Pam’s biggest realization from working with Neurvana Naturopathic Medicine was “getting that diagnosis, to feel not-crazy.” Read on to find out how Pam finally got her diagnosis after 20 years.
My name is Pam Purnell and I’m from Calgary, AB.
I grew up in Central Alberta and I moved to Calgary for university.
I work in functional medicine, and that is actually how I met Corey. But previously, I was working in pharmaceutical sales, and at that time it was really when I started and deep-dove into my health journey.
I struggled with fatigue and brain fog, and I was an athlete at the time, working and training probably 20 hours a week. I just felt exhausted. I would look at my teammates and they weren’t having the same issues.
So I started going to my GP and he ran blood work, and everything came back normal. I was getting frustrated, and after three or four visits, he said to me, “Well, it likely would be depression, because that’s the only other diagnosis that it could be.”
Ironically, working in pharmaceutical sales, I was selling antidepressants at that time, and there was a scale that all the physicians were using was called the PHQ-9. I filled it out and I passed, so when I left his office and he said, “Well if you’re not gonna take an antidepressant, there’s not really anything else that I can do for you.”
He said, “Well if you’re not gonna take an antidepressant, there’s not really anything else that I can do for you.”
I was still functioning, but I was exhausted and having brain fog. I had just completed university, and I would say that the stress of moving to Calgary, a new city, university, working, being an athlete, my body just shut down.
When did you first notice you were having health problems?
I noticed everything started for me when I was a teenager and I had mono. After that, I just never was the same. I was the Energizer Bunny, as people called me, and then after that, I just was sleeping all the time. I chalked it up to being a teen and I’m tired because I’m growing.
So from there, fast-forward to when I was in university, not getting answers, I started to work with a lotta holistic practitioners, energy medicine practitioners, medical intuitives, and I definitely found benefit through working with holistic practitioners. But again, it wasn’t getting to the root cause.
Throughout my 20s, I was being your typical 20-year-old, carving out my career, partying, work hard, play hard, and I was keeping up and I was still working out, but I watched my friends. If we would go away for the weekend, they could go on no sleep and be fine and my friends always joked. They knew if they road-tripped with me that we’d have to stop at Starbucks because I lived on caffeine. That’s really how I functioned.
“My fatigue became very debilitating and my brain fog, and my memory, became terrible.”
It was really in my 30s when things took a turn for the worse my fatigue became very debilitating and my brain fog, and my memory, became terrible.
By debilitating I mean I was in a relationship and I was working, but I would come home and just feel like I would need to go to bed. I would have a quick bite to eat and then crawl into bed, and I was exhausted, but I couldn’t sleep, so I would just lay there and watch Netflix for hours on end. And that was not me. I was a motivated individual and I wasn’t able to work out anymore, which also was killing me because that was my daily routine. Go to work, get a workout in, feel great.
Who did you work with before learning about Neurvana Naturopathic Medicine?
I started seeing different practitioners, some naturopaths who gave me some amazing tools, one being vitamin IVs, which gave my immune system a boost and helped me to function, and that was so important to help me function. But I also knew I had to get to the bottom of what was going on.
At that time, I had found a new GP. She was open and receptive and sent me to a rheumatologist. Seeing the rheumatologist was such a frustrating experience, he didn’t look at me. He just looked at his computer and went through his list of 15 questions, and then said, “You have fibromyalgia.”
“Seeing the rheumatologist was such a frustrating experience, he didn’t look at me. He just looked at his computer and went through his list of 15 questions, and then said, “You have fibromyalgia.”
And I said, “Aren’t you gonna do any other testing?”
He goes, “Well, no. In my professional opinion, and I’ve been doing this for 40 years, I just know.” And, like so many other appointments, I’d go sit in my car and cry after because I was so frustrated.
I went back to my GP and said, “Okay, well, here’s what he said, but I just feel like this isn’t right.”
My GP said, “Look, you’ve seen a lotta smart people, and if that’s the diagnosis, then that’s the diagnosis. That’s all that we can do to help you.” I just really felt like it was all up to me to figure out my own health issues.
How was Neurvana different than other places you went to?
