Dr. Maggie Yu's Story
Finding my battlecry through the failure of factory medicine.
That day is forever burned into my mind.
I was 35, and I couldn’t believe what my doctor was telling me. How in the world could I already be going through menopause?
As a practicing physician myself, I’d had to deliver bad news to patients before, but now it was happening to me and my whole life turned upside down.
My problems started when I was getting more and more anxious, depressed, and exhausted. I was gaining weight, feeling hot and cold, sweating, having heart palpitations, and suffering from severe insomnia. I experienced irregular menstrual bleeding, and then it just stopped altogether.
Like what most people would do in that situation, I went to my primary care physician and OB/Gyn.
I was given the standard battery of blood tests which always were “normal.” They prescribed an antidepressant and a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI), which made my libido plummet and weight go up.
The worst part was how resigned everyone seemed to feel. No one wanted to solve my problem. Doctors handed me pills and shrugged their shoulders or insinuated it was all in my head.
They said I was “getting older” and needed to accept the change.
I felt like a sheet of ice cracking under all the pressure. I was stressed at work, my health problems got worse… and in spite of dedicated therapy, my 14-year marriage disintegrated. It was like I’d lost the best of who I was, and I didn’t know how to get it back. No one did.
If I wanted to get better, it was going to be up to me.
I am a doctor, a scientist, and most importantly I am a woman. I knew my life was falling apart, and I knew that I could figure this out. I had to.
The First Breakthrough…
I wanted to get my hormones checked because I knew this had to do with hormones.
Once again, I ran into the unhelpful system of factory medicine. I could not get my physician to order hormone labs for me.
So I had my hormones checked by a naturopathic physician. And it turned out that my numbers showed I was near menopausal at age 35.
But unlike my other doctors – the so-called “experts” – she treated me by helping me understand and master how to balance my own hormones. And although the treatments began to work, I was still plagued with a bigger question.
WHY? Why was I, a 35-year-old woman, going through menopause?
Finding My Battle Cry
I combined my experiences with naturopathic physicians along with dedicated and personal research to create a whole new way of thinking about medicine. In spite of years of advanced medical training, I couldn’t believe how little most doctors know about how our bodies function.
Did you know that our ovaries work with our adrenals and thyroid gland in conjunction. I now call this the Golden Triangle of hormone balance. Instead of accepting that my thyroid was “normal” and that “adrenals can’t be tested,” I did more testing. Two of the labs checked to see if I had an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s.
They came back positive.
This was not a death sentence! This was a battle cry! Now that I knew the root cause of my problems – now that I’d discovered the WHY – I could plan my route to better health. My doctors didn’t care that I had an autoimmune disease, but I was losing my mind, my marriage, and my job and if I didn’t figure out a way to turn it around, it would be my life.
1. Hormone testing
Most medical doctors receive zero training on hormone issues like adrenal fatigue. Since they don’t get the training, they don’t believe it really exists. Which, naturally, means they don’t test for it. This puts so many women at a huge health disadvantage because they never uncover the root cause of their problems.
People are stuck with band-aid treatments that do little more than mask symptoms for a while, or they have to accept bogus conclusions like, “You’re getting older. Just deal with it.”
But I know it’s real. I figured out that my adrenals were pumping out adrenaline and burning out due to the autoimmune attack and the high stress. I didn’t just take a general adrenal supplement. I learned how to understand and interpret my own adrenal results and I took one that specifically matched what my data told me. I got better, way fast. Now, I consider adrenal balance a crucial piece for many of my patients.
2. Vitamin testing
I also tested my vitamin levels and learned I had catastrophically low vitamin D and other crucial vitamins. Most doctors and insurances do not cover vitamin D testing. But here’s what most people (even doctors!) don’t know about vitamin D: it’s not just a vitamin, it is a hormone.
My mood immediately improved, and I had so much more energy. This is why testing of the crucial vitamins that affect autoimmune disease is key.
