As a young child, I was ill more often than not. I had eczema from a very young age. The eczema was severe to the extent that my fingers would crack and bleed. I was a regular at the physician’s office. By the time I was about 10, I had been allergy tested numerous times. I had also received so many cortisone (steroids) shots that my teeth were cracking. Each night, I would slather myself in cortisone cream and then wrap my body with saran wrap. I usually slept in a “saran wrap cocoon” just to soothe my skin enough so that I could sleep.
Along with the eczema, I would get horrible migraine headaches. The headaches were severe and frequent. By the time I was in 2nd grade, I was given pain medication to manage them. I remember lying on the couch, crying because the light was unbearable. In 8th grade, I started developing, what I thought was, episodes of hyperventilation. My heart would begin to pound. My chest would feel like it was vibrating and I would have a hard time catching my breath. Turns out it was atrial fib. I had to be taken out of my Home Economics class by paramedics and was put on beta blockers to regulate my heart.
In the next few years, I added to my list of diagnosis: IBS, PSVT, Bell’s palsy, depression, IC (interstitial cystitis), ovarian cysts, chronic sinusitis, seasonal allergies, food allergies, and I had developed spontaneous nose bleeds. In addition, I felt so lousy from the beta blockers that I rarely could make a whole day of school. The days I did managed to make it, I slept through most of my classes. When I graduated, coach Mike Manley said, “congrats to my favorite student who never came to school”. By the time I was 22, I had taken many drugs including: birth control pills, allergy shots, steroids, anti-histamines, beta blockers, antibiotics, anti-depressants, antispasmodics, and occasionally muscle relaxers and pain medication.
Needless to say, I was frustrated and started to look at alternative solutions for healthcare. I started learning more about nutrition. What was “healthy” and what was not. I started cutting out carbs and cooking whole foods (thank you Susan Somers). I started drinking more water (thanks to my sweet boyfriend at the time who told me Snapple had too much sugar and that I should just drink water! He is now my husband:), and I started exercising and studying more about nutrition, herbs, and massage. I started feeling better.
From the time I was a small child, I always knew I wanted to be a physician. I wanted to help other people feel better. I worked for doctors and hospitals from the time I was 17 through my college years. I studied PreMed at University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. But upon graduation, I was unsure of my future. In all my years of medical experience, I rarely saw people get better. I did see people get one more drug, or one more therapy, but rarely did I see someone heal. The disease was managed but not cured. I knew there was a better way, I just didn’t know what direction to turn.
I decided against medical school and studied massage therapy, taught junior high and then went to work as a consultant for Accenture. In my travels, I was exposed to natural medicine. I was in awe. This would be my life’s work. I enrolled in SCNM and cried for a week. I was struck by such a wave of emotion that I knew this was my calling. I had finally found what I was searching for. I started seeing a Naturopath, Dr. Matt Baral. Within one visit, my chronic urinary tract problems were virtually dissolved. I was prescribed a homeopathic, vitamin C and told to take it with lots of leafy greens. Then I saw Dr. Leslie Axelrod, who helped me with my chronic sinus infections and my depression. Then I saw Dr. Crinnion and Dr. Spooner who helped me identify that my body was extremely burdened with lead, mercury and cadmium. As I cleansed, my health greatly improved. I lost weight and I was off all pharmaceuticals. Dr. Michael Cronin helped me with chronic pain by doing neural and prolotherapy, and Dr. Watrous and Dr. Zeff helped me identify my food intolerances. After removing potato from my diet, my health has stabilized. As I approach my 4th decade, I feel a million times healthier than I did as a child and young adult.
I graduated from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, in Tempe, Arizona, with a doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine and became board certified in 2006. I worked as a researcher for New Chapter and then opened my own doors in 2007. I have assisted over 600 families in their journey back to health and Wellness. I have learned from each one of them, and each one of them hold a dear space in my heart. Thank you, Houston.
Dr. Erica Campbell