago today, I opened my tiny little cottage in the Heart of Centerville. My intention was simply to talk with women. Through my own journey with hormone imbalance issues, and in my ongoing conversations with women of all ages, I recognized the desperate need for a safe place for women to come, tell their story, be heard, understood and validated and most importantly, to be educated on their bodies and hormone imbalance symptoms. I knew that I was one of the lucky few. I had a husband who became a compounding pharmacist because of my emergency radical hysterectomy and potential hormone issues. He was not about to let happen to me, what he saw happening to his clients on a daily basis when they would come to his pharmacy to pick up their prescription hormone products. He saw women in my situation with 40 pound weight gain, irritability, depression, anxiety, no energy, brain fog and no libido. He made the decision that this was not going to happen on his watch. So he went to Houston, Texas to be trained as a compounding pharmacist. When I returned to my ob gyn for my 10 follow up appointment after surgery, Jeff went with me and was able to talk my open-minded doctor into allowing me to be open to the possibilities of compounded, personalized bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. The result? I didn’t gain 40 pounds (or any weight). I didn’t experience any of the issues typical of women with hormone imbalance; especially those women having a radical hysterectomy (ovaries removed). I didn’t have brain fog, fatigue, sleeplessness or low libido. Obviously we were on to something! But in speaking with women, what I found their reality to be left much to be desired. Most of the women I met in their mid 30’s and 40’s (and beyond) were on an antidepressant, a sleeping aid or an estrogen-of-the-month club product. None had had their hormone levels checked, none were feeling better, all had fatigue, low libido and had lost their joy of life. I knew I had to get the word out about their options for a more natural approach to their best health naturally. So I hung a sign at the rustic little cottage behind the Joli Boutique in Centerville and the rest is history! Women showed up! They were validated, educated, offered hope and empowered to have a dialogue with their doctor that leveled the playing field in hopes they would have an easier time getting their needs met. These women talked to their inner circle, and the word spread. Today, we have Happy Hormone Cottages in Kettering, Vandalia, Mason, Northern Kentucky and two in St. Louis, Missouri.
The most exciting part for me is that women who want the help, who own their journey, who have what it takes to get their needs met (assertiveness, patience, determination and a sense of humor) are feeling better! What I have learned is my truth–that what we place our attention on determines the quality of our lives. I have learned that when we know better, we do better and that it IS necessary to question our beliefs. I have also learned that I can’t please everyone and I most certainly can’t own anyone else’s journey, no matter how badly I want to. Each woman is in charge of her own health and I can only help the ones who want to be helped and are willing to put in the time, effort and resources necessary to fix her hormone imbalance. What we offer, a strategy for getting tested, treated and better does cost money….but I think it is a reasonable cost. How much is one’s best health worth? My answer is “priceless,” but every woman needs to decide that for herself. I have learned that if we, as women, do nothing to own our own journey to our best health naturally, TODAY is the best day we will have. I have learned that we ARE worth it to be put back on our own list and take care of ourselves so we CAN take care of our family. I have learned that women have to be patient with our therapy so they CAN feel better. My question is always, “How long have you not felt well? We do need some time (typically 3 weeks to 3 months) to refill hormone receptors so we CAN feel better.” I also know that we can’t isolate body systems to fix them. We have to look at the body holistically and impact adrenal and thyroid health as well as the sex hormones, and that this is just the FIRST step to wellness.
I was listening to a CD by Tara Brach the other day and she asked the question, “What does your heart most want?” After giving this deep thought, I decided that what my heart wants the most is for the women I come into contact with every single day, to feel heard, understood, valued and most of all to know that they matter. Oprah once said, “Everyone just wants to know they matter to someone.” This is my truth. I want to continue to positively impact women’s lives every day so that they know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that more than anything, they DO matter to someone. They matter to me.