3. Food testing
Another key secret to calming an autoimmune disease is identifying food triggers. In my case, gluten was wreaking havoc on my body. The inflammatory response my body was having to gluten triggered my autoimmune disease.
Yes, I had to give up some of my favorite pasta dishes and delicious dinner rolls, but it was 100 percent worth it to feel better. People have different reactions to different foods, which is why we have a specific unique process Food Mapping. We provide the best test for those with autoimmune disease, and teach clients to identify their own patterns, what false positives and true negatives are. Food Mapping is a key to success!
4. Healing your gut
Physicians don’t understand this term or it’s importance. Yet, your gut is your biggest immune organ. Naturally mastering this has helped me identify, treat, and PREVENT future infection and compromise in my gut and immune system.
5. Active Body
Because I was feeling so much better and had more energy, I started to exercise. And the more I moved my body, the better I felt. It was like an ascending spiral of goodness! One of the most motivating things anyone can experience is results, and incorporating daily movement into your lifestyle will help you get results. Whether it’s walking, cycling, swimming, yoga… whatever you want. Move! Movement is definitely a big part of autoimmune recovery and victory.
6. Active Mind
Along with exercise, I started to practice mindfulness and breathing exercises. I including reading and journaling in my daily habits, too. Stress is absolutely a trigger that causes your health to deteriorate. Between the stress of my job as a busy physician and the problems in my personal life, stress was causing me to burn out.
By focusing on activities that put me more in control of my mind and emotional reactions, I was able to reduce my stress levels and increase my health and happiness. This is called mindset work which is absolutely crucial and is a foundation element in our model. Master your mental real estate, then you master your outcomes.
I Said “No” To Factory Medicine… Again
This journey affected me deeply as both a patient and as a physician. I know that treating my symptoms with a band-aid made me worse, and I know that so many other women experience the same system that is failing them.
After I had discovered how to cure my problem I was faced with two choices.
- I could stay on my current path as a physician. I could keep making good money billing patients for 15-minute visits and prescribing pills that only treated symptoms. After all, that’s how the system is designed to run.
But I’d feel like a hypocrite. How could I, after what I’d just experienced, choose to keep putting other people through that?
- Or I could make a real change. I could dedicate myself wholly to functional medicine and treat patients as whole people made of complex systems that all work together. I could work for people instead of insurance and pharmaceutical companies. I could take what I’d learned and make a difference that created true wellness for everyone.e
I left big box medicine and started my own practice in 2008. And I have never looked back. I continued to get more and more training in natural medicine.
As much as I wanted to leave the system, the system did not want to leave me.
I tried desperately to do the thorough evaluations and education I needed to help my patients, but there were severe restrictions due to the poor model of compensation in healthcare. Pay is based on volume, and the more 15-minute visits you bill, the more money you make. That’s why so many doctors are forced to see four or five patients in an hour instead of one.
The key to functional medicine is spending time with patients so that we can look at a patient as a system. You’re not just a symptom or a body part, but insurance companies don’t want to pay for in-depth treatment. Fifteen minutes and a bottle of pills wasn’t going to work for me. Or my patients.
Once again, I had to find a better way.
After practicing functional/integrative medicine in the clinic setting for 10 years. I was dissatisfied by the lack of ability in the clinic setting to teach and train people how to have personal mastery. It was a model that created dependency. They kept having to come back to me or anyone else they see in a clinic for answers without the tools to know how to find their own answers. Thus, our online education and coaching program was born.
In the past year, we have helped hundreds of people with our online group coaching format to really teach people my model for transforming autoimmune disease. No one has approached autoimmune disease with this model and no one has seen the astounding results that our clients have experienced. Go to our Facebook page to see all the videos from current and past clients. And join our Facebook group community.
During this experience, I lost my mom as a result of her not knowing or willing to master her autoimmune disease. Then I nearly died from having my own autoimmune disease. This driving force along with my experience being a practicing MD for 20 plus years has culminated in a mission driven program to educate, coach, and train each of you to be the best pilot for turning around autoimmune disease.