I was definitely searching for other help throughout that time because I was feeling so crappy. But I was at a point where I had become so frustrated and just really felt like I’ve got no other options right now.
I met Corey Deacon through work and I remember sitting across the table from him and speaking with him.
He is well-versed in lab tests and you could just tell he was able to put the puzzle piece together, which a lot of other practitioners can’t do. So after I met with him, I said, “I need to have a consult with Corey,” because I could tell he saw things from a different lens, and I love that he starts with a brain map.
What made you want to work with us?
The biggest reason I really wanted to work with Corey was he was open and receptive.
I have been to other functional practitioners who made me feel like it was almost my way or the highway with them. After searching for answers for so long with my health, I really felt like I became well-versed and I have a high level of understanding. I wanted someone that was going to be a consultant with me and give me the tools and listen to what I had to say.
“I wanted someone that was going to be a consultant with me and give me the tools and listen to what I had to say.”
Another big thing is some of the symptoms I brought up, other practitioners would brush off, whereas I felt like Corey really listened and took all the symptoms into account.
How did your first appointment go?
My first meeting with Corey was awesome, and particularly because it was two hours long. We reviewed the qEEG brain scan and I loved that because it showed, in my brain, what was happening in my body, and right away it showed the immune dysregulation that was happening.
What I really appreciated is that Corey was able to connect the dots from the brain scan to my symptoms. Part of the issue that I found before with functional testing, it was a bit of a guessing game.
A practitioner would say, “I think we should do this,” or, “I think we should do that.”
Well, I had already spent a lotta money on guessing, and I didn’t wanna do that anymore.
With the brain scan, it really narrowed down and gave us a focused area to deep-dive into the testing. My brain scan showed there was immune dysregulation, so Corey said, “It could be one of two things or both.”
“I was able to spend the money where we needed to and not just play that guessing game.”
Turned out that the diagnosis was Mold, Lyme disease, and Lyme co-infections which Corey said, my brain scan showed very clearly. So, I was able to spend the money where we needed to and not just play that guessing game.
What made you decide it was worth the investment to move forward?
I’d been looking around at seeing a functional practitioner for a long time, so I knew what the costs were going to be and I knew if I was going to make that investment that it had to be with the right practitioner.
I had met with some other functional practitioners and I just didn’t get the same sense. With Corey, I brought him in my binder, which was two inches thick, with all my tests and my results, and I felt like he was the first person that could look at it and really put all the puzzle pieces together.
What major wins have you had working with us?
The biggest win would be getting the diagnosis. It took 20 years to get there and having the diagnosis made me feel like I wasn’t crazy anymore.
“The biggest win would be getting the diagnosis. It took 20 years to get there and having the diagnosis made me feel like I wasn’t crazy anymore.”
The other major win is getting the right treatment. I’m starting to feel better. I’m getting my energy back, my stamina. I no longer have to come home and go to bed at 6:00 p.m. and I feel like I can function on weekends.
I’m not fully there yet; I’m still in the treatment process, but I see a light at the end of the tunnel which I haven’t seen for a long time.
Where do you think you’d be if you decided not to invest in yourself and work with us?
My fatigue would’ve gotten worse. My brain fog would’ve continued to get worse.
Going on disability really wasn’t an option for work, and so I was at a point where I had to make a decision: either find answers or change jobs, which I really didn’t wanna do.
So had I not seen Corey, I would’ve kept going down a path of being unwell and being in a situation where I felt very isolated because I just didn’t have the energy to see my friends and family nearly as much as I used to.
What advice do you have for someone experiencing something similar to what you were?
The advice I have is that the answers are out there. You just need to find the right practitioner.
Also our bodies just don’t break down for no reason. There’s an underlying issue. In my case, it was viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Once you have the answer, you can really take the necessary steps to get better.
“You need to empower yourself, and sometimes that means going through private healthcare and spending the money”
You need to empower yourself, and sometimes that means going through private healthcare and spending the money. But that’s the only way you’re gonna get better. So don’t give up hope and just keep searching, and I really recommend Neurvana Naturopathic Medicine because they’ve changed my life.
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