My brain fog, my complete inability to think (2+2 no longer equalled 4 and my degree in biochemistry seemed like it was all gone into the abyss of a memory I once had), my aching body that felt like I was 90 when I was only 30, my fingers that were so swollen they no longer bent, my body that hurt every time someone touched me, when my children hugged me, kissed me, cuddled with me. All of this was supposedly in my head, fabricated, had no physical cause. There was nothing I could do.
I approached my mentors and I was told it was medical student syndrome and I was just stress. Well, I was, I had started med school with a 6mo old, I was trying to hold down my research job, and I was a caretaker to my disabled partner at the time. But this felt like more than just stress. How could I mentally fabricate my fingers looking like the Michelin man’s fingers… I could feel granules in my fingers… But it was written off as the college 15lb. What?
Eventually I decided to go through my insurance and take the MD route. (I do believe there’s a time and a place for all practitioners and their vast skills.)
Only to have my Harvard trained Rheumatologist rub his degree in my face while he looked at me and told me it’s in my head because the labs showed everything was fine. If I really felt something was wrong, he’d classify it as “seronegative rheumatoid arthritis” and there’s nothing I can do besides immunosuppressive therapy. Maybe try some fish oil. This felt so disempowering and I started to loose hope. There was no way I was going to get through school like this. And how was I supposed to be a mom to my children? I had to keep looking…
I was eventually referred to another Rheumatologist for a second opinion and he did Ultrasounds on my hands and just told me there was a lot of inflammation and then told me he’ll have to charge me for two visits because it’s taking too long. I think we actually made it up to 3 visits (mind you these visits were 15min each).
After these few visits and some labs I was placed into the “bucket diagnoses” of CFS/ME, FM and seronegative rheumatoid arthritis. Basically a short way to explain my symptoms but nothing that seemed useful at that time.
I was so discouraged and started believing them. Maybe it was all in my head. I was ready to drop out of medical school. I pushed to the end of the first year, and decided I’ll take the summer to myself and try one more thing. Make some dietary changes and a gut healing protocol. So simple, how was that going to change anything? I really don’t like being told I can’t do something or something is hopeless.
I remember I stuck to the diet and the supplements for 30 days and nothing changed, except on day 30 I woke up and I noticed I could bend my fingers much more easily. I decided to stick with it. Riding out the protocol longer. Over the next few months I kept improving, my brains started working better again and I decided I would stay in school. I eventually did a food re-introduction and brought everything but gluten back.
Eventually, through testing I insisted on during my journey I was diagnosed with celiac’s disease (just before graduating 2016) and Lyme (diagnosed circa 2018) disease, which explain the CFS/ME, FM, and Seronegative rheumatoid arthritis. I also struggled with adrenal insufficiency – I did take pride in burning the candle at both ends most of my life. I’ll take ownership for that one :).
Since then, I have specialized in treating people with chronic and complex illnesses that have gone undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Understanding that CFS and FM are “bucket diagnoses”/diagnoses by exclusion and do not point to the underlying cause of illness.
One of my great passions in life, is helping persons with these high impact chronic health conditions regain the life that seems so far away. I know it’s possible because I have improved my quality of life so drastically that sometimes I forget how rough things used to be.
It’s amazing to see people feel great have energy and not be in pain and get back to their life. Thank you for reading my story. I know it is one of many and it is meant to provide hope, a light at the end of the tunnel. Life can get better!
I see you!
My super power is persistence and knowing that what you experience in your body is truth and it is my job to find the answer.
In health & wellness,
I have advanced training in Functional Medicine and with that have a deeper understanding of advanced lab testing as well as the ability to interpret basic lab, reading “between the lines” to gain deeper insights.
Having started my career in research, where I worked as a research associate to Dr Beatrice Golomb at the University of California, San Diego. Having co-authored 20 publications, I have a deep understanding of scientific literature. Following my academic work at Bastyr University California (BUC), where I completed my Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, I completed a one-year residency at BUC with an emphasis in autoimmune conditions, working closely with my mentor Dr Lisa Porterra-Perry, DC. Following my residency, I stayed on as adjunct faculty teaching classes including rheumatology, gastroenterology, female reproductive systems, histology, and nutrition, amongst many others. Additionally, I supervised naturopathic medical students on specialty clinic shifts, focusing on autoimmune conditions and functional medicine.
- Golomb BA, Allison M, Koperski S, Koslik HJ, Devaraj S, Ritchie JB. Coenzyme Q10 benefits symptoms in Gulf War veterans: results of a randomized double-blind study. Neural Comput. 2014 Nov;26(11):2594-651.
- Golomb BA, Chan VT, Denenberg JO, Koperski S, Criqui MH. Risk marker associations with venous thrombotic events: a cross-sectional analysis. BMJ Open. 2014 Mar 21;4(3):e003208.
- Golomb BA, Erickson LC, Scott-Van Zeeland AA, Koperski S, Haas RH, Wallace DC, Naviaux RK, Lincoln AJ, Reiner GE, Hamilton G. Assessing Bioenergetic compromise in autism spectrum disorder with 31P magnetic resonance spectroscopy: preliminary report. J Child Neurol. 2014 Feb;29(2):187-93.
- Golomb BA, Koperski S. New statins also produce fatigue: spontaneous reporting as a complementary system to increase safety knowledge—reply. JAMA internal medicine. 2013;173(3):247-8.
- Golomb BA, Koperski S. 2013. “Testosterone Change Relates to Lipid Change on Statins.” Epidemiology and Prevention | Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2013 AHA Scientific Sessions Supplement. March 19-22, 2013, New Orleans, LA.
- Golomb BA, Koperski S. Who Becomes Weak on Statins? Effect Modification in an RCT by Risk Factor Compounding; Circulation supplement 2013
- Golomb BA, Chan VT, Evans MA, Koperski S, White HL, Criqui MH. The older the better: are elderly study participants more non-representative? A cross-sectional analysis of clinical trial and observational study samples. BMJ Open. 2012;2(6).
- Golomb BA, Koperski S, White HL. Association between more frequent chocolate consumption and lower body mass index. Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(6):519-21.
- Golomb BA, Koperski S, White HL. Statins Raise Glucose Preferentially among Men who are Older and at Greater Metabolic Risk. Epidemiology and Prevention; Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2012 AHA Scientific Sessions Supplement; 2012 March 13-16, 2012; San Diego, CA.
- Koperski S, Dimsdale JE, White HL, Golomb BA. Sleep problems may mediate glucose elevations on statins: Results from the UCSD Statin Study, a randomized trial. Circulation. 2011.
- Golomb BA, Koperski S, White HL. Chocolate Consumption is Linked to Aggression. Circulation supplement. 2011:173 P53.
- Golomb BA, Koperski S, White HL. More Frequent Chocolate Consumption is Associated with Lower Body Mass Index. Circulation supplement. 2011; 172 P50.
- Golomb BA, Koperski S. Pondering the ponderous: are the “moral challenges” of bariatric surgery morally challenged? Am J Bioeth. 2010;10(12):24-6.
- Golomb BA, Erickson LC, Koperski S, Sack D, Enkin M, Howick J. What’s in placebos: who knows? Analysis of randomized, controlled trials. Ann Intern Med. 2010;153(8):532-5.
- Golomb BA, Koperski S, Evans MA. Statins and muscle adverse effects: a complementary perspective. Drug Saf. 2010;33(9):803; author reply -4.
- Rose N, Koperski S, Golomb BA. Mood food: chocolate and depressive symptoms in a cross-sectional analysis. Arch Intern Med.170(8):699-703.
- Golomb BA, Koperski S, Rose N. Chocolate Consumption and Effects on Serotonin Synthesis—Reply. Arch Intern Med. 2010;170(17):1608-a-9.
- Cham S, Gill K, Koperski S, Golomb BA. Improvement in sleep apnoea associated with switch from simvastatin to pravastatin. BMJ Case Reports
- Golomb BA, Kwon EK, Koperski S, Evans MA. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-like conditions in possible association with cholesterol-lowering drugs: an analysis of patient reports to the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Statin Effects Study. Drug Saf. 2009;32(8):649-61.
- Golomb BA, Koperski S. Association not causation. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(11):1